Quote of the Day: Jason Bourne

Matt is back! Self is ecstatic! She loves the Bourne movies. Better even than the Daniel Craig/James Bond movies.

And Matt is reuniting with the film’d Director, Paul Greengrass. YAY!

Today she saw the trailer, and in voice-over Bourne says: “Just because I remember everything doesn’t mean I know anything.” Or is it Julia Stiles’ character who tells Bourne: “Just because you remember everything doesn’t mean you know anything”? Not sure now.

Ha! Nice line, though.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


The Guardian: 75 Films to Watch in 2016

Self enjoys reading The Guardian. In particular, their film blog.

Yesterday, she stumbled across a piece called: 75 movies to look forward to in 2016.

75??? Only The Guardian would have the temerity to post such a mind-boggling list of 2016 movies.

Well, self will attempt to take a gander.

Here are her conclusions, after one read-through:

  • Keanu Reeves is back! He’s in at least three 2016 movies.
  • Michael Fassbender is in everything. Michael Shannon is in everything. Ryan Gosling is in at least two upcoming.
  • Matt Damon is back as Bourne (triple somersault YAY!) and Paul Greengrass is directing (Wowowowowowow!!!)
  • Charlie Hunnam Is. In. A. Movie (Oh God. It’s been too long)
  • Casey Affleck is in a movie. Self likes Casey Affleck. More than she likes his brother.
  • They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! And it’s starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver. Oh God.
  • Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (And this one actually seems like it might work)
  • Jennifer Lawrence is mentioned as getting $20 million for the space movie she’s in with Chris Pratt. BTW, people? She’s worth every penny.
  • They’re making a movie (Neon Demon) about “beauty-obsessed women in L.A.” and self loves the cast: Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning, and Christina Hendricks.
  • Star Wars spin-off Rogue One: Another Brit (Felicity Jones) stars.
  • Anthropoid, about the assassination of one of World War II’s most brutal concentration camp commanders: Reinhard Heydrich. This one stars Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. These are two gorgeous men, dear blog readers. If self weren’t already cheering about the plot, she’d be cheering at the prospect of seeing these men’s gorgeous cheekbones in close-up on the big screen.

BTW, saw Joy and enjoyed it. It seemed rather muted for a David O. Russell film, especially one starring his muse Jennifer Lawrence. Self thinks Amy Adams could have handled that part. But Jennifer is truly a force. Self refuses to complain too much about a film that has her in it.

Stay tuned.

The White Guy Trapped in a Den of Iniquity: J-Hutch’s New Movie

Don’t get self wrong:  she is a huge Josh Hutcherson aka Peeta Mellark fan.  So huge that it took her a year to get to Catching Fire (the book) because she was under the impression Peeta would be off-ed.  A day after she saw the Catching Fire movie, she went to B & N and bought the book. Then she bought Mockingjay. And since it’s been a long time since she’s seen Josh Hutcherson (All of 21. Or 22. Whatever) in anything other than SNL, which he hosted November 2013, she’s been reading fan fiction about Peeta Mellark. Like crazes.

Apparently, J-Hutch has a new movie coming out that is NOT Hunger Games. In Escobar: Paradise Lost, he has to play the innocent seduced by exotica. Which is, admittedly, quite a stretch from the Hunger Games LOL.

The film also stars Benicio del Toro and a lovely, scorching hot babe who is a much better match for Hutcherson as she is way more petite than Jennifer Lawrence.

Anyhoo, the Escobar movie has been making the rounds of the Film Festival circuit, and was recently at Telluride.

The writer assigned to review the movie on Indiewire is obviously a man (even without having to read his by-line, which self just did), because only a man would need to ask such an obvious question:

At some point you may wonder why we’ve devoted an entire first paragraph to Josh Hutcherson when the title character is played by Benicio freaking del Toro . . .

Self will dispense with the movie’s plot points, as it is so obvious that the only reason to make this movie was — EXACTLY. Josh Hutcherson.


And to provide J-Hutch with a new love interest because, ya know, J-Law has given her heart to another!

Musing over the current crop of screen hunks, self would have to say that Channing is quickly losing her interest (Those ears! Why did self never notice until now?), and Liam (Hemsworth, not Neeson, Neeson still totally rocks) just never did it for her, and Loki is fine but damn could they hurry up with another movie, and she was never into Ben Affleck, not even after Good Will Hunting, and Bourne was for a while the epitome of hotness but now they’ve replaced Damon with Renner (albeit playing different characters in the Bourne universe) and self still can’t get over the sense of betrayal, not to mention the fact that Josh is just so cute, especially in hijacked Peeta mode. Let’s just say self can understand 100% why Katniss, with Gale standing right by her side, completely loses it when she sees Peeta’s face projected on a large screen in the District 13 cafeteria — self means that it makes complete rational sense, and she thinks she’ll get a big kick out of Josh trying to evade Benicio del Toro. Because Benicio del Toro. Man. It’s enough to give self all sorts of FEELZ.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Denzel Bloody Denzel: Thoughts on “The Equalizer”

Isn’t Denzel getting too old for this kind of stuff?  Nope.  Assuredly not.  No one is too old to try becoming Charles “Il Bruto” Bronson.

Isn’t Chloe Moretz too young to be playing a hooker?  Nope. Because Jodie Foster showed the way. Next to play a hooker should be Abigail Breslin.

Was the movie theater full or not full? Self can always predict whether a movie has legs from the size of the audience of the first screening on opening weekend. The theater was 3/4 full.

Why did this movie remind her (sort of) of Training Day?  Because it had the same director, Anton Fuqua. (What a name. Self thinks it was inevitable that the boy born Anton Fuqua would turn into Movie Director Anton Fuqua)

How We Know Denzel’s Character is an Upstanding Citizen:  He never once tries to flirt with Chloe Moretz’s character. Even though she is pretty darn cute.  Instead, he talks to her about his ex-wife. And about Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Which clearly proves he is celibate. And noble. Has only the best interests of Chloe Moretz at heart when he engages her in light banter.

In addition, he helps a colleague during a hold-up — helpfully emptying her till for her and urging her to comply with the hold-upper’s demand for her ring.

When Denzel Makes His Intense Glare, we know that it is curtains for whoever is on the receiving end of said Glare.

Self only closed her eyes about four times. Not out of boredom but out of I-Can’t-Take-All-This-Gore responses.

The Hit Man in this movie was from Bourne 2. An elegant, dapper gent with a mournful countenance. It always helps when the Hit Man looks like he might have stumbled in from a GQ ad. This time, he did not have a British accent.

Note to Future Hit-Men:  Never pick on someone who works at Home Depot or places similar. Just think of the array of weapons the target will have at his/her disposal:  Hammers, all sizes; chainsaws, both battery-operated and not; screwdrivers, both electric and non-electric; nails. If the Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction had been working in a Home Depot, he wouldn’t have been so limited in his choice of revenge weapons. If the Transporter’s Jason Stathan had Home Depot instead of a limo at his disposal, he’d have been prancing down the aisles with wild abandon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Reading About James Bond in the June 5, 2014 NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

What treasures pack the pages of each copy of The New York Review of Books!

Self used to have a (20-year-old) subscription to the New York Times Book Review, but decided to discontinue it a few months ago.

To self, The NYRB is the far more interesting publication.

This evening, self is again plowing manfully through her ‘Pile of Stuff.’  She’s still experiencing Squaw Valley Writers Conference withdrawal symptoms (such as posting endlessly about it on her Facebook wall)

The Man is watching the 3rd or 4th Bourne (Matt Damon is the one and only, the né plus ultra of American action cool).

Self gamely tackles the June 5, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books and stumbles across an article by James Walton, called “Bondage,” which might also be fittingly sub-titled:  “Everything You Wanted to Know About Ian Fleming and His Most Famous Literary Creation, James Bond 007.”

  • Here is how Casino Royale, the first-ever James Bond novel (published 1953), began:  “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.”
  • Ian Fleming came up with the name for the world’s most famous spy “because he wanted something plain-sounding and James Bond was ‘the dullest name I’ve ever heard.’ “
  • Hard to imagine, perhaps, but there is a sentence in one of the Bond novels that goes:  “Bond . . .  lit his seventieth cigarette of the day.”
  • President Kennedy was instrumental to the development of James Bond’s popularity in the United States.  In an interview with Life magazine, he named From Russia With Love as “one of his ten favorite books.”
  • Ian Fleming’s wife, Anne, referred to her husband’s Bond books as “pornography.”

There is tons more interesting tidbits from the article, but self must go back to reading Sebastian Barry (who is the most beautiful writer imaginable).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

David Denby on Jack Ryan (The New Yorker, 20 January 2014)

How self loves an article such as this, the one Denby wrote on Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, a review that seems to span all the great movie heroes of self’s life (excepting the science fiction ones like Neo and Ripley.  And mugging, self-deprecating ones like Indiana Jones.  And even puppy-ish ones like Luke Skywalker.  But, self, one cannot have everything.  If there’s a lemon meringue pie in front of you, stop pining for rhubarb because whatever)

So, self knows the Jack Ryan movie came out months and months ago.  Maybe even prior to Christmas. Cut her some slack here, dear blog readers.  Since December, self has:

Been to Claremont

Been to Seattle

Been to North Hollywood

And now she’s about to go to the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland.

Not to mention, two writers groups meetings, driving around in a car that failed a smog test four times (white-knuckling all the way) falling into passionate love with fanfiction, applying to a summer writing conference, and writing poems/stories/novellas and anything and everything under the sun involving words.  And of course, madly taking pictures of her garden and so forth.  No wonder it’s taken her six weeks to get just a third of the way through The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed.

Now to the Denby article.

Chris Pine, he says, is “an enjoyably talented actor” who “gives a successful impression of a man frightened to death.” (And she knows exactly what scene Denby is referring to.  It comes early.  Self will not tell.  Rent the movie on Netflix)

When Denby thoughtfully summarizes the plot (Ryan is in Afghanistan, “his helicopter goes down”), self realized with a shock that she had absolutely no memory of any of these scenes.  She even forgot how Ryan and Keira Knightley’s character met.  But now Denby tells her that Knightley plays “a medical student who is holding out for a date until” Ryan “can overcome the excruciating pain and run like a track star,” which sort of reminds self of Katniss holding back her love until Peeta gets over wanting to kill her.  Ehem!  Kevin Costner is also in this movie (Again, self almost forgot).  Here, according to Denby, he tries “to look mysterious and dangerous by not doing much.” (Note to self: Examine Laurence Fishburne’s performance in the Matrix movies to tease out possible parallels?)

The movie “is set in the new Moscow, which, despite many cutting-edge skyscrapers and a glass-and-metal office of icy brilliance . . . ” (and which, self might add, is flooding the pages of The New Yorker and the New York Times Book Review with literary product, which means it will be years — even, decades — before writers from marginalized communities and 3rd world countries like the Philippines manage to break through) “is pretty much like the perfidious old Moscow that Clancy prized in Cold War days.”

And now, this being David Denby, some background on Tom Clancy:

Tom Clancy was an insurance salesman in Maryland when, in the early nineteen-eighties, he wrote a book, The Hunt for Red October, that Ronald Reagan, with a handsome public mention, turned into a best-seller . . .  He died last October.

Oh. Self didn’t know.

Somewhere in this review is the million-dollar question:  How do the Jack Ryan films stack up against James Bond and Jason Bourne?

James Bond, “no matter who plays him, and no matter what the actor’s age, always seems about forty . . . ”  In contrast, “Jason Bourne does age — his story, as recorded in the three movies starring Matt Damon, was consecutive and heart-wrenching.  Bond and Bourne, one playful, one serious, are both genuine franchise heroes.  Ryan is just a property.”

Denby goes through the list of actors who have played Jack Ryan:  Alec Baldwin (arguably the most handsome Jack Ryan), Harrison Ford (the sturdiest Jack Ryan), and Ben Affleck (Self totally forgot that Affleck even played Jack Ryan).

He also gives credit where credit is due:  to Paul Greengrass, the master of shaky-cam technique, who honed it to such great effect in the first Bourne movie and inspired a whole group of shaky cam practitioners like Doug Liman and Gary Ross. (Self knows there will never ben another like Paul Greengrass.  She saw United 93 in the old Bayshore Century 20, by herself in the middle of the day, and the last five minutes of that movie were as incoherent as food mixed up in a blender. And yet, she groaned. Not out of frustration, but out of sympathy.  Because that is probably what it felt like to be on a plane pointing straight down to the ground.  Anything else — a steady cam, say, with close-ups on the unknown actors who played the passengers — would have been grossly insulting)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Guardian: Top 10 Action Movies

Self really loves The Guardian’s film blog.  The articles are meaty.  They make self want to leave comments.

Tonight, she lands on their “Top 10 Action Movies” list, and is sort of loving that it begins with “The Last of the Mohicans.”  She totally agrees with the inclusion of “Die Hard” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Why is She loves Cary Grant in “North by Northwest” but doesn’t think ANY Hitchcock movie belongs in a list of Top 10 action movies.  All of Hitchcock’s movies were about suspicion. The action is merely incidental.

Naturally, when self is dissatisfied with a list, she is compelled to make up her own.

For instance, she doesn’t understand why none of the Bourne movies made it into The Guardian’s list.

She also thinks “The Raid: Redemption,” a very violent, bloody, but fascinating movie from Indonesia should be on the list.

What about “The French Connection”?

What about “The Road Warrior”?

What about “Speed”?

Let’s see, self’s Top 10 Action Movie list would be:

  1. The Last of the Mohicans
  2. The Raid:  Redemption
  3. The French Connection
  4. Road Warrior
  5. Speed
  6. Die Hard
  7. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  8. The first Bourne
  9. La Femme Nikita
  10. Mongol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Elysium” — Yes!

Having just finished reading a piece in the July 2013 Vanity Fair, which makes all sorts of preposterous claims about Channing Tatum and calls Magic Mike “the definitive Channing Tatum film” and “a great movie,” (Dear blog readers:  Magic Mike is vastly entertaining, and it’s smartly Read the rest of this entry »

A Most Unlikely Hero

Self is saving some movie reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle of yesterday, Friday, Dec. 28.

There’s one in particular, a review of Promised Land, a movie which hasn’t gotten much buzz at all, buried under movies like Django Unchained and Les Miserables (She told The Man to go ahead and watch it without her today.  For some reason, she’s never been that enthused over Anne Hathaway, or about movie musicals in general.  Perhaps with the exception of The Muppets movie).  It opens, unexpectedly, with an accolade to Matt Damon:

Promised Land is a fine place to start appreciating Matt Damon, who always makes it seem as if everybody else is acting and he’s just going through the movie being natural.  Damon is the actor who leaves no fingerprints, who never calls attention to himself and never, ever screws up, not once in 20 years.  Whether playing Jason Bourne or Mr. Ripley, Damon creates an illusion of the familiar, and that familiarity is put to good use in Promised Land, in which he plays a salesman for a fracking company, trying to talk rural people into leasing their land for natural-gas drilling.

Self would just like to say, she loved Jeremy Renner until she saw him take over the Bourne movies this year.  Then, watching Renner, she realized that Matt Damon’s portrayal of Bourne was absolutely brilliant.  And she never wants to see another Bourne movie without Damon.  Seriously.

Stay tuned.

Summer of 2012 in Movies

The first movie self saw after getting back from her oh-so-intellectual June in southern Scotland was “Magic Mike.”  Since she’d read the reviews of this movie in The Guardian and The Times, she was naturally all agog to see this film’s representation of American male hot-ness as embodied by McConnaughey, Tatum, and Pettyfer.  Especially since the representation was being delivered by a director like Steven Soderbergh who, self is sure we can all agree, is a recognized authority on tasteful marketing of hot-ness (Exhibit A:  Ocean’s Eleven.  Exhibit B:  Ocean’s Twelve).  And it did not disappoint!  Self’s jaw dropped as she was watching!  She even wanted to go back and see it again, but was unfortunately derailed by homely chores like straightening up the house and watering her garden and doing laundry and cooking fine, delicious dinners for The Man.

Self saw “Total Recall” and liked it.  Naturally, Colin Farrell is a big, big improvement over Arnold.  And Kate Beckinsale —  how self loves this actress’s incarnation into kick-ass.  Time was, a long loooong time ago, when Kate used to play the Plain Jane in Jane Austen movie adaptations.  At least, she did in one movie self saw.  This was, of course, pre “Pearl Harbor.”

Self also saw:  “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Excellent) and “Moonrise Kingdom” (Excellent to the nth)

Then there were those three Filipino films she saw at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (end of June) which she still hasn’t found time to discuss —  hopefully, things will calm down enough for her to pour her heart out.

She really liked “Dark Knight Rises.”  She even got to like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.  And can’t imagine what a Ryan Reynolds Batman will be like.

She still hasn’t seen “Expendables 2” or “The Campaign” but hopefully will, soon.  And she really wants to see the movie with “Ruby” in the title.

But now she will reflect on Bourne.  The reason for this is that she has been perusing the August 13 & 20, 2012 of The New Yorker (a double issue:  it’s pretty thin, for a double issue), and has read the David Denby review of “The Bourne Legacy.”

When the movie began, self kept imagining Matt Damon playing the lead.  He has a completely different type of face from Jeremy Renner —  more lean, and more ordinary, but also more compelling.  But self liked Rachel Weisz in the role of female sidekick —  she never quite got over the demise of Marie in Bourne 2, and then she was slightly hopeful for Julia Stiles at the end of Bourne 3, but look where that got her.

The best, the absolutely most tension-filled scene in “The Bourne Legacy” is one that no reviewer has yet seen fit to discuss:  and that is the scene where Renner comes over a snowy mountain and encounters a sad-eyed, laconic man living all by his lonesome in a cabin, and they have quite an extended conversation, during every second of which self would turn to The Man with eyebrows raised and hiss:  “He’s gonna pop him now!  Now!”  The solitary man is so out of it that he attempts to read a book after dinner.  No self-respecting spy worth his salt would let a man read a book when he is available for questioning.  But apparently solitary man does not slip so easily into the verbal game thing, for his response is to close the book, stand up, and leave the scene.  Whereupon —  self kept expecting him NOT to show up the next morning, but he showed up.  Then she thought he would NOT show up after cooking breakfast, but again he was there.  Then she thought he would surely try to off Renner when Renner goes somewhere — maybe behind the woodshed, where some very scary meds are being stored in a super-secret freezer — but again, he is there.  There is just no getting rid of this man and his mournful presence!

Here’s self’s favorite section of the Denby review:

In an age of movie magic, the “Bourne” series, even at its most accelerated, stuck to grounded action.  Gravity mattered in all three films; stunt men, falling earthward, were more central than pixels.

Hear, hear!

In addition, Denby says that “The Bourne Legacy” can boast of having “the longest motorcycle chase in the history of wheels.”  But why stop there, David?  It is also, in self’s humble opinion, the BEST long motorcycle chase in the history of wheels.  In no small part because that chase scene takes place on location in Manila.  And, jeez, anyone who’s seen the chaos of a Manila street would know how hard it is to thread anyone through it, much less movie stars like Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz!  That is a singular achievement in and of itself!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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