Jason Bourne


Jason Bourne
Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander
Directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language

After a brief hiatus, Bourne (Damon) is back again and this time he remembers almost everything about his past. But when he discovers what brought him to his predicament in the first place, he goes after the person in charge (Jones).

If you are a big fan of the other Bourne films, you’ll probably enjoy this one. It has the same frenetic energy, high octane action and a familiar storyline. The acting isn’t fantastic, but it doesn’t have to be for this. It is exactly what it needs to be to serve the story.

The last couple of Bourne films that Paul Greengrass directed gave me a headache due to the obnoxious camera work. My guess is that the camera work is much the same here, but this time I had a nice Pinot Noir during the movie (thank you AMC theaters) and my nerves were much more able to handle it.

While the movie is entertaining, my biggest complaint is the originality. These Bourne films all seem like the same story to me, just in different locales. Bourne discovers a bit about himself, then he goes after the man responsible. Rinse, wash, repeat. They have deviated so far from the books at this point that it seems impossible to go back, so they just keep giving the audience what they think they want. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t. At least it is once again a fun ride. After all, I go to Disneyland a lot and ride the same rides over and over again, year after year. Why should my movies be different. B-

New in Home Entertainment – July 26, 2016


New in Home Entertainment

July 26, 2016

Barbershop: The Next Cut
Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Taking a decade off from the franchise, Ice Cube and gang are back to cutting hair in his father’s barbershop, and as violence gets worse on the streets of Chicago, he is considering selling the shop to move to a ritzier, and thus safer, location. I’ve always considered this to be a franchise for a black audience, although it was fun to peak into their culture. To me, the first two films were sometimes funny, but with little meaning for me. This time however, the crew takes on real and relevant issues such as violent crime, gangs, poverty and politics. While they have little in the way of definitive answers, the discussions are fascinating and they are asking all of the right questions, all the while spitballing solutions. As a political commentary I found the movie to be quite brilliant. Many consider Ice Cube to be an entertainer that helped usher in the modern gang problem through his rap group NWA, but here he is a father trying to figure a way out, for both his own family and the country. I love a comedy that makes me think more than laugh. I also love it when a movie reminds me of how similar we all are, regardless of our personal cultures and histories. A

Hardcore Henry
Rated R for non stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 48%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Told like a first person shooter video game, Henry is a man, reconstructed with robotics, who must go on a killing rampage to stay alive and rescue his girl. It is literally 90 minutes of hardcore action with the most excessive violence I have ever seen in a movie. While I am amazed at the filmmaking aspect and artistry, I honestly don’t think it has a place in our society, especially given so many recent events where killers attempt to take out random victims as quickly and maliciously as possible. C-

The New World: The Criterion Collection
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
While the 172 minutes extended cut of Terrence Malick’s beautiful vision of the John Smith/Pocahontas story has been available for some time now, Criterion has taken the production to a new level with this set which includes the extended cut as well as the original theatrical 135 minute cut and the 150 minute first cut, all remastered in HD. If you haven’t seen this remarkable film, it’s definitely worth a look. Told almost like a dream, this is the first of many films where Malick has teamed up with multiple Oscar winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant), creating a magnificent and poetic story that gives the sense that you are exploring the American landscape with John Smith himself. Loaded with new features, it is also a must have for Malick fans, even if you already own previous versions. A

New in Home Entertainment – July 19, 2016

Batman Superman

New in Home Entertainment

July 19, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
PG-13 for intense sequences and action throughout and some sensuality
Extended Cut Rated R sequences of violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 27%
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and 4K Ultra HD
With the huge success that Marvel has had with their Avengers franchise, DC has moved into that space with this new Justice League intro that poses an angry Batman who sees a threat in the newest disasters surrounding Superman – and thus tries to put an end to the alien hero. It’s a great idea for a story, but it is so poorly executed and so excessive that it becomes tedious rather than fun. This version goes even further with a redundant 3 hour long extended cut topped off with an R rating, as if the original wasn’t enough. Perhaps they should have given us a 2 hour version instead with a tighter, more coherent story? C

Elvis & Nixon
Rated R for some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
One of the most iconic photos from the White House is that of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon from 1970. Since all that is known of the visit is that Elvis just showed up one day, this movie makes up a scenario where a somewhat unstable King shows up offering to help Nixon put an end to the drug war. It’s a crazy, somewhat silly story that is entertaining for sure. It has some big laughs and some great performances by Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis. B

Van Gogh
Rated R for sexuality and nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
French with English Subtitles
This early 90’s biopic about the famed impressionist by iconic French director Maurice Pialat follows the artist in his last 60 days before his tragic death at the age of 37. Vincent Van Gogh lived a hard life and you can’t expect a movie based solely on his life to come off as beautiful as his paintings. That’s why it’s up to to the filmmakers to present the beauty. And here they just didn’t do that. Pialat’s story is dry and lacks the very artistic vision you would expect from a project such as this. Overall it’s just a long, disappointing portrayal of a man who deserves so much more. C-

New in Home Entertainment – July 12, 2016

Everybody Wants Some

New in Home Entertainment

July 12, 2016

Everybody Wants Some!!
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In his first outing since his critical smash Boyhood, writer/director Richard Linklater brings us a film very similar in theme and format to his classic teen comedy Dazed and Confused. Rather than the last day of high school, here a group of college baseball players in San Marcos come together before the 1980 school years gets on its way. Watching the antics of a bunch of free-spirited athletes party and have fun is surely entertaining to watch. As you’d expect, the dialog is engaging and there’s lots of it. With more of a sense of nostalgia rather than relevance, the film lacks a compelling narrative, and thus lacks the depth of many of Linklater’s recent projects. But the charms of the film are still hard to resist. B

Boy & The World
Rated PG for thematic material and images
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Brazil has been getting a lot of bad press these days, but one good thing we’ve gotten from them is this little gem of a picture, which was recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. This beautifully hand-drawn project tells the tale of a young boy who goes on a quest to reunite his family when his father leaves for the city to find work. The unique animation style is mesmerizing and while the storytelling seems simple, it should resonate with both adults and children. There is no dialog, aside from some occasional mumbles, so you won’t have to worry about subtitles getting in the way of your kids’ enjoyment. B+

Miracles from Heaven
Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical issues
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Jennifer Garner stars in this latest big-budget faith-based film, based on the true story and book by Christy Wilson Beam. Miracles tells the story of a Fort Worth family whose daughter develops a rare disease, leading her to experience a Heavenly journey when faced with death. Just like Sony’s handling of Heaven is For Real, this project is less Christian than most films of the genre, and chooses to be “spiritual” instead, glossing over much of the Christian message. But it does have its merits. The acting is rather good for a film of this type and while completely manipulative, as you’d expect, it still deals up some rather good drama and emotion. B-

The Mermaid
Rated R for violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In Mandarin with English Subtitles
Writer/director Stephen Chow has given us some of the weirdest and most enjoyable foreign cinema over the years with hits such as Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer. Here he takes on environmental issues when a mermaid attempts to change the mind of a young billionaire who is being manipulated by outside forces to commit harm to ocean life. Of course all of this is done with Chow’s weird signature and humor, which is apparently enough to make this the highest grossing film in Chinese history. I love the strange, unique take Chow brings here, but honestly, the awful use of special effects distracts from the enjoyment. The film’s effects look like it was made 20 years ago rather than coming from a technologically advanced filmmaking culture. B-

My Golden Days
Rated R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Available on DVD
In French with English Subtitles
Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) plays a middle-aged anthropologist who, while being detained coming back from a trip to Tajikistan, reminisces his youth through a series of flashbacks. The story is interesting but the drama, while I’m sure is authentic, is, for lack of a better word, French. For those into French cinema, there is gold at the end of the rainbow. For others, the film will be a huge, depressing turnoff. B-