Richard joins Ryan Doyle of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today he talks about the return of James Bond in “No Time to Die,” and the OTHER drinks, not shaken or stirred, that Bond enjoyed in the books and the movies.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “No Time to Die,” the return of James Bond to the big screen, the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Lois Lee chat up the weekend’s big releases including “No Time to Die,” the return of James Bond to the big screen, the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including “No Time to Die,” the much anticipated return of James Bond to the big screen, the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
Will James Bond (Daniel Craig) ever be happy? The dour superspy looks great in a tux, has saved the planet a dozen or more times and piloted invisible planes but despite his list of achievements, true happiness always seems to have eluded him.
In “No Time to Die,” however, it looks like Bond may have found a sweet spot in his life with his pretty love interest, Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). But Craig’s fifth and final time as 007 isn’t all sunshine and roses as much as it is a requiem for a character who was shaped by trauma.
“No Time to Die,” now only playing in theatres, kicks off with a cold open unlike any other Bond beginning. Two decades ago, against a remote, icy Norwegian backdrop, the young daughter of a Spectre agent is orphaned when a masked murderer invades her home. “Your father killed my entire family,” he says between bullets. She survives, and twenty or so years later grows up to be Dr. Swann, psychotherapist and the only woman who can make James Bond smile.
On holiday in Materna, Italy, she encourages him to visit the grave of heartbreaker Vesper Lynd, and put her memory to rest. He does, and soon the idyll with his new girlfriend ends, literally blowing up in his face.
Convinced Swann has betrayed him, the superspy cuts her loose, vowing to never lay eyes on her again.
Cut to five years later. Bond is retired from MI6, but lured back into the game of international espionage when his friend and CIA field officer Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and associate Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) ask him to help locate Valdo Obruche (David Dencik), a missing scientist working on a deadly DNA Nanobots weapon.
The job sees Bond square off with one of his greatest foes, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) and revenge-thirsty terrorist Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a master in the art of asymmetric warfare.
“No Time to Die” shakes up the Bond formula while still offering most of what fans pay to see. There are exotic locations, some high-flying action and the odd 007 one-liner. They are embedded into the DNA of the franchise; character traits that have not been genetically edited out of the movie.
The womanizing, which was so much a part of the Bond folklore, is still there, but trimmed, and played for comic effect. In one instance Ana de Armas, whose appearance as CIA agent Paloma amounts to an extended cameo, charmingly closes the door on that aspect of the Bond legend. In a short but eventful scene, she almost steals the show, and leaves the audience wanting more.
What director Cary Joji Fukunaga, who co-wrote the script alongside Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Scott Z. Burns, has done is add in a ponderous reevaluation of Craig’s years as Bond. Call backs abound to “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall,” and “Spectre” and loose ends are tied into bows in in the film’s many Easter eggs. Much of that material is fan service as the fifteen-year Craig reign comes to a close. A shot of M’s (Judi Dench) portrait nods to Bond’s connection to her and Fukunaga reaches back to “Casino Royale” for a tribute to Felix “Brother from Langley” Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). It feels like a nice, respectful way to usher out one era and bring in the next, in whatever form that may take.
But “No Time to Die” is not simply a tip of the hat to the past. With an eye to the future, Fukunaga and Craig have fundamentally changed what a Bond movie is. As the only Bond actor to have an arc for his character, Craig didn’t simply put on Pierce Brosnan’s tux and carry on as so many of the previous actors have done. He took Bond to places he’s never been before, amping up the emotionality of the character as a person born out of trauma. He talks about having everything taken from him as a child, “before I was even in the fight.” For the first time in Bond history, 007 is feeling the ticking of the clock, and not the timer on a bomb he’s trying to diffuse, but the metaphorical hands of time tightening around him.
This approach effectively changes “No Time to Die’s” dynamic, from action film to soul-searching character drama. The 163-minute running time allows the characters to explore why and how they landed where they did in life, but it also sucks much of the urgency from the storytelling. Add to that Malek’s Safin, a clichéd villain who really should make a larger impact, and the drama necessary to shake that martini is lessened.
There is #NoTimeForSpoilers in this review but suffice to say, “No Time to Die” is a Bond film unlike any other. Craig leaves the franchise having made the biggest impact on the character since Sean Connery set the rules more than half a century ago. His finale is drawn out and may rely too heavily on pop psychologically but it’s an important film in the Bond canon. It may even be the most important and exciting since “Dr. No.” Why? Because, as an on-screen card promises, “James Bond will return,” but the movie gives us no hint as to what that re-invented future will entail and that, after almost sixty years of a steady diet of 007isms, is “No Time to Die’s” most exciting achievement.
“I’m a good boy from a good family,” says Agu (Abraham Attah), the preteen protagonist of the drama “Beasts of No Nation.” His father is a teacher, his mother a churchgoing woman. Big brother is a muscle-head teen with a crush on local girl.
As civil war comes to his village (in an unnamed African country), summary executions become common and soon Agu is left alone and on a run for his life. He finds a new family as a child soldier under a rebel Commandant (Idris Elba). “A boy is very, very dangerous,” he says. “He has two eyes to see, two hands to strangle and fingers to pull a trigger. Leave this in my charge. I will be training him to be a warrior.”
The Commandant is charismatic leader, a master of indoctrination and brainwashing who weaves a protective web around the young boy, creating a family unit for the boy as he turns him into a killer. Agu is convinced the very real war is personal; it’s a battle against the people who killed his father. He ‘s taught the art of cruelty, how to hack a man to death with a machete and kill people by inserting grenades into their mouths.
The trip into the heart of darkness is sidelined by the Commandant’s own journey into Colonel Kurtz territory. Disillusioned, Agu begins to understand “the only reason we are fighting anymore is to be dying.”
“Beasts of No Nation” is a harrowing experience. It’s not the kind of movie you leave the theatre saying, “I really enjoyed that.” Instead, it’s an experience, an unforgiving film that begins by allowing us to get to know Agu’s family before tragedy strikes, then torments us with the terrifying sound of gunfire heard from inside a hiding place before showing us Agu’s descent into a hellish kind of survival. It’s ruthless and brutal, perhaps best summed up in the plainspoken words of the boy himself. “I saw terrible things and I did terrible things.” Be prepared, he may be a lot of things, but he’s not a liar.