Bond film 'No Time To Die' may be delayed until late 2021

spaminator

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First reactions to 'No Time to Die' pour in on Twitter: 'Worth the wait'
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Ellise Shafer
Publishing date:Sep 28, 2021 • 9 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas star in "No Time to Die."
Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas star in "No Time to Die." PHOTO BY NICOLA DOVE /MGM/Danjaq
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LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – As the first worldwide screenings of the latest James Bond instalment “No Time to Die” came to a close, journalists and critics took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Daniel Craig’s last outing as the famed secret agent.

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Though social media reactions tend to be more positive than the forthcoming reviews, one thing was clear via Film Twitter: “No Time to Die,” which was delayed for nearly two years due to creative changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, was well worth the wait.


Film critic Scott Mantz wrote that though he needed more time to process the film, it was certainly better than Bond films “Quantum” and “Spectre.” “It’s Daniel Craig’s most grounded and — dare I say it? — most intimate take on #JamesBond with a powerful, unexpected & very emotional payoff,” Mantz said. “Def worth the wait!”


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Rotten Tomatoes critic Tessa Smith praised the film’s effective use of its length. “‘No Time to Die’ is everything I wanted & more!” Smith wrote. “A great farewell to Daniel Craig but honestly I wanted more Rami Malek! Yes it’s long but whenever it felt like it was about to drag, it jumped right back in with adrenaline! Action packed from the start! Classic Bond!”


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Fandango writer Erik Davis said that the film was “a perfect finale for Daniel Craig.”

“Classic Bond, classic villain, classic gadgets & a story that seems to question how much we still need James Bond to save the day,” Davis wrote. “Terrific writing & stunning direction from Cary Joji Fukunaga. Loved every second!”


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Variety awards editor Clayton Davis mused that “No Time to Die” was Craig’s greatest movie as Bond. “The final entry of Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond is the finest of his tenure,” Davis wrote. “#NoTimeToDie is effective in action, emotional beats and once again, an artisan mastery helmed by Linus Sandgren, Tom Cross and the sound team. Highly enjoyable & I’m NOT a typical Bond enthusiast.”


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Meanwhile, fellow Variety writers Matt Donnelly and Jenelle Riley applauded Ana de Armas’ performance in the film. “Ana de Armas hands down the best part of #NoTimeToDie,” Donnelly wrote. “Tragically is only in one sequence. Funny and sexy and she gets to blow up stuff.”


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Riley agreed, writing: “NO TIME TO DIE is great but, like all movies, could always use more Ana de Armas.”

 

spaminator

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'No Time to Die' review: Daniel Craig's Bond gets the send-off he deserves
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Owen Gleiberman
Publishing date:Sep 28, 2021 • 6 hours ago • 7 minute read • Join the conversation
Daniel Craig stars in "No Time to Die."
Daniel Craig stars in "No Time to Die." PHOTO BY NICOLA DOVE /MGM/Danjaq
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LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – It’s an unabashedly conventional Bond film that’s been made with high finesse and just the right touch of soul, as well as enough sleek surprise to keep you on edge.

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Before I go further, though, lay me lay my baccarat cards on the table. I thought “Casino Royale,” the first film in which Daniel Craig portrayed 007, was the greatest Bond film since the early Sean Connery days, and in many ways the most perfectly realized Bond movie ever. (I’ve seen it countless times, and it’s one of my favourite films of its era.) To me, the trio of Bond films that came after “Casino Royale” have added up to one of the most profoundly disappointing follow-throughs of any contemporary film series. “Quantum of Solace” was all trumped-up mechanics, “Spectre” was an elaborate piece of product that went through the motions — and “Skyfall,” though I realize many Bond watchers think it’s a masterpiece, was, to me, sodden and overstated, with a meta-hammy megalomanic performance by Javier Bardem and a backstory to Bond that was maudlin with self-pity. The film was trying to be “emotional,” but that poor-little-spy-boy origin story didn’t enlarge Bond — it diminished him.


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The truth is that so many elements of what the Bond films originally brought to cinema have been incorporated into other film series — the “Mission: Impossible” film, the “Bourne” films, the “Fast and Furious” films — that to create a first-rate Bond adventure, something more is required. You need an ingenious weave of elements: the perfect layered rhythm of brashly timed fights and great escapes and bedazzling chases and delectable quips and cool gadgets and sexy one-upmanship and the ultimate in world-domination stakes. “No Time to Die,” at 2 hours and 43 minutes, is the longest Bond film ever, yet it’s brisk and heady and sharp. The director, Cary Joji Fukunaga (HBO’s “True Detective”), keeps the elements in balance like an ace juggler. He gets the details right — the split-second leaping-off-the-balcony action scenes, the persnickety fun of Ben Whishaw’s performance as Q.

Beyond that, though, there needs to be a touch of mystery to Bond. That’s the quality that “Casino Royale” brought back to the series through its fantastically tricky dramatization of the relationship between Craig’s fast, steely, roughneck Bond and Eva Green’s insinuating Vesper Lynd. And “No Time to Die,” though it’s not the work of art “Casino Royale” was, possesses just enough of that quality. Ideally, there’s a romance to a James Bond movie — I don’t just mean a love story, but a romance to Bond’s presence, a grander motive behind the ruthless execution of his every move. “No Time to Die” has that.

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In the introductory sequence, we see Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine as a young girl and the cataclysm she endured at the hands of a man in a white mask who came to her house to kill her father — who was a member of SPECTRE, and had murdered the masked man’s family. So Madeleine, in her way, has emerged from a chain of vengeance. Then we cut to Bond and the adult Madeleine cruising through the mountain roads of Italy in his Aston Martin. Bond is retired (or so he thinks), living the high life. When Madeleine tells him to drive faster, he says they’ve got all the time in the world.

But the idyll is short-lived, as SPECTRE agents hunt them down. How did they know Bond was there? In the midst of some razory action, the most riveting moment is one of pure inaction: Bond stops the car in the middle of a town square, a dozen gunmen firing right at him, blasting away at his bullet-proof windows. The windows don’t look that secure, yet Bond does nothing. He’s telling Madeleine, through his silent passive fury: “I know you led them here. I know you betrayed me. Who cares if we live or die?” “No Time to Die” is a popcorn riff on the theme of fatal trust.

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That theme gets played out on a grand scale. Bond, drawn back into action, is sent to Santiago de Cuba, where SPECTRE is holding a kind of underworld convention, all built around the criminal cult’s stolen possession of Project Heracles — a chemical weapons project in which the biohazard in question poisons you by injecting your bloodstream with nano-robots, which become vehicles for toxic DNA, which can then be spread. The contagion element, as conceived in the script, predated COVID (since the film was ready to be released last year), but it has a queasy resonance, especially when we learn that M (Ralph Fiennes), glowering with anxiety, has a darker agenda than usual. In the old days, Project Heracles could have emerged only from a villainous mastermind. Now it’s a power the good guys want in their possession. In “No Time to Die,” the whole global order is tainted, which makes Bond even more of a rogue operator.

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In Cuba, he hooks up with his old CIA colleague Felix Leiter, played with his usual stalwart gusto by Jeffrey Wright, and with Paloma (Ana de Armas), an agent in a slip of a black cocktail dress who turns out to be less naive than she says. Here’s a way the film is debonair its cleverness: The espionage logistics between Bond and Paloma are so sleek that they give off a ripe erotic charge — but in the old days, these two would have dropped right into bed. And the fact that they don’t deprives the film of nothing; if anything, it’s all hotter as a flippant flirtation. Billy Magnussen, who is such an ace actor, is also on hand as grinning stooge of a CIA novice who’s a “fan” of Bond’s, until he isn’t.

Craig, his hair chopped into a bristle cut, has mastered the art of making Bond a seemingly invincible force who is also a human being with hidden vulnerabilities. There’s another scene that, decades ago, would have been a seduction — and is now a more nonchalant encounter between Bond and Nomi, an MI6 agent who turns out to have been assigned the code number…007. For a moment, we look at Lashana Lynch, who makes every line sparkle with a kind of dry sauciness, and think: Could this be the new — the next — James Bond? But the interplay between Nomi and Craig tells a story of its own. It is, on some level, about Bond making way for the new world. The trick is, he’s more than ready to go there. And the film, in a kind of bait-and-switch, is both offering up an honestly progressive piece of casting and winking at our heightened awareness of how much the Bond series could use it.

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“No Time to Die,” at heart, is a traditional Bond film, and that’s part of its pleasure. But it’s not just the running time that feels exotic. The movie wants to do full justice to the emotional thrust of this being Daniel Craig’s exit from the series. And it does. The main story is set five years after that opening sequence, when Bond and Madeleine have parted ways. They’re reunited through the Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), now a in a padded cell in London, where he’s more Hannibal Lecter than jabbering loony; yet he hasn’t lost his ability to control. Madeleine is a psychiatrist who has access to Blofeld, and when she and Bond meet again, it’s so that Bond can have a face-to-face with the villain he put behind bars. In his one major scene, Christoph Waltz invests Blofeld with a more exquisite menace than he did in all of “Spectre.” Blofeld is a step ahead of Bond, even though his bio-weapon is a step ahead of him.

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The film’s main villain is Rami Malek as Lyutsifer Safin, who made his presence felt in the movie before we even knew it. Malek, with mottled skin, an all-seeing leer, and the caressing voice of a depraved monk, makes him a hypnotic creep. (He could give Bardem a master class in how to underplay overstatement.) Lucifer has, of course, headquartered himself on a remote island, which is where he’s perfecting his poison and everything he plans to do with it. The setting, and the chem-lab ickiness, are very “You Only Live Twice,” but what’s so good about Malek’s performance is the obscene way he inserts his presence into the drama of Bond, Madeleine, and Madeline’s young daughter, Mathilde. Bond is there to save the world; he’s there to save Madeleine and Mathilide; he’s there to save himself. Can he do all three? What happens in the climactic scene feels poetic: Bond, in a strange way, takes on the karma of all the people he has killed. I never thought I’d wipe away a tear at the end of a James Bond film, but “No Time to Die” fulfills its promise. It finishes off the saga of Craig’s 007 in the most honestly extravagant of style.
 

Blackleaf

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Daniel Craig's final James Bond film No Time To Die took between £4.5m-£5m on its first day in UK and Irish cinemas, producers have estimated.

The film was delayed several times by Covid and the industry is watching closely to see whether it can lift box office takings to pre-pandemic levels.

Thursday's takings are 13% higher than 2015's Spectre but 26% below 2012's Skyfall, Universal Pictures said.

It was also the UK's "widest theatrical release of all time", they added.

Universal said No Time to Die opened in 772 cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Thursday - 25 more than the previous record-holder, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, in 2019.

Film technology firm Gower Street Analytics predicted it will account for 92% of the total UK and Ireland box office takings in its opening week.

More than 30,000 people attended midnight screenings in the UK and Ireland, where the film sold 1.6 million advance tickets for the opening four days, the studio said.

This exceeded Spectre's total advance bookings by more than 12% and was in line with Skyfall at the same time.

 

spaminator

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'No Time to Die' review: Daniel Craig's last outing as Bond a memorable one
That conclusion will prove controversial, but director Cary Fukunaga deserves credit for taking the character and adding real stakes to his 15-year story arc

Author of the article:Mark Daniell
Publishing date:Oct 07, 2021 • 9 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Daniel Craig in a scene from No Time to Die.
Daniel Craig in a scene from No Time to Die. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /MGM and EON Productions
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There’s the recurring line in No Time to Die — Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as James Bond — that’s heartbreakingly prescient. Now retired from the life of an MI6 superspy, Bond says he and his ladylove Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), whom we met in the last film, Spectre, have “All the time in the world.”

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All the time to heal their past wounds, all the time to write a different ending for themselves.


Of course, for both the suave agent and the legions of fans who have embraced Craig’s 007, that mantra is nothing more than wishful thinking. Maybe it would have been a better line for the ending of 2015’s Spectre, as Bond and Swann drove off into the sunset and Craig mused in the press that he’d rather “slash his wrists” than return as the character. Then we all could have believed in fanciful happy endings.

As it turns out, that idyllic life is just a mirage. After an opening that ties the film’s main villain Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) to Swann, the action cuts to the mountain roads of Italy as Bond and Madeleine race towards a happily-ever-after. But the tranquillity is short-lived as SPECTRE agents hunt them down.

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How did they find them so easily? Bond immediately thinks he’s been betrayed, and after an extended chase scene, he unceremoniously chucks Madeleine on a train. No time for goodbyes.

The action picks up five years later, when an old pal from earlier films, CIA handler Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), interrupts Bond’s single life in Jamaica to ask him for help in tracking down a missing scientist (David Dencik) behind a dangerous nanotech, nicknamed Heracles.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time Die.
Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time Die. PHOTO BY MGM
As the story (by director Cary Fukunaga, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Phoebe Waller-Bridge) continues in Cuba, Bond teams up with CIA newbie Paloma (the delightful Ana de Armas) and crosses paths with his 00 replacement (Lashana Lynch). Turns out, the mission isn’t a simple snatch-and-grab. Bond’s been double-crossed again and before he knows it, he’s back in front of his old nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), now locked up in Belmarsh Prison. And oh look, there’s Madeleine. It turns out she’s the only one Blofeld will talk to. The mysterious Heracles project, which his old boss M (Ralph Fiennes) had a hand in creating, then sends Bond and Madeleine down a path where both their lives will be irrevocably changed by Safin.

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Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die.
Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die. PHOTO BY MGM
To say more, would venture into spoiler territory. But Fukunaga — the first American-born filmmaker to helm a Bond picture — manages to tie many plot points together, bringing Craig’s run to a wholly satisfying end. Unlike Pierce Brosnan’s films, these Bond stories require investment on the part of viewers. You need to know what happened in the entries before this one for the full import of the denouement to hit home. Craig’s Bond is a hero that has been bruised by years of loss and betrayal, and we see the ramifications of that here.

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And all those threads — and the dents they have left in our superagent’s armour — are resolved in a way they never could have before because past episodic entries (with Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Brosnan) allowed the character to quite easily move on from his past. Every decision Craig’s iteration has made up to now — in 2006’s Casino Royale and the sequels Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015) — leads us to an inevitable ending.

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That conclusion will prove controversial. But Fukunaga deserves credit for taking the character and adding real stakes to his 15-year story arc. The third act drags slightly and comes at the cost of expanding Malek’s creepy villain, who could have easily used more screen time.

But if you weren’t going to see an old friend again (Craig will be replaced as 007 next year), wouldn’t you want to sit awhile longer, perhaps pour another Martini and say to them, “No need to rush. We have all the time in the world.”

No Time to Die is in theatres now

RATING: ***1/2 (THREE-AND-A-HALF OUT OF FOUR)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek, Ana de Armas, Christoph Waltz
Screenplay: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Fukunaga
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Running time: 163 minutes

mdaniell@postmedia.com