The Bourne Legacy (Gilroy, 2012)

One moment of quiet solitude stands out amongst all the kinetic action sequences and globetrotting theatrics that have defined the Jason Bourne trilogy up to this point: a man’s lifeless body floats in the ocean, captured in low angle by a submerged camera and backlit by brilliant moonlight. It’s a shot that represents the fragility of this nimble and powerful character, who so often seems superhuman. The Bourne Legacy, the fourth installment in the series, begins with this very same pictorial, except the image feels frozen in time, even more somber and poetic. As if to linger on the franchise’s past before sending it in a new direction, director Tony Gilroy (who has had a hand in scripting each Bourne) references the seemingly lifeless body before revealing it to be very much alive, a shirtless swimmer in mid-stroke.

Full review at Critic Speak.

Best of the 2000’s: #5

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– “The Best of the Decade Project” is an ongoing series of essays written by Match Cuts and The Filmist concerning the finest films of the last ten years.

The weight of costly decisions infuse every moment of Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. During the film’s daylong timeframe these moments add up to an overwhelming sense of regret and unease, amplifying the fragile relationship between character and environment. The singular story of Monty Brogan (Edward Norton), a convicted drug dealer spending his last night with family and friends before beginning a seven year prison sentence, takes place in the tender months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, exploring deep into the traumatized heart of New York City. Locations become shifting, tormented characters, and Monty’s personal tragedy becomes a bedfellow for a larger often unmentioned day of reckoning. Continue reading

The Incredible Hulk (Leterrier, 2008)

Louis Leterrier’s incompetent and gap-riddled hodgepodge makes Ang Lee’s previous arty foray into Hulk-dom seem like a breath of fresh air. But maybe there’s an excuse, or at least an explanation. Apparently upon release, this The Incredible Hulk was whittled down to a more “audience friendly” length, much to the dismay of star Edward Norton. So the slower character-driven scenes have been eliminated in favor of a relentless, special effects-ladened pace. It shouldn’t be much of surprise then that the plot is absurdly contrived, weighed down by ridiculous CGI scenes and inane characterizations. If I were Norton, I’d be turning angry green right about now.