No Time to Die (2021) movie review

No Time to Die trailer

Rating: 3/5 (only because of Daniel Craig, otherwise 2/5)

Time: 2 hours, 43 minutes

Cast: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ana de Aramas

In terms of plot, No Time to Die has nothing new to offer. It is the basic “world is in danger and only James Bond can save it” story line. While everyone agrees that saving the world is James Bond’s job, the movie’s writers have been lazy using the same rehashed plots we’ve seen in previous movies.

The villain doesn’t scare us

Specifically, the villain (Lyutsifer Safin played by Rami Malek) could easily be replaced by anybody else and it will not lead to a different outcome. Safin has developed a bio-chemical weapon that can kill particular individuals based on their DNA. Now, the reason he wants to kill half the world’s population is the same inane reason almost any ordinary villain in an average movie has – there is no specific reason. Maybe it’s because he can?

Another big hole in the plot – Lyutsifer Sarin has an axe to grind with Bond’s love interest Madeleine Swann (played by Lea Seydoux). Her father, the mysterious Mr White (killer on hire and member of the secretive organisation, Spectre) is responsible for the mass killing of Sarin’s family. So, he wants to kill Mr White’s family in revenge. Yet when the opportunity presents itself to kill Madeleine Swann multiple times, he does not take it. Clearly, plot and storyline are not the movie’s strong point. It is left to James Bond and his supporting constellation of stars to prop up the movie with their performances.

No Time to Die

Who will be the next Bond?

As the new 007, Nomi (played by Lashana Lynch) does not get a meaty role that showcases her character’s style. After all that is what made James Bond special – his style. While she can easily pull off individual action sequences, can she hold up an entire movie? The producers and writers will really need to work on the Nomi character to develop her individual style, quirks, interesting back story….the works. In contrast, Paloma (played by Ana de Aramas) a character that was present for all of 15 minutes on screen had so much more charisma, funnier and wittier dialogues, and irreverent approach to saving the world. Just like James Bond.

In his last outing as 007, Daniel Craig’s opening scenes in No Time to Die, clearly reflect the 15 years the actor has spend playing James Bond. Weary facial lines show up in the close-ups and you realise he is getting old. Perhaps that is why the actor decided to call it a day. The producers have been tight-lipped about the future of the James Bond character- will it be replaced by a female agent? Or will it be another male agent?

Arguably, Daniel Craig has been the best Bond ever. But to have no Bond at all? Ian Fleming must be turning in his grave….

Nine Perfect Strangers series review

Where to watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime

Rating: 3/5

Time: 8 episodes of 45-50 minutes each

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Regina Hall, Asher Keddie, Tiffany Boone, Bobby Cannavale

Nine Perfect Strangers is a drama about guests at a health and wellness retreat run by Masha (played by Nicole Kidman). A mysterious Russian woman, Masha turned her life around after a near-death experience. Now she runs Tranquillium, a wellness resort that is promising to heal the mental and emotional scars of its guests. She is picky – not everyone who applies to attend Tranquillium is able to get in.

This time round, joining her and her team is a motley group of deeply scarred strangers. There is Frances (played by Melissa McCarthy) a failed writer betrayed in love. There is Tony (played by Bobby Cannavale) a depressed and failed football star unable to connect with his family. Then there are the Marconis – father, Napoleon (played by Michael Shannon), mother Heather (played by Asher Keddie) and daughter Zoe who are grappling with the suicide of Zoe’s twin brother. Luke Evans plays Lars, an investigative journalist, who is at Tranquillium to investigate its mysterious owner and her methods. But he has demons of his own to deal with. Carmel (played by Regina Hall) is grappling with a cheating husband and low self confidence. Ben and Jessica, a couple looking to rekindle their relationship, round up the disparate group.

Nine Perfect Strangers

Masha’s healing protocol is to micro dose her guests with psilocybin (aka magic mushroom) and other assorted psychedelics. The jury is still out on the use of psychedelic substances in treating anxiety and mental health issues. However, many people have reported being helped immensely by microdosing on these substances. Will Masha’s methods help these strangers regain the balance in their lives or will the relationship dynamics implode? While the limited series is well worth a watch, in certain parts, it tends to slow down instead of keeping up the pace.