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Monday
December 06th, 2021

no time to die spotlight pageDaniel Craig and Ana De Armas in a scene from “No Time To Die.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Back in 2006, the world was officially introduced to Daniel Craig as he followed in the footsteps of fellow actors Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan in the role of the world’s most famous superspy James Bond (a.k.a. 007) with his debut in “Casino Royale.” 

I became a fan of Craig’s Bond portrayal pretty much immediately after watching “Casino Royale” and that’s only grown in his subsequent Bond films. When I heard Craig was officially stepping away from the role not too long before the movie’s original release date, I was majorly bummed. 

This past weekend, I made my way to the movie theater in town to watch Craig’s Bond swan song “No Time To Die,” (after SEVERAL COVID-19-related delays( after which I came away with some definite thoughts. In the movie, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life with his girlfriend, Dr. Madeleine Swan (Léa Seydoux, first introduced in “Spectre”). However, his retirement is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright, introduced in “Casino Royale”) turns up asking for help to rescue a kidnapped scientist. The mission ultimately turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain, Safin (Rami Malek) armed with some VERY dangerous new technology.

Right off the bat, I very much enjoyed the performances throughout the movie. Craig does a great job in his last outing as Bond and is able to convey a lot of emotion throughout, which is one of the reasons why I’m such a big fan of his portrayal, BECAUSE he actually portrays Bond as an actual human being instead of just another pretty boy. His moments with Madeleine, along with his final moments as Bond at the end of the movie, are extremely good to watch. Léa Seydoux was also very good – she showed a slightly more fierce side or Madeleine, and like in “Spectre,” she has very good chemistry with Craig. She has some really good moments in the movie, and I liked seeing her character again. 

diana musical spotlight pageJeanna de Waal as Lady Diana Spencer in a scene from the recently released “Diana” musical on Netflix. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The life of Lady Diana Spencer has always been interesting to me  not only because of what she went through as a member of the British royal family, but also because of everything she was able to accomplish before her sudden death. So when I heard some time ago about there being a Broadway musical about her life, I wasn’t quite how to feel about it – on one hand, I thought it was somewhat vulgar to do a biographical musical about someone whose death is still quite fresh in the minds of family and friends. But on the other hand, biographical Broadway musicals have been a bit of a rage lately (thanks to “Hamilton,” “The Cher Show,” and “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” among others), so why wouldn’t this turn out well?

Netflix released a pro shot of the yet-to-open “Diana” Broadway musical Oct. 1, and I decided to see for myself whether it would be decent or a complete misfire. As it would turn out, there was some of both throughout the show, which follows Lady Diana (Jeanna de Waal) from her first meeting with Prince Charles (Roe Hartrampf) through her divorce and death. Also talked about in the show are her affair with James Hewitt (Gareth Keegan) and her work with AIDS  and cancer patients. 

One of the few aspects the show ultimately ended up getting right was the costuming, which was done very well by William Ivey Long. Much like when I watched Elton John’s “Rocketman” biopic, I have to wonder how much time and sweat and labor went into creating some of Diana’s most well-known fashion looks, because every costume is quite stunning and looks great on leading lady Jeanna de Waal, particularly the black cocktail “revenge” dress (dubbed in the show as Diana’s F-you dress). I was also left rather stunned with some of the quick changes done in the show, and I would like to very much know how they were able to be accomplished, because they are done in literally a snap. The only complaint I would have about the costuming is de Waal’s Diana wigs, because they look EXTREMELY cheap and unflattering, so I feel like more effort could have been done there. 

kacey musgraves star crossed spotlight pageELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Earlier this week, I was about to start putting together some work together for the paper here, but before I could do that, I needed some tunes to set the mood. Like I usually do, I went on YouTube to look for something to listen to, and one of the suggestions was Kacey Musgraves’ new album “star-crossed.” 

I’d heard some of her songs on the radio before and liked them, so I went ahead and clicked to listen. The album was inspired by Musgraves' personal journey following her divorce from fellow singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly earlier this year, and definitely takes listeners along on the journey. 

Something I noticed quite quickly with the album is each song does a good job at telling a definite story and portrays each step of the grieving process after a breakup, ranging from a couple days afterward to a little while later when the healing starts more in earnest. One of the songs on the album that does this especially well is “good wife,” which is basically a woman’s prayer to be strong and do whatever she can in her relationship to make her partner happy. In a weird way, though, this song also kind of irritated me because it somewhat reinforces the expectation that the wife in a marriage has to be the one to salvage everything and be perfect and turn the other cheek all the time, whereas that expectation hasn’t really applied to husbands very much throughout history. That sentiment is also expressed with “angel,” which is about a wife saying how if only she’d been perfect and just put up with everything, her marriage would have made it. In my opinion, since it’s 2021, that attitude needs to change about the onus being on women to maintain whatever relationship they’re involved in. 

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