Who's in It:
Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini
The Basics: Remember Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan and how suave and dashing and freshly bathed they always seemed? Well, those days are over. Craig as Bond is an egocentric, thugged-out hot-head with a squashed-in mug whose first impulse isn't to invite you to tea with David Niven. He's just going to shoot you in the face. And it's about time. I haven't dug a James Bond movie this much in about, oh, I don't know, forever.
What's the Deal? And another thing. For years now, the Bond movies have pretty much lost me, plot-wise, after the first 15 minutes or so. I just sit back and think, "OK, I officially have no idea what's going on, so I'm just going to wait for stuff to blow up and for the bad guy to whip out the death-ray." It's almost as if they showed those movies with the reels out of order. But this one? It makes actual sense. You don't need chases and fights and explosions to make tons of sense, but it's great when they do.
History: There was a version of this movie made in 1967 and Woody Allen was the villain. As you might guess, it was kind of a Bond parody. This one is nothing like that. In fact, it's a re-booted version of Bond because Casino was the first Bond novel that Ian Fleming wrote. So this one gives you a fresh Bond, one that's just starting his 007 career, one that doesn't have the Aston Martin or a preference in martinis. And he works out, which is something you could never say about Roger Moore. In fact, Craig looks like he just got sprung from the boxing program of some British prison.
A Not-Boring Bad Guy for a Change: Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen from those great Pusher movies that you should see sometime they're about petty, drug-dealing criminals in Denmark, and they're warped in a very good way. Anyway, as the villain here, he's asthmatic, has a weird eye scar and involuntarily cries blood that he's always dabbing with a handkerchief.
Draggy Part: The poker game in the middle. I hate poker, so I was bored. Got candy. Milk Duds, in fact. That made it better. Then it gets exciting again.