Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Lee Jones’

Eliminating the Competition

Mechanic: Resurrection

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Director: Dennis Gansel

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Toby Eddington, John Cenatiempo

Viewers of Mechanic Resurrection could be forgiven for thinking they are watching a retro 007 film. As German director Dennis Gansel’s film opens in Rio de Janeiro, it is reminiscent of Moonraker then as the next sequence moves to the South China Sea, the location is directly out of The Man with the Golden Gun.

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Action man Jason Statham reprises his role of Arthur Bishop in the sequel to the 2011 film The Mechanic, this time Bishop is courted by nefarious arms dealer Crain played by British actor Sam Hazeldine (The Huntsman: Winters War), to carry out a series of assassinations around the globe, which should look like freak accidents.

As Mechanic Resurrection moves from Rio to Bangkok, to a prison island off the Malaysian city of Penang then onto a glossy highrise in Sydney Harbour, director Ganzel makes the most out of every exotic location. Surprisingly none of the locations are in the US, which adds to the originality of the film.

In Thailand, Bishop meets the pawn in the game, Gina, played by the voluptuous and feisty Jessica Alba, and then both are involved in a dangerous game of intrigue, as Bishop is sent by Crain to kill these criminal monsters. The last of which is Max Adams played by an unrecognizable Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, Jason Bourne), who is hiding out in a Soviet era monument in the outskirts of the Bulgarian resort city of Varna.

Soon Bishop and Adams make an unholy alliance to take Crain down and the rest of Mechanic Resurrection is an old style action film, as bad guys are dispatched in the hundreds, particularly in a scene on a luxurious yacht on the Black Sea. Bishop literally eliminates the competition.

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The most dazzling scene in the film is the cantilever swimming pool which juts out of a Sydney Harbour apartment building which Bishop sabotages to kill arms dealer and child trafficker, the suave Adrian Cook played by Toby Eddington.

Mechanic Resurrection is an old style action film, the kind film studios used to make between the mid-1980 and 1990’s. Think Rambo, Die Hard or True Lies. It’s a great popcorn film.

The stunts are outrageous, the locations out of a bond film and naturally the buff Jason Statham is perfect as the fit action hero ready to save the gorgeous Gina held captive on a yacht fill of thugs.

Clearly inspired by the Bond franchise, director Dennis Gansel pays homage to some of the classic 007 films giving the look of Mechanic Resurrection that fabulously exotic retro feel. Even former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies) stars as Mei, Bishop’s friend and confidant in the South China Sea.

Mechanic Resurrection is 90 minutes of pure action, fabulous locations and complete escapism, sometimes it’s just what audiences need to escape the mundane realities of daily life. Go and see it. It’s fun and certainly entertaining!

Reclaiming his Identity

Jason Bourne

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Director: Paul Greengrass

Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed, Scott Sheperd

Director Paul Greengrass reunites with Matt Damon in a thrilling continuation of the Bourne franchise in the aptly titled Jason Bourne.

Having directed The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, it was inevitable that Greengrass and Damon would work together again. The lure of the fast paced, globe-trotting Bourne franchise is irresistible.

Joining the cast of Jason Bourne are Alicia Vikander fresh from her Oscar win in The Danish Girl as a tech analyst Heather Lee, a more ambivalent version of the role played by Joan Allen in the previous films. Black Swan’s Vincent Cassel also joins the film as the ruthless assassin and the shady CIA director Robert Dewey is this time played by Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive).

Riz Ahmed (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) plays a Tech billionaire, Aaron Kalloor and head of Deep Dream who has some equally underhand dealings with the CIA. Julia Stiles reprises her role as Nicky Parsons which adds to the continuity of this Bourne film.

As the action moves from Iceland to Athens to Berlin and then onto a Tech convention in Las Vegas, Jason Bourne as an action thriller delivers on all fronts, crisp production design by Paul Kirby, brilliant car chases both in Athens and Vegas and excellent sound editing, especially notable in the riot sequence outside the parliament building in Athens.

Vikander is superb as an ambitious CIA operative who is ruthless at playing both sides whilst acknowledging the intrinsic value of Jason Bourne re-joining the programme as a highly skilled and effective assassin.

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Matt Damon is all buffed up in this version, especially in the opening fight sequence in rural Greece, a far cry from the bewildered spy who wakes up on a fishing trawler off the coast of Marseilles in the original film, The Bourne Identity. Damon inhabits Jason Bourne, he personifies the role, reclaiming the identity of this protagonist synonymous with a gritty street spy who is able to navigate his way around the world without barriers.

The plot in this film centres on a hack of the CIA database and the real implications of the Treadstone program which delves into Bourne’s complicated past.

Jason Bourne is a brilliant thriller, especially the unbelievable car chase sequence down Las Vegas Boulevard landing up in the Riviera hotel. This is a top notch thriller, highly recommended and surely a definitive sign that there will be more Bourne films to come.

2005 Cannes Film Festival

2005 Cannes Film Festival Winners

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Winners of the five main prizes at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival are as follows –

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Palm d’Or – Les Enfants (The Children) directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

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Best Director: Michael Haneke for Cache (Hidden)

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Best Actor: Tommy Lee Jones – The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

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Best Actress: Hanna Laslo in Free Zone

Best Screenplay: Guillermo Arriaga for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Cannes_Film_Festival

Military Retro Americana Reigns

Captain America: The First Avenger

From Scrawny to Super Muscular

Joe Johnston’s retro superhero film, Captain America, The First Avenger is a wonderfully evocative 1940s style Americana glamorizing the American involvement in World War II and what better way to achieve this macho propaganda than through the story of Captain America, reluctantly but brilliantly played by Chris Evans who starts the film as an underweight and scrawny all American boy Steve Rogers desperate to enrol in the US Army and contribute to the European theatre of War. A German immigrant scientist, Dr Abraham Erskine played with relish by Stanley Tucci recognizes Rogers ingenuity and enlists him in a top secret research project aimed at fighting the mysterious Nazi supernatural research unit Hydra, headed by the demonic Captain Johann Schmidt, played with sinister pleasure by Hugo Weaving.

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Evans character Rogers through a specially injected serum is transformed into the brawny and muscular Captain America, a super soldier who initially is used as a ridiculous propaganda figure by the US military driving up conscription and bolstering the armies psyche in their fight against the Nazi’s in a glorious cinematic pastiche of Americana complete with showgirls and wartime publicity.

As this is a comic book caper and very far from the actual reality of war, Captain America with the aid of a motley crew of trusted soldiers, an elegant British attache Peggy Carter played by Hayley Atwell of Brideshead Revisited fame and empowered with an arsenal of weapons, military transportation and the like by Howard Stark, Ironman’s father, played by the dashing Dominic Cooper from Mamma Mia, Captain America takes on the crazed Captain Schmidt whose powers derive from some Nordic mythological cube, capable of utter destruction.

Only the Brave and the Strong

Captain America is thrilling, glamorous and a great adventure film with tribute being payed to the Indiana Jones franchise whilst keeping in line with similar styled 1940s themed films from Casablanca to Bugsy. Watch out for a fantastic chase sequence in Brooklyn, a twist at the end and definitely a promise of a sequel. The supporting cast are terrific from Tommy Lee Jones as the no nonsense Colonel Phillips to Hugo Weaving bolstering up Chris Evan’s performance as the ultimate American superhero.

 

 

Texas is No Place for Survivors

No Country for Old Men

It is a difficult nut to crack. No Country for Old Men initially purely for its shock value, then for Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on morality in border town Texas. Even the second viewing was hard to contemplate. From its relentless scenery to its unrelentless take on the Mexican-Texan drug trade, the Coen brothers never compromise of their  vision of an America without any heroes and essentially its Superb!

Rich in imagery and dark in imagination coupled by great performances from the cast from Javier Bardem to Josh Brolin and Kelly McDonald. The Coen brothers seminal work is a masterpiece in psychological immorality and genuine disconnectedness of the main characters. From Tommy Lee Jones’s cynical police chief to the cold blooded ruthlessness of Javier Bardems psychopathic killer Anton Chiqua the film betrays a sense of ruthlessness and immorality little before seen on the big screen. Panoramic visions of Texas and neighboring Mexico make little t0 assuage the view. To make the viewer feel better.

Not for the faint-hearted

Even in the second viewing the Coen brothers disturbing point of view is fascinating and simultaneously appalling for those who watch it, but in a true Cinematic tradition, their film is both a masterpiece and a harrowing account of the cost of greed and revenge. Its a tough showdown but ultimately rewarding tale of disillusionment, disgrace and courage faltered in a land ravaged by death and destruction.

Javier Bardem’s performance is intimate and contained, rich in evil and retribution, filled with that abysmal sinister quality of a man which clearly operates outside the law. He is a non-conformist, who is bound by his own sense of justice and revenge. A sense not grounded in reality but pure evil, unadulterated.

Josh Brolin is equally brilliant as a man who makes a conscious decision not to redeem himself in any way possible and accept the consequences however grotesque for  a man who crosses a moral boundary with no way of turning back.

Tommy Lee Jones mirrors the path of the psychopathic killer, from drinking the same milk to staring at the same emptiness of a TV screen not quite tuned into the world. A cynical sheriff, a man who has becomes speculative, a watch on all the macabre episodes, not realizing the gravity of the events, but only its significant consequences…

Utlimately, there is no sense of redemption in a film like No Country for Old Men, no cathartic assurances, just a deep valued sense of tragedy which its dark vision never compromises on, leaving the viewer wasted, but realizing that they have watched a film exceptionally profound. No Country for Old Men won four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay from the novel by Cormac McCarthy and of course Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem’s spine chilling portrayal of a hitman.

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