Posts Tagged ‘The Bourne Identity’

Metro In Focus: How Jason Bourne made Matt Damon a bona fide movie star

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 9.12.57 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

In the latest Jason Bourne movie, Matt Damon will punch, kick and spy master his way to the top of the box office charts.

His previous Bourne films, Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum, were all hits commercially and critically.

Damon says he owes a great deal to the fictional character.

After the early success of Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan and The Talented Mr. Ripley made him a star, a string of flops cooled his box office appeal.

“Right before The Bourne Identity came out,” he said, “I hadn’t been offered a movie in a year.”

Then his career was Bourne again.

“It’s incalculable how much these movies have helped my career,” he told The Telegraph. “Suddenly it put me on a short list of people who could get movies made.”

In the spirit of “one for them, one for me” for every film like The Martian or the new Jason Bourne, Damon has attached himself to smaller, riskier projects.

He lent his star power to The Good Shepherd, a low budget film directed by Robert De Niro. It’s a spy movie without the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from our favorite undercover operatives.

There are no elaborate chase scenes a la James Bond or even the great scenery of the Bourne flicks.

In fact, the only thing The Good Sheperd shares with any of those movies is Damon, who plays Edward Wilson, one of the (fictional) founders of the CIA.

Despite mixed to good reviews — USA Today gave the film three out of four stars—and winning the Silver Bear of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, the movie barely earned back its production costs at the box office.

Ninety per cent of director Steven Soderbergh’s job on The Informant! was casting this mostly true tale of a highly paid executive-turned-whistleblower who helped uncover a price fixing policy that landed several executives (including himself) in jail.

It’s a tricky balancing act to find an actor who can keep the audience on-board through a tale of corporate malfeasance and personal greed, who can be likeable but is actually a liar and a thief, but Damon is the guy.

The Informant! skewed a tad too far into art house territory to be Soderbergh’s new Erin Brockovich-sized hit, but Damon’s presence kept the story of accounting, paperwork and avarice interesting. Reviews were kind but A Serious Man and The Twilight Saga: New Moon buried the film on its opening weekend.

Damon teamed with John Krasinski to produce and co-write Promised Land, a David and Goliath story that relied on the charm and likability of its cast to sell the idea that fracking is bad and the corporations who dupe cash-strapped farmers into leasing their land are evil.

It’s hard to make talk of water table pollution dramatic but Promised Land makes an attempt by giving much of the heavy lifting to Damon.

Done in by middling reviews and “sobering” box office receipts, this earnest and well-meaning movie might have been better served in documentary form.

With an Oscar on his shelf and more than 70 films on his resume Damon is philosophical about the kinds of films he chooses to make, big or small.

“If people go to those movies, then yes, that’s true, big-time success,” he says.

“If not, it’s much ado about nothing.”


Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.18.07 PMCP24 film critic Richard Crouse reviews the weekend’s big releases, “Maps to the Stars,” “Nightcrawler,” “Before I Go to Sleep” and “Horns.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.13.14 AM“Canada AM” film critic Richard Crouse reviews “Maps to the Stars,” “Nightcrawler” and “Before I Go To Sleep.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP: 1 ½ STARS. “how much of it is confabulation?”

Before I Go To Sleep New Picture (2)“Before I Go to Sleep,” the new Nicole Kidman movie, has a lot in common with the recent hit “Gone Girl.” Both star Academy Award winners, each feature a tall icy blonde actress in the lead role and are martial stories with an edge. The big difference between them? ”Gone Girl” is a hair-raising thriller and “Before I Go To Sleep” is not.

Based on the best-selling novel by S.J. Watson, it’s the story of Christine (Nicole Kidman), a traumatized woman who wakes up everyday with no memory. As she sleeps her mind erases itself, wiping away any new information. Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) has arranged their house as a tribute to their relationship—wedding pictures and mementoes from their life together decorate the walls—to help give her a sense of time, place and security. A neuropsychologist (Mark Strong) is secretly working with her to reassemble the shards of her memory, but as her synapsis start firing she begins to question everything about her life.

The thing that is supposed to keep us on the edge of our seats for the first hour or so of “Before I Go To Sleep” is the not knowing. Like Christine we’re never sure what is true and what is false. Of what we see how much of it is confabulation—Christine imagining the missing bits of her memory—and how much is real?

It’s the stuff of a solid thriller. “Memento,” “The Bourne Identity” and “Spellbound” have all masterfully mined similar material with more success. Director Rowan Joffe has made a stylish looking movie but allows it to get bogged down by repetition and too-tame performances. It’s a shame because the twist—and you know there has to be a twist—works well enough and there are a few tense moments in the climax but the preposterous denouement wipes away any good will the film’s exciting-ish apogee offered.

The Jason Bourne facsimile By Richard Crouse Metro Canada August 8, 2012

the-bourne-legacy-13530-1920x1200Writer Robert Ludlum died a year before Jason Bourne, his most famous character, was brought to life on the big screen by Matt Damon. He didn’t get to enjoy Damon’s take on the action hero, but he did see another version of The Bourne Identity and the famous superspy.

The writer reportedly enjoyed the 1988 300-minute, two-part made-for-television movie of The Bourne Identity starring mini-series king Richard Chamberlain in the role Damon later made famous. Despite a cheeseball love scene between Chamberlain and co-star Jaclyn Smith the TV special (now available on DVD) was a faithful adaptation of the first Bourne novel and even earned its lead actor a Golden Globe nomination.

These days Ludlum would be hard pressed to recognize his character, however. He wrote the first three Bourne books but after his death the series was kept alive by writer Eric Van Lustbader, who has made slight, but noticeable changes to the character over the course of seven subsequent novels.

Moviegoers may also find themselves a tad confused this weekend when Jeremy Renner takes over the lead from Damon in The Bourne Legacy. Renner, who beat out Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender, Taylor Kitsch and Josh Hartnett for the gig, isn’t playing Jason Bourne, but a reasonable facsimile—a trained assassin brainwashed into taking part in covert government activities.

In Hollywood they call that expanding “the franchise mythology.” In other words Damon didn’t want to return to the franchise but the studio still wanted another Bourne movie.

Ludlum’s books—he wrote 23 thrillers with sales estimated between 290-500 million—have also provided the basis for several movies without the name Bourne in the title.

The Osterman Weekend is a confusing movie about a television journalist who becomes convinced his friends are a threat to national security. Ludlum apparently offered to rewrite the perplexing script at no charge, but was rejected by the movie’s producers. The result is an entertaining mess the New York Times said,  “has a kind of hallucinatory craziness to it.”

The Holcroft Covenant was another troubled production. Star James Caan walked out the day before filming was to begin, unhappy with the script. His replacement, Michael Caine, carries the espionage story, but the action scenes are more entertaining than the spy story.

In development is the Chancellor Manuscript, Ludlum’s story about J. Edgar Hoover’s alleged “secret files.” Leonardo DiCaprio is rumored to be in talks to star.


jason-bourneThis film version of Robert Ludlum’s 1980 spy thriller is equal parts brains and brawn. Matt Damon, as John Bourne, a CIA black ops spy who suffers from amnesia and spends the film piecing together the last two weeks of his life, uses his intellect as much as his fists. This is a smart movie, made even better by some wise choices for director and star. Doug Liman, director of Swingers and Go brings a refreshing excitement to this tired old genre, and manages to deliver some unexpected thrills. Franka Potente (best known for Run Lola Run) as Maria, a young woman who unwittingly finds herself involved in international intrigue, hands in a star making performance. As a viewer her character is the only one in the film that we can relate to; she’s an ordinary person put in extraordinary circumstances. Look for Clive Owen in a cameo as The Professor, a hired killer sent to assassinate Bourne. In his three or four lines of dialogue he talks about the moral quandaries of his line of work. It’s a beautifully acted moment, and a nice twist on the usual killer-for-hire character.