Far from 007's days at the top.
die another day (Cert 12, 127 mins). Action/thriller. Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike.
Die Another Day is one of the least satisfying Bond movies in recent memory, failing to deliver the incendiary cocktail of thrilling action and luscious locations we have come to expect.
The stunt sequences are certainly more elaborate than ever before but they are orchestrated with a cool precision by director Lee Tamahori which fails to get the blood pumping.
An over-reliance on computer-generated special effects robs the film of the essential wow factor.
After 14 months spent locked away in a Korean jail, Bond (Brosnan) is released in exchange for wily terrorist Zao, right-hand man of rogue military leader Colonel Moon.
Back in the UK, Bond lusts for revenge and, against the orders of M (Judi Dench), he heads back to Korea, via Cuba and Iceland, to track Zao's movements.
En route, 007 hooks up with sexy assassin-for-hire Jinx (Berry) and British agent Miranda Frost (Pike), uncovering a plot for world domination involving a diamond billionaire.
Brosnan is looking a tad old and flabby, but he wears the 007 tuxedo with elan.
In a welcome break from Bond girl tradition, Jinx is much more than mere window dressing, possessing sassiness and cunning in abundance.
Her presence is so pronounced, that she often overshadows 007, and could - on this evidence - almost save the world without his interference. Perhaps next time she should.
RENT IT IF"the sight of Brosnan in a tuxedo always leaves you shaken and stirred.
ALL OR NOTHING (Cert 18, 128 mins). Drama/comedy. Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Alison Garland, James Corden.
Set on a run-down South London housing estate, All or Nothing is an intimate and emotionally devastating study of everyday people who run scared from the loneliness and despair which underpins their humdrum daily routines.
Phil and Penny Bassett (Spall, Manville) have forgotten how to communicate with each other and their dysfunctional children Rachel (Garland) and Rory (Corden).
The dinner table has become a war zone, with verbal grenades and insults flying back and forth, leaving everybody on edge.
Matters come to a head when Rory is rushed into hospital with a suspected heart attack.
Meanwhile, their next-door neighbour has family troubles of her own. Her rebellious daughter is involved with an abusive boyfriend who believes women are put on Earth purely to serve him.
All Or Nothing is an embarrassment of acting riches, from Corden's overweight and insecure son to Garland's insecure daughter, who witnesses the slow but inevitable disintegration of her family in painful silence.
Spall is truly masterful - the scene in which he begs forgiveness from Manville for being a lousy husband is cinema at its most raw and powerful.
Mike Leigh's direction is assured, coolly witnessing the breakdown of a family unit.
RENT IT IF"you love Mike Leigh's blend of improvised drama and character study.
LACKING IMPACT: the action in Die Another Day, with Pierce Brosnan as Bond
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|Publication:||Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Apr 25, 2003|
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