The Bourne Legacy

Jeremy Renner

  Let’s take a journey back in time. The year? 2010. Hot off The Hurt Locker (and reasonably hot off The Town), Jeremy Renner looked poised to break out in a big way. He was going to be Hawkeye. He was going to be the new Jason Bourne. He was going to take over the Mission: Impossible franchise. It was going to be Jeremy Renner’s world, and we were all just going to live in it (and buy lots of movie tickets while living in it). It was going to be great. It didn’t happen. The literal promise of Renner’s breakout did come true – he is Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he took over the Jason Bourne franchise, he was introduced as a new character in the last Mission: Impossible film – but he’s still not the star of any of those franchises. And, based on the latest round of Hollywood news, he’s not going to be.

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iron man original

You don’t have to see the RoboCop remake. Normally I’d say that if you don’t see the big new release that you can’t read the new Movies to Watch column, because you’ll get spoiled. But I don’t think there’s much in the way of spoilers here, even if you haven’t seen the 1987 original. There’s a cop, he becomes part robot and then he’s a RoboCop. Without knowing much more than that, you can gather that some obvious precursors include Frankenstein, Blade Runner and anything where Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a police officer of any kind. Yet none of those are in this week’s batch of a dozen recommendations inspired by the new RoboCop. Some of my picks are more obvious with relation to the remake than the Paul Verhoeven version. Speaking of which, that too is another obvious selection I feel is a given if you see the new one and haven’t before seen the old. Go ahead and see the divisive RoboCop 2, also, and while you’re at it go on to RoboCop 3 in order to see something much, much worse than the reboot. Because it was difficult to be reminded of much else besides those predecessors, more than a few of the titles below are merely better earlier works by the talent involved. In spite of what I said above, here’s your reminder that the following list may spoil parts of this week’s movie, so if you haven’t seen the RoboCop remake and plan to, you might not want to read ahead […]

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justin lin bourne legacy 2

When it was announced earlier this year that James Wan would be taking the reins for the seventh Fast & Furious film the focus was understandably on Wan’s move from micro-budgeted and highly profitable horror films to the blockbuster world of Universal’s biggest franchise. Fast & Furious 6 cost $160 million to produce, while the most expensive of Wan’s films (The Conjuring) topped off at only $20m. The unasked question, at least at the time, was where Justin Lin would go next. As the director of the last four films in the series, Lin has injected nearly $2 billion into Universal’s coffers over the past seven years. He’s been loosely attached to a handful of projects since then for both film and television, but none have seemed very solid or calculated. Until now anyway. Per Deadline, Universal has set Lin to direct and hopefully rejuvenate one of their other franchises. That’s right. We’re getting another Bourne-less Bourne film.

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The Best Movie Trailers of 2012

Everyone knows you can’t judge a book by its cover, but were you aware that movies shouldn’t be judged by a trailer either? I know, seems counter-intuitive, but while the trailer advertises a feature the two aren’t interchangeable. Terrible trailers sometimes give way to fantastic films just as brilliant trailers sometimes reveal ridiculously bad ones. It’s a crap shoot really. The list below features twelve of our favorite trailers that premiered in 2012. Some of the movies turned out to be gems, others ended up being far less impressive and a few won’t be released until 2013, but all of them made us excited to watch one more movie…

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12year_disappointments

If there’s one word I think of that’s best tied to the story of film in 2012, it’s “disappointing.” That’s not to say that 2012 was a disappointing year for movies. I don’t know if it was the best in a while, as some of my fellow critics claim, but then I still haven’t seen a lot of the “best” titles of the year. What I do know is that there were enough movies that really, really, really disappointed a lot of people, and so I feel like I heard — or read — the word “disappointing” more than any other. Whether it was a long-awaited prequel to a classic helmed by the original’s director or the expected return to form for a filmmaker or a final installment of a much-worshipped superhero trilogy or a reboot of a beloved comic-based franchise or a new animated feature from a usually dependable studio, there were plenty of major releases that turned out to be less than satisfying. At least for some.

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sorel_pi

When contemplating my favorite films of the year, I keep forgetting about Life of Pi. Yet very few narrative features wowed me as much as Ang Lee’s spectacular adaptation. Given how much I enjoyed it in the theater, the film should have stuck with me more than it has. I blame the ending, which traded the magnificent visuals and wondrous sea adventure for a talky bookend that too directly spelled out the point of the story within the story. I don’t know that I’d say the ending ruined the rest of the film for me. I could go back and re-watch the whole thing and still appreciate all the effects and thrills and drama that excited me the first time around. But if that’s the stuff I want to remember first and foremost, I’ll probably have to leave a few minutes early next time. Lee surely is familiar enough with the craft of storytelling to know that endings are extremely important, that they can make or break an audience’s satisfaction with a movie by being the part that it is left with. He would presumably disagree with me that Life of Pi has a weak ending. And at least the staff of Entertainment Weekly believes the film actually has one of the best endings of the year. And that is fine, because a lot of people hated the endings of Prometheus, The Bourne Legacy and Savages, and I think those movies have three of the best endings of 2012. The […]

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Who wants a free DVD of one of this week’s new releases? As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Story of Film: An Odyssey There have been many documentaries about movies, but all of them can pretty much give up and go home now. This British production was six years in the making, filmed across four continents, covers eleven decades and nearly one thousand films in its quest to offer as complete as possible a look at and into the world of cinema. Film historian Mark Cousins begins his journey in the late 1800s and through fifteen hour-long episodes explores the innovators and the ways they helped the art form grow and transform into the films we have today. Filled with film clips, anecdotes, interviews and a deep knowledge of film history, this is a fascinating look at all aspects of cinema. The only criticism I can muster, and it’s a minor one, is that Cousins’ voice may not be the ideal choice for fifteen hours of narration. [Extras: Booklet]

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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“In a perfect world, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ would be a lock for a Best Original Screenplay nomination.” – Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit It must be frustrating to write for an awards blog (aka an Oscar blog, since the Academy Awards are always the main focus of these sites), and know that the best films of the year are not necessarily the ones that will be nominated. Magidson’s comment above, from his April review of The Cabin in the Woods, sort of sums that up. But at the same time I don’t know if the movie truly deserves the statement. Something to consider, semantically speaking, is that the Academy’s award is not for “Most Original Screenplay” but “Best Original Screenplay.” This isn’t to say that the script, by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, isn’t well-written, and you’re welcome to argue its case for a nomination. Is it the best-written original screenplay of the year, though? All my time as a movie lover and watcher of the Oscars, including the past few years of hate-watching, the original screenplay category is one I’ve constantly been excited about. It’s the place where you could find some of the more clever and creative efforts, including a number of films that might not get other nominations. You could find a good number of interesting foreign films outside of the foreign-language award ghetto (such as Bunuel‘s two nominations for writing), as well as an interesting showing of mainstream and blockbuster fare, especially in the […]

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All in all, this was a decent summer. There were plenty of highs and lows, with zero grand achievements for either sides of that scale. We could argue endlessly about what movies lived up to the hype or which ones totally blew it, but where’s the fun in having that conversation for the thousandth time over twitter? What we all should be discussing is the important stuff, like, how sad Damon Lindelof‘s Twitter feed could get this summer or how many ounces of man sweat we think Matthew McConaughey shed in Magic Mike? These are the real topics worthy of discussion, ’cause who cares why Vickers didn’t run a few feet to the right to easily save her life in Prometheus? Or how on earth Batman survived that nuclear blast when we clearly saw him in The Bat before the blast? These are details we all need to let go of. What you all really need to know is who came out as the winners and losers of this summer season, and I’m here to tell you who.

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Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises was king of the hill for three weeks, but this weekend found it at the bottom of an inescapable prison. By “inescapable prison,” I mean in 3rd place with another $19.5m and a cumulative $835m worldwide gross, so no one is eating soup and cabbage at Warners or anything. The Campaign – featuring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis punching babies for votes – took 2nd with an opening draw of $27.4m domestic. The unsurprising winner, however, was The Bourne Legacy which scored $40.2m here in the States and a worldwide total of $48m. That’s a better opening than The Bourne Identity but it’s a bit behind the two other franchise entries. Again, not surprising. In slightly smaller releases, the Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones marriage drama Hope Springs came in 4th place with 1,000 or so fewer theaters, taking $15.6m. Travis Pastrana’s stunt-fueled Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D took $1.1m from 800 theaters for a debut at 13th place, but in super limited releases, Julie Delpy’s follow-up 2 Days in New York brought in $27,000 on only 2 screens, beating the per screen average of every other movie this week. A close second on that front? The US release of Max and the Junkmen (Max et les Ferrailleurs) which earned $13,000 off just one screen at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, only 41 years after its original release abroad. [Box Office Mojo]

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Russell Crowe in Noah

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a column about movies and stuff. With a particular focus on “and stuff.” We begin tonight with a shot of Russell Crowe as Noah, in the upcoming vision from director Darren Aronofsky. He’s looking quite grizzled, like an older version of his character from Gladiator. And that’s alright. Because that situation worked out pretty well. Then again, he also looks like a slightly older version of his Robin Hood…

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Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

Closure is a funny thing. Many great stories feature the quest for closure. It’s something that, as humans, we are often looking for with great intensity. Where have we come, how did it end and what did it all mean? For the Bourne franchise, based on the books by Robert Ludlum and launching Matt Damon as a righteous American answer to James Bond, closure is something that came along in 2007 with The Bourne Ultimatum. A franchise that came on with a flurry of excitement and pulse-pounding action was brought to a rest with the dizzying style of director Paul Greengrass. And it was good. It was over. Until Universal and Tony Gilroy, who served as writer on the second and third Bourne films, decided that it was time to give this story one more chapter. The only problem with The Bourne Legacy is that even though they brought down the paddles of the defibrillator and shocked this franchise back to life with great electricity, they missed the part of every movie that is important, be it the first part of a trilogy or a stand-alone effort: they missed the closure.

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This hasn’t been the most prolific of summers as far as blockbusters are concerned. The Avengers gave this season a promising start, but no action film came close to matching its scope and sheer love for fun. Last month was the most disappointing proof of that, with the very flawed Amazing Spider-Man and the messy finale we got with The Dark Knight Rises. However, there’s been a good run of independent releases so far — Killer Joe, Headhunters, Safety Not Guarnteed, Your Sister’s Sister, Take This Waltz, etc. —  and this August is no different, with plenty of small and greatly satisfying offerings to be discovered.

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The Fortress at Riverrun

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that won’t back down. We begin this evening with a first look at the fortress at Riverrun in Game of Thrones’ upcoming third season. It’s just some fish flags, but those who’ve read the book will get all nerdy over it. Seriously, it’s very cool. And plenty of things center upon this particular set piece this season, with it being the holdfast of House Tully, Catlin Stark’s family.

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Well, someone had to move. Universal Pictures has just announced (via Deadline Prague) that they are moving their Jeremy Renner-starring The Bourne Legacy off of its set August 3rd release date to August 10th, partially to give exhibitors some breathing room when it comes to August 3rd opener Total Recall and July 20th opener The Dark Knight Rises. The move reportedly has “‘nothing’ to do with some recent reshoots” on the film, which took place earlier this month and which are believed to be mainly pick up shots (hell, writer and director Tony Gilroy wasn’t even present for the shoot). Universal announced, “Just as The Avengers demonstrated marketplace sustainability that well outpaced traditional patterns earlier this summer, the industry expects a similar trajectory for The Dark Knight Rises. Moving one week further from its release will give The Bourne Legacy an even greater opportunity to maximize its opening box office potential.” The studio also believes that the move will allow them “to extend valuable promotion for the film across all NBCUniversal platforms during the Olympics, which will dominate television and digital audiences beginning July 27.” Hey, at least they’re not trying to post-convert it to 3D.

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The announcement that the Bourne franchise would continue without Matt Damon was met with skepticism by many, including myself, for several reasons. The most relevant? Matt Damon played Jason Bourne. How could the franchise continue without him and his character but still call itself a Bourne film? Would another actor step into his shoes a la James Bond, or would it simply be another case of an agent with amnesia going rogue? The answer turned out to be neither, and instead, rather ingeniously, The Bourne Legacy is a parallel story that begins during the third act chaos of The Bourne Ultimatum. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a top agent who finds himself caught up in the Bourne fallout when the agency attempts to cover their tracks by terminating his co-workers. He’s forced to go on the run alongside an agency scientist (Rachel Weisz) while trying to out maneuver new a executive-level baddie played by Edward Norton. Some familiar faces from the first three films crop up along the way to flesh out the connective tissues between films, but this is really an introduction to a brand new character… and possibly a brand new trilogy of films. Check out the trailer below, and tell me your not at least a little excited to see this.

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The Reject Report - Large

And so it comes, the end of The Reject Report, but we’re not going quietly into the night without fanfare. We’re leaving you with a breakdown for the Summer to come. It’s already been one of record-breakers and plenty of shawarma to go around, and we’ve only just begun. So right here is the way we see it rolling along, this Summer of 2012, and it’s sure to be one we’ll keep in our hearts. Tear.

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? Who even knows anymore… We begin this evening with something strange, a shot of Johnny Depp in full Tonto make-up on the set of The Lone Ranger, meeting with leaders of the Navajo nation. I wonder if they have any problem with the fact that Johnny Depp is exactly 0% Navajo. Nope: “We are honored the movie The Lone Ranger is being filmed here on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has beautiful landscape and we are glad it is being shared through filmmaking.” 

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