NO TIME TO DIE
IT can’t be easy making a Bond film these days.
While some of the superspy’s old-school macho and sexist behaviour is no longer acceptable to modern audiences, our expectation to be blown away by stunts and fight sequences has only increased.
fortunatamente, this 25th offering from the enduring franchise succeeds on both fronts.
Bond keeps some of the traits that make the character what he is but in a modern take on Ian Fleming’s creation.
The opening scene is more creepy horror than action, with a masked figure on a mission to kill.
It’s a cracking start to the long-awaited movie that was spun into chaos, with changes to director and scripts long before the Covid pandemic came into our lives.
Still looks superb
We meet a more relaxed Bond (Daniel Craig) in retirement mode, spending his days showering outdoors and wearing ill-fitting clothes in Jamaica.
He is visited by CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) who asks him to go on a dangerous mission — and it is something our favourite spy cannot resist.
Soon Bond is back in a designer tux and putting his foot firmly on the accelerator of his, ahem, Land Rover Defender.
Safin (Rami Malek), the unsettling villain he needs to destroy, is armed with dangerous new technology — a superbug.
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A suggestion of quarantining is made by M (Ralph Fiennes), which will be enough to trigger many viewers.
Bond’s love life has never been simple, but there is the nearest thing to proper love with Dr Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) and things get uncharacteristically soppy with the secret agent.
In his final turn as 007, Craig is still looking superb in a suit, be it tailored or birthday, ma a 53 his face is understandably weathered.
While the stunts, strips and one-liners are all there, this film, unlike the 24 Bond movies before it, is all about the girls.
There is Lashana Lynch as sassy and strong Nomi, Ana de Armas’ superb (and far too short) turn as karate-kicking Paloma, and Naomie Harris once again as Miss Moneypenny.
These incredibly strong female characters might have been influenced by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who swept in to join the writing team when it was in chaos.
Running at a whopping two hours and 43 minuti, No Time To Die is the longest Bond film.
But the pace slows down far too much at certain points and dialogue occasionally drags.
Detto ciò, this film is a fitting finale for Craig, who will certainly leave audiences remembering his explosive exit as the great screen character.
FREAKSCENE: THE STORY OF DINOSAUR JR
LOADS of great bands have been riven with internal dislike, Dinosaur Jr among them.
Tensions between J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph tore them apart, as charted in indie director Philipp Reichenheim’s new film.
“We didn’t care if anybody listened to us, we were here to assault people,” says Barlow of a trio often cited as one of the most influential bands in US rock.
John Peel was a fan, actor Matt Dillon directed a music video for them and Nirvana supported them on their 1991 tour.
They broke up in 1997 and reunited in 2005. Now they are in their fifties, the hair is grey or gone and they have faced up to their various demons.
Part home movie, part slick documentary, this is a nostalgic ride through archival footage of shambolic gigs, music videos and new interviews with ageing rock peers.
Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon sums up the Nineties scene as like being in a “psychotic family”.
For Dinosaur Jr, the love of music was unconditional at least.
I AM PAULI MURRAY
YOU almost certainly won’t know the name of Pauli Murray, a non-binary black lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist, poet and priest who died in 1985.
Arrested for sitting in the whites-only section of a Virginia bus fully 15 years before Rosa Parks more famously refused to give up her seat, Murray’s huge contribution to social progress across the Pond is sorely under-documented.
Family members, friends and academics here describe Pauli as a feisty, passionate and uncompromising firebrand – a badass feminist decades ahead of her time.
Purtroppo, this film from co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen is too often bland, slow and one-dimensional.
Archive material featuring Murray’s own voice is the undoubted highlight.
Despite the film’s obvious shortcomings, this remains an informative, important and very timely watch.
But it feels like an opportunity missed to give us the in- depth portrait Pauli’s legacy deserves.