No Time to Die is a terrific movie: an up-to-the-minute, down-to-the-wire James Bond thriller with a satisfying neo-classical edge. 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.
While a bit of ironic detachment isn’t necessarily a hindrance, too many latter-day horror flicks’ attempts to show they’re in on the joke make it difficult to get invested in their stories. Despite initially appearing poised to repeat this too-cool-for-school mistake, “Someone” moves past it by emphasizing not vengeance but redemption.
Once again, Lee prefers to canter rather than gallop as he spins his storyline, allowing his well-cast leads enough time to reveal themselves in sometimes leisurely, sometimes suspenseful dialogue exchanges.
As Birds of Paradise reveals its (admittedly predictable) secrets one by one, it does so with style and a merited sense of confidence so assertively that even the biggest skeptics of the genre might pause before dismissing it as just another slight YA entry.
I’ll admit that Karam’s camera strays down one too many empty hallways for my taste, but I love the patience with which he lets things unfold, the respect he shows this family, and the way these characters don’t feel like characters at all, but real people — fellow humans.
We know in our bones where the movie is going, and it’s a steady enjoyable ride, a touch prosaic at times, one that turns into a kind of minimalist chamber-room version of “Unforgiven,” with a surprisingly touching upshot.
The affectionate cine-memoir is rendered all the more effective on account of young discovery Jude Hill and its portrayal of a close-knit family (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench and stay-put grandparents) crowded under one roof.
Chastain and Garfield give performances that are brashly entertaining but also canny and layered, as the characters get caught up in something far bigger than themselves. The Bakkers were hucksters of a grand order, and the film uses their spectacular greedhead soap opera to tell the larger American story of how Christianity got turned into showbiz.
While following a typical rom-com pattern isn’t inherently unpleasant, the movie’s wink-wink insinuations that it’s going to take things in a novel direction, followed by its embrace of the very clichés it’s poked fun at, makes it feel disingenuous and stale.