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Tipping Point: Our picks and pans ('No Time to Die,' Coffee Cake Plate at 21 Rocks, 'Cloud Cuckoo Land')

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No Time to Die

In reviewing "No Time to Die," let me speak about time: Two hours and 43 minutes is way too long for a Bond flick. Or any movie, really. That aside, this is a fitting farewell to Daniel Craig’s version of 007. It’s action-packed but serious and dramatic (with the occasional one-liner wedged in). Does it really matter what the plot is? No. You already can predict there's a supervillain with a dangerous weapon, right? The important part is that the stunt sequences are pulse-pounding; watching Bond drive madly up and down steps and around the narrow streets of a quaint Italian city is thrilling. Rami Malek disappoints as the latest villain; he’s restrained to the point of seeming lethargic. Compare his attempts at underplaying a criminal mastermind to the much more effective efforts by Christoph Waltz as Blofeld. As for the ending, all I’ll say is it’s unexpected and a great way for Craig to go out.

— Kristina Dorsey


Coffee Cake Plate

21 Rocks, Mystic, $8

Admittedly, they're not going to win any Clio awards for the dynamically christened "Coffee Cake Plate" but perhaps the folks at 21 Rocks wisely decided to focus on the dish itself. It's damned good. Simple, too. Three hunks of buttery cake — no nuts or raisins or frosty icing to ruin it — drizzled with and perched atop a pool of substantially delicious and rich caramel-coffee sauce. Danger if you try to get in my way when I'm eating this because, yes, I have a fork in both hands!

— Rick Koster


Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr’s last novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “All the Light We Cannot See,” was beloved by pretty much everybody. His new book is quite different from that WWII-set piece but no less captivating. In “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” Doerr's stories travel all over history and among wildly different characters, mostly children or teenagers. Connecting them is an ancient tome — and the idea of how important stories and books are. The oldest tale in "Land": In Constantinople in the 1400s, an orphan girl discovers a passion for reading, while outside the city walls, a boy is conscripted to become part of the army aiming to invade. The future scenario: In 2146, a girl rides on a spaceship streaking from Earth to a faraway planet. In between is a narrative about a Korean War veteran, a teen bomber, and a group of children rehearsing a play. This tale of hope and humanity in the face of darkness and struggle might sound confusing, but it’s not. Doerr is a masterful storyteller. His writing doesn’t call attention to itself; it’s just beautiful and compelling.

— Kristina Dorsey



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