Archives for posts with tag: Matt Damon

Grade C +

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass returns to the “Bourne” series to make the 5th “Bourne” movie, “Jason Bourne.”  This is a perfect case of Hollywood squeezing every penny out of a story that should have ended a long time ago.  “Bourne” fans: don’t blame Damon — if someone offered you millions to do a movie, you’d do it too.

Okay, so the story of “Jason Bourne”…umm…have you seen the first three “Bourne” movies?  Yes?  Then you know the story to this fifth installment of the series.  But let me give you some more details.  Damon (as Bourne) is unhappily living a life “off the grid” beating the hell out of big guys for money, then he finds out about data stolen from the CIA computers that has info about Damon’s past.   Wait…didn’t Damon already received this info from “Supremacy?”  Well…this is new information!  About Damon’s daddy.  And what daddy did while working for the CIA.  And how daddy died.  And who killed daddy.   And daddy’s connection to the super spy programs that Damon was tied to.   Damon needs to know!

So Damon resurfaces, CIA heads get afraid again and put out a kill order on Damon, Damon evades the assassins and gets closer to the truth and the bad guys, yada yada yada.  Oh, there’s a big, car chase sequence that goes on for so long, you can take a nap and when you wake up, it’s still going.  And there is still the common shenanigan in the “Bourne” movies where Damon, for the most part, wears no disguise despite being wanted by the biggest spy agency in the world.

Well, let’s get to it: my most memorable, movie moment of “Jason Bourne.”  That would be the scene when **SPOILER ALERT** Julia Stiles’ character is killed.  I liked her character, and I was sorry to see her go in such a violent manner.  But at least Stiles won’t have to suffer being in the 6th movie, “Bourne Again” or the 7th movie, “Bourne To Kill.”

If this movie was a financial instrument, it would be a savings account.  Why?  Because the returns are soooooo small.  You put your time and money into a movie, only to get a teeny tiny bit that is new, and the rest is the same old stuff from before.  This movie is tired, most of the actors here look tired, and the story is definitely tired and needs to be retired.

— M

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Grade B +

Manny’s Movie Musings: Taking place immediately after the end of “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” once again stars Matt Damon as the ex-spy whom the CIA just can’t leave alone.   With the information Damon received in “Supremacy,” he sets out for the U.S. to find out more about who he is and how he came to be the way he is.  Some members of the upper management of the CIA aren’t so happy with Damon being alive and actively seeking information that could bring prison time to said members of CIA upper management, so a standing order to shoot on sight is greenlit on Damon.  But Damon does have two friends in the CIA, possibly giving him all the edge he needs to stay alive and finally unravel the mystery of how he came to be spy.  Director Paul Greengrass ups the ante in this third “Bourne” movie, giving us a faster pacing, more intensity, longer action set pieces, and bigger stakes.  This was a good “end” to the series…if this was truly the end — we know now there were more to come.  My most memorable, movie moment of “The Bourne Ultimatum” is Damon’s fight scene with an assassin named Desh.  As with previous “Bourne” movies, the fights are long, raw and savage, with Damon using household objects to fight and kill his opponents.

— M

Grade B

Manny’s Movie Musings: Matt Damon returns for the second of the “Bourne” movies in “The Bourne Supremacy.”   Living in India with his girlfriend (played by Franka Potente), Damon’s worst fears comes true when he is pursued by a secret agent (Karl Urban).   Believing it is the CIA out to kill him, Damon takes the fight to them, unaware that Urban works for a rich, Russian businessman who wants Damon dead to tie up loose ends that began in the first movie.  Complicating matters is that Urban has framed Damon for the deaths of a few CIA agents.  With two groups out to kill him, Damon not only has to fight to stay alive, he has to figure out why he is being targeted for termination and by who.  Although “Supremacy” has a new director, the feel of the first movie carries over to this one — in other words, if you liked “Identity,” you will like “Supremacy.”  Fast pacing, frenetic action, a likeable hero, and a new revelation of Damon’s past all lead to a very entertaining movie.   My most memorable, movie moment of “The Bourne Supremacy” is the scene when Damon fights another Treadstone agent.   The fight is raw, brutal, and nasty — something “Bourne” fans have come to expect.

— M

Grade B

Manny’s Movie Musings: Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a highly trained, U.S. spy whose wounded body is found floating in an ocean by a fishing boat.  With no memory of who he is and what happened to him, he has to piece together how he came to be shot in the back and left for dead; and most importantly, who and what he is.  But Damon must do it fast, as time is running out and the ones he worked for are sending assassins to find him.  “The Bourne Identity” is  top-notch spy movie, filled with action, suspense, and a mystery that is slowly explained as the movie goes on.  Matt Damon is well suited for the role, and with the help of fancy editing, he comes off as a martial arts expert who can quickly dispatch multiple foes in a few seconds.   The movie moves along very fast, making the near two hour running time feel like it’s thirty minutes shorter than it is.  Fast pacing and a likeable hero (Damon) are two big strengths of this movie that fans of spy/thriller/suspense movies should not miss.  My most memorable, movie moment of “The Bourne Identity” is the scene when Damon evades the police with an original Mini car!   Hey, it’s not the car, it’s the driver that counts.

— M

Matt Damon plays an astronaut.  Again.  He is on another planet.  Again.  He is stranded.  Again.  He needs to be rescued.  Again.  Only this time, in “The Martian,” Damon isn’t a jerk.  Quite the opposite, Damon plays an extremely likeable scientist/botanist who is left behind Mars by his team of astronauts when a sandstorm strikes and Damon’s team believed that he was dead.  With a temporary base camp for shelter and about one month of food, Damon has to use every resource he has available — including his sense of humor and a never give up attitude — to survive long enough for NASA to send help.

Damon’s character is so intelligent and resourceful that I mistook him for MacGyver a few times.  Make no mistake, 99.999% of us wouldn’t make it past day 10.  Does that make this movie highly unrealistic?  Of course not, because there are thousands of highly intelligent people out there; and NASA doesn’t send idiots out into space.  Plus “The Martian” is considered sci-fi, so a bit of shenanigans are allowed.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Damon’s team (you know, the ones who scurried off the planet and left Damon for dead) are on their spaceship and close to Earth, and they are given the news that Damon and NASA have suffered several setbacks and Damon will most likely die on Mars.  But…there is a small chance he could be rescued if Damon’s team slingshots around Earth, picks up supplies provided by the Chinese, and heads back to Mars to prepare a James Bond-style pickup while in space (you’ll see what I mean if you watch a lot of James Bond movies).   It is a risky plan that jeopardizes the lives of 5 more astronauts/scientists and adds many more months of space travel, and the team takes a vote on whether they go home or go back for Damon.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Martian” is the scene when Damon figures out how he can create more food and oxygen and water to wait out the rescue that he hopes will come.  The ingenuity of this guy is amazing, and it is at this point that I was really rooting for this guy to make it.  I think most of the success of this movie is owed to Damon’s character connecting with the audience — we care about this guy, we feel great when he figures out a problem and are saddened to see a failure.  For two hours and twenty-four minutes, Damon is our friend who we want to see come home safely.

Yes, Maximus, I was entertained…but also confused regarding some of the science stuff that just went over my head.

— M

The American people were duped into invading Iraq with tales of Saddam Hussein having Weapons of Mass Destruction, and it was up to us to stop this madman from using the WMDs against the world.  And so, after hundreds of billions of dollars — if not trillions — spent, and many U.S. soldiers killed and maimed, and countless Iraqi civilians killed, no WMDs were found.  “The Green Zone” is a movie that deals with this subject.

Matt Damon plays a U.S. soldier leading a unit to hunt for WMDs.  Risking his life and those of his men, he goes from one spot to another that supposedly hides the WMDs.  He finds nothing on every occasion, and starts questioning the validity of the intelligence reports regarding the WMDs.  Eventually his curiosity leads him to the person who gave the U.S. government intel regarding the WMDs, as well as the dirty, backroom dealings among the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA.

“The Green Zone” is a highly entertaining, extremely intense, very suspenseful movie.  There are many combat sequences that are raw, gritty, and in your face.  It gives me an idea of the hardships our soldiers go through during urban combat: not knowing if, when and where the enemy will pop up to take a shot at you.  And it’s not just the fighting that’s stressful and scary, it’s also dealing with the crowds of people on the street as you drive to go to and from a mission.  This movie made me feel as if I was there, and it got my heart pumping and my mind wondering how I would’ve handled the situations our soldiers deal with on a regular basis.

The direction and pacing of “The Green Zone” is top of the line.  Even the scenes with just dialogue demands your attention.  And the scene that received the most of my attention is my most memorable, movie moment: when Damon’s Iraqi informant — after being abused many times by U.S. soldiers — asks Damon what more does the informant have to do in order to prove to the U.S. soldiers that he just wants to help.  The informant tells Damon that he doesn’t want money; he wants to do his part to bring about a better future for Iraq.  It makes sense.  Americans are just visitors.  This man has to live there.

“The Green Zone” is a reminder to us all that we should not blindly trust our government officials.  The greater someone’s power, the more that person should be distrusted.  Power corrupts.  You know the rest.

M

“Geronimo: An American Legend” is based on the true story of a fierce, Chiricahua Apache warrior who waged war against the Mexicans and Americans in the 1800s.  With names such as Walter Hill, Jason Patric, Wes Studi, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Matt Damon and John Milius attached to this movie, you would think “Geronimo: An American Legend” would be a very good movie.  Not so.  In the words of Daffy Duck in one of his old school cartoons, this movie is, “dare I say, mediocre!”

I’ve seen many Walter Hill movies.  “48 Hours/Wild Bill/Extreme Prejudice/The Long Riders/The Warriors/Southern Comfort.”   These are very good, very entertaining movies that had great pacing and very good direction.  The man knows what he’s doing.  So I don’t know what happened with “Geronimo.”  We all have our off days, that I understand.   But to have an off movie?  On average it takes months to produce a Hollywood A-movie.  And that doesn’t take into account pre-production and post-production.   So having an off movie means a director was off his game for almost a year.

But it’s not all Hill’s fault.  The screenplay was also mediocre.  And that is also shocking as John Milius is known for writing good scripts.  “Geronimo” is simply not an exciting script.  The pacing is off, it’s not structured well.   For those of you who don’t write screenplays, or never bothered to really analyze the pacing of a good movie, there’s a level of tension that keeps rising to the very end.  Of course, there are moments when the tension decreases, but when it starts again, it gets higher than the previous high.  So if you were to graph it, it would be a jagged, upward climb from left to right.   If I were to graph the pacing/tension of “Geronimo” we would see flatlines and severe dips all throughout.   A script that has that will translate into an uneven, boring movie.

There’s another person to blame here: Jason Patric.   His performance is one dimensional.   No matter what is happening around him, he has the same expression.   There’s no energy or excitement to his performance.  He goes about his role as if he’s vacuuming a carpet.

What the hell!   Was everyone suffering from heat exhaustion during the making of this movie?   If that was the case, I can understand.  It takes me almost 2 hours to properly clean and protect all the exterior parts of my car, including putting all my supplies away.   The last time I did it was last Friday, when the temperature was 95 and sunny and humid.  By the time I was done, I was like a zombie for a little while because the sun just sapped most of my energy.

Okay, let’s move on to Matt Damon.  He gave a decent performance despite a small and underdeveloped role.   His talent simply wasn’t used properly.  Maybe it was because he was still considered small fry at the time the movie was made (around 1993).   He was so young in this movie that he looked like he was 15!

Wes Studi, the go-to Native American actor Hollywood chooses when they need someone to play an intense, Native American character, also does the best he can with the mediocre script given to him.   You can almost see the frustration in his face from being trapped in a movie that doesn’t unleash his full potential as an actor.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to scalp Hill and Milius and Patric.

Overall “Geronimo” feels like a direct to video B-movie.  I don’t know how long it lasted in the movie theaters.  Back then we didn’t have the speed of information available to the masses like we do now, so a movie like this, if hyped up enough, can sucker people into paying to watch it for a few weeks.   I’m happy to say I was not one of the suckers.  I waited until it was available at Blockbuster.

Ahh, Blockbuster.  I remember when they came into NYC/Long Island.  They made the mom and pop video stores virtually obsolete.   Porn was the only thing keeping some mom and pop stores alive, as Blockbuster refused to carry porn —  I never understood that;  a video store without porn is like a shoe without laces.   In the 90’s, Blockbuster was like the U.S. government and mom and pop video stores were like the Apache.   About a decade later, Blockbuster became the Apache, and the internet and Netflix was like the U.S. government.  How fitting.

And now we get to the most memorable movie moment in “Geronimo”:  the scene where Damon, Duvall, Patric, and an Apache scout come upon a Native American village that was massacred so that scalps can be had to exchange for money.   Duvall says something like “must be Texans…the lowest form of white man there is.”  Ha ha!  I have nothing against Texas or Texans.   I simply find white people disparaging certain groups of white people hilarious.

In second place for most memorable movie moment is the scene where the Apache scouts, who work for the U.S. Army, are disarmed, discharged, arrested and imprisoned when their services are no longer needed.  To add insult to injury, an Army officer thanked them for their service on behalf of Uncle Sam.

I don’t know about the rest of you; but when I get a good screwing, I’m the one who does the thanking!

M

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