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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 8 – Jason Bourne Trilogy

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, not too long ago I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus! Unfortunately like last time, the latest episode was late again and was posted on Saturday, but for various reasons I won’t get into now, that’s the way things ended up. But I’m glad I got this out when I did because I’ll be out of town for a few days haha.

Anyway here’s the 8th episode:

With the release of Jason Bourne approaching towards the end of the month I decided to take some time to discuss the Matt Damon series of Bourne films and just talk about why I love them so much and what makes these films worth watching.

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

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Posted by on July 4, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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Revisiting The Matt Damon Bourne Films

Howdy ladies and gents, now after seeing the getting super excited for 30 second teaser for Jason Bourne, I thought it would be a good time to revisit that awesome trilogy of films from 2002 to 2007. I love these films so much, however I’ve only watched them 2 or 3 times each so I thought it’d be fun to see if my opinions have changed or remained the same since my last viewing. Minor spoilers follow!

The Bourne Identity

I’ve never been more fascinated and engaged with a film than with the intro of this one. Having Bourne found in the ocean with bullets in his back and no memory of who he was. Slowly but sure this film starts to give small details, small pieces of a bigger puzzle and the story just becomes more intriguing and engaging. The main story surrounding Jason Bourne’s amnesia and his search for answers is so compelling because he’s a blank slate at the beginning, but then learn that he’s travelled a lot in the past, he’s resourceful and has skills that make him look like a human weapon, and it also doesn’t help that he’s hunted by a secret group in the government who want him dead for reasons that become apparent as the film goes on. This film features some of the most interesting and smart story elements that I’ve seen in the spy genre, and sure it’s adapted from a book but it’s an enjoyable film regardless. I also really enjoy the action which is slick, well-edited and choreographed when it came to the fight scenes and there’s one car chase which is one of my favourites in film ever.

Oh and of course I really enjoyed the cast Matt Damon kills it as Jason Bourne, he rides a fin balance between being innocent and confused to being a full-on badass who’s in control of every situation. Franka Potente is also great as Marie Helena Kreutz, she’s just an innocent bystander who gets caught up in the madness and yet chooses to stick around because of the dangers around her and her ties to Bourne. Potente and Damon have such nice chemistry and their interaction throughout the film is great. Chris Cooper is awesome as Alexander Conklin, I didn’t remember him being as pivotal to this story, but damn he great to watch because of his intensity and commitment to trying to stop Bourne. Brian Cox is another solid actor as Ward Abbott, also Clive Owen as The Professor, the guy doesn’t say much or show a lot emotion, though when he’s on-screen he’s like a ghost-like Terminator and he has a pretty important scene later on in the film. I don’t think some fans and critics give Identity the respect it deserves in comparison to the sequels, this was a great spy film with mystery, conspiracy, tension and awesome action sequences and director Doug Liman did such a fabulous job at bringing this world to life and creating the foundation of which the next two films would build upon.

The Bourne Supremacy

Even though he wasn’t a complete man, Identity established that Jason Bourne was not someone you wanted to mess with and Supremacy reinforces that with the lengths that Bourne goes to in this second adventure. While the mysteries behind Bourne’s memories are still at the forefront of the story, in it is not the only story elements in play. A CIA operation goes bad and Bourne is framed for it so the government are after him to get answers. The levels of conspiracy go deeper than the first time and there are a lot of moving pieces to this story with Bourne’s past, the CIA and Treadstone, it’s a lot to handle but luckily it is done carefully and effectively, and adds to the history of the government program and Bourne too. This film also got a little more personal and emotional than before, and there are dramatic intense and heartbreaking moments a well. Once again this film shows off Bourne’s assassin skills but to a higher degree than before, here he’s a bit of a tactician, staying a few steps ahead of his enemies in really cool ways, he also displayed pretty badass fight moves and continued to find ways to be invisible and yet still be in plain sight.

The returning cast members are fantastic, Damon continues to be cool, vulnerable and engaging as Bourne, Potente is once again charming, supportive and lovely as Marie Helena Kreutz, Gabriel Mann is also back doing a fine job as Danny Zorn, Julia Stiles while good in the previous film, didn’t have nearly as much to do as she did here as Nicky Parsons takes on a more prominent role providing information and emotional depth. But it’s Brian Cox who steals the show as Ward Abbott, this guy, he has some of the best dialogue and I love how well-informed, suspicious and confident he is because of his history with Treadstone. With the new cast members the only two that really stand out are Karl Urban as Kirill and Joan Allen as Pamela Landy. Urban is a frigging badass here, he’s like Clive Owen’s character from the first film but more cold, ruthless and a bit more personality. And Allen really does so well as Landy, while not well-versed in all of the CIA’s operations, she’s tough, tenacious and ready to take down anyone who’s in her way. I will admit that there are certain elements of Identity that I liked over this film, but overall this film had new level of energy, darker tone and better direction thanks to Paul Greengrass when it comes to the filming of action (minus the shaky cam scenes) and adding intimacy to certain scenes. OH and this film has one of my favourite endings to any film involving a conversation between Bourne and Landy which basically confirms just how badass the man is. I love it. 😀

The Bourne Ultimatum

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So here we are with the final entry in this series (until July this year), and it is one hell of an a good ride. From the time the film begins you’re already in the action and from there the film keeps up a fairly swift pace, but also slows down for some of the big reveals later on. Bourne’s always been a pawn in a larger game of chess with the CIA and their actions, and now more than ever this is about finishing the issues that the CIA started. I love the story in this film as things get more complicated and personal with the new mysteries surrounding Bourne’s origins, additional ties to Treadstone and the corruption with the CIA. Just like before there’s a lot of cat and mouse chasing going on in regards to: 1) Bourne hunting someone or 2) The CIA going after someone or 3) The CIA chasing after Bourne. There’s so much mystery, tension and paranoia surrounding these films and this may be the best at highlighting those elements, Ultimatum feels like a great culmination of the last two films with a satisfying conclusion that ties up all of the loose ends. Once again the action scenes are on-point with some incredibly well-choreographed fight scenes which are raw and realistic, there’s also some really great stunt work with some of the car and foot chases, and the amount of destruction that Bourne leaves in his wake in nothing short of incredible. I also have to note how much better the sound effects are than in the previous films as punches, kicks, glass smashing and explosions sound clearer and more distinctive than before. And just like before the film score by John Powell is so brilliant and fuels all of the scenes it’s used in.

The are all on fire and do such fine jobs in this film. Damon pretty much cements his awesomeness as Jason Bourne, here he’s still just as smart, efficient and lethal as before, but he’s also more focused than before to end the all problems and find out what really happened to him. Bourne has now started to come to terms with who he is and who he was and it’s really interesting and compelling to see how he deals with these issues when talking to certain people in some of these great dramatic moments. Stiles’ role once again increases with her return as Nicky Parsons, she has a lot more to do physically but also is very integral to the plot and Bourne’s missions and Stiles does such a fine job in this role. David Strathairn is new on the scene and does such a great job as Noah Vosen, he’s a new player in the CIA and he has his mission and when Bourne becomes a factor we learn how vicious and crafty he can be. Also Joan Allen really shines as Pamela Landy, she takes on more of a Ward Abbot role as she’s the one with experience with Bourne and knows how he operates and helps Vosen with finding Bourne. Landy is great at her job, but is also perceptive and can smell when something’s wrong and in this film we see that she does a moral compass and will break regulation to make sure that things are done correctly. I never even noticed Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer before, but thanks to Daredevil I’m more aware of his appearances and he did really well as the director of the CIA. Paddy Considine is very good and intruging as Simon Ross, and Albert Finney is really good as Dr. Albert Hirsch. Oh and finally shout out to Daniel Brühl who I never even noticed until who plays Martin Kreutz!

In conclusion this Bourne trilogy of films is one of my favourite series of films and if it weren’t for The Bourne Legacy and the upcoming Jason Bourne, I would have labelled this as one of the most consistent film trilogies. We have some of the finest action, mystery and intrigue, and at the center of all this is a great story involving badass amnesiac who wants to find the truth. After seeing these films again I love them more so than before and my hype for the new film is SO high, I can only hope that this new film will have a story worth telling.

Also tell me what you think of these films in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Bourne Legacy Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another film review and today’s review will be of the fourth instalment in of the Bourne film series; The Bourne Legacy.

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Now before this film came out, I had massive reservations about it. I loved the first three Bourne films, though The Bourne Legacy was going to be the first Bourne film without Jason Bourne in it and that bugged me. But what bugged me even more was the fact that there was even another film in the series after the trilogy ended. But slowly the trailers started to gain my interest, so I went to see the film the other day and The Bourne Legacy wasn’t half bad at all, though nowhere near as good as the previous Bourne films, fact.

When it comes to story it goes a little something like this:

“When a plan is put into motion by a top-secret government program to wipe out all the genetically modified killers it created, one such operative must flee in order to save his life.”

The story overall really wasn’t all that strong, complex or as interesting as the previous films. What was so good about the previous Bourne films was the balance between great storytelling and action. With the previous Bourne films there was a great story to be told with the mystery of Jason Bourne’s character, he wanted answers and as the audience you wanted to see him get those answers. There was a lot drama, emotion, conspiracy, lies and deceit and loads of well-choreographed and smart action. In The Bourne Legacy you never feel properly invested in the story, at first it really drags and plods along and inserts segments from the previous films just to remind you that you’re watching a Bourne film. And while its nice that they tried tie this film with the others, I kind of found it distracting and I just wanted this film to tell its own story. Eventually the film actually picks up and starts to get interesting when Aaron Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing start to dominate the screen. The film is at it’s best when these two characters are involved, other than that everything is sort of average, nothing special.

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The cast of this film is actually pretty good, but their characters are pretty lame and forgettable bar Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz. Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross was pretty good, at first I was trying to see why I should like his character but once he get got interacting with other characters I saw why. He was likeable, funny and tough. He went through the film trying to get answers and beating guys up in stylish ways (basically doing what Matt Damon did before). Renner handled his combat scenes well, though I expected nothing less from Hawkeye from The Avengers! Though when you compare his story and situation to Jason Bourne, he doesn’t come close to the complex and dramatic tales that Matt Damon endured in the previous three films. Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing was pretty good as well, seeing her character try to adjust to all of the crazy scenarios happening and have to put her trust in Aaron was interesting. Her and Renner had some great screen time together and while Weisz’s American accent was okay, throughout the film her British accent was breaking though and to be honest I would have prefered her natural accent. Everyone else in the film was good, but they weren’t really all that interesting. Every new face that entered the film just weren’t that interested. Most of them made the plot feel cluttered and unlike the other Bourne films where every character felt relevant or linked to the main story, in Legacy everyone who wasn’t Aaron or Marta just felt dull.

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When it comes to the presentation of the film it is pretty good. The action scenes and sequences are interesting, inventive and nicely choreographed, though none of them ever reach that fever-pitch that the previous Bourne films do, plus a lot of good fight scenes or chase sequences were in the trailers so when you watch the film there isn’t much left to surprise you. The soundtrack by James Newton Howard isn’t as good or as memorable as the previous soundtracks done by John Powell, while Howard borrows a few musical cues from the other films, his music here never quite has that dramatic or emotional sound.

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In conclusion The Bourne Legacy is a good film, but in my opinion it is nowhere near as intriguing, dramatic or cool as the original Bourne trilogy. I hate to keep comparing, but its hard when the other Bourne films were so good and then you come to this film hoping for more of the same only to be disappointed. That isn’t to say that this film isn’t without its merits; Jeremy Renner is a great leading man, the action and level of conspiracy is nice and this story, once it finds its feet is pretty interesting. Go out and watch The Bourne Legacy, it’s a nice summer film, just don’t expect anything as great as the Jason Bourne adventures.

Rating: 7

Well that’s been my review ladies and gentlemen, hopefully you enjoyed and drop me a comment, let me know what you thought of the film. Until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: The Bourne Legacy

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another instalment of Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012 and today’s film may surprise some of you as it the upcoming fourth instalment in the Bourne film series; The Bourne Legacy.

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Now if you’re like me and you’ve seen The Bourne Trilogy with Matt Damon then you know how brilliant those films are and the significance that they hold. While the films don’t revolutionize the world of cinema or anything like that, The Bourne Trilogy is well-made, perfectly executed and one of the most consistent trilogies in recent years along with the Toy Story and The Lord of the Rings. This trilogy first started in 2002 with The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man found in a critical condition with no memory of his past. After he is nursed to health he starts to patch things together and then goes on a mission to find his past, also add into the mix that he’s being hunted by assassins and the involvement of the CIA and you have a lot on your plate. Luckily Jason Bourne is up for the challenge. The Bourne Identity is one of those wonderful films that impresses you from start to finish, it’s not one of those thriller type of movies just for the sake of it. This film has all the codes and conventions of a great thriller film, it’s smart, with a well though out and thought-provoking story, it’s also action-packed and has characters you can get invested in and care about. Doug Liman did a fine job as the director, Matt Damon was awesome in the film and it was well-received by critics and the public audience.

And with the success of the first film, the Bourne series continued with the next two titles in the series; The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), now both under the direction of Paul Greengrass. The next two Bourne films continued Jason Bourne story as he continued to search for answers to his past and dive deeper into the business with the CIA and Treadstone. Just like Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum continue to impress and go from strength to strength developing the characters and creating a very interesting story full of a web of conspiracy, lies and deceit. And besides some issues with the “shaky camera” work from certain scenes The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum were well-received, commercially successful and The Bourne Ultimatum even won three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing at the 80th Academy Awards. After this point the Bourne series had established itself as a pretty successful film trilogy.

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A solid trilogy… There was no need for a fourth film. Darn money-hungry film studios.

The films are partially based on a series of books by Robert Ludlum, and while I have never read the books personally I’ve heard they are pretty good. Now embarrassingly I didn’t get around to watching any of these films until around 2009 to 2010 I think, I’d always heard of them but had never really been interested. But after being in a media class and watching a number of thriller films I gave these films a watch and I fell in love with them. The current Bourne Trilogy is one of my favourite trilogies ever, it was perfect, consistent and fine the way it was. I could watch those films over and over for an eternity…

So imagine my frustration and to find that there was potentially going to be another film.

I am a firm believer that most film series should never go beyond a third film unless there really is a need for it like if the third film sucked or if there is much more story to divulge. The Bourne Trilogy was solid, there really wasn’t a need for another film. Sure there were still some questions left unanswered still leaving the door open for more material but I feel the series ended with enough closure. So in 2008 it was reported that Paul Greengrass was going to direct again and Matt Damon was going to play Jason Bourne again. Then in 2009 Greengrass pulled out as director and then in 2010 Damon pulled out stating that he wouldn’t make another Bourne film without Greengrass and also said that the next film for him wouldn’t be made for 5 years. At that point it seemed like Bourne was going to be left alone, well at least that’s what I had hoped. It was announced by the writer and new director Tony Gilroy that the new film would be going ahead under the name The Bourne Legacy. His words on the justification of this new film’s existence caught my eye though, check it out:

“This is not a reboot, it’s a whole new chapter. The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for The Bourne Legacy, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy. We’re going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas… The world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s reappearance somewhere down the road.”

So basically this film would be building around the world that the first three films were set in? Hmmmm. While it was a smart way to stay connected to the previous films I was still wary. But I don’t think it was until 2011 when Jeremy Renner was announced as the new title character of the Bourne series. Right there and then I think many people on the internet became unhappy with the choice. I mean no offence to the guy, he’s a good actor and I know he can do action and thriller-based work from what I saw in The Town, but stepping into the world of Bourne just didn’t fit for a lot of us. I guess we were all too attached to Matt Damon. But then who wouldn’t be? Filming also started in 2011 and then Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton were cast and I was like “What? Really? Okay I’m a little more interested now.” Firstly Rachel Weisz is not only a great actress but she’s hot as hell and Edward Norton is great actor too full of talent, so if this film could attract them then this film might be worth checking out.

But my interest wasn’t properly caught until this short trailer came out in February:

I saw this trailer and I had to actually watch it twice, it was nicely stylized, had the same sort of tone from the previous films and it showcased Jeremy Renner basically doing what Matt Damon did before; basically going to get answers and beating guys up in stylish ways. But obviously in a totally different environment and under different circumstances. Renner certainly looked combat-ready and able to handle himself. However I can’t help but think that this film shouldn’t exist or that it won’t compare to the previous titles. I know that’s close-minded, but it’s only because of my opinions on film series’ being overstretched. I am really interested in The Bourne Legacy just to see what Jeremy Renner and crew do with this one, whether it’ll be compared the previous films and stand on its own or whether it’ll fail. I guess we’ll just have to wait until August to find out. Either way, this summer has just gotten hotter with another interesting summer movie.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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