REEL REVIEWS: Set pieces, Craig fascinates in ‘No Time to Die’ | Lifestyles
NO TIME TO DIE
After 15 years in the iconic role of James Bond, Daniel Craig finishes his race in a spectacular and satisfying way. His latest film shows Bond’s emotional core. “No Time to Die” continues the saga started with “Specter” in 2015.
Lovers Bond and Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) escaped together after the capture of Specter frontman Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz).
In the new film, Bond revisits what seemed like a perfect romantic romance with Madeleine until trigger-happy thugs show up and attempt to kill him. Believing that she had betrayed him, Bond fired her.
Five years have passed since he separated from Madeleine. The longtime M16 agent retreated to Jamaica when summoned by his old friend, CIA agent Felix Leifer (Jeffrey Wright) to track down scientist Obruchev (David Dencik).
The scientist stole a deadly biological weapon, which is lethal to some groups, from the M16 lab with the intention of delivering it to Specter. In Cuba, Bond meets Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who appears to have taken her place as a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Bond manages to capture Obruchev in Cuba with the help of CIA agent Paloma (Ana de Armas). Then he delivers the scientist to Leifer aboard a ship. But Obruchev is swept away and Bond drowns (spoiler alert: he finds a way to survive!)
Back in London, Bond once again meets Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny. Then Bond’s search for Obruchev leads him to the long-captured Blofeld, as well as Madeleine. He finds out that she didn’t betray him.
The film’s only weakness would have to be the casting of Rami Malek as the madman Safin, who is unconvincing as a villain who plans to take over the world.
A series of breathtaking sets that take place in Norway, Jamaica, Italy, England, Scotland and the Faroe Islands are expected to captivate audiences, even during the film’s 2 hours and 45 minutes duration.
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga continues to create excitement as once again (but for the last time) this particular James Bond saves the world.
3 and 1/2 stars
While parts of the plot turn out to be interesting in this sleek neo-noir feature film, so many truly bizarre characters in a weirdly twisted story on a precious Warhol painting make “American Night” nearly impossible to follow.
At times, director Alessio Della Valle’s mega-violent Tarantino movie feels like a parody of a gangster movie.
Art dealer and former forger John Kaplan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is on the verge of success with the opening of his New York gallery, but he has miserable debts with “investors” represented by Lord Samuel (Michael Madsen ) and with the new mafia boss. Michael Rubino (Emile Hirsch, who appears to be a cartoon version of a villain).
Rubino is a potential artist who throws paint on canvases and then shoots bullets into each canvas. Paz Vega is Sarah, museum curator and Kaplan’s girlfriend. Fortunato Cerlino plays a steed called Shaky, who suffers from narcolepsy.
Strangest of all is Jeremy Piven as stuntman Vincent, who spends all his time practicing martial arts so he can star in an Asian movie.
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews films, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.