David Strathairn

From the aesthetic to its own protagonist, Tony Gilroy did some work to distance The Bourne Legacy from the previous, Jason Bourne-led trilogy. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) isn’t Bourne, and The Bourne Legacy isn’t a carbon copy of the voices Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass helped shaped this series with. His mythology-expanding feature focuses on one man with one simple goal – which doesn’t involve his identity, finding forgiveness, or getting revenge for his girlfriend’s death. As Tony Gilroy told us at the start of the summer, the Michael Clayton director didn’t want to “lose the balls.” With an edgy anti-hero in the lead – one who’s capable of using either a wolf or a fire extinguisher to save his own skin – Gilroy kept the balls of this series intact while also exploring new thematic corners of the Bourne universe. If Gilroy is correct, we’ll soon see more episodic and expansive mega-blockbusters told in the vein of The Bourne Legacy, and it’s a prediction the Academy Award nominee seemed excited by.

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The Bourne Legacy is not only one of the most highly-anticipated films of the summer, it’s a unique chance to revisit the blockbuster franchise with a different star at the helm. Meanwhile, co-writer/director Tony Gilroy, one of the key creative voices behind the original trilogy, is preserving the series’ lore while giving its events a broader and more epic context. As the film’s trailer observes, “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg,” and Gilroy’s insights about the direction he took the franchise in, for the first time as both writer and director, suggest that this expansive view of the world of Bourne was part of his plan all along. But as if embodying the director’s perspective, Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross isn’t an unknown entering a larger world, but an experienced agent who knows exactly who he is and what he’s meant to do. Speaking to the Academy Award nominated filmmaker recently, Gilroy talked about reviving the franchise via The Bourne Legacy, revealing how he paid tribute to longtime fans even as he looked to a broader horizon, and the organic approach he and cinematographer Robert Elswit approached the picture with.

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“There was never just one.” Well, that’s a nifty way to explain why Matt Damon isn’t in the latest installment of the Jason Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy. Damon’s out, and Jeremy Renner is in as another victim and/or participant in shady Project Treadstone. This first stylized trailer (complete with Inception-esque “brannngsss” and “brrahhhhmmms”) introduces us to Renner’s character – a bruiser from Reno who is on the run after showing some impressive stuff to all those government heavies who’ve gone through this already with Jason Bourne. Don’t you think Joan Allen‘s Pam Landy is just exhausted by now? Join the program and check out the trailer for The Bourne Legacy after the break.

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The interpretation of art is tricky. In fact, most great works of art are the trickiest because what makes them great is that they can mean different things to different people. Such is the overwhelming theme of Rob Epstein’s excellent film, Howl.

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cold-souls-header

Struggling to find his mojo in the theater, Paul Giamatti turns to a radical procedure that will help him get rid of that which is holding him back — his soul.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews the movies the studios didn’t allow him to see early this week: Taken and The Uninvited.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Neil has returned from Park City, but he’s decompressing from his fruitful Sundance trip. So Kristin Dreyer Kramer from NightsAndWeekends.com braved the Ohio snow and ice to make a trip to the Magical Studio in the Sky to join in this week’s fun.

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coldsouls-1

A wildly imaginative and ambitious piece of science fiction, Sophie Barthes’ Cold Souls, anchored by a very strong performance from Paul Giamatti, could just be one of the more peculiar, conversation-inducing films of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel in The Uninvited

Instead of releasing a bunch of horror films and thrillers in the month of October, the powers that be in Hollywood have decided to release the trailers for their horror films in October, and release the actual horror films in January and February.

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Mary-Louise Parker

It looks as if Nancy Botwin will be dealing her “MILF Weed” to the beatnik brigade in the upcoming Allen Ginsberg biopic.

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My Blueberry Nights

My Blueberry Nights is the first American film from director Wong Kar-Wai, which actually feels like three short films cobbled together. Great cast and some decent acting, but they feel like student films. Ouch.

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Seeing how the film has already received a 76 percent approval at Rottentomatoes, this is an early contender for the most overrated film of the early year. Apparently it was okay, for once, for critics to check their brains in at the door. I guess I didn’t get the memo.

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