Tag Archives: Jeremy Renner

A late ‘Arrival’ – Film Review


The most notable cinematic aliens to visit Monatana (since the Star Trekkers brought the Borg) have landed there and in eleven other global locations.  Linguist, Dr. Louise Banks, (Amy Adams) and Theoretical Physicist, Ian Donnelly, (Jeremy Renner) are sent to work out what they want. All global locations are on high alert as they try to work together in the race for a breakthrough. The U.S. Military is represented by a benign Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) while intelligence is served by an obtuse Agent Halpern (Michael Stuhlbarg).

arrival

Director Denis Villeneuve delivers the action at a slow and steady rate; his sense of apprehension-building makes the film seem to have more pace than it actually does.  The majority of scenes are interiors; mixed with the apprehension, this gives the film an appropriately claustrophobic and tense quality. The Sci-fi elements are set into a more grounded world to which we can relate. It follows more in the vein of Interstellar, Moon or Contact rather than the spectacles and high ideals of Star Wars and Star Trek. It is refreshingly subdued and contained for the sci fi genre.

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All performances are appropriately understated; Amy Adams gives a subtle, thoughtful and retro-reflective performance as a bereaved mother and we are given a series of somewhat disconnected yet touching memories of her relationship with her daughter as she battles to understand the Alien dialect.  Jeremy Renner does his Jeremy Renner thing, with glasses because he is a mathematician, but does not feel out of place while doing it. Forest Whitaker brings an almost too benign and understanding quality to his Army Colonel and following with the film’s muted tone Stuhlbarg’s spiteful investigator is wonderfully snide rather than brash and loud.

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There is an already contentious feature spliced into the plot which is no more bizarre than Interstellar and already some people are finding silly. While it could have dug deeper into an explanation of a few of these plot devices I still found it to be gentle, cozy and delivered endearingly despite its simplicity. It would sit comfortably beside “A.I.” in a sci-fi collection.

I came away with a warm content monies-worth feeling. Overall it worked for me.

7/10

Arrival on IMDB

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New Bourne: The Bourne Legacy


Old Bourne

I could re-watch the first three films in the Jason Bourne franchise until I had an identity crisis and then watch them all over again. So it was with some trepidation that I settled into my seat, clutching a bag of M&M’s for moral support, to watch the next instalment.

Moral SupportThe Bourne Legacy

I have been asked not to give away plot points. So I shall evade them as Jason Bourne evaded his captors but remember he was nearly caught on a number of occasions.

Bourne Again

In some ways the feel of “Legacy” is comfortingly familiar, intense conversations in grey offices,  serious and aged men making veiled threats about unnamed projects being blown wide open, Q & As like “How did that get out?”, “I found it on youtube” etc.

Fit looking men of various nationalities performing simple tasks with ever-so-slight OCD undertones while ‘taking everything in’ with a glance at their surroundings.

Rachel Weisz

Chemist but is there any Chemistry?Of course the ‘innocent bystander’ whose world is thrown into chaos when she meets up with the agent who wants out/answers/his life back.

Rachel Weisz gives a slightly uneven performance. Is she an untidy mess? A Professional Chemist? Or a budding survivalist?

The tone and intensity is the same as the first three Bourne movies.  The film-makers have, at least, differentiated it by starting with a slow pace and building the action up to a crescendo. They did not make the mistake of trying to plug the new agent, Aaron Cross, into the same formulae of the previous three films. They even went as far as to start the story at the same point that Jason Bourne reappears in “The Bourne Ultimatum” (tackles plot point to the ground and grinds pasta into it’s eyes).

Edward Norton

Too nice to be mean?The trailer/teasers promised a cast full of the same supporting characters which, sadly, it does not deliver as much. Joan Allen, Scott Glen, David Strathairn are mere cameos replaced by a new head of operations, Eric Byer (the too like-able Edward Norton who I kept expecting to turn into the Incredible Hulk at any given moment). Even scenes in which he gives out cold termination orders I still managed to forgive him.

The plot doesn’t twist quite as much as it did with Jason Bourne. There are less believable escapes and a few more stretches of the imagination for us to navigate. If it not saved by the supporting characters it is the atmosphere and…

Jeremy Renner

Injecting New Life?It is Jeremy Renner’s performance that saves an otherwise semi-carbon copy action sequel from sinking into the pool of other Bourne lookalikes. He has the presence and the charm to carry off the new agent, Aaron Cross, helped by the screenwriters his goals may be very similar to that of Jason Bourne at least his motivation and his execution differ somewhat.

If the other elements of the Bourne franchise are getting a little stale he is the injection that attempts to tighten them back up again.

Renner progressed from the lead in “The Hurt Locker”, where the limelight all fell on Director Kathryn Bigelow,  then he played played third fiddle in the Avenger movies and second fiddle to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, here he is battling the shadow of Matt Damon. He has executed all of this with a grim determination and a gritty style.

He is currently shooting a biopic of Steve McQueen, which I am looking forward to but I believe he is ready to be given a leading role haunted by no legacy other than his own presence and acting talent.

6.5/10

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6/10