Ep. 85 – Jason Bourne, Batman: The Killing Joke, and Cody broke his lil’ baby toe!

August 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod talk Jason Bourne, Batman: The Killing Joke, recap the Bridesmaids champagne party, and figure out just how Cody managed to break his toe.

[00:00-17:25] Intro/Bridesmaids recap/Cody’s toe

[17:25-30:02] Jason Bourne

[30:02-43:27] Batman: The Killing Joke

[43:27-48:08] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Jason Bourne

July 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones
Directed by: Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Captain Phillips”)
Written by: Paul Greengrass (“United 93”) and Christopher Rouse (debut)

When we last saw Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) nine years ago, he had finally found himself. It turns out his real name was David Webb, and he was a good soldier who signed up for the Treadstone program run by the CIA that created brutal, badass, and brainwashed assassins. After spending three films on the run, dodging surveillance and special agents unleashed upon him from various corrupt men and women in computer-filled rooms across the globe, Bourne was free—so to speak. So much so that you could be forgiven for thinking his story was over. After all, Damon and director Paul Greengrass had seemingly hung things up and Universal had moved on, crafting the unsatisfying side-quel “The Bourne Legacy” with Jeremy Renner as a Bourne-adjacent character named Aaron Cross.

In my review of that film from 2012, I accused the studio of pulling “a ‘Teen Wolf Too'” and making “a movie where everyone knows who Jason Bourne is, but since he’s not around they just made the story about this other guy who’s just like him instead and called it ‘The Bourne Legacy.’” Eager to get the eternally-bland taste of Renner out of everyone’s mouth, Damon and Greengrass returned to retake the franchise, and the result is…well, the pretty bland “Jason Bourne.”

Bourne foil-turned-associate Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) opens the film hacking into the CIA to steal classified files for the movie’s proxy Edward Snowden (the real-life Snowden and the rise of social inform this universe more than the original trilogy’s post-Cold War paranoia). When she’s made by agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) figures Bourne can’t be far behind. An assassin with ties to Bourne (Vincent Cassel) is dispatched to kill the pair. When Bourne slips through their fingers and is put on the trail of his dead father, Lee and Dewey work to stop Bourne from exposing the agency’s secrets. You know…again.

The problem with “Jason Bourne” is that it never finds a sense of purpose—much like the character himself. The first three films in the series were about Bourne finding out how he became who he is now—and those questions were answered. Nearly a decade later, “Jason Bourne” asks “what about Bourne’s dad?” And really, the answer is about what you’d expect. Stir in yet another corrupt CIA official, a half-hearted stab at social media privacy, and some frankly dolt-ish faux consumer electronics gear, and you might wish Bourne had stayed in hiding instead of going through the motions one more time.

Captain Phillips

October 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Tom Hanks, Bakhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Directed by: Paul Greengrass (“United 93”)
Written by: Billy Ray (“State of Play”)

Not so much “Bourne” as it is a real-world drama like his restrained albeit powerful 2006 masterpiece “United 93,” director Paul Greengrass takes the same kind of reflective approach to “Captain Phillips,” the true story of a merchant mariner who was kidnapped by Somali pirates in April 2009. With Greengrass at the helm and two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks on board as Phillips, “Captain” is one of this year’s most well-crafted and convincing films and one that chronicles the bravery of the men who were able to end an epic standoff in a very impressive way.

Based on the book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea” by Phillips and Stephan Talty, “Captain Phillips” introduces us to its title character Richard Phillips, a veteran cargo ship captain whose life out at sea has become one that he and his wife Andrea (Catherine Keener) have grown accustom to. When Capt. Phillips arrives to the port for his next trip to Kenya and tells Andrea that he will “call [her] when [he] gets there,” it’s reminiscent of the words he tells Helen Hunt in “Cast Away” (“I’ll be right back!”) right before boarding a FedEx plane that crashes in the South Pacific. Things don’t turn out very well in either case.

When four money-hungry Somali pirates (led by first-time actor Barkhad Abdi as pirate leader Muse) find a way to take over the ship, Capt. Phillips is put in a situation no amount of pirate emergency drills could prepare him for. With most of his crew hiding in the lower decks, he is able to handle the aggressive Somalians who are adamant about making millions off their hijack. When the pirates’ plans don’t pan out, Capt. Phillips finds himself negotiating with the men to take the $30,000 inside the safe and leave peacefully on the ship’s lifeboat. But when the captain is forced onto the vessel himself and plans are made to use him as ransom, it’s up to the Navy SEALS to step in and take command of an extremely dangerous and seemingly unmanageable situation.

No stranger to being trapped or deserted in some regard (see the aforementioned “Cast Away,” his role as astronaut Jim Lovell in “Apollo 13” and to a more fantastical effect his role in “Big”), Hanks is simply masterful as Capt. Phillips. It’s easily his best lead performance since his last Oscar nomination in 2001’s “Cast Away” and one that should garner him the sixth nomination of his career. On deck with his crew and later with the pirates, Hanks emits a dominant demeanor despite knowing he could die at any second. His acting only gets better as the film continues onto the lifeboat where Hanks and Abdi both attempt to make the best case out of a worst-case scenario. They’re interaction is beyond intense as the lifeboat speeds through the choppy waters of the Somalian Gulf with U.S. military surrounding them.

While the film could’ve used a bit more emotional heft in portraying the captain as a family man, Greengrass keeps the blood boiling at such high levels. It’s no surprise he can do this well, especially with the work he has done with his more action-packed films like the “Bourne” films. Transferring that kind of gripping narrative into something with far fewer guns and hand-to-hand combat is a challenge, but he succeeds impressively. And if you think the final mission in last year’s “Zero Dark Thirty” was something to ooh and aah about, the last half hour of “Captain Phillips” rivals it shot for shot. It might even make you want to get to the nearest Navy recruit station as soon as possible. Hooyah!

Green Zone

March 13, 2010 by  
Filed under CineStrays

Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Jason Isaacs
Directed by: Paul Greengrass (“United 93”)
Written by: Brian Helgeland (“Mystic River”)

While there are plenty of thrilling moments in this political war game, director Paul Greengrass does something he didn’t come close to doing in his masterpiece that was “United 93” – he preaches up a storm. It’s unfortunate that Greengrass can’t play the film down the middle. With a pulse-pounding performance by Matt Damon, “Green Zone” could have been so much more than just some time behind the political pulpit.