Sunday, September 02, 2007

Reviews from the 'Boro (Volume 6)

Perhaps owing to the fact that he himself is a journalist, YesWeekly's Glen Baity really enjoyed Resurrecting the Champ, which earned a lukewarm-to-negative response from most critics. Starring Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson, Champ tells the true story of a sports writer who was duped into believing that a homeless man is a former boxing pro. The duping results in a fiasco in the sports journalism world, and teaches the ever-important mantra of why it is important to "CHECK YOUR FACTS."

Here's part of what he had to say:

Resurrecting the Champ is strongest when it cans the sentiment and focuses on the unfolding journalistic fiasco. After Eric's piece is published, it's like watching a hard right cross to the jaw in slow motion, and the tension is palpable as the story's knees begin to wobble. Resurrecting the Champ is destined to be shown in journalism courses across America, and it should be: The film is a veritable procedural on how not to research.

As for The Rhino's Orson Scott Card, while there didn't seem to be a new movie last week that he actually cared to see (something I can identify with), he decided to jump back and review a film that came out almost a month ago. Like most people with good sense, Card enjoyed The Bourne Supremacy. He praises Bourne 3 mainly for its screenplay by Tony Gilroy, and Matt Damon's performance, but makes no mention of the direction by Paul Greengrass. I for one thought Greengrass' direction is what distinguished the Bourne series - what made the trilogy really come alive after the competent first entry by Doug Liman.

Anyway, enough splitting hairs. Here's part of what Orson had to say:

The Bourne movies have done a good job of making the people who created this weapon – Bourne himself and the other "assets" that he is pitted against in Ultimatum – morally ambiguous. The script does not cheat and make them monsters. You can see how decent people could walk down that road.

At the same time, this movie is the quintessential American film. There are plenty of nations and cultures in this world where blind obedience is truly expected of citizens – if you've ever been addressed by a policeman or customs official in, say, Europe, you'll know exactly what I mean.

American authority figures usually know that they get their best results when they give orders with an explanation. It's what American citizens expect and are usually given: An explanation. It provides us a means of continuing to believe that we actually have a choice.


I may disagree with Orson for not giving Kudos to Greengrass, which may have even been unintentional, but we do see eye-to-eye on how the films are 'quintessentially American.' Unlike Bond, who follows orders with few questions or resistance (thus leaving the audience to trust whether all persons he killed were in fact 'bad guys'), Bourne eventually started to ask questions. He also manages to be very lethal sans a pocketful of gadgets which conveniently meet the specific needs of each particular mission. That's someone one could no longer say really say about Bond up until the last film.

After the changes intended to 'real-up' the Bond series in Casino Royale, my co-host Mike says we don't really need another Bourne film. He may have a point, but on top of that, I think the Bourne series is simply done. Stick a fork in it. They have pushed the premise and the character to their logical conclusions. We know Bourne's true identity, the government has no real reason to pursue him anymore, and he has avenged the death of the only woman he ever loved. Anymore films would do nothing but cheapen the well-made series. It would be like the Rambo sequels (especially the third one), where they dragged John Rambo into missions he is neither personally nor thematically connected to. Let well enough alone, I say.

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