No Time to Die review SPOILER FREE James Bond 10/8/15

Here we are, the final Daniel Craig James Bond film. What’s the verdict? Slow down, junior! You just can’t whip your dick out when you go to pick her up at her house for the first date. Let’s get re-establish a base theory: Every other Bond film is good for the last 25 years: Goldeneye, good. Tomorrow Never Dies, meh. The World is Not Enough, bad. Die Another Day, bad. Casino Royale, great. Quantum of Solace, bad. Skyfall, great. Spectre, awful. So the law (specifically Craig) dictates this one would be a good one. But to be honest, the previews didn’t excite me as they looked just standard and felt this would be mailed in for Craig’s final appearance. Mix that in with the rumors of this being a “woke” Bond film and I was really, really worried. So let’s start off with this: let’s give kudos to MGM studios. I can’t remember the last time a marketing department didn’t vomit the best lines/action scenes in a trailer. Because there is a TON of stuff that they kept under wraps, specifically characters and a couple story arcs. Usually, a studio would drop a MAJOR twist in the story (unless it was THE twist) in the trailer but thankfully, not in this case. Bond is retired and of course, gets roped back in to help stop a terrorist from releasing a targeted biochemical weapon. We’ve seen this before how many times but not in this fashion. Again, no spoilers.

First off, this has to be the most layered Bond film ever. There is a TON (in a good way) of character relationship and intertwining of past story lines that make you say, “oh shit!” Usually, we get the, “bad guy/girl gets a hold of a weapon and Bond has sex with a few ladies that may or may not help in stopping said terrorist while drinking a martini/Heineken and spouting off a few pithy quips.” We get that in this installment but again, they go much deeper with the story and it WORKS. And the opening action scene that leads into the film theme song, a Bond staple. No Time to Die has the longest opening action sequence of any Bond film and holy shit, it’s solid. You also get a major reveal in the first 5-10 minutes so just like a porno, you’re off the the races without the bullshit “can you help me get my titty out of the faucet?” Just mainlined action right to your neural synapses.

Rami Mallek (Freddie Mercury without the awful dentures) plays a solid villain. Not as great as Skyfall and Casino Royale’s villains but solid nonetheless. He’s the son of a murdered father who seeks revenge but this played out angle played great in this film. And wow, do they make some BALLSY choices in this film. The good news: those choices worked for me. The action is fantastic and maintains at a high pace throughout. But here’s a problem I had which may cause you to say, “Dude, that’s EVERY Bond film.” In this film, Bond has a bomb blow up 3 feet in front of him. And he’s dirtied up but not dead. Later on, he has a bunch of grenades dropped down a stairwell less than an arms length away from him. Minor damage. The aim of the bad guys in this film is worse than any Storm Trooper or soldier in Commando. I know, suspend disbelief but after awhile, it really smashes you in the face.

Let’s address the woke rumor now. There’s a scene where Bond is changing into a tux and Ana De Armas (Knives Out and former Ben Affleck fuck buddy) is transfixed with Bond as she’s a brand new agent. He asks her to turn around while he changes. People are saying, “old James Bond would’ve banged her and/or dropped a cutesy poo line, this is bullshit.” I would’ve agreed with you but when you see this in the context of the scene (they’re going to an enemy gathering so time is of the essence) and as the great Short Round from Temple of Doom would’ve said, “No time for love!” Other than that, no woke stuff here that I picked up on.

Obviously, they begin to integrate the new 007 throughout the film (remember, Bond retired) and the verdict is she’s….fine. She has some decent action scenes, doesn’t try too hard, and plays it well. Will I go see a Bond movie starring her? I don’t know, I’ll need to see a trailer or 2. But it’s going to take a LOT for me to make the shift from an iconic franchise character over 60 years old.

This film is LONG for a Bond film, 2 hrs and 40 minutes. It does drag a bit at the end, they could’ve shaved 10-15 minutes off this puppy. But the action and storyline make this film MOVE for the first 2 hrs plus, really top notch storyline and twists. I just saw a review that said this film is too much James Bond. Well you dumb dildo, it’s a JAMES BOND FILM. Did this queefy bag of wind see an Indiana Jones film and said, “you know…too much Indy for my taste, thumbs down.” Here’s why you should never stop hating these blowhard critics. And it’s Craig’s last film, for Chrissakes! OF COURSE HE’S GOING TO GET MORE SCREENTIME THAN ANYONE ELSE. And Craig brings it in the action department as well as sides you rarely saw out of his Bond: pathos, attachment, and regret. And this film gets you with a ton of different emotions but the ones that hit me the hardest: awe for what a great job Craig did as Bond and sadness as this is the end of his Bond. NTTD FIRMLY entrenches Craig as the 2nd best Bond of all time, Connery obviously #1. This film is amazing and you better see it before the key spoilers get into the ether. This ranks in my top 10 Bond films, list below:

7.5/10

Top 10 Bond films for KG (in no order)

  1. 1. Thunderball
  2. 2. Dr. No
  3. 3. Goldfinger
  4. 4. Casino Royale
  5. 5. Skyfall
  6. 6. No Time to Die
  7. 7. Goldeneye
  8. 8. From Russia with Love
  9. 9. The Man with the Golden Gun
  10. 10. Her Majesty’s Secret Service

3 Film reviews: Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Knives Out, and the Irishman

Oh, hi there you tickle monsters.  It’s been awhile since I had a film to review but let’s be honest, it’s been a collection of student films, garbage passion projects, and blatant cash grabs.  Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I saw 3 films that bear worth reviewing.  But before you read my critiques, why not download our new podcast, “Gutting the Sacred Cow.”  If you love movies and want to see other comedians try and trash well loved or successful films, you’ll love this.  We’re on iTunes, Iheartradio, Google play, Stitcher, Spreaker, and Spotify.

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Bottom line: if you hate Mr. Rogers, you’re a communist that needs to be immediately deported and then set afire in a cage while in transit to Burma.  He TRULY is the closest human to being faultless.  And if that theme music doesn’t bring an immediate tear to your eye, you’re more robotic than the T-1000 from T2 or the guy who played Oz from American Pie.  Tom Hanks, who can honestly do no wrong, plays a fantastic Fred Rogers.  If you don’t know his story, I’m not going over it now.  However, this film doesn’t make Mr. Rogers the focal point of this story.  It’s about the journalist assigned to do a small piece on him, Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys).  Lloyd is dealing with his father (Chris Cooper who looks like Sebulba from Star Wars Episode 1.  Don’t believe me, google it) and Mr Rogers somehow gets Lloyd to open up about his tarnished relationship and of course, tries to help him.

If you didn’t see the outstanding documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, you better get off your ass and watch it.  Because you’re not going to get as much insight about Mr. Rogers in this film.  Although, I had a great laugh when Mr Rogers comes over to visit Lloyd’s ailing father and his sister’s new husband blurts out, “Are you a Navy Seal?”  That was one of the urban legends that was going around for years.  There are great Mr. Rogers moments: the opening show segment with Hanks walking in, singing the song, and flipping the shoes.  My eyes watered up and had the nostalgic smile a mile wide on my face.  You also see several show re-enactments with Hanks CGI’ed in that you may remember from the show or have seen in WYBMN.

This film is good but again, I’m not as interested in the journalist’s story as much as I am seeing Tom Hanks chew up scenery and seeing kids with disabilities have breakthroughs.  Who knows if the documentary didn’t alter the script for BDITN as they didn’t want two biographical stories in 2 years.  I wouldn’t have liked BDITN as much if there wasn’t the doc to get into the nitty gritty material.  This film is good, the doc is better.

I give it a 6.5/10

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How many “whodunits” have there been in recent memory?  Memento?  Pretty good.  Clue?  That was such a campy yet fun ride?  Too bad they’re remaking it.  LA Confidential? FANTASTIC.  Murder on the Orient Express (original and reboot SUCKED)?  So I was quite glad to see “Knives Out” invigorate the genre.  Great cast but you know what scared me?  Seeing Rian Johnson wrote and directed this.  Cause last we saw of ol RJ, he went out and gave us a C- Star Wars film in the Last Jedi.  He also did Looper which gives him some credibility back.  Was this worse than dinner theater murder mysteries?  Let’s find out.

Christopher Plummer plays Harlan Thrombey, who looks like he could’ve been one of the brothers from Trading Places.  Don’t worry, he doesn’t uses racial slurs.  Harlan is an uber successful mystery writer who after celebrating his 85th birthday, falls victim to murder.  His children and daughter in law all have had reason to off him as they’ve been cut out of his will.  But his caregiver/nurse, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), suddenly finds herself as the sole benefactor of the will.  Daniel Craig is the detective hired by an unknown source to find out who did it. Zod from Superman, the mom from 6th sense, Laurie Strode, Captain America, and Sonny Crockett play the kids/in laws who are in question.

Obviously, I’m not getting into details to not spoil it but the cast perfectly hums along.  Daniel Craig was fantastic as the smarmy, know it all (most of the time detective) who really has a ball with this role.  You may figure out who did it (I did) but you’ll NEVER figure out the how or why.  I changed my logic at least 4 times and was still wrong.  And that’s why this film is amazing.  Anytime you get a layered story and can’t figure out AND buy the process/conclusion, it’s a fantastic investment of time.  Run, don’t walk, to see this film.  And then when you get out of the theater, download our latest episode of Gutting the Sacred Cow.

This film is fantastic, 8.5/10

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And now for one of the most anticipated films of 2019.  The last time we saw Scorsese, he got Margot Robbie topless several times in a film.  And we owe him a debt of gratitude for that.  But now he returns to the genre in which he created and inspired tons of knockoffs and a few winners.  The man who gave us Casino, Goodfellas, Mean Streets brings back several of the actors who shot to the stratosphere.  DeNiro, Pacino, AND he got Pesci out of retirement.  Can’t go wrong, right?  Well, let’s see.

First off, prepare yourself.  This is a 3.5 hour film.  But thankfully, you’re watching it at home now so you can pause to pee, get some food, or complain on social media about how long it is.  And for all of those who complain about the length, no one seemed to have a problem with Godfather 2 and that was 4 minutes shorter than this.  This is the story of Frank Sheeran (Robert Deniro, the man who hasn’t turned any film down since 2003), the guy who painted more houses than Dutch Boy.  Ba-dum, ching!  First things first: Scorsese CGIs all of the older actors and it’s sometimes quite amusing.  My FAVORITE part was when a “younger” DeNiro sloowwwwwly beats up a grocery store own.  I mean, it looks like he was in quicksand while giving the guy a beating.  DeNiro finds himself working for Russel Buffalino (Welcome back, Joe Pesci!),

DeNiro earns his stripes doing errands for Buffalino and eventually finds himself working with the Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).  Shoutout to my buddy Jeff Paul who has few scenes with Pacino as a one of his crew.  Hoffa climbs to power while bringing Sheeran along for the ride.  Blah, blah, blah, mob stuff happens.  But without question, my favorite scene is Pesci explaining to DeNiro why Hoffa has to go.  It’s quite reminiscent of the Goodfellas scene is when DeNiro gets the phone call that Tommy is dead.  And there’s nothing he can do about it.

Again, people are shitting on this for the length.  Does this lag at times?  You betcha.  Could they have cut some down?  Without question.  But this is almost a mini series in a film as it tells the entire tale of Sheeran.  This is a great switcharoo of roles; a more mellowed Pesci leads the pack and should be nominated for supporting actor.  I’ll never compare this to Goodfellas because that’s as close to a perfect film as you can get.  Is this better than Casino?  No.  Departed? Not really.  And is this a film you immediately stop changing channels when you see it on?  For me, not yet.  But this is good and if you like seeing a lot of the old gang together again, this is for you.  It’s solid and enjoyable.

I give it a 7/10.

Film Review: Logan Lucky

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After doing some quick math, I think I saw double the number of films this summer vs last year’s garbage dump of cinematic “attempts.”  Logan Lucky is going to wrap up this crop of summer’s films and then it’s time to get ready for the usual onslaught of awful films from September-Thanksgiving.  However, I can see 2 early exceptions to this rule: Stephen King’s IT (that clown looks scarier than the Jets chances of making the playoffs) as well as the sequel for the Kingsmen.  If you haven’t seen the first Kingsmen film, do so.  It’s insanely well done and director Matthew Vaughn RARELY misses (see Wanted with Angelina Jolie as said exception.)  Anyway, on to Lucky Logan.

I must have missed the memo but apparently, Steven Soderbergh went into retirement for a little while but now he’s re-emerged with the hillbilly version of Ocean’s 11, Logan Lucky.  Soderbergh recasts one of his usual suspects, Channing Tatum, to play Jimmy Logan, a West Virginia good ol boy who just lost his job and comes up with a scheme to rob the Charlotte motor speedway.  Joining him is his one handed, bartender brother, Clyde, (Adam Driver who needs to wear his Kylo Ren mask wherever he goes, he’s one ugly dude) and his hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Kelough).  Katie Holmes plays Jimmy’s ex wife with whom he’s constantly battling over their beauty pageant daughter.  I must say, she hasn’t aged well.  Watch an underrated film called, Go, from 1999 and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  Although my vote for scene stealer goes to Daniel Craig who plays Joe Bang, a demolition expert that’s current locked up in the hoosegow.  He’s hilarious and you can see him having fun with this character and accent.

This film has a slight “Dukes of Hazard” feel to it with the Yee-hah, state fair, NASCAR lovin’ country folk.  The only thing missing was a Trump reference but thankfully, Soderbergh doesn’t go down Stereotype Boulevard with that.  And just like Ocean’s 11, there’s a crew involved.  But the differences start here because I felt myself more attached to the Ocean’s crew than the Logan group.  It’s not that the characters do anything to inspire the audience hatred, I just didn’t smile as much or wanted to see or hear more of their characters.  If you’ve seen any of the Ocean’s films, Soderbergh uses his usual visual and musical clues for the audience to make sure that they pay attention to said clues.  He also put it best in an interview: this is a crew using “rubber band technology” as opposed to Clooney’s group having state of the art gadgets.  That does fit this group more soundly as it would be weird with a Boss Hog type using lasers to cut through glass.

The critics are loving the bejesus out of this film but I wasn’t as on board with their praise.  I felt the payoff in the end didn’t pack as powerful as a punch as it could have.  Hillary Swank comes in late as an FBI investigator and I felt she really didn’t add anything to the film.  Was this film fine?  Yes.  Is it as good as the reviews are?  No.  Should you pay $15 bucks for it?  Up to you but I’ll bet you’ll walk out saying, “Not bad, not great either.”

I give it a 6/10