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Angels In America | DVD | (07/04/2008)
from £5.29 | Saving you £8.70 (62.20%) | RRP
Tony Kushner's prize-winning play Angels in America became the defining US theatrical event of the 1990s, an astonishing mix of philosophy, politics, and vibrant gay soap opera that summed up the Reagan era for an entire generation of theatre-goers. Post-9/11 would seem to be too late for a film version--philosophy and politics don't always age well--but this 2003 HBO adaptation, ably directed by Mike Nichols, provides a time capsule of the '80s and reveals the deep emotional subcurrents that will give the play lasting power. The story centers around Prior Walter (Justin Kirk) and Louis Ironson (Ben Shenkman), a gay couple that falls apart when Prior grows ill as a result of AIDS. But cancer is not the only thing invading Prior's life: He begins to have religious visions of an angel (Emma Thompson) announcing that he is a prophet. Louis, who doesn't cope well with disease and suggestions of mortality, leaves and starts a relationship with Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson), a closeted Mormon who works for Roy Cohn (Al Pacino)--the real-life right-wing lawyer, notorious for his ruthless behind-the-scenes machinations. Add in Joe's depressed and hallucinating wife Harper (Mary Louise Parker), his determined but open-minded mother Hannah (Meryl Streep), a fierce drag queen/nurse named Belize (Jeffrey Wright, reprising his celebrated performance from the Broadway production), and you've still only begun to discover the wealth of characters and storylines in Kushner's ambitious work. The powerhouse cast (also featuring James Cromwell, Michael Gambon, and Simon Callow) is uniformly superb. The script has its weaknesses--some of the fantastic elements, including Prior's journey to Heaven towards the end, fall flat--but even what doesn't work is bristling with ideas and a ferocious desire to capture human existence in this time and place. --Bret Fetzer
Casino Royale | DVD | (19/03/2007)
from £2.50 | Saving you £18.00 (78.30%) | RRP
Bond is back! Back to the beginning of James Bond's career MI6's newest recruit (Daniel Craig the first blonde 007) is tasked with taking down a man known as ""Le Chiffre"" (Mads Mikkelsen) a money launderer for terrorists who is raising operational funds at a high-stakes poker game in the exclusive Montenegro establishment of Casino Royale... Exhilarating breathless and at times brutal this is the first Bond adventure since 1987 to be based on one of Ian Fleming's original novels. Paul Haggis (Oscar winning writer/director of Crash) adapts Casino Royale for a new generation as Daniel Craig new Aston Martin DBS in tow fills out the tuxedo of the ultra-smooth and ultra-deadly superspy.
Casino Royale (Deluxe Edition) | Blu Ray | (20/10/2008)
from £6.99 | Saving you £18.00 (72.00%) | RRP
Bond is back! Back to the beginning of James Bond's career MI6's newest recruit (Daniel Craig the first blonde 007) is tasked with taking down a man known as Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) a money launderer for terrorists who is raising operational funds at a high-stakes poker game in the exclusive Montenegro establishment of Casino Royale... Exhilarating breathless and at times brutal this is the first Bond adventure since 1987 to be based on one of Ian Fleming's original novels. Paul Haggis (Oscar winning writer/director of Crash) adapts Casino Royale for a new generation as Daniel Craig new Aston Martin DBS in tow fills out the tuxedo of the ultra-smooth and ultra-deadly superspy.
Casino Royale (Deluxe Edition) | DVD | (20/10/2008)
from £9.90 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
The most successful invigoration of a cinematic franchise since Batman Begins, Casino Royale offers a new Bond identity. Based on the Ian Fleming novel that introduced Agent 007 into a Cold War world, Casino Royale is the most brutal and viscerally exciting James Bond film since Sean Connery left Her Majesty's Secret Service. Meet the new Bond; not the same as the old Bond. Daniel Craig gives a galvanising performance as the freshly minted double-0 agent. Suave, yes, but also a "blunt instrument," reckless and possessed with an ego that compromises his judgment during his first mission to root out the mastermind behind an operation that funds international terrorists. In classic Bond film tradition, his global itinerary takes him to far-flung locales, including Uganda, Madagascar, the Bahamas (that's more like it) and Montenegro, where he is pitted against his nemesis in a poker game, with hundreds of millions in the pot. The stakes get even higher when Bond lets down his armour by falling in love with Vesper (Eva Green), the ravishing banker's representative fronting him the money. For longtime fans of the franchise, Casino Royale offers some retro kicks. Bond wins his iconic Aston Martin at the gaming table, and when a bartender asks if he wants his martini "shaken or stirred," he disdainfully replies, "Do I look like I give a damn?". There's no Moneypenny or "Q," but Dame Judi Dench is back as the exasperated M who, one senses, admires Bond's "bloody cheek." A Bond film is only as good as its villain, and Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, who weeps blood, is a sinister dandy. From its punishing violence and virtuoso action sequences to its romance, Casino Royale is a Bond film that, in the words of one character, 'makes you feel it', particularly during an excruciating torture sequence. Double-0s, Bond observes early on, "have a short life expectancy". But with Craig, there is new life in the old franchise yet, as well as genuine anticipation for the next one when, at last, the signature James Bond theme kicks in following the best last line ever in any Bond film. To quote Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin, "now I know what I've been faking all these years". --Donald Liebenson