Friday, October 8, 2021

3 to see: Craig's last big Bond, German-language 'Man,' and little 'Lamb'

Craig and de Armas: Agents just standin' around talkin'.
Daniel Craig never will be "Bond, James Bond" after his final scene in "No Time to Die," but he'll leave knowing that this 25th film featuring Ian Fleming's heroic 007 has him giving a grand-finale worthy performance.

Sure, his MI6 killer remains a cool tough guy while escaping gimmicky action moments in a lengthy effort that also finds room for welcome nods to previous Bond movies. Even better news, though, Craig is also up to task as a man ready to retire and settle down with the smart Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux, returning from 2015's "Spectre"), and a sentimental side that shows up early and often. 

So do all the current ensemble regulars, including American agent/pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), who seeks our main man's aid in finding a kidnapped Russian scientist carrying enough biological secrets, well, uh, to die for.

A pair of impressive newcomers, the new "007" agent named Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and a CIA operative simply called Paloma (Ana de Armas), would have been labeled "Bond girls" in less sensitive times. Now, they're on board to fight villains (led by Rami Malek and a "Blofeld" cameo from Christoph Waltz) and help Bond save the world, not to mention a 60-year-old movie franchise destined to keep entertaining us with or without Craig in the role that made him a superstar.

Rated "PG-13" by MPAA: sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material; 2:43; $ $ $ $ out of $5

Stevens works on becoming Eggert's main "Man."
Up next in theaters today is a robot named Tom (the terrific Dan Stevens), trying to become the title guy in "I'm Your Man," a German rom-com coming off plenty of buzz from international film festivals in Berlin and Toronto. (Northeast Ohioans can see it exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theater in Cleveland Heights.)

With his android ways, Tom is wooing a scientist (the deserving Berlinale Lead Performance winner Maren Eggert), herself commissioned to live with him for three weeks and write a paper on what might be called future possibilities for such a logical arrangement.

Eggert's ever-researching -- but lonely -- Alma discovers many of the above, after meeting her potential paramour and "Puttin' on the Ritz" in a back-room club. It's where real people dance and drink with holograms and other high-tech wonders and, thus, maybe just feel a bit freaky and frisky.

Intermittent moments of fun, mixed with just enough sturm und drang, then ensue in a mostly convincing screenplay, co-written by director Maria Schrader (Netflix's "Unorthodox"), as based on the short story by Emma Braslavsky.

Rated "R" by MPAA: some sexual content and language; 1:42; $ $ $ and 1/2 out of $5

What happens in Iceland stays in Iceland. 

That's certainly what one more formidable screen couple (depicted by Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Guonason) could be thinking, if not exactly saying, about circumstances in "Lamb," a tight, taut family drama from first-time feature director and co-writer Valdimar Johannsson. 

As played out in an extremely remote part of the country nicknamed "The Land of Fire and Ice," their story might be filled with dreams and myths and folklore. Or not.

The fact is, hardworking farmers Maria and Ingvar rarely have much to say to each other. Something looks to be smoldering between them, though, and then they have a kid, and their world begins to change. Even their pets, an observant sheep dog keeping constant vigilance outside, and a housecat, silently seeing and knowing all that goes on inside their residence, seem to take notice 

And life apparently does begin anew, especially for the motherly Maria, as sensationally portrayed by Rapace, the big screen's original "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo." Her performance -- and one matter-of-fact kitchen reveal -- not only might make you drop your coffee, but also become primary reasons to wait intently for Johannsson's inevitable follow-up to such oddly intriguing stuff.

("Lamb," like "No Time to Die," is in theaters everywhere, just not in as many as the big Bond film.)

Rated "R" by MPAA: some bloody violent images and sexuality/nudity; 1:47: $ $ $ and 1/2 out of  $5

No comments: