By Robin E. Simmons
This terrific twisty 4th edition of the action franchise fully delivers what Bourne fans — at least this one — have come to expect from the mind-bending roller coaster series. Matt Damon excels as CIA agent Bourne, a man whose memory and identity have been blotted out. It’s been nine years since Damon assumed the star-making role of Jason Bourne. The stage craft of this urgent, relevant film adds immensely to the satisfaction level of this iteration of a story that does not shy away from referencing real world concerns of security and personal freedom. Damon made it clear that he would not do another Bourne movie unless the story played out in the scary world of “full spectrum surveillance.” It has been confirmed to my by an experienced intelligence officer that no conversation is private. Why is that not frightening to everyone? This film riffs on that fear. After all, we are all vulnerable. Damon exudes a kind of crazed obsession that rings true to anyone who discovers his or her paranoia is based on reality
What makes this film work so well is that Greengrass and co-writer/editor Chris Rouse and Damon stayed on the same page and it’s all up there on the screen. This kind of meticulous craftsmanship informs the beautifully staged globe-hopping action sequences by effectively front-loading the energy and emotion of the story and Bourne. New co-stars here included Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Vincent Cassel. I’m not a fan of relentless and incessant fast cutting on display here, but the nervous energy is appropriate and contagious. So much so that I literally held my breath and gripped the armrests during the intricately choreographed Las Vegas Strip chase sequence. The Meta conceit of trying to uncover one’s past before your government kills you works for me. I love this film and do not hesitate to give it my highest recommendation. I am thrilled to welcome Bourne back to the real world. Now Playing at the newly refurbished Mary Pickford Theater in Cathedral City operated by D’Place Entertainment.
NEW FOR THE HOME THEATER:
Every now and then a movie fulfills the promise of the premise as well as the poster. Woody Allen’s retro masterpiece is in equal parts funny and moving. It works as a social history, a love story and a parody. Allen’s brilliant docucomedy plays with the tropes of film narrative to great effect. Besides being a meditation on American society and individual identity, it’s an eerie fantasy that plays like a dream. Writer-director Allen’s serious but idiosyncratic take how we see ourselves juxtaposed with how others perceive us is hilariously told via the episodic life of Leonard Zelig (Allen), a highly mutable and malleable character apparently driven by the winds of fate and fame until he becomes a strange sort of celebrity himself. Mia Farrow co-stars along with dead-pan interviews by such notable literati as Susan Sontag, Saul Bellow and Bruno Bettelheim. Oh yes, and keep a sharp eye out for clever archival “cameos” (?!) of everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Adolf Hitler! Twilight Time Movies. Blu-ray (limited edition).
Fred Zinneman directs Carson McCullers’ widely admired and tender coming of age novel with its three luminous Broadway stars Julie Harris, Ethel Waters and Brandon de Wilde, now on dazzling Blu-ray featuring a fascinating Audio Commentary with singer/songwriter and McCullers aficionado Suzanne Vega. Upon its initially theatrical release, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times said: “Vibrant and sensitive… Miss Harris’ performance gives off a lot of fervid heat… Ethel Waters glows with warmth of personality and understanding… Brandon de Wilde is delightfully mettlesome and humorous.” Time Magazine said the movie is a film poem. Under Fred Zinneman’s direction, it often reaches successfully for that most elusive of movie qualities – the catch in the throat.” The great score from legendary composer Alex North is available on an isolated track. Twilight Time Movies. Blu-ray (Limited Edition).
GUN THE MAN DOWN (1956)
This relatively obscure but certainly engaging Western showcases Angie Dickenson in her first starring role. It’s also the first western directed by veteran filmmaker Andrew V. McLaglen who went on to direct 116 episodes of “Have Gun Will Travel” and 96 episodes of “Gunsmoke.” It was producer John Wayne who recommended James Arness for the lead. A lucky break for Arness who went on to play TV’s Marshal Matt Dillon for 2 years thanks to Wayne’s recommendation. Olive Films. Blu-ray.
Al Pacino made his extraordinary starring debut as Bobby, a fast-talking, hustling Junkie in director Jerry Schatzberg’s bleak, intimate drama. Shot in a very loose and semi-improvisational style from a screenplay by the husband and wife team of Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne. We watch Bobby roam a grim stretch of New York’s Upper West Side and hook up with the mostly innocent Helen (Kitty Winn who joins him in addiction. Their doomed, drug-addled romance is the spindle around which this raw, heroin-fueled slice of-life story turns. Twilight Time Movies. (Limited Edition). Blu-ray.
This thrilling, action-filled and fun sequel to one of the screen’s most beautiful and enchanting movies follows original lead Kelly Reno on a search to recover his beloved Arabian horse, kidnapped by Saharan bandits. When his horse goes missing Alec leaves the peaceful farm where he lives with his mom (Teri Garr) and heads off to Morocco where warring Arab tribes are determined to run the Black under their own harsh rules in a legendary desert race.
Reno’s Alec is single-minded, resourceful and in many ways most ordinary. That’s what makes him so appealing and why we root for him and care about his quest. Twilight Time Movies. (Limited Edition). Blu-ray.
Note: Twilight Time Movies are limited to only 3,000 units. They sell out fast and when they are gone, that’s it. For more info go to screenarchives.com