Spy thrills, punching babies and Meryl
Aug 10, 2012 / 4:00 pm
Greetings film fanatics, it's time to take a sneak peek at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.
The Bourne Legacy
The fourth film in the Bourne franchise is an expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on Aaron Cross, a new hero who experiences life-or-death stakes that have been triggered by previous events. This installment is written and directed by Tony Gilroy - the screenwriter of the previous three Bourne films as well as the director of the superb film, Michael Clayton - and features a stellar cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn.
I am a huge fan of the Bourne series thus far and I think that they are amongst the best espionage/spy films out there. Matt Damon was excellent as Jason Bourne though and since he's not reprising his role it will be interesting to see if Jeremy Renner can match him. Renner has become a pretty hot star though lately, having had success with starring roles in The Hurt Locker, The Town, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the biggest smash hit of the year thus far, The Avengers. I have no doubt that he can pull off the action hero quite capably. The only concern I have is whether this film is really necessary. I mean do we really need to see a story of another agent on the run from the corporate baddies that supposedly runs concurrently with the events of the Bourne Ultimatum. It just feels like the studio wants to set up a new character to continue this franchise indefinitely and keep cashing in at the box office. I guess it's fine as long as the high quality is maintained and they are able to throw enough plot twists and turns to keep us engaged and interested. Even though the advance buzz I've been hearing is that it fails to live up to the standards set forth by the first three, I nevertheless want to check out the latest adventure in this series and see for myself if it's a worthwhile entry.
When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors' support, a cutthroat campaign manager and his family's political connections, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about. As Election Day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other, in this mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy.
The timing seems right for this politically charged, razor sharp satire as the U.S. presidential elections are set to take place just three months from now. I'm hoping that it will pull no punches in its depiction of how ridiculously nasty politics can get. I have faith that director Jay Roach - who knows his way around both comedy and politics having directed the hilarious Austin Powers movies as well as the HBO film Recount, which was about the 2000 Presidential debacle - will be up to the challenge of making The Campaign a biting comedy which will show what a joke politics can be. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are hilarious when given the right material and the thought of them going toe to toe seems like quite an entertaining prospect. It also features a strong supporting cast that includes, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Jason Sudeikis and Brian Cox. This should be a rude and crude fun time at the movies for anyone looking for a little levity this weekend.
Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple's specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough - the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.
The main thing that this film seems to have going for it is the superb acting talents of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Their ability and presence alone can elevate even the most mundane material into being highly watchable and engaging. This definitely appears to be a grown up dramedy that will appeal to the more mature segment of the populace. It might be kind of refreshing in this summer that is filled with low brow comedies and high octane action films. Hope Springs is directed by David Frankel, who made the popular film The Devil Wears Prada and the heartfelt Marley & Me. For anyone wanting to get away from films with loads of gunfire in them, this story of a couple trying to rekindle the "spark" in their relationship of over 30 years by "getting it on" could be just what the doctor ordered. It might be quite amusing and cute.
Also opening this weekend is the small film Crooked Arrows, a story centered on a Native American lacrosse team making its way through a prep school league tournament. It stars Brandon Routh and will be showing down at The Paramount Theatre.
Six Degrees of Chuck Norris
Jeremy Renner from The Bourne Legacy was in The Avengers (2012) with Samuel L. Jackson, who was in Jackie Brown (1997) with Robert Forster, who was in The Delta Force (1986) with Chuck Norris.
Zach Galifianakis from The Campaign was in Heartbreakers (2001) with Gene Hackman, who was in Get Shorty (1995) with Dennis Farina, who was in Code of Silence (1985) with Chuck Norris.
Meryl Streep from Hope Springs was in Silkwood (1983) with Ron Silver, who was in Silent Rage (1982) with Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris Fun Fact:
When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself crouched and ready to attack. He has never had to pay taxes!
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