Jason Bourne

August 4, 2016

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 72) August 2016

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY

On this August edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys come back from their vacation and catch up with what they missed.  JD Duran from Insession Film joins them for a game of Word Association and a brand new game called Simplistic Submarine.  The entire Insession family also helps the boys with their ode to Jason Bourne.  Yo-Ho-Ho mateys! All that and more on this episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

NOTES
Dr. Strange Trailer
Wonder Woman Trailer
Justice League Trailer
Blair Witch Trailer
Kong Skull Island Trailer
Rocketeers
Fantastic Beasts Trailer
Hacksaw Ridge Trailer

MUSIC
Let It Happen By Tame Impala
1976 By RJD2
I Dream Of genie Remix 
Chronos By Hi-Finesse

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January 12, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 36) January 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY

It’s a brand new year and a brand new episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  This month the boys are not just joined by a Vern…they are joined by The Vern from The As You Watch Podcast and The Vern’s Video Video Vortex.  They pop his Simplistic cherry with a good ol’ game of Kill, F&%k, Marry.  And like all guests, the boys decide to go Inside The Podcaster…yes…it’s as gross as it sounds.  Also…Julie and Vern admit their feeling for each other.  All this and more on this January 2015 edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast

Show Notes
Bill Cosby
Deadpool Dead
No Bourne Crossover
Wolverine Dead
Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch No Longer Mutants
Fantastic Four Josh Trank Set Report
Batman v Superman Split

Music Notes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme
G.I. Joe Theme
Thundercats Theme
Birds & Brass By Sort Of Soul
Action In Memphis By Johnny Pearson
My Flows Is Tight By Lord Digga
Inside The Actors Studio Theme Angelo Badalamenti

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March 26, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round One Results: FILM GOOD

JAMES BOND (1) WINNER
TOXIC AVENGER (16)

One is a mutated, tutu-wearing, former gym janitor, the other is a secret agent that probably has had sex with a lot of girls who wear a tutu for a living.  New Jersey’s own, Toxic Avenger, may have the moves with the mop, but it all comes down to James Bond’s Golden Gun, and he wasn’t firing blanks this time.  Bond delivers “From Russia, With Love” a victory for jolly ole’ England.

INDIANA JONES (2) WINNER
TONY STARK (15) 

Tony may be a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.  However, Indy is an archeologist, professor, pilot, equestrian adventurer, WWII secret agent, playboy, oh…and survived the Ark Of The Convenant and drank water from THE HOLY F%*KING GRAIL.  Even Stark would have to give it up for that one.

JOHN McCLANE (3) WINNER
FOXY BROWN (14)

John McClane has always had tough luck with women.  He either divorces them or kills them.  This one he kills.

ELLEN RIPLEY (4)
CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW (13) WINNER

This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; Jack Sparrow knows how to charm a lady.  Even if that lady has faced Xenomorphs, androids, and criminal rapists in an intergalactic penal colony.  Savvy?  Ellen Ripley appears so.  However, before she can unload her pulse cannon, the crafty captain boards her ship, shivers her timbers, and hoists his main sail (innuendo).  I’m sure Ripley would welcome a facehugger after a night with Captain Jack Sparrow, who upsets one of the heavy hitters in this bracket.

HAN SOLO (5) WINNER
HIT-GIRL (12)

Han shot first…nuff said. 

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK (6) WINNER
BEATRIX KIDDO (11)
Beatrix Kiddo may be a world class assassin , but she has always been a sucker for charismatic older men.  And they don’t get any more charismatic than James T. Kirk.  Suffice to say Kirk gives The Bride the night of her life before setting his phaser to kill.

MAXIMUS DECIMUS MERIDIUS (7)
SARAH CONNOR (10) WINNER

It was that time of the month…You know what I mean guys…you know.

BATMAN (8) WINNER
JASON BOURNE (9)

Batman has dealt with his share of criminals, killers, and psychotics.  But I can’t say he’s dealt with an ex-CIA agent with a bad case of amnesia, a chip on his shoulder, and the ability to kill someone with a pencil or a book.  The Dark Knight had to pull out all of the tricks from his utility belt to deal with Jason Bourne, who got in a few early shots.  However, he was ultimately dealt a mortal wound courtesy of a Batarang.  He might not be Deadshot, but Bourne was merely a shot away from dispatching Gotham’s protector in this hotly contested battle.
November 24, 2012

Double-ovember: Casino Royale (DJ’s Take)

REAL

Lets face it.  Die Another Day sucked.  I haven’t reviewed it yet, but in case I don’t get a chance to, let me save you the suspense.  Die Another Day sucked.  James Bond deserved better than that.  At the time, 007 was hit by a perfect storm.  Pierce Brosnan was getting too old for the role, producers thought Bond should compete with and emulate the extreme sports sci-fi spy film xXx, while they underestimated the the rise of Jason Bourne.  It didn’t take them long to rectify those mistakes.  Eon Productions decided to not only recast Bond, but reboot the series with a more gritty and REALISTIC feel.  Bond’s beginnings is Casino Royale.  And it is f*#king awesome.  Wait, that isn’t a very professional review of it.  So, let me just say that Casino Royale reinvents the James Bond formula and world with an amazing flourish that extends the franchise’s cinematic life for decades to come.  But honestly, it is f*#king awesome.

So, who do you recast Bond with?  You have to give it to the producers of the franchise.  They are not afraid to shake things up a bit.  Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan are as similar to each other as members of The Muppets.  But no other Bond in history has been criticized and scrutinized more than Daniel Craig.  Even to this day.  People lost their minds over his hair, his thin acting resume, and his rugged looks.  So much so, there were online petitions to have him removed.  In retrospect, these critics of Craig were not understanding the central point of Casino Royale.  Casino Royale is essentially the origin story of James Bond.  He isn’t suave yet.  He isn’t debonair.  He isn’t the man who always has a plan.  He is just a cold-blooded killing machine.  If I can’t capture my target, I’ll kill him instead.  I might beat you in a fight, but not without receiving my fair share of damage.  I’d rather just skip the secret identity crap and get right to the bad guy confrontation.  Craig fits that role to a tee, in my opinion.  Craig is what a REAL secret agent would probably look like.  Not some pretty boy underwear model who uses as much skin moisturizer as he does bullets.  A man who has been in a few scrapes and survived.  A man who has just qualified to be a double-0, but not a seasoned one.  Oh, and despite his, then, thin resume, Daniel Craig had acting chops that were on par with or better than any other Bond before him.  He has plenty of range, and shows it off in this film.

Director Martin Campbell knocked GoldenEye out of the park.  But the odds were in his favor.  Craig casting controversy made this film an underdog from the start.  On top of that, Casino Royale did not have as many action beats as his previous outing.  So, it would have been easy for the film to feel flat and tedious.  However, Campbell makes Royale anything but.  A scene where six guys are sitting around a table feels as compelling as a car chase or a shootout.  He directs the Paul Haggis script with perfection and gives the movie the ‘Almost Bond’ feel it needs.  I just love how we start to get hints of a typical Bond feel in scenes, but are suddenly pulled back because we aren’t there yet.  You see, James isn’t James until the last five minutes.  Campbell, Craig, Haggis and even composer David Arnold all knew that.  Critics didn’t grasp it until now.

In every Bond review I’ve done so far, I have talked about the validity of the Bond girls in each film.   I’ve differentiated them by how weak they are as characters.  How much of a pawn they are for the villain or Bond or both.  I’ve said that the stronger the Bond girl, the brighter 007 shines.  And, for me, there is no stronger Bond girl in the entire series than Vesper Lynd.  She is my ultimate Bond girl, hands down.  She is beautiful, she is smart, she is witty, and most importantly, she is the one Bond girl 007 can’t read, can’t play, can’t impress.  At every point where you think Bond has figured her out, Vesper throws him for a loop.  And SPOILER ALERT…this is probably the only instance where the Bond girl makes Bond a pawn in the plot of the story.  She is not the typical, “I just met you five minutes ago, but I love you James” weakling most Bond girls are.  James and Vesper’s relationship feels REAL.  It feels earned.  Eva Green is amazing in this film.  Her chemistry with Craig is perfect and the range of emotions she displays throughout this film always floors me.  You can actually see her fall in love with James and instantly regret it.

If there is a weakness Casino Royale has, it is the villain.  Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre isn’t bad by any means.  The plot just doesn’t allow for a satisfying final confrontation between Bond and Le Chiffre.  Casino Royale is thinking bigger than that.  It is setting up a more dangerous organization along the lines of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. during Connery’s run.  And because the reveal of this mysterious organization has not been immediate, Royale’s set up for it feels unfulfilled.  Again, this is a small weakness seeing as the main focus of Casino Royale is Bond.  Everything else falls to the wayside.

Casino Royale is not just a successful reboot of a franchise.  It is a well made, well acted, Bond film that set the bar high for every Bond film to come.  I’m especially thankful to it because it completely washed the taste of Die Another Day out of my mouth.  Seriously, that movie sucks.  Sing along with Chris Cornellstop touching your ear…go all in…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.

August 26, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

LACKING

All my cards on the table.  I love the Bourne Trilogy.  I absolutely love it.  It pretty much redefined the spy genre and possibly the action drama genre into what we see now.  Daniel Craig’s realistic Bond is a DIRECT RESULT of Jason Bourne.  The popularity of gritty realistic action films and shaky cam action scenes (Some done right.  Most done WRONG) are a DIRECT RESULT of Paul Greengrass’s Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum.  The trilogy starring Matt Damon is in my top three favorite trilogies of ALL TIME.  They are perfect to me.  So much so, I actually didn’t want them to make any more.  A rarity for me because I always want more.  But for Bourne, because it was so perfect, I wanted it to end the way it did.  And for a while there, I got my wish.  Greengrass dropped out of a planned fourth film and Damon said he wouldn’t make another without Greengrass.  My perfect trilogy was safe.  But then Universal realized that other than that dumb street racing franchise…they had no other cash cow.  Enter The Bourne Legacy.

The Bourne Legacy isn’t a sequel.  It is a side story that takes place in the same universe as the Bourne Trilogy.  To the franchise’s credit, they never make the following film a stereotypical sequel.  Events in each film jump around through a linear timeline set up by story mastermind Tony Gilroy.  He and most of the original cast are back with some new blood sprinkled in.  I appreciated this as an effort to make Legacy stand out and be different while still using the foundation set by Damon and Greengrass.  However, these things hinder Legacy’s success to either the uninitiated or the…how should I put this….simple minded populous who want their films to just have stuff that blow up real good.

Days before I saw Legacy, I still heard people saying that Jeremy Renner was the new Jason Bourne…He’s Not.  I still heard people saying this was a reboot of the franchise…It’s Not.  I heard people saying Matt Damon would make a cameo…He Doesn’t.  This isn’t entirely the people’s fault.  The way Gilroy sets up the story, the way the film was marketed, the way the title reads all aids in the confusion.  The word Bourne isn’t what you should focus on in this film.  The word you should focus on is Legacy.  The film is entirely about how the actions of Jason Bourne and, more importantly, Pam Landy effect certain people in the government.  It is a film about fallout.  And though I understand that The Landy Fallout isn’t a particularly catchy title, it would be a more accurate one.

With all that baggage out of the way, how is the film?  Its just fine.  Gilroy, now writing and directing instead of just writing, is a fine replacement for Greengrass.  Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross, though a little less likable than Damon’s Jason Bourne, is fine as a lead.  The story, though a tad too complex for the uninitiated, is fine.  Ed Norton and Stacy Keach are fine as the baddies.  But what is still LACKING from Bourne Legacy?  I’ll give you two guess and the first one doesn’t count.

Matt Damon is what makes this franchise go.  He is the heart, the engine, the…fill in a metaphor relating to importance…that drives this universe.  Without him, without Jason Bourne, any installment in this series just feels like a really expensive fan film.  The universe itself isn’t strong enough to carry a film without him as it was for, lets say, The Dark Knight Rises.  You need more Jason than they give you, if only to serve as a smoother transition into caring for Aaron Cross.

And on a personal note, replacing composer John Powell with James Newton Howard is a HUGE MISTAKE.  Powell’s scores for Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum are legendary.  It would be like switching John Williams from Indiana Jones or Danny Elfman from Batman ’89.  Howard’s score is color by numbers at best.   In a film DEPENDANT on it’s audience following the Bourne universe, how do you not use the man that sets that universe’s perfect tone?  John Powell is sorely missed.

Rumor has it that a film with Damon and Renner teaming up could come as a result of Legacy’s success.  For that reason alone, I support it.  However, I’m a fanboy of the franchise.  I don’t expect anyone else to see a possible Bourne/Cross team-up as a good enough reason to watch a film that is fine but is also LACKING.  If you watch it…you’ll be hard pressed to tell me I’m wrong.

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