No Time to Die | Review

★★★★

Fifteen years on from Casino Royale, few will deny Daniel Craig’s stamp on the James Bond franchise has been transformative. In the star’s latest and last, all that has come before finds reprisal. There’s room too for one last push at progression. No Time to Die crackles with the energy of its exquisite cast and heaps bombast and spectacle into a melting pot long since boiled over. It’s rather too daft for it’s own good, and can’t quite best Skyfall in a ranking of Craig’s five stints, but proves a belter nonetheless.

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tick, tick…BOOM! | Review

★★★★

The increasingly ubiquitous Lin Manuel Miranda strikes it home yet again, with the third of his four dynamite movie musicals to find release in 2021. That the first proved a confounding flop at the box office and the second saw its theatrical release shelved is neither here nor there. This EGOT chasing virtuoso is on a role. Unlike In the Heights and Vivo before it – and, indeed, Encanto to come – tick, tick…BOOM! is unique in the quartet for casting Miranda not as lyricist but director. Working from the late, great Jonathan Larson’s semi-autobiographical text and songbook of 1990, Miranda’s debut in the hot seat proves a sensation. Not one that is entirely unmitigated but a mighty attempt at perfection nonetheless.

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Dear Evan Hansen | Review

★★

Insincerity spoils Dear Evan Hansen. The disconnect happens early and no infectious melody can quite reset the system. There is something to be said of miscasting Ben Platt – too broad, too muscular to convince as a timid teen – in the fault of this. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Let’s not forget the likes of James Dean and John Travolta, beloved before him. More problematically, Stephen Chbosky’s is a film that fumbles challenging issues and raises dilemmas without ever taking sides or laying blame. Instead, a blunt script by Steven Levenson responds ‘it’s complicated’. At well over two hours, the result is a plethora of highs and lows and drags on for forever.

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