Did you see Billie Eilish perform her James Bond theme tune No Time to Die at the BRITs a few days ago? Having met up with her just before the big performance - and loving how enthusiastic she and her producer brother Finneas are about the new movie - it only seemed right to include the trailer here for those who’ve yet to check it out. Plus, Miss Moneypenny herself - British actor Naomie Harris - unleashes her blistering new crime drama and Hollywood legend Harrison Ford leads a doggy drama. Indiana Bones, anyone?
ON THE BIG SCREEN
If Marley & Me was too modern for you and Isle of Dogs too odd, look no further than the charmingly old-fashioned THE CALL OF THE WILD, a canine caper based on the classic story by Jack London and starring Harrison Ford. Telling the story of Buck, a loveably clumsy St Bernard/Scotch Collie who gets taken from his comfortable home in late nineteenth century California, THE CALL OF THE WILD is a love letter to the wonder of the wilderness. It’s also the best lead role Harrison’s had for ages.
Harrison stars in The Call of the Wild
Buck’s journey after his capture by dognappers takes him to the Alaska of the Gold Rush, a place full of wild towns and snowy mountains where there’s a constant need for dogs to pull sleds. After working with the postal service for a few months - learning to work with a pack along the way - he soon latches on to a new master in the form of grieving loner John Thornton (Ford). Together they travel even further along the majestic Yukon River, both seeking a return to nature. It’s not long before Buck finds himself unable to resist the lure of the woods and the wolves that run inside.
It takes a little while to get used to the CGI in THE CALL OF THE WILD (Buck, I’m afraid to say, isn’t played by a real pooch) but all those gorgeously sunlit plains and bright, icy streams of rustic Canada soon make up for it. Harrison Ford - a former carpenter - looks very much at home as a man of the woods too. All he needs is Buck, a bed, and bacon and eggs for breakfast to make him happy. When dastardly Dan Stevens turns up as a tartan-clad gold prospector it’s clear he doesn’t stand a chance against Harrison and his faithful hound.
The Call of the Wild (PG) is out at cinemas now
ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Naomie Harris continues to show us she can play pretty much any role with her latest turn as a rookie cop in the thriller BLACK AND BLUE. She might have grown up in a council flat in London’s Finsbury Park but by the end credits of this, you’d be hard-pressed to believe Naomie’s not actually a tough-talking American police officer rooting out corruption in New Orleans.
Dodgy cops aren’t exactly a new thing in movies but a strong woman in the lead role is something to celebrate. BLACK AND BLUE also carefully explores tensions in the ‘Big Easy’ - between the law and the locals, men and women and different ethnicities. With a story that centres on footage from police body-cams - a somewhat contentious bit of technology - it’s also on-the-nose plotwise too.
Whilst the dialogue is a little unimaginative, Alicia and her old shopkeeper friend Mouse (Tyrese Gibson) make an interesting couple; both worn down by the negativity of the city but trying to remember the bonds that connect them. So having been wowed by Naomie’s convincing turns as a drug addict in Moonlight and a sea goddess in Pirates of the Caribbean (not to mention Miss Moneypenny), we can now add big-hearted law enforcer to the list too.
Black and Blue (15) is available on digital download now and on DVD in early March
Not long to go now until NO TIME TO DIE - the 25th (!) official James Bond film - blasts its way into cinemas. Daniel Craig has confirmed this is his last outing as 007, so there are big expectations for a dramatic conclusion to his tenure. Since the movie also stars Oscar-winner Rami Malek as supervillain Safin and Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch as feisty new MI6 agent Nomi, I’d say the chances of fireworks are at an all time high.
No Time to Die is out in UK cinemas on 2nd April