Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles
After a real misstep with the spin-off The Bourne Legacy, which tried to continue a franchise without its titular character, star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass have been lured back after nine years to the franchise they both declared they were done with for Jason Bourne. However, in watching this fourth instalment in franchise (we should take our lead from this film and just pretend The Bourne Legacy never happened) it is difficult to see what it was that caused their change of heart.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been off the grid for a number of years but he is tracked down by old ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). She has hacked into the CIA’s system determined to expose their black ops programs, including Treadstone, and in the process has uncovered some information about Bourne’s father. Continue reading
Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Groth, Luca Calvani, Christian Berkel, Jared Harris, Hugh Grant
Remakes and reboots are common place in Hollywood. Studios love them because they are largely safe. While an original idea is risky, a remake gives you instant name recognition and a pre-existing audience. At least that is the thinking. But Guy Ritchie’s latest film, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., is a remake of a television series that ran from 1964-1968, half a century ago, that carries zero cultural cache with the target demographic for this spy actioner, which begs the question: why?
As is to be expected, we go back to the beginning. This is an origin story, describing how U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, came about. We begin in East Berlin in 1963, where American CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) has been sent on an extraction mission to transport beautiful, young auto-mechanic Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) across the Iron Curtain. Between Solo and safety is Ukranian KGB operative Illya Kuriyakin (Armie Hammer) who is also after Teller. An exhilarating car chase ensues, one only slightly undermined by the stodgy communist bloc Trabants they are driving. Continue reading
Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac
When we think science fiction films we tend to think big – space travel to distant worlds, scope and spectacle. But quite often the best science fiction films are small. Ex Machina, from the Latin phrase meaning “from the machine,” is such a film and marks the directorial debut of British screenwriter Alex Garland, best known for his screenplays for 28 Days Later and Sunshine, and his novel The Beach.
Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a low level programmer working for tech giant, Blue Book. Through an in-company lottery he wins the chance to spend a week with the company’s enigmatic CEO and programming legend, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), at his remote Alaskan mansion and research facility. Upon arrival Caleb discovers that he is not there for a week of hanging out with the boss but to assist Nathan in his latest research endeavour, artificial intelligence. Nathan has produced a humanoid robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander), and he wants Caleb to put her through a Turing test. The Turing test (named for the British computer scientist Alan Turing, subject of Oscar winner The Imitation Game) tests a machine’s ability to exhibit human behaviour. Continue reading