Movie Review: No Time to Die

As “No Time to Die” is the last James Bond role for Daniel Craig, many will forever speculate about who is the best James Bond of all time. After 5 good or very good movies, I would say that Craig is the second best Bond, after the late Sean Connery. The late Roger Moore in my opinion is 3rd, mainly for adding the most humor to the series. Pierce Brosnan is tied with Moore for combining humor and good action scenes in his films.

The issues I had with No Time to Die, is that it is way too long 2 hours, 43 minutes and it is just a good James Bond movie, not a great one. For the last James Bond for Daniel Craig, I thought it was time to come up with a great James Bond film, and this one is not a great movie.

The villain in this story is played very well by recent Academy Award winner Rami Malek – but unfortunately, despite the very long running time of this film, he has far too little time on screen. I was very surprised at the lack of a very big opening in this movie, like has happened in just about all the previous films. Things do happen in the beginning but the opening is far more subdued and never spectacular like we are all used to.

Bond’s girlfriend is played by Léa Seydoux, who has appeared in other action/spy movies, the most notable being Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, that was released in early 2012. Her relationship with James Bond is erratic, and she is missing from the entire middle part of this story only to rejoin James at the end with a big surprise. Some critics are saying that Ana de Armas has stolen this movie with her small 15 minute role at the beginning of this film. However, there is no standard Bond Girl this time around, with de Armas playing a new MI-6 spy working with James Bond. Ralph Fiennes reprises he role as M, the head of MI-6, with a surprisingly small role.

This story leaves no doubt that this is the very last James Bond for Daniel Craig, and despite the money, the long hours, dangerous stunts takes a great deal out of any actor especially after five movies. Hopefully the next Bond will be a choice as good as Craig has been, but he is a very hard act to follow.

Movie Review: The Many Saints of Newark

The idea behind the prequel of the HBO series of the “Sopranos” called “The Many Saints of Newark” is the hope that most fans of that series would be curious about the early life of Tony Soprano and this idea would easily make money.

The problem with all Mafia movies is that they will always be compared to “Goodfellas”, 1990, “The Godfather”, 1972 and “The Godfather: Part 2”, 1974 – and nothing can ever favorably compare to these best ever movies about people in the Mafia. The Many Saints of Newark is produced by HBO and in the last few days HBO has been replaying the entire series on several of their channels, to remind people of the great Sopranos series and build interest in this new movie. Like Goodfellas, Ray Liotta, once again stars in this movie and narrates certain parts of the story, right from the beginning.

It is greatly unfortunate that this movie is nothing more than a disjointed series of vignettes that when strung together over a very long two hours result in no real story. This is probably why HBO decided to show the Soprano’s series again, because the producers knew that the word of mouth about this film along with the critics opinions would not be good. It turns out they were right, with the IMDB rating only 7 and Rotten Tomatoes 72%. What makes no sense here, is how could such an anemic and boring script be written about a great HBO series, wrecking a great opportunity to create a brand new movie franchise and make a great deal of money? This screenplay seemed like it needed about 5 more re-writes before it was ready to be made into a film. From the reviews I have read on IMDB, the consensus is that there is no real story here and worse, this movie is boring in too many areas.

There is a good deal of cruel violence in this movie that includes a gang war between the Mafia and Afro American gangs in Newark in the 1960s and once again like all violent mob movies show, if you choose a life where killing other people is as easy as brushing your teeth, then your day is coming, its only a matter of when.

The main character is played by Alessandro Nivola as Dick Moltisanti along with Jon Bernthal as Johnny Soprano who seems perfectly cast for his role as Motlisanti’s best friend. The scene that stood out the most for me in this mostly bad film was when Johnny Soprano was driving with his wife with Nivola and his wife in the back seat. When Johnny got tired of hearing his wife talk while he was driving, he shot off his gun near her head, to get her to shut up. A scene like this reminded me of Goodfellas, where the characters thought they could do just about anything they wanted, with no fear of the consequences.

Unfortunately and for so many reasons, I rate The Many Saints of Newark (another title that makes little sense) a pass and another great potential movie franchise ruined.