The latest outing for Ian Fleming’s famed spy, Daniel Craig reprises his role as the iconic James Bond for the fifth and reportedly final time. Following on from the last movie, Spectre – this finds a now retired Bond living life with new wife Madeline. However after choosing to help out old CIA friend Felix – Bond unexpectedly uncovers a new threat to the world.
What we get here certainly follows the usual blueprint … the tricked out car, gunfights, beautiful women, stunning locales. However we also get a great deal of character moments, with Daniel Craig impressing in not only the role of the hero, but as a human being. It’s probably his most layered performance as the character. He’s also aided well by a very good Lea Seydoux as Madeline, Ralph Feinnes’ M and a scene-stealing Ana De Armas as a plucky fellow agent. However a particular stand out is Rami Malek’s very creepy villain.
The main plot is fairly typical and Malek’s motives not all that interesting – and certain bold plot developments didn’t sit right with me. Also Billie Eilish’s theme song is just awful. Yet with a greater focus on character and emotion than I think there’s ever been previously, as well as a fun subplot surrounding a rival female agent… this delivered a great deal of heart and personality amongst the pyrotechnics. A worthy swan-song for Craig as the famed spy and a highly enjoyable, often surprising Bond movie at same time. Check it out.
Yep, another big movie I didn’t get around to last year. And I call myself a Bond fan. Well here we are then with this latest outing for Daniel Craig as everyone’s favourite British spy. I have certainly liked Craig as Bond for the most part even if the series has not quite lived up to the ‘Bond for a new generation’ hope gained from Casino Royale. Subsequent movies seem for me to have instead slipped back into the more tongue-in-cheek traditions of classic Bond. This is no different, but now you could say I’m getting used to it.
Sam Mendes in perhaps a Bond first returns to the helm directing this after the somewhat downbeat Skyfall, and we’re immediately introduced to Bond on a mission in Mexico following a lead to what may uncover a secret criminal organization. I won’t spoil the details but he’s soon defying MI6 (headed by new ‘M’ Ralph Feinnes after ‘spolier’ Judy Dench’s demise in the last movie) and bedding the women whilst roping in Moneypenny and Q for help. This time it’s all about the mystery man behind the curtain, a villain who may well be Bond’s greatest adversary. It’s no secret that current hot property Christophe Waltz is here as a new take of classic character of Blofeld, and to say he knocks it out of the park is an understatement. Waltz is on brilliantly charismatic / evil form and even though his screen time is limited he elevates this from just another Bond movie into something a bit more special. Mendes’ direction for the most part is attractive and classy, but his more artistic leanings don’t always suit a more action-heavy movie this time around (could that possibly be the least exciting car chase ever committed to screen?). Yet thankfully the plot, which moves fast from one exotic location to the next (Africa, Tangiers, Austria…) leads to a thrilling final act that is up there with the best we’ve seen from this franchise. Daniel Craig again is decent if somewhat chilled and overly serious (perhaps his only real failing) but still looking the part and with a great down-and-dirty train carriage fist fight, he still more than handles himself as 007.
It still has a few too many nods to yesteryear, much of the humour falls flat, and sometimes it gets a bit silly (smart blood?) … but regardless, 007 hasn’t been this good for a while. Nice to have you back on form James.
As an admirer of world cinema and especially French cinema, the acclaim and word of mouth surrounding this Palm D’or winning drama certainly caught my attention. Adele is a young woman just beginning to explore her sexuality. After a chance encounter with a mysterious girl with blue hair; meaningless advances and experiences with boys seems alien, and so she finds herself, still unsure and experimenting, seeking out the one girl who might just make it all fall into place … and so begins a passionate romance and an emotional coming of age tale.
This brilliantly observed and emotional take on young love, sexual awakening and one woman’s self-discovery was very absorbing. The performances here are first rate and convey that awkward yearning, that stolen kiss and the urgency of passion and desire very well indeed. Actress Adele Exarchopoulos is superb and very believable, aided by the free-spirited but complex Lea Seydoux as Emma, the girl of Adele’s dreams. As a French movie as expected when it comes to sex, the movie depicts it unflinching, highly explicit but very real – I’d even hazard a guess that nothing is being faked, but I could be wrong. I did find such scenes too drawn out to the point of making me feel a bit uncomfortable … especially considering the apparent young ages depicted. However as a love story this was both well told and convincingly portrayed to the point of really hitting me emotionally at times – damn Adele is the most believable crier I’ve ever witnessed.
It’s too long at nearly three hours, with the simplicity of the tale not helping, and I began to yearn for a major twist or a shocking event which never came. For a realistic take on love however this was still impressive, even if it left me wanting overall.
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