Jorge Encinas, Jeffrey Hartley and I got into a conversation the other day about who the best Bond actor is, and I went out on a limb to say it’s one Daniel Wroughton Craig. Hear me out.
Craig is, of course, the Bond I remember best — the first 007 film I remember seeing was “Die Another Day,” Pierce Brosnan’s CGI-heavy final installment which was released in my early elementary years. After that came “Casino Royale,” my personal favorite of the now 25-film series and which my father, who saw “Dr. No” in its original 1962 run, adores as well.
Significant pushback followed Craig’s casting in 2005 to the point that the Daily Mirror infamously referred to him as “James Bland,” probably because his hair color didn’t fit previously-held notion of Bond. I mean, let’s face it, most people are going to think of Sean Connery first when they think of 007.
That said, Craig pushed through all the malarkey thrown his way to put up two of the best Bond films ever made in the midst of a film industry vastly different from that of 1962.
“Casino Royale” was a fantastic reboot of the series after “Die Another Day” missed whatever low target it was aiming for.
“Quantum of Solace,” though a step down, was still entertaining.
“Skyfall” was an instant classic from reel-to-reel.
“Spectre” was... unfortunately, “Spectre.”
But “No Time to Die” — well, keep reading to find out.
This week’s movies are “No Time to Die,” “Bingo Hell” and “There’s Someone Inside Your House.” Warning: As with the vastly superior Millard at the Movies, these reviews contain minor plot spoilers.
‘No Time to Die,’ (Pierre 123 State Theatre)
Never before has even a Bond movie been packed full of so much action as “No Time to Die.” The 25th entry in the series will have you on your toes from beginning to end, amazed that director Cary Joji Fukunaga managed to get the shots he did. Unfortunately, the film merely waves at the very capable Ana de Armas and Billy Magnussen while giving a healthy chunk of screen time to David Dencik, whose annoyingly cartoonish Russian accent is played for hollow laughs far too many times for comfort. But beyond that, “No Time to Die” is a keeper for longtime Bond fans and newcomers alike. Mike’s mark: 86/100.
‘Bingo Hell,’ (Amazon Prime)
Quirky is good when it comes to horror. No argument there. There’s plenty of quirkiness surrounding “Bingo Hell,” from the very concept invented by director and co-screenwriter Gigi Saul Guerrero to the excellent performance put on by star Adriana Barraza. The problem is that “Bingo Hell” tries to be a satire but has no bite to go along. This take on gentrification and community is both timely and necessary, but its execution is the problem. Guerrero settles for so-so effects instead of a compelling narrative arc. Still worth a late-Friday-night watch, but repeat viewings probably won’t follow. Mike’s mark: 54/100.
‘There’s Someone Inside Your House,’ (Netflix)
Slasher films are generally hit-or-miss, depending on whether they have a brain or are simple slaughterhouse recordings. “There’s Someone Inside Your House” decidedly misses an outside fastball for strike three, which is a shame because, like “Bingo Hell,” this film maintains a fascinating premise in that victims are killed by someone wearing a lifelike mask of the victim’s face. The rest of the film rings decidedly hollow in a similar manner to “Bingo Hell” as the satire approached by the screenwriters (who adapted the film from Stephanie Perkins’ 2017 novel of the same name) flies quickly by. Starring actress Sydney Park puts forward a good effort in this small town-set story, but there’s little else to write home about here. Mike’s mark: 42/100.