And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

Currently browsing the "Alicia Vikander" tag.

The Light Between Oceans

Some people (particularly those who hate melodrama) may scoff at the manipulative nature of The Light Between Oceans, with its sweeping score and dramatic pans of crashing waves and remote landscape; but for fans of a solid romantic drama with a two-kleenex tearjerker quotient, The Light Between Oceans is worth the view.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: Jason Bourne; Bad Moms; Nerve

Jason Bourne – This was my least favorite of the Matt Damon Bourne movies. Granted, I can never remember the plot from installment to installment (much like Jason Bourne himself), but I do recall liking them well enough. This Bourne, however, is brutal to watch. Damon is in fine physical form, returning to his iconic role as a former lethal CIA operative/assassin with memory issues. And director Paul Greengrass is back to deliver his usual frenetic-paced editing and adrenaline-fueled car chases. But the movie lacks the fun, suspense and entertainment factor that made The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum cool action flicks that left you caring about the characters and their relationships to one another. This feels like more of a re-tread set in present-day global hot spots, yet re-asking the same questions of old and new characters. Julia Stiles is back, however briefly, as an operative with a conscience who wants to help Bourne fill in the blanks of his past and expose evil-doers within the intelligence community. There’s a menacing-looking assassin who has a personal vendetta against Bourne. Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander joins the cast in a role that basically amounts to a reboot of Stiles’ character. There’s a CIA black ops guy played by Tommy Lee Jones who looks a lot like an aging version of Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black, The Fugitive, and the like. There’s also a Julian Assange-type character with a pro-Wiki-Leaks agenda, and a Steve Jobs software genius type who is in cahoots with the government to violate personal privacy – in the name of national security and a hefty pay day. Jason Bourne is certainly a visceral experience. It moves. It just doesn’t go anywhere. I’m bummed, ‘cause I really like Matt Damon and have appreciated his Bourne identity. Now excuse me while I go cleanse my palate with a re-watching of The Martian.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a thoroughly entertaining spy romp that feels like a throwback to 1960s-era television, which makes perfect sense considering the movie is based on the television series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which ran from 1964-1968 (starring Robert Vaughn and David “Ducky from NCIS!” McCallum). The question is, can a spy movie set against the backdrop of the Cold War compete at the box office with a modern, adrenaline-fueled spy movie like the latest installment of Mission Impossible? I doubt it. HOWEVER, U.N.C.L.E. does have a great deal of charm on its side, effused with great aplomb by Henry Cavill, who proves that he can wear a business suit (and a towel) as well, if not better, than the ‘suit’ he donned for Man of Steel (the 2013 Superman reboot that I quite liked despite its less-than-stellar reviews).

Ex Machina

In his directorial debut Alex Garland, the writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, has served up an intriguing minimalist sci-fi thriller that is more about what isn’t onscreen than what is. It’s a very simple story about an evil genius’s quest to design a sentient robot and the pawns he uses in the perfection of his plan. The cast of three (Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac) spends most of the film sequestered away in a remote house/research facility and the audience spends most of its time wondering if things can possibly end well, as layer upon layer of artifice is stripped away.