Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Casino Royale: You know My Name …

Phew; A mid-week movie night … !

And what a movie to have …

As you know, by now, something of a cheap night in for me, Adrian, Paul and/or Allison – and whoever else would care to join us – is catching a film on DVD.

There’s advantages to this over a cinema trip, although that’s nice.

It is decidedly cheaper: and those of us who smoke, can of course smoke indoors …

And, if you haven’t guessed by now, tonight’s film was the 2006 EON Productions version of Casino Royale.

Which is a bit special, to say the least.

Hmmm, that sounded like a suitable considered opinion, didn’t it?   Bit one that’s certainly got a grain of truth to it.

As well as more than a grain of the the original Ian Fleming plotlineº to it.   Or considerably more than many other of the Eon movies, from what I’m given to understand.

I should know; it’s one of the few of the Fleming originals I’ve read.

Although, granted, Eon have updated the plot.   That’s necessary.   The world has moved on since the late 1950s, when the novel was published*.   But, essentially, what one sees on screen is justified by what’s in the text.

Making this a rare Bond film, sharing that distinction with – to the best of my knowledge – only a few of the earlier entries in the franchise; most notably On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.   The Bond with the one and, to date, only appearance of George Lazenby in the central rôle, in case you’d forgotten.

The other reason I mention the latter, is it does share some similarities, although I feel these may be minimal.   The big one – something I’m sure many will know by now – is that, in both movies, there’s a doomed love interest.   The other worth mentioning, is the look and feel.

Both Casino Royale and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have a gritty feel to them, although that’s more noticeable with Casino.

A sign of the times, I think, and one that, to me is welcome.   It reminds us of exactly what James Bond is;  a well educated, intelligent, well-educated killer.

Charming, capable of hurt, possessing a tender side.

But a killer, none the less

We tend to forget that, given most Bond movies lighter touches.

But, none the less, Casino Royale is exactly that: a Bond film, one that show us the darker, edgier side to the character, and that strips out the conventional formula parts that we’ve been used to, in order to wind the clock back, and breathe life into the franchise.

Complete with the tradition chases – a fun to watch Freerunning sequence – gadgets – although these are kept to the bare minimum, and there’s no Q to hand them over – and one hell of a car crash.

I can’t believe they did that to a DB12!

And the familiar “My names Bond … James Bond” is used right at the very end.

An ending that left Adrian, Paul, and I wanting to see Quantum of Solace …

* And I should add, since the making of the 1954 TV version, and the 1967 film with David Niven.

º Don’t even ask about The Man With The Golden Gun.   There’s a certain character in the film, who’s definitely NOT in the book …

Just a quick Gazetteering …

Now as you might know, I’ve been writing here about movies, occasionally, and thought I’d share a vaguely relevant letter I’ve fired off to the Gazette, today; here’s the text of it …

Dear Gazette

I’ve got admit, the past few weeks I’ve not written about much that isn’t related to the controversial cinema, but I think I was put out by something I’ve seen, today.   As people who’ve been following my blog know, I and my friends are as broad a collection of movie fans as one can find.   And, as we were planning to watch one tonight, I nipped out to get some popcorn, to go with the film.

Coming back home from the local grocers, I happened to noticed a couple of … well … lads is the word that springs to mind, here.   Who were doing a drugs buy.

I know that may sound a little overdramatic, but, having been around the block a few times, and worked in one or two of Brentwood’s rougher pubs, I’m not entirely blind to these things.

And, while I’m usually fairly tolerant of most lifestyle choices, I’d rather not have this sort of thing thrust in my face.   Or going on at the end of my street.   And in broad daylight, at that.

Now, I know that Brentwood’s police are a hard working, under staffed bunch, but isn’t stopping this sort of thing what we pay our council tax for?

Just a thought …

Now, I know that makes me sound something like an old NIMBY, but …

Switching back from One, to Another

Hmm; well, that seems to decide things …

I’ll confess, here, that getting the quizzes cancelled is a pain, coming when it has; – I’ll confess that I am thinking of seeing if I can explore Ebay, to see id I can sell prepared quizzes – and, just as importantly, the spreadsheet file that has been the backbone and foundation of them – online.

It’s also bad because today saw the release of the open source office suite, NeoOffice 3.0; - something I’ve looking forward, for a while.

At least a week, certainly!

I know I’ve been tinkering with version 3 of OpenOffice.org, but I’ll confess I’ve found it still a touch clunky in comparison with NeoOffice; - even though NeoOffice is, ultimately, based on OpenOffice code.

Blowed if I know how they do it, you’d have to ask someone a touch more familiar with coding than me.

Mind you, that is a benefit, in one sense.   It means that NeoOffice has finally managed to at least catch up with the  (alt) + the various cursor keys, and the backspace () key, to navigate entire words.   Handy, from where I’m sitting.   It means I can navigate a document a lot more easily.   About the only minor flaw is that neither suite allows the use of the combination of Shift + Alt + the left cursor key, or backspace, to select words, within a given line; – something I’m assuming will be available in the next update.

Which will probably be a while, given I only downloaded the disk image, today

The Daily Teaser

I like the Daily Teaser, I really do …

I’m hoping that yesterday’s questions went down well; – amazing what you can find, when you poke around the net.

At any rate, here’s yesterday’s answer for you.

Q1) The 30th March, 1820, saw the birth of Anna Sewell; – which children’s book did she famously write?

A1) Black Beauty”.

Q2) On this day in 2006, Marcos Pontes become the first astronaut from which country, to enter space?

A2) Brazil.

Q3) 1981 saw an assassination attempt on which American politician?

A3) Ronald Reagan.*

Q4) Back in 1893, Thomas F. Bayard is appointed as the first US ambassador to which country?

A4) The UK.

Q5) And finally, back in 1533, Thomas Cranmer was appointed as the Archbishop of where?

A5) Canterbury.

And here’s today’s questions …

Q1) The Warsaw Pact formally came to an end, on the 31st of March; – in which year of the nineties?

Q2) In 1966, the Luna 10 module became the first probe to orbit the Moon; which country launched it?

Q3) Which French tourist attraction opened on this day?

Q4) The CND’s march to where started on the 31st of March, 1972?

Q5) Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa on this day; – but in which year of the 1850’s?

Tomorrow’s going to be interesting – it IS April the 1st, and I think I’ve a table round, around here, somewhere …

* Weird coincidence, this got asked at the quiz, last night …

A night out.

Well, that was fun!

Bless them, I got asked to the Rising Sun’s quiz, tonight, by the No Idea’s; – something that was both very welcome, and very flattering, especially coming from them.   I also managed to pass on my apologies for Thursday night’s disaster in person, which felt good to be able to do.

For those of us familiar with Step 8 of the AA programme know it says  “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”; – which I felt I’d done, by spoiling their evening.

But it was definitely a good thing to see both them, and the Tom and Jerry’s, who were there, tonight.   The nice thing about it was that we – temporary member*, me, although I’d not mind re-joining, as money allows – was that, although we came second, tonight, we beat the Tom and Jerry’s.

By about four points, I seem to recall …

So, by way of celebration, I’d like to post up one of the unused quizzes I had left over from the Hutton.

Here we are: – Enjoy!


Q1) Which European language does the word kitsch come from?

A1) German

Q2) What is the state capital of Massachusetts?

Q2) Boston

Q3) Which Dickens character famously asked for more?

A3) Oliver Twist

Q4) What did Old Mother Hubbard keep in her cupboard?

A4) Nothing

Q5) What comes after red, orange and yellow in the rainbow’s colours?

A5) Green

Q6) Dad, kayak and rotavator are examples of what type of words?

A6) Palindrome

Q7) A bob was the popular name of which old English coin?

A7) A shilling

Q8) What is the name for the Mexican cloak with a slit for the head?

A8) A poncho

Q9) Which of the Wonders of the World was at Babylon?

A9) The Hanging Gardens

Q10) Snow crystals have – on average – how many sides?

A10) Six


Q11) Which planet has a satellite called Europa?

A11) Jupiter.

Q12) Which space station has a name that translates into English as “peace”; Mir, Salyut, or Soyuz? 

A12) Mir.

Q13) The Ranger and Surveyor probes preceded the exploration of where?

A13) The Moon.

Q14) What name is given to a site for astronomical observation?

A14) An observatory.

Q15) What is an Oort cloud made of?

A15) Comets.

Q16) What satellite was the 1stto transmit live TV pictures?

A16) Telstar.

Q17) One of the mythical children of Uranus & Gaia had which type of rocket named after them; Titan, Saturn, or Gemini?

A17) Titan.

Q18) Phobos & Deimos are moons of which planet?

A18) Mars.

Q19) What constellation is known as “The Hunter?”

A19) Orion.

Q20) Which planet is bigger, Jupiter, or Saturn?

A20) Jupiter.


Q21) Which actor connects “I, Claudius”, “Cadfæl”, and “Doctor Who”? 

A21) Derek Jacobi.

Q22) Which sitcom told the story of revolutionaries, in Tooting?

A22) Citizen Smith.

Q23) What was the surname of Morticia, & Gomez?

A23) Addams.  (The Addams Family.)

Q24) Which science fiction series first started the day after President Kennedy was shot?

A24) Doctor Who.

Q25) Name the Scottish undertaker, in “Dad’s Army.

A25) Private Fraser

Q26) Who had a long running TV show, before starring in “Mary Poppins”, and “Diagnosis Murder

A26) Dick Van Dyke.

Q27) What was the 2nd area of Britain to receive TV transmissions?

A27) The Midlands.

Q28) In “Dallas,” which character became Mrs Clayton Farlow?

A28) Miss Ellie.

Q29) Which “Carry On” regular was the star of “Bless This House”?

A29) Sid James.

Q30) Who was the main character on “The Phil Silvers Show”?

A30) Master Sergeant Bilko.


Q31) Which holiday resort had the motto “It’s So Bracing”; Skegness, Brighton, or Blackpool?

A31) Skegness.

Q32) Who created the Angel of the North?

A32) Anthony Gormley.

Q33) What did the National Trust on its land, in 1997?

A33) Deer Hunting.

Q34) Alfred Waterhouse designed which of London’s most visited buildings, in the 19th century; the Natural History Museum, The House of Parliament, or Buckingham Palace

A34) The Natural History Museum.

Q35) In which county is Alton Towers?

A35) Staffordshire.

Q36) Edward Maddrell was the last nativespeaker of which British language?

A36) Manx.

Q37) In which British city is the worlds oldest passenger station?

A37) Manchester.

Q38) What’s the 2nd highest mountain in the UK?

A38) Ben Macdhui.

Q39) In which county is the UK’s longest cave system?

A39) North Yorkshire.   (Gaping Gill)

Q40) In which English city are you, if you’re in the East Midlands Gas Museum?

A40) Leicester.


Q41) What type of fish is gravlax?

A41) Salmon.

Q42) Kirsch is also known as what type of fruit brandy?

A42) Cherry Brandy

Q43) Pimms No. 1 is based on what spirit; gin, rum, or vodka?

A43) Gin

Q44) Aspartame is an alternative to which basic ingredient?

A44) Sugar.

Q45) In which month does Beaujolais Nouveau usually arrive in Britain?

A45) November.

Q46) How many standard sized bottles make up a Nebuchadnezzar?

A46) 20.

Q47) Which 50’s pop star’s name is rhyming slang for ‘mild?’

A47) Marty Wilde.

Q48) Isabella Mary Mayson is better known as which cook?

A48) Mrs Beeton.

Q49) What sort foodstuff is a macademia?

A49) A nut.

Q50) What drink did Sir Bob Geldof advertise; – milk, tea, or Guinness?

A50) Milk.


Q51) Petrology is the study of what?

A51) Rocks.   (As opposed to Geology, which is the study of the Earth)

Q52) In which country did the voting to determine the site of the 2012 Olympics take place?

A52) France.

Q53) Where would a Spanish woman wear her mantilla?

A53) On her head.

Q54) Ellison’s Orange is a variety of which fruit?

A54) An apple.

Q55) Some people feel embarrassed by their Lentigines; - what are they?

A55) Freckles

Q56) Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell in which East End pub?

A56) The Blind Beggar

Q57) In which European country was Europe’s oldest university founded?

A57) Italy.   In Salerno, to be precise

Q58) Michæl Hordern provided the voice for which tv bear?

A58) Paddington.

Q59) Dr John Pemberton invented which world famous fizzy drink?

A59) Coca Cola.

Q60) Which sport did Marco Van Basten play?

A60) Football.

* It was also good to meet Tim, who’s the other new member of the No Idea’s team.   Actually, I wish I’d taken a photo, now …   And, just as point, that’s one of the many clock’s in the Rising Sun.   No, it’s not the wrong way round …