The Empty Store Problem: The Familiar Story of “Jason Bourne”

Add another “L” to the campaign of sadness that is The Year of Movies: 2016 Edition.  Once again, a film has been released in an attempt o revive and further a long-dormant franchise, and like seemingly every cheap cash-in of this year, Jason Bourne fails to elicit any emotion beyond longing for the original property which it is based upon.  This isn’t to say that there are not stirring sequences or solid performances in the film, but there is not a single aspect of this film that was not accomplished better by a previous Bourne film.  Paul Greengrass and company certainly do not need to re-invent the wheel, but they should at least drive the car somewhere new.

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Classic Review Friday – John Dahl’s “Rounders” (1998)

Widely touted as “The Best Poker Movie Ever Made”, Rounders barks the lingo of the degenerate gambler with a practiced fluency. The scenes spent at a poker table exemplify the emotional roller coaster that every lover of the game has experienced. But amid the bad beats, 3-outers, and pot splashing, the film offers something more meaningful than a fly-on-the-wall perspective of a high-stakes poker bout. Nestled between the turn and river cards, Rounders challenges the viewer with a pointed question: are you doing what you love to do, or are you doing what others think is best for you? Continue reading “Classic Review Friday – John Dahl’s “Rounders” (1998)”

“The Martian” Champions the Mind and Compassion as Saviors of Humanity

It is remiss to classify The Martian as “Ridley Scott’s” or “Matt Damon’s” or with any other possessive; it is a true ensemble film. Though the story begins in serious medias res with the crew of the Ares III mission escaping a Martian dust storm and leaving Matt Damon’s Mark Watney behind on the red planet, this is not Cast Away where we dwell on our lone character for the majority of the runtime. The success of the narrative and the impact of the theme require that seemingly infinite characters aid in Watney’s survival, but also that Watney himself is capable of titanic intellectual feats. What results is a film dictating that the strength of humanity is found in the reasoning mind – from an isolated individual struggling to survive to large teams working towards effecting a rescue.

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20th Century Fox Moves “The Martian” Release . . . Forward!

It seems like 20th Century Fox was pleased with the response to its marketing onslaught for the new Ridley Scott film, The Martian. The film was originally slated for a November 25th release date, but the production studio announced today that the release would be moved to October 2nd, swapping places with another Fox property, Victor Frankenstein. While technically it is hard to determine whether this move represents additional confidence in The Martian, or fears about Victor Frankenstein (or both), I think we can make the most sense of this move by analyzing the context in which these films will now compete.
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“The Martian” Previews Showcase Wit, Intellect, and Excitement

Last week we only had a few stills from Ridley Scott’s adaptation of the Andy Weir novel The Martian, but we have started this week off with a bang, receiving not only a neat little viral marketing video, but also a full-length trailer spanning three-and-a-half minutes! Clearly, the marketing department for this flick has decided to hit the ground running, so let’s go ahead and try to keep up. The story is described as Apollo 13 meets Cast Away: astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars and has to improvise to both contact NASA to effect a rescue mission, and then survive for the requisite time it will take for the rescuers to arrive.
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