Entries tagged with “Matt Damon”.


Each summer brings to the screens a fair amount of films which aim pleasing especially the family crowds but never or seldom make it to the list of awards of the year or just to the list of the films we will remember until the next summer. It uses to be a combination of comics or comics-inspired films, animation or actors – based, some science-fiction, continuation or remakes of previous themes, sequels and prequels. ‘Jason Bourne’ enters the schedule, but not necessarily the stereotype. This may actually be the action movie of the summer of 2016, although from a box-office perspective it may be a little bit too serious compared to contenders that race and fight spaceships or bring to screen super-heroes descending directly from comics books.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4196776/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4196776/

 

The identity troubles of Mr. Jason Bourne continue and as in the previous few series its again director at the helm, and also as co-writer of the film inspired by the hero created by Robert Ludlum. I must declare myself guilty of being a fan of Ludlum and of the genre of international spy action movies. I like films where the pretext is intelligent, where heroes are faced with credible dilemmas, they feel pain and memory losses, and identity crisis. Bourne is thrown out at the fringes of the society in this film, he tries to get back, but is it for revenge? or maybe to re-enter a world that he has all the reasons to hate, but which he cannot abandon because this is his life, he was created by it and this is what he knows to do best – for the good and for the bad motifs.

 

(video source Universal Pictures)

 

I am no fan of Matt Damon and I will not say more about his acting performance in this film than the fact that he may get better in maturity. On the other hand  was so good that I kept wondering for the whole film who is this fresh newcomer face, sexy and focused. She not only has great looks but also reinvents herself in many of the films she plays in – she was a completely different person for example in A Royal Affair or in Ex Machina. An actor who certainly reached maturity and more is , but I was frankly expecting more from him than the extra wrinkles. is superb in his revenge killer role, he paid back his ticket over the ocean. Paul Greengrass  directs skillfully the action scenes (and there are a lot), his accelerated pace did not disturb me this time, as car chases and gun and fist fights have logic and clarity and fit well in the story, they are not just choreographed violence. If there is something missing in the story it’s the romantic dimension, but with the heroes played by Alicia Vikander and Matt Damon alive at the end of the film, and an open end scene that may well be the first one of the next installment, all is possible.

 

 

 

 

I expect something special when I go to a film by . In his long and remarkable career Scott approached many genres from space horror to historical sagas, from road movies to gangster comedies and succeeded exceptionally well in many of these. The secret is of course professionalism, the talent to tell a story, and to build (sometimes) greater-than-life characters which are credible in extreme situations. He tried to do the same with ‘The Martian’ but in my opinion he did not succeed too much.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/

 

Maybe the problem lies in trying to build too much on the combination of two successful genres – the sole survivor story and the big space drama. The second genre was pretty successful in the previous two Academy Awards seasons (with ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’) and Scott and his producers may aim for a similar fate for ‘The Martian’ - the saga of an astronaut believed dead and left behind on Mars, to be rescued in an extreme action of inter-planetary dimension. We’ll see if he succeeds, but on my scale he rather failed.

 

(video source 20th Century Fox)

 

The sign of such a film not really succeeding is when the day or the days after you remember more the technical aspects. This exactly happens to me with this film. Planting potatoes on Martian soil and sealing a space vehicle with adhesive tape has some fun of itself, but it dangerously competes with the human dimension of the story, with the fight of the lonely astronaut to overcome the elements and his own despair. Matt Damon is a fine action movies lead actor but he’s no Tom Hanks (not yet, at least) and his role here may not get him even an award nomination. This techno-survival story leans too much on the technology side.

‘The Zero Theorem’ is directed by Terry Gilliam, a highly original creator and an explorer of the future, which he already described in rather dark colors in several memorable films like ‘Brazil’ and ‘Twelve Monkeys’. His other principal title of glory, the ‘Monty Python’ series, somehow balances in his filmography the concept of anticipation with the one of an alternate present or past in the comic registry. ‘The Zero Theorem’ was shot mostly in Romania, and part of the technical team and actors are Romanian, to the extent the in the program of the festival I saw the film in it was classified as a an English-Romanian co-production.

 

sursa www.imdb.com/title/tt2333804/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2333804/

 

In the fantastic scenery of an abandoned church that some of my Bucharest friends might recognize we find the hero of the film (played brilliantly by Christoph Waltz), a specialist in ‘processing entities’. working frantically on a mission entrusted by a large corporation whose chief is called impersonal ‘The Management’ (Matt Damon), a mission whose goal may be finding the meaning of existence, or an absurd demonstration that accumulation of full (100%) is equal to the Great Zero. Or perhaps the essence of human existence and the absurd are the same? Actually it does not really matter, because the story and the logic of the film is focused on the frantic and obsessive search of the main character. Or maybe this is human nature, a continuous search that ends in nothing? Or in the Infinity?

 

(video source Voltage Pictures)

 

We find in this film’s many of the visual metaphors Terry Gillman used us to, in a colorful world activated by a strange retro-advanced technology, like belonging to a branching of time for human scientific developments that extends the early 20th century. We also find a fierce critique of large international corporations – the main character is provided with such items of ‘personal development’ like a virtual-dream love relationship (with gorgeous Gwendoline Christie) or psychoanalysis through tele-presence (by severe Tilda Swinton). He is subjected to tracking methods that infiltrate his privacy inspired by Orwell’s ’1984′ and Gilliam’s own ‘Brazil’  and also terrorized by a small and despotic manager, a familiar figure many of those who worked in large global corporations may find familiar.

‘The Zero Theorem’ is first of all a wonderful visual experience.  It is also a film that does not open immediately all its secret doors, but gives the impression of depth and complexity that calls for a second and maybe more viewings.

Having seen a few weeks ago Side Effects I was reflecting that maybe would not necessarily do a bad thing taking a break from directing. Well, I had not seen ‘Contagion’ yet, one of his previous movies. To use the terms of the story in this movie, the origin of the disease can be traced way back.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/

 

The world is in danger in Contagion as a deadly flue virus originating (where else?) in South-East Asia is spreading around the world, killing first individuals, than thousands, than millions. Governments, corporations, the World Health Organization, become all engaged in a race to find the roots of the disease, to stop its spreading and contagion, to find a cure. The problem with the film is that there are too many threads, none of them extremely interesting or surprising, some going nowhere. For example a researcher seems to have found a cure but is ordered to stop research and destroy the samples – we never learn why, last time we see him he seems to disobey the orders and then he just disappears for the rest of the film.  An Internet blogger and journalist claim that cure exists and proves it on its own body, but this thread never connects with the rest of the film. If the purpose of director Soderbergh is to show chaos on screen he did succeed, but it’s more film-making chaos than everything else. There were a few moments when it seemed that the film heads towards showing the impact of a catastrophic disease on the fabric of the American society, but these were also wasted in too expected scenes of army in the streets and supermarket plundering, lost and forgotten soon enough, as brave scientists discover the cure and test it on themselves to speed the solution. The script is disappointing, a collection of TV soap episodes concentrated to a few minutes each and badly interconnected.

 

(video source movieclipsTRAILERS)

 

The cast is certainly impressive. Heaving on screen in the same film Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Matt DamonMarion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a few other  who would alone hold a movie on their shoulders is certainly a performance for the producer and a pleasure for spectators. Fans should however be warned that some of them die young in this film, and none has the opportunity to play a role that will be remembered for a long time. Despite the gathering of talents Contagion is a confusing and chaotic film.

 

 

 

 

 

It is seldom that Hollywood gets it right when it comes to describing the realities of the world we live in, and especially when the relation between the American policies and the rest of the world are concerned. Director Paul Greegrass‘s ‘Green Zone’ comes however closer than many other films of the genre, maybe with the exception of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. ‘Green Zone’ – which makes no claim of being based on true facts but looks and feels much closer to truth than many other movies that do – is both a very efficient thriller as well as a political statement.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0947810/

 

Officer Miller (Matt Damon , Greengrass’s lead actor in the Bounty movies) is one of the many people the United States sent under uniform to fight for a war that history still needs to decide if it was a right or a wrong war, but almost everybody nowadays agrees that it started for the wrong reasons. The story focuses on the weeks and months after the American victory over Sadam Hussein, the search for WMDs, the decisions (which now we know were wrong) to discharge the whole Iraqi army and political structure and build from zero a democracy in Iraq. Not only is the disconnect between the theories of the American politicians and commanders and realities in the field complete, but the gap is also filled with lies and disinformation. Miller is the typical American hero trying to do the right thing, but doing the right thing in the wrong situation soon puts him in the situation to go rogue and fight his own side’s political and military mechanisms which at least in part are involved into supplying the high political echelons with the information that they want to hear. Of course, there is another side to this war, and the film has the quality of providing an image of that side which is far from the stereotypes. The Iraqi general trying to provide the true information to the American and reach a compromise, as well as the ‘collaborator’ who has his own personal motivation in the suffering he went through under Sadam are both credible and human, supported by excellent actors (Yigal Naor, Khalid Abdalla) in the supporting roles. The key phrase of the film which one of the characters tells the American officer resumes better than many other sources the logic (if there is a logic in such situations) of what happened in Iraq in these times – ‘It is not for you to decide what happens here’

 

(video source  PearlandDean)

 

The other very good part of the film is the way the Iraq of the first months of the American occupation is being filmed. In many moments it reminded me post-apocalyptic movies. The country looks like scorched land, populated by the hungry and thirsty phantoms of the defeated local population and by the high-tech silhouettes of the conquerors who seem at the same time to belong to another world but also end by being covered by the same dust and prey to the same basic human fears. Greengrass is very efficient in filming action and a quite complex intrigue ends by being clear and catching, and the actions scenes make sense and belong to the logic of the film.  The story of the Iraq war is far from being fully written or brought to screen, but when later things will get summed ‘Green Zone’ may be viewed as one well drawn piece of the puzzle.

The Adjustment Bureau starts like an election year movie. As we are in 2012 this may be the right time for such films, but it quickly quits that path to go into a direction that I personally find even more interesting and attractive that the life and career of a politician who may be ruined because of intrigues or just because he will follow his own personal instincts and chose love even at the risk of his career. We get these all in the film but also much more, as we can expect from a film based on a short story by Philip K. Dick

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1385826/

 

The world, we learn pretty soon is not completely run according to hazard. Actually there is a plan, a well organized plan and a quite big bureaucratic system with a well-established hierarchy which makes sure everything happens according to the plan and in extreme situations takes measures to adjust the disturbances.  One of these happens to our heroes – the candidate senator played by Matt Damon meets accidentally and falls for the beautiful and talented ballerina played by Emily Blunt and they do not forget and search each other despite being separated for years and insist on getting together despite the plans of the great institution that was targeting the hero to become a future president, but a bachelor one for some reasons. In the antic tragedy the name of the institution was Destiny, Christianity and other religions call Him God, in this film his name is Chairman, and his clerks have all very handy tablets which can be of help to a lot of things including shortcuts by secret backdoors in traffic-jammed Manhattan (sure, I want one, Apple, please!).

 

(video source movieclips)

 

One does not feel at all that this is a first long feature film for director George Nolfi. However at some point I regretted this not being his second or third film – he has talent in telling a story, skills in directing the actors, if he only had dared going deeper in the direction of the dilemma and confrontation between fate and good will – we would have maybe received an even better movie. But even so The Adjustment Bureay is smart and sensible and better than the average.

For once the Coen brothers played it according to all the rules of commercial cinema, and no wonder they did it as the producer of True Grit is no other than Steven Spielberg. The film went out in time for the Christmas week (in the US) and for the Oscar season, and the result is 10 nominations including the one for the Best Movie, although I am not sure it will eventually get that many (it certainly deserves the one for the cinematography – the camera work is exquisite). It is also probably the most mainstream film the Coen brothers have ever made, so mainstream that I had all over the feeling that a twist in the action may happen, or a there are some hidden underground meanings that I am missing. Yet, the director brothers chose to do a very well made version of a novel adaptation already brought to screen in 1969 by Henry Hathaway with John Wayne in the main role, a classical Western with many moments of good cinema. Not little thing, just less surprising that I would have expected from them.

source www.imdb.com

Much of this story of pursuit and revenge in Texas and the Indian country relies on the actors. Jeff Bridges melts in the role of marshal Cogburn, a drunken but effective and heart-opened man of law. Hailee Steinfeld is the 14 years old girl whose coming into age is destined to be spent searching for justice in Wild West and her role has all the chances to launch a great career. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin act fine in the two supporting roles that fill in the human landscape of the film. They all do a fine job, and some beautifully written dialogs help in the way – watch the one of the bargaining of the young girl with the man that had a dept with her late father and remember it – or maybe you need not as film anthologies will help you do it in case you forget.

(video source ClevverMovies)

As in many classical Westerns the landscape and the rendering of the atmosphere of the wild country in the second half of the 19th century America play a central role. As I already said the camera work is wonderful, and it creates the right setting for this very credible story of human solidarity. I do not like many of the post action epilogues in movies, especially when told with the off screen voice of the heroes quoting from the original book (so it seems) but here it fits movingly, but this is again the combination of the image and words that enhance the human feelings. Surprises may be missing but True Grit is a piece of true (and good) cinema.