Posts Tagged ‘daniel craig’


Author and publishing magnate Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer has died in the bedroom of his palatial estate, police lieutenant Elliot (LaKeith Stanfield) is ready to label this a suicide, based on the blood spatter evidence, but private detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is hired by someone, possibly within the large family, and he thinks a murder has been committed, and everyone is a suspect.  Harlan’s son, Walt Thrombey (Michael Shannon) has just been fired by Harlan as head of Harlan’s publishing company , self-help guru daughter Joni (Toni Collete) has just been caught by Harlan pocketing the money for her daughter’s tuition.  Harlan’s son-in-law, Richard Drysdale, (Don Johnson) has been caught cheating on his wife, Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) by Harlan who has confronted him about it.  Even Harlan’s Latina nurse, Marta (Ana De Armas) who doses Harlan with morphine is a suspect. So was it a murder?  If so, who did it, and who hired Blanc?

Knives out is a very good film.  First and foremost it’s a very funny film, taking a poke at some recent newsworthy scandals and people, it has some weak and stilted dialogue about current politics, but it more that makes up for it with its subtly astute observations about white guilt among the well-to do.  The writing deftly leads the viewer to one conclusion and the viewer can’t be blamed if he/she thinks this is a movie not so much about murder, but blackmail or extortion, and the world renowned detective is a dunce.  But then the reveal comes in, and it’s not one of those wild reveals from out of left field, it makes total sense and the whole movie fits like a 1000 piece puzzle. This movie is reminiscent of a 70’s movie called Murder By Death, a 70’s murder mystery movie with a similarly star-studded cast including Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith and Estelle Winwood.  Knives Out has much better writing, Murder By Death’s comedy was a lot broader and more stereotypical in ways that wouldn’t work today.

The acting is superb, by a superb cast.  Ana De Armas carries this movie ,  Marta feels guilt at working for the wealthy Harlan, and shame that Harlan prefers spending time with her, rather than his dysfunctional family. And yet, Marta is a kind young woman, and that kindness shines through.  De Armas synthesizes all these conflicting emotions into one cohesive character. Daniel Craig is a good actor, he obviously wanted to do something completely different than James Bond, and he succeeded, but he does the WORST Southern accent in the history of film,  was it purposely exaggerated?  Only he knows, but the writer could’ve easily made the character British and saved my ears some pain. Toni Collete does a great job channeling Maryanne Williamson, kudos to her.  Chris Evans does a nice turn playing a totally self-absorbed jerk, a nice change from  All-American Captain America. This role shows he has range.  Don Johnson plays another self-absorbed jerk, this family was full of them, Johnson shows a little more range than his iconic Miami Vice role range too.  He was good in Watchman as well, in a limited role.

The direction is very good visually.  Rian Johnson focusses on the opulence of the house and also the idiosyncrasies of the house like secret passages, in this way it reminds me of Murder By Death, which spent a lot of time on the weirdness of the surroundings.  There’s really good pacing, it doesn’t seem like a 2 hour 10 minute movie. Johnson also makes excellent use of the cast, in both his script and direction.

Knives Out:  A cutting piece of satire.



Movie Review: Spectre (2015)

Posted: November 25, 2015 in Action, Comedy, Drama


After thwarting a terrorist attack in Mexico, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is grounded by M (Ralph Fiennes) for disobeying orders.  At the same time, Bond’s new boss C (Andrew Scott wants to shut down the 00 program completely, and be part of a global intelligence gathering initiative called 9 Eyes.

One of the people Bond killed in Mexico was Marco Sciarra (Alissandro Cremona) He killed Sciarra to meet his wife Lucia Monica Bellucci) at the funeral.  Despite being grounded and being tracked with nanotechnology in his blood, Bond goes to Marco’s funeral. Lucia tells Bond that Marco is part of a secret organization named Spectre meeting in Rome as they speak.  Bond crashes the meeting and sees Hans Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) the head of Spectre, who intelligence officials thought was dead 20 years ago  Spectre has been plotting and executing terrorist bombings all over the world, and now they want to kill Mr. White (Jesper Christiansen) a former member of Spectre, who refuses to carry out attacks on innocent women and children anymore.

Bond reaches White, and finds that he has been poisoned by Spectre and is dying a slow death.  Bond promises White he will take care of his daughter Madeleine Swann. (Lea Seydoux)  White tells Bond where Madeleine is and that she will lead him to the American, and then White kills himself.  Does Bond find Madeleine?  Does he find Hans Oberhauser? What is Spectre’s grand plan?

Spectre is a weak follow-up to the movie Skyfall.  The plot is weak, and overly intellectual.  The evil plan hatched by Oberhauser isn’t that evil.  Oberhauser is kind of a bland character, his motivation for attacking Bond psychologically and physically is flimsy, at best, and his method of torture is hardly fear inducing, it looks like something out of Marathon Man. The henchman, Mr Hinx is a cross between prior Bond henchmen Odd Job and Jaws, and the fight scene where Bond disposes of Hinx is an odd cross between Jaws the movie and Silver Streak. The womanizing is distressing, Bond ditches Lucia, a woman closer to his age to find and bed the much younger Madeleine, after promising to “protect” her.  Don’t worry older men, you can chase after the daughters of your colleagues, as long as you promise to “protect” them.  Nice message Hollywood. There is a reveal, but there are enough hints along the way to spoil the reveal.  It tries to be an homage to Bond, but it is in reality, a muddled bloated mess.

Daniel Craig seems to be going through the motions in Spectre.  I hate to say it but he looks old, tired, and bored.  This is not a good combination when playing a spy with a license to kill.  Here’s what I don’t understand, he badmouths Bond, which is inexplicable because Bond made him famous, and he’s producing this film, so why badmouth it?  Doesn’t he want his money back?  Ralph Fiennes does a fantastic job as M, he bring heft and gravitas to the role.  Monica Bellucci is good in the two scenes she’s in.  Christoph Waltz gives such an understated performance that he’s almost invisible, I expected much more from him, he needed to make Oberhauser much more menacing. Lea Seydoux is just ok as Bond’s lust interest, I didn’t find her character interesting at all.

The direction was spotty at best, Sam Mendes should know better, he directed Skyfall, which was really well done. The pacing was erratic, the opening sequence is done at breakneck speed and then the movie slows down and not for the better.

Spectre:  Doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance with true Bond fans.

Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)

Posted: December 29, 2012 in Drama
Tags: ,


James Bond (Daniel Craig) is tailing an enemy spy named Patrice (Ola Rapace) Patrice has stolen a thumb drive filled with names of MI6 agents who have embedded themselves into terrorist organizations, unless Bond can get those names back before the files are unencrypted, those agents covers’ may be blown and their lives may be in danger.  As this is occurring, someone has planted a bomb at Mi6 headquarters that goes off , killing six agents. A message is sent to M’s (Judi Dench) computer just prior to the explosion saying, ‘Think on your sins.’  So whoever is doing this is targeting MI6 and specifically M.  James tracks Patrice to Shanghai and Macao, and tries to find out who he is working for, he can’t and lets Patrice fall to his death.  Bond catches the eye of a beautiful woman in a casino in  Macao named Severine  (Bereniece Lim Marlohe)  who says she can take Bond to her boss if Bond can kill him, but time is running out for Bond, Patrice and Severine’s boss has already unencrypted the files, and exposed five agents, one of whom has been killed.  Who is Severine’s boss?  Can Bond neutralize the boss before he kills any more agents or threatens M again?

This is a fantastic movie.  It has a simple plot, especially compared to Quantum of Solace which had too many tangents and subplots that never went anywhere.  Simple is essential when it comes to action movies, the simpler the plot the better.  The action comes fast and furious, the initial chase scene really made me sit up and take notice. There is witty banter between all the characters, a sign of sharp writing, and the pacing by director Sam Mendes is refreshingly quick, compared to the leaden pacing of the Hobbit.  The scenery of Shanghai and Macao is also very beautifully shot, the cinematography is a marvel.  I do have a problem with some of the characters, Severine is a lady of the evening, Hollywood’s favorite profession, Eve quits her field position after she takes a questionable gunshot and both subjugate themselves to be playthings for Bond.  But was I really expecting liberated women in a Bond film?  Not really, so don’t you either.  It’s a thrill ride that doesn’t stop from beginning to end, so just enjoy the ride.

The acting is superb.  Daniel Craig has settled in as Bond, he finally looks comfortable in the role, instead of looking like someone’s replacement,  Judi Dench gives a great performance serious and comedic, is she James’ boss or his mother?  Bereniece Lim Marlowe is beautiful and tough, more than just a Bond Girl.  And a big shout out goes to Javier Bardem for adding a lot of flair to his role as Silva.  The new characters are interesting characters.  Ben Wishaw is funny in a nerdy way as the new Q, and Naomie Harris is funny, sexy, and tough as Eve.  This cast can go a long way, and that’s good because there are at least two more Bond movies with Daniel Craig coming.

Skyfall.  I fell hard.


Will Attenten (Daniel Craig) is a successful New York editor, tired of the rat race, ready to settle down in a nice rural house in Connecticut with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and his two kids. Almost immediately, strange things start happening to Will and his family.  A bunch of kids break in and have a weird, cultish ceremony in their basement, and after catching one of the kids, Will learns that the house was owned by a man who killed his wife and kids, and survived the massacre.  Will goes to  Greenhaven Asylum to find the killer, Peter Ward, but instead finds a security camera video with his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts)  looking on as they lock up Peter Ward.  What does Ann know about the murders and the murderer?

This movie is very bad.  There is a plot twist in the middle of the movie that blows a giant hole in the middle of the plot and ruins the rest of the movie.  I’ve noticed a few horror movies that try to have the twist in the middle of the movie and it never works.  This twist made the movie laughable.  It was already to close to the Shining for comfort.  Editor goes to a secluded location with his wife and kids to write a book.  Sound familiar?  Well, it only goes downhill from there.  Despite a fine cast that includes Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts, this is a giant dung ball, which thankfully rolls to a stop after only 90 minutes.  This movie ceases to be horror in very short order, and turns into unintended comedy.   Watch at your own risk.

Dream House.  Foreclose on this movie.


It is 1873 in the town of Absolution Arizona.  Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert with amnesia and a metal bracelet around his wrist. Jake gets to town and witnesses a shooting of a sheriff’s deputy by Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano) Percy’s dad, Woodrow (Harrison Ford) has a stranglehold on the townsfolk, and Woodrow is coming into town to bail him out. Meanwhile the sheriff, John Taggert, (Keith Caradine) has arrested Jake for being a bank robber.  A mystery woman, Ella Swenson, (Olivia Wilde) says she needs Jake’s help.  Suddenly, the sleepy Western town is attacked by space aliens.  Woodrow, Jake and Ella fend off the first attack, with the help of Jake’s metal armband, but these are only scouts and they’re only probing this town for weaknesses.  Just when things couldn’t get worse, Native Americans attack the town.  Can things get any worse for the members of this town?

Cowboys and Aliens is a tale of two movies.  The first half of the movie is a rollicking action filled summer popcorn flick.  But then it quickly devolves into a cavalcade of clichés and predictability.  There are cliché’s about alien probes, aliens despoiling the natural resources of the earth.  If that’s not enough, there’s clichés about former enemies coming together and joining forces to fight a common enemy and finally clichés about the savagery of Native Americans.  There were two basic questions in this movie, why did the aliens come? Who is Ella, and why does she need Jake’s help?  I figured out both answers before the reveal, so the script was not made for geniuses.  All the clichés and simplistic script ruin what were really good performances by Daniel Craig.  Craig is very good as a tough as shoe leather alpha male anti-hero.  Harrison Ford is also very good as a grumpy curmudgeon, ok hr’s playing himself, but it works well  here.  Only Olivia Wilde is really wooden here, that should be any surprise for anyone who’s watched her in House.  Another disappointment is that this movie is done by Jon Favreau, who’s do ne two of my favorite movies, Iron Man and Elf.

Cowboys and Aliens.  Alienates its audience.