Friday, August 31, 2007

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

Movie Title: The Bourne Ultimatum
Starring: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Staithairn, Julia Stiles, Edgar Ramirez and Scott Glenn.
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
My Rating: 9/10

This just might be the first time in film history that a threequel (part 3 of a franchise) is the best one of the trilogy! Ultimatum's predecessors The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy were brilliant action movies as well, but part-3's depth and execution ruled them all. By this third movie we've come to accept the movie will be different from the book (again) - to suit current political conditions and aftermaths, as well as technological advances. The first movie disappointed many fans of the book due to the story change, despite the kick ass action. The second movie had better locales (Goa in India to start with, thank you) and a smoother progression. Yet Ultimatum has to be the best entertainer of the summer this year, and I'm glad for the same.

While attempting to minimize spoilers in this post and others to come, I'll still say that the movie starts not after where the last one ended, but 10 mins before the ending of Supremacy. Jason Bourne (Damon), the ex-CIA hitman who's conscience had him fail a mission and woke up with amnesia after floating in the Mediterranean sea for a little while, starts to remember his training days and induction into the "Treadstone" program of the Agency. Information of Bourne's background gets "leaked" to a British journalist and lands up on the papers in the UK, which awakens Bourne from his exile once again, as well as the CIA guys working on Treadstone's upgrade, called "Blackbriar." The cat and mouse game between the agents, headed by Vosen (Straithairn, another great performance) and Bourne. BUT - it continues to be confusing who the cat is and who the mouse is. If Bourne is the mouse, he's the Jerry to Tom. After a failed attempt to capture Bourne, Pamela Landy (Allen, who made Supremacy better than Identity) is called upon to advise them on Bourne's moves and signals.

The chase continues to Spain and Morocco, with great cinematography and car chase scenes. Bourne runs into his old colleague at Treadstone, Nicky (Stiles, wooden as ever) and she surprisingly ends up helping him.

The two hit-men sent to get Bourne were nothing short of bad-ass. Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez (from Domino) was way colder than Clive Owen in the first movie, and Joey Ansah played the Moroccan operative like the hero of a B-grade martial arts movie. Veteran actor Scott Glenn played the CIA director, and fared decently in his short role, so did Albert Finney as Bourne's old trainer.

Matt Damon just established himself an ideal action movie star. I did miss Franka Potente and Julia Stiles was the only actor that didn't impress me much. However, I say thank God for Joan Allen being in this movie. If Damon was the protagonist, she was the backbone of the entire movie, best support an action movie can get.

Okay, I better cut this short before any more potential spoilers. Go watch it if you haven't yet. I'm going to buy the DVD, for sure. Maybe all 3 now. Hmm..

9.25/10 - my Nestle frozen chocolate drink went very well with that! :-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Comedy Reviews: Chuck/Larry and Simpsons Movie

Movie Title: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Akyroyd, Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames.
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Genre: Comedy
My Rating: 7.5/10

James and Sandler play two straight firefighters in NYC who decide to fake a marriage to benefit widower James' children as far as insurance etc goes. The marriage is real, the gayness is not. Don't ask. They're advised to do so by their lawyer, played but eye candy Jessica Biel. As Adam Sandler gets older, the heroines in his movies keep getting younger. Not a bad deal. Happens in other parts of the world, doesn't it?

The supporting cast is praiseworthy. Dan Akyroyd as their fire chief, Ving Rhames in a very unusual role, Steve Buscemi creepy as ever, and Sandler's entourage that appears in every movie of his all did a decent job. Only actor missing was Rob Schneider, but not terribly missed.

7.5/10. Funny movie, not for the terribly homophobic. It'll satisfy hard-core Adam Sandler fans, and moderately amuse King of Queens fans. Sandler is back to his old ways, less of a super goody goody smart ass and more of an apathetic clown. Chuck/Larry will make a good rental with some buddies on a Saturday evening when you don't feel like going out.

Movie Title: The Simpsons Movie
Directed by: David Silverman
Genre: Animation/Comedy/Family
My Rating: 8/10

Quick review. Great movie, amusing, watchable by all ages. I stopped watching Simspons almost a decade ago and still enjoyed this flick. It was much better than 2 hours of Simpsons episodes at a strectch. Also a group movie.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Movie Review: Live Free Or Die Hard

Live Free or Die HardMovie Title: Live Free or Die Hard
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Timothy Olyphant, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Cliff Curtis.
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action/Thriller
My Rating: 8.5/10

Bravo! Who would have expected a part-4 (or a fourquel) would be this good? I mean, it wasn't as amazing as Die Hard 1 or 3, but better than 2 and good enough for a summer action entertainer.

Willis reprises his role as bad-ass NYPD cop John McLane, divorced and estranged from his kids. But still a cop, and not seen with the bottle this time around. For better or worse, none of the characters from the previous DH movies return, and Willis stands tall and alone around characters much younger to him. Assuming the last minute 2 AM job of escorting a hacker (Long - the "mac" guy) from NYC to DC as a favor to the feds is a one-off thing, turns out to be another save-the-day task for the aging and balded cop. Former Secret Service whiz Thomas Gabriel (Deadwood's Olyphant) decides to teach the US government a lesson by exposing all the open holes in the federal computer system and creating a fire sale as a whole.

The action is great! A good change from the sci-fi overdose these days, old school unrealistic stunts worked well in this movie. What I missed is the lack of swearing. Yes, this movie is rated PG-13, WTF? I understand it's releasing in the summer and would be nice to attract more teenage crowd, but still. A Die Hard movie is incomplete without the overdose of foul verbage. John McLane hasn't gone all that senile, has he? Hope the DVD is uncut. Oh, spoilers aside, he does say what he say at the end of every DH movie before killing the villain. Thank God for that least.

Willis excels in the role he knows best. The character and the actor both have aged well in this movie. Justin Long deserves praise as well, being the spokesperson for Apple's Macintosh computers on TV commercials establishes his image as a computer guy well. Timothy Olyphant, well this is not the first time he simply plays a baddie, and does ok. Maggie Q did a decent job as a kung-fu assistant of the villain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Willis' daughter who gets kidnapped when the veteran cop gets too hard to handle.

8.5/10. Best actioneer of the summer so far. Enjoy this dude flick.