Sunday, August 14, 2016
One of the great things about Star Trek, be it any of the series or many of the feature films, is the way it has always put ideas at the forefront of its stories, valuing philosophy and political science above action and swashbuckling. Even First Contact, my absolute favorite of all the movies, found a way to work some excellent action sequences into a film that was mostly about ideas and really developed some of the characters.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Matt Damon never smiles in The Bourne Supremacy. I think that’s also true in The Bourne Ultimatum, which is the darker and slightly more sinister installment in the trilogy. It picks up where the previous film left off, after Bourne has tried to achieve some redemption by apologizing to the young woman whose life he altered when he murdered her parents. Most of the movie cleverly, it turns out, takes place between that apology scene and the epilogue of The Bourne Supremacy in which he calls Pam Landy and insinuates that he’s looking at her through her office window.
If The Bourne Identity was the grounded, relaxed version of an action spy film, then its first sequel The Bourne Supremacy is the next step in kineticism, ratcheting up the energy as Bourne remembers more about his past and becomes more deeply embroiled in layers of cover-ups he can’t understand.
It picks up two years after the events of the first film. Bourne and Marie are hiding out in India until an assassin (Karl Urban) shows up and accidentally kills Marie (Franka Potente) instead of Bourne. Meanwhile in Berlin, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), a CIA bureaucrat, is working a case to uncover a mole within the organization. Someone is also setting up Bourne as a rogue agent. The old Treadstone project that made Bourne has become Blackbriar. Landy is kept at arm’s length by Abbott (Brian Cox, returning in his role as the head of the Black Ops program).
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
I’m revisiting the original trilogy of Bourne Movies after seeing Jason Bourne. I guess that’s backwards, but the inspiration didn’t strike until I found myself disappointed in the new movie. Seeing how frenetic the editing was, I felt that Paul Greengrass had taken his style to an extreme. I didn’t recall that the two he directed were similarly edited.
There’s not much left for Woody Allen to say in his movies, is there? He’s already been walking the same ground for decades, hitting the same themes and even repeating (or so it feels) zingers and one-liners. After fifty plus films in as many years, how could he not? He puts out a new movie every year like clockwork. Sometimes it’s as if he’s going through the motions and occasionally he gives us something inspired, as with Midnight in Paris or Blue Jasmine. His latest is Café Society, which is far better than the recent misfire of Magic in the Moonlight but still falling short of genuine genius.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Jason Bourne’s story was told through a trilogy of films that concluded nearly a decade ago. From The Bourne Identity, which saw Matt Damon playing the title amnesiac trying to figure out who he was, why people were trying to kill him, and how he was so capable with his fists, his language, automobiles, and weapons, to the capper The Bourne Ultimatum in which he remembers everything and handily exposes the CIA program that made him who he was we saw Damon and director Paul Greengrass (for the two sequels) reinvent the action spy thriller for the new millennium. Bourne’s story being complete, the franchise attempted to skew in a different direction with Jeremy Renner starring. Now Damon and Greengrass have reunited, I suppose catching on to the popularity of series reboots that have cropped up all over Hollywood in recent years.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
The Pixar Animation Studio has been a little hit or miss with their sequels. The two Toy Story follow-ups are stellar, but Cars 2 doesn’t even measure up to its predecessor, which wasn’t great to begin with. Monsters University carried on the story in a really interesting way, going back to show us how Mike and sully got where they were. It enriches Monsters, Inc. So who knew what to expect with Finding Dory? The biggest error of Cars 2 was the belief that a great supporting character could be the centerpiece of a movie. Dory Added so much to Finding Nemo and she was the most beloved character there. But could her short term memory loss affliction carry an entire movie?