Film Review – THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004)

Image result for the bourne supremacy blu-rayBourne Supremacy, The (2004; USA/Germany; Colour; 108m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Paul Greengrass; w. Tony Gilroy; ph. Oliver Wood; m. John Powell.  Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann, Joan Allen, Marton Csokas, Tom Gallop, John Bedford Lloyd, Ethan Sandler, Michelle Monaghan, Karel Roden. When Jason Bourne is framed for a botched CIA operation he is forced to take up his former life as a trained assassin to survive. The pace never lets up in this sequel to THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002), which continues the story in some style with Greengrass at the helm. Breath-taking actions scenes are filmed and edited in chaotic style making them seem less choreographed.  Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum. Followed by THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007). [12]

Film Review – JASON BOURNE (2016)

Image result for jason bourne 2016 posterJason Bourne (2016; USA; Colour; 123m) ∗∗∗½  d. Paul Greengrass; w. Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse; ph. Barry Ackroyd; m. David Buckley, John Powell.  Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Ato Essandoh, Riz Ahmed, Scott Shepherd, Bill Camp, Vinzenz Kiefer, Stephen Kunken, Ben Stylianou, Kaya Yuzuki, Matthew O’Neill, Lizzie Phillips, Paris Stangl. Jason Bourne, now remembering who he truly is, tries to uncover hidden truths about his past. Damon returns to the franchise after a one film absence and it is business as usual with Greengrass at the helm. Dizzying, frenetically cut action sequences propel the story at a fast pace across globe-trotting locations glossing over some of the conveniences in the script. But ultimately this is a satisfying fifth instalment. [12]

Film Review – THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002)

Image result for the bourne identity blu-rayBourne Identity, The (2002; USA/Germany/Czech Republic; Colour; 119m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Doug Liman; w. Tony Gilroy, W. Blake Herron; ph. Oliver Wood; m. John Powell.  Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Clive Owen, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Julia Stiles, Gabriel Mann, Walton Goggins, Nicky Naude, Josh Hamilton, Orso Maria Guerrini, Tim Dutton, Denis Braccini, Anthony Green. A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia. Fast-paced and tightly, almost frenetically, edited action movie never lets up. Tense and violent, this proved to be an influential addition to the spy thriller genre with Damon proving highly effective as the assassin who has lost his memory and tries to unpick the knotted threads of his life. Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum. Followed by a number of sequels commencing with THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004). [12]

Film Review – THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Man from U.N.C.L.E., The (2015; USA/UK; Colour; 116m) ∗∗½  d. Guy Ritchie; w. Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Jeff Kleeman, David C. Wilson; ph. John Mathieson; m. Daniel Pemberton.  Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris, Christopher Sciueref, Susan Gillias, Luca Calvani, Nicon Caraman. In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons. Shallow and lightweight, but increasingly entertaining rework. Cavill is too smug and Hammer too psychotic to capture the charm of the original characters. Ritchie, however, elicits a certain kitsch feel from the derivative script. Based on the TV series that ran from 1964-8. [12]

Film Review – WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL (1971)

When Eight Bells Toll (1971; UK; Eastmancolor; 94m) ∗∗∗  d. Etienne Perier; w. Alistair MacLean; ph. Arthur Ibbetson; m. Angela Morley (as Walter Stott).  Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Nathalie Delon, Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins, Corin Redgrave, Derek Bond, Ferdy Mayne, Maurice Roëves, Leon Collins, Wendy Allnutt, Peter Arne, Oliver MacGreevy, Jon Croft. A British agent is on a mission to determine the whereabouts of a ship that disappeared near the coast of Scotland.  Enjoyable and lively, if slight, spy adventure is helped by witty dialogue and performances – notably Hopkins and Morley – as well as great Scottish locations. Hawkins’ voice is dubbed by Charles Gray. MacLean scripted from his own novel. [15]

Film Review – NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983)

Never Say Never Again (1983; UK/USA/West Germany; Technicolor; 134m) ∗∗∗  d. Irvin Kershner; w. Lorenzo Semple Jr.; ph. Douglas Slocombe; m. Michel Legrand.  Cast: Sean Connery, Barbara Carrera, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow, Kim Basinger, Edward Fox, Bernie Casey, Alec McCowen, Michael Medwin, Ronald Pickup, Pamela Salem, Rowan Atkinson, Valerie Leon, Milos Kirek, Anthony Sharp. A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated. Whilst it is good to see Connery return as 007, this production lacks the style and production values of the official series. There are moments of effective humour, but the action sequences are only adequately handled. Carrera and Brandauer are excellent as the SPECTRE agents, but forget Fox as M and Atkinson in an unfunny cameo. Remake of THUNDERBALL (1965). [PG]

Film Review – SKYFALL (2012)

Skyfall (2012; UK/USA; Colour; 143m) ∗∗∗∗½  d. Sam Mendes; w. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan; ph. Roger Deakins; m. Thomas Newman.  Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Ola Rapace, Helen McCrory, Nicholas Woodeson, Bill Buckhurst, Elize du Toit.  James Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. Engrossing and emotive, this is one of the best of the series with Craig delivering his strongest performance to date as Bond and Dench having a much greater involvement as M. Whishaw debuts as a geeky young Q. Bardem stays the right side of caricature in a delicious turn as the villain of the piece. Thrilling, explosive finale at Bond’s ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands. Production credits are all top notch and Deakins’ cinematography is sumptuous. Oscar winner for Best Song (“Skyfall” by Adele and Paul Epworth) and Sound Editing (Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers). Based on characters created by Ian Fleming. [12]

Film Review – QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008)

Quantum of Solace (2008; UK/USA; Colour; 106m) ∗∗∗  d. Marc Forster; w. Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade; ph. Roberto Schaefer; m. David Arnold.  Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, David Harbour, Jesper Christensen, Anatole Taubman, Rory Kinnear, Tim Pigott-Smith, Joaquín Cosio, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Jesús Ochoa. Seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country’s valuable resource. Disappointing follow-up to CASINO ROYALE suffers more from comparison to the film it follows than to the rest of the franchise. The exceptionally tough action sequences are too frenetically shot and edited thus rendering them breathless as well as incomprehensible, save for one excellent sequence shot at the opera during a performance of “Tosca.” The characters and the plot are given little room to breathe as a result of Forster’s seeming insistence in prioritising style over substance, but Craig does continue to impress as 007. [12]

Film Review – CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Casino Royale (2006; USA/UK/Germany/ Czech Republic; Colour; 144m) ∗∗∗∗∗ d. Martin Campbell; w. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis; ph. Phil Meheux; m. David Arnold.  Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach De Bankolé, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Tobias Menzies, Claudio Santamaria, Sebastien Foucan, Malcolm Sinclair. In his first mission, James Bond must stop Le Chiffre, a banker to the world’s terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro. Craig makes an excellent debut as 007 in arguably the best Bond movie. The action is fast and furious in the opening and closing sequences whilst the engrossing plot carries us through the centre of the film. All the elements are there but this is a tough, rugged entry in a series that has rebooted itself in some considerable style. Based on the novel by Ian Fleming. [12]

Film Review – DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)

Die Another Day (2002; UK/USA; Colour; 133m) ∗∗  d. Lee Tamahori; w. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade; ph. David Tattersall; m. David Arnold.  Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Kenneth Tsang, Emilio Echevarría, Mikhail Gorevoy, Lawrence Makoare, Colin Salmon, Samantha Bond, Madonna. James Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul who is funding the development of an international space weapon. After a strong first half this overblown adventure descends into some of the worst excesses seen in a Bond film since MOONRAKER – not least the invisible car. Berry is the film’s main asset in a lively turn, but a weak and increasingly unbelievable premise along with some appalling CGI ultimately sink the film. [12]