Monday, August 02, 2004

Movie: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Does that title actually mean anything?

Fun movie, though. It’s a marked improvement over the original. It still has the same problem THE BOURNE IDENTITY had, which is that the stakes aren’t high enough. If Matt Damon fails in his mission, then the worst that will happen is ... he’ll be killed. The forces of evil won’t prevail, they’ll just get a little richer. In a spy thriller, I expect something more to be hanging in the balance.

Matt Damon continues to impress in the role, but the real star here is director Paul Greengrass. His 2002 film BLOODY SUNDAY may be the best I’ve seen in this still-young decade. The techniques he used to create a savage immediacy in that movie are employed here to great effect, recreating Bourne’s thought processes. Everything comes to him in flashes and shards of memory. Unlike many of today’s ADD-afflicted action directors, Greengrass makes his edits as part of a design rather than a way to keep the audience awake. The movie wraps up with a kick-ass car chase through the streets and tunnels of Moscow that goes on the list of greats.

TV: American Candidate

This Showtime series is a political version of SURVIVOR. Ten people who want to run for President compete in weekly competitions. The winner receives $200,000 and a chance to ‘address the nation.’ I assume that means you get 20 minutes right before the season premiere of THE L WORD.

I mention the show only because it turns out I went to high school with one of the ten finalists, activist Keith Boykin. Oddly enough, this is the second time a former classmate has turned up on a reality TV show. During the L.A. season of MTV’s THE REAL WORLD, I saw an old college friend answering phones in Roger Corman’s office. Rosemarie wants to know how I could end up seeing two of my classmates on TV when she went to school four years more than I did and has yet to see even one. What can I say? I ran with a flamboyant (read: needy) crowd.

Miscellaneous: Links

Silly me. I should have known that Harlan Ellison would have weighed in on I, ROBOT. He does so here. And Michael Chabon finally says what he thinks about SPIDER-MAN 2, for which he received story credit. Surfergirl, aka Liz Penn, aka Dana Stevens, recounts a Ted Koppel/Jon Stewart smackdown I wish I’d seen. And it turns out that the brainwashing method used in the original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE actually was The Method.