Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Bourne Legacy

Matt Damon is out; Jeremy Renner is in as the latest Bourne film tells us that there was never just one.

The Bourne Legacy runs parallel to the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, we are told that because of Bourne’s actions another program called Outcome will be terminated and that includes all of its assets. When one such asset Renner’s Aaron Cross, survives an attack to kill him, he and Rachel Weisz’s scientist Marta go on the run.

The Bourne Legacy starts off slow as it establishes new characters and story for the audience to become accustomed to but picks up once Eric Byer (a phone-it-in performance by Edward Norton) gives the order to terminate Outcome.

As the new lead of the Bourne series Jeremy Renner is solid as Aaron Cross, if a little undeveloped by the script.  A bit more of a backstory would have been welcomed.  All we really know about him is that he is dependent on the medical drugs Outcome gives its participants and his determination to find more of the drugs he has lost. However he is convincing in the action sequences and has a nice chemistry with Weisz. Hopefully any future instalments will flesh out his character further.

Rachel Weisz Marta is a good addition to the series. She may need Aaron’s help to survive but becomes more adaptable and quick thinking as the film progresses and tries to help out Aaron where she can. She gives a realistic portrayal of a normal woman caught up in an abnormal situation.

What the series’ most misses is Paul Greengrass. While Tony Gilroy’s (the series writer) direction is fine the film lacks Greengrass’ pace and energy leaving the film sluggish at times.  The film definitely improves as it goes along with some good action scenes such as the tense shootout in Marta’s lab and a frenzied chase along the rooftop and streets of Manila. It was actually disappointing when the film ended as it seemed to really find its feet in the last act.

Overall this film may lag behind this year’s other summer blockbusters, but now that it’s established its new characters hopefully the next Bourne film will set pulses racing again.

3/5 Not a bad effort but hopefully enough time to improve things for the next instalment.

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Matthew Bomer-Too Gay for Grey?

The film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey is the talk of Hollywood as the moment. Speculation has been rife as to who may play the handsome and seriously screwed up Christian Grey. One name that’s currently being mentioned is Matthew Bomer whose previous credits include the lead in tv series White Collar and one of the male strippers in Magic Mike. He’s also-in case you couldn’t guess by the title-gay.

According to Bret Easton Elis-writer of American Psycho (who recently lost out on becoming the scriptwriter for the film Fifty Shades of Grey) because Matthew Bomer is openly gay he cannot play the role of Christian Grey.

Then I hear some people actually agree with him. That because they know he’s gay, they wouldn’t be able to believe him as a straight man.

So with that in mind, I’ve started a list of requirements for an actor to play Christian Grey.

  • He has to be a billionaire-with his own private helicopter
  • He has to be involved in dominate/submissive kinky relationship-sorry no vanilla sex allowed
  • He has to be an obsessive, control freak, stalker
  • He has to have a crack whore for a mother

 

Hmm. Looking at that list again it may be a bit hard to find one guy who fits all these things.  Maybe I need to think of another solution. Perhaps he doesn’t need to be all these things in real life. Maybe he could pretend instead. You know like ACTING!

What am I saying? Is that crazy? Because we all know that Johnny Depp is really a pirate, Ian McKellan is a wizard and Zachary Quinto is really a Vulcan.

To be honest I don’t really know if Fifty Shades of Grey will make a good film, but I am intrigued with its journey to the big screen. I find the character of Christian Grey to be quite unappealing so they need to find a likeable actor for the audience to want to follow through three films. From what I’ve seen of him Matthew Bomer he is good looking and a talented actor who is able to play a straight man convincingly. Being gay shouldn’t factor one way or another. Ultimately whoever lands the role should get it because they are the best actor for the part, not because they are gay or straight.

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Battle Royale to get CW makeover

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It’s been announced that the CW network in America is planning to turn the Japanese film Battle Royale into a TV series.

Words cannot express what terror this fills me with.

In case you’ve never heard of the film, the basic plot is that the Japanese authorities have passed an act where they put a class of children on an island and force them to kill each other leaving one winner at the end. If anyone thinks this is similar to The Hunger Games, Battle Royale came out way before that and is much more violent, with scenes of extreme blood and gore as classmates turn against their own friends. While Battle Royale (which itself was based on the novel and manga series of the same name) focuses on the main characters of Shuya Nanahara and Noriko Nakagawa, it also allows us to spend time with their other classmates before they are killed. It’s a shocking and brutal film but also one that does focus on characters as well as the violence.

I know that The Hunger Games has become popular (and rightly so-the books are great) and Hollywood is known for jumping on the bandwagon but really how can this work on American tv? First of all Japan seems so integral to the film that changing the protagonists to all-American teenagers just seems wrong. Then there’s the violence. The film shows the kids using guns, knives, crossbows and various other weapons to kill each other, how on earth would that be allowed on American mainstream tv? The violence would have to be cut from the tv series, but again this is an important part of Battle Royale. It has to be so bloody because it should be shocking and awful what these kids are forced to do.

Another problem is the network it’s going to be on. This is the network that gives us America’s Next Top Model and Gossip Girl. Don’t get me wrong I love those shows but Battle Royale-the tv series would not fit well amongst them. These shows are light and glossy and that’s not Battle Royale. Maybe if it was on a different network it could work but I don’t think they can get away with it on the CW.

So how could Battle Royale possibly work as a tv series? I guess it could be interesting if they limited the show to one season-they couldn’t stretch it out with the same kids over seven years (though I think seven series are extremely optimistic given the subject matter). The main focus could be on a bunch of kids who band together to try and find a way out of it, while a sub plot could focus on a different classmate each episode where we see their backstory and flashbacks (like Lost?) before seeing their death at the end of the episode. At least then we’d be able to see other classmates who have been killed in other people’s flashbacks.  If they were able to commission another series then maybe each season could focus on a new class while also having sub plots involving previous survivors trying to stop the authorities from killing more kids.

As much as I try to think positively I honestly can’t think how this would go ahead. Teenagers violently killing each other wouldn’t be allowed on mainstream tv and if they took out the violence it would end up looking more like The Hunger Games which would be pointless.  Whatever turns up on tv it would be Battle Royale in name only.

Still probably couldn’t be worse than the Battle Royale 2: Requiem.

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Fifty Shades of Grey? I’d Rather Watch Secretary Instead

I have just finished reading the latest publishing sensation Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James and I am trying to find the right words to describe how I feel about the book.  For those who don’t know it follows the relationship of young, naive Ana and handsome billionaire Christian Grey. Their relationship is tested by Christian’s preference for BDSM.

There are some things I enjoyed about it. It is easy reading, and I quite like the fact that what started as just fan fiction has become this massive phenomenon (I’m going to let it slide that it was Twilight fan fiction).  I thought Ana’s friend Kate Kavanagh was the best and most likeable character in it and the book is good as escapist fantasy. However there were things that made me feel uncomfortable while I was reading it and for a while I couldn’t put my finger on it. I’m not strongly opposed to the S & M scenes (I was more offended by his constant use of the word ‘baby’-shudder); it’s not my kind of thing but its consenting adults so each to their own.

It wasn’t until half way through the book that I realised what it was that was bothering me. Although Ana did enjoy some of the sexual situations she was finding herself involved in, it’s not actually something she really wants to do. Her main reason for doing it is because she wants Christian to be her boyfriend and is afraid of losing him. The scene where she breaks down after a mammoth spanking session from Christian made me feel uncomfortable. I also found it off putting that he was such a stalker! I know Ana is not happy about it either but yet she still continues to date him. If it was me I’d be running for the hills.

I have not read the other books in the series so maybe this all gets addressed but I’ve had so many women drooling over how amazing Christian is that I find it a bit worrying. Many people like this Heathcliff type character who they see as a romantic (anti)hero who act so selfishly and brutish. I personally find it hard to swoon over characters like this. I think it’s also the fact that like Ana-many women like the thought of changing a man. Although this is nice in theory, people don’t change because we make them. A girl can’t change a man; people have to want to change themselves. And quite often they don’t want to.

I’m probably taking it all a bit more seriously then I’m meant to. After all at the end of the day its fiction and I’ll probably still read the other two books (I have been told these are better than the first one).  Perhaps Christian can win me over yet.  Besides the books aren’t going anywhere yet not with the film still to be made, although I hope they cut out all the ‘baby’ references-it’s just not sexy.

If anyone did enjoy the books then I would recommend watching Secretary a 2002 film starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway and James Spader as E. Edward Grey (Oh my god I can’t believe he’s called Grey too-I hadn’t realised that before-spooky!). Lee is a shy, severely insecure girl who’s just come out of a mental hospital for self-harming and gets a job as Grey’s secretary. The two are quite lonely figures who don’t really fit it in anywhere else. When Lee starts making mistakes in her work Grey gives out some unusual punishments to help correct her mistakes.

Surprisingly given the subject matter the film isn’t seedy; instead it’s a surprisingly sweet romance between Spader and Gyllenhaal’s characters. I think what I enjoyed about this film was that Lee doesn’t feel like a victim, rather she is more delighted by the relationship and strangely it gives her the confidence and strength she has been longing for. She is not upset in any of their encounters; in fact she rather enjoys it. Their relationship enables her to find her voice and expresses what she wants in her life even if it may not be right for others.  Also Spader doesn’t come across as creepy or as if he’s taking advantage of Lee, rather it’s two people who have a lot of issues coming together and finding what works for them.

Somehow I doubt the forthcoming Fifty Shades film will live up to Secretary in my mind.  However if the rumours are true and Matthew Bomer (Magic Mike, White Collar, Glee) is cast as Christian in the film then I may have to reconsider my standpoint. Shallow moi?

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