Title: The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy
What is probably most interesting about The Bourne Legacy is just how insidious is its portrayal of covert American government operations. But then a franchise is a franchise and things have been getting increasingly nasty during the preceding three Bourne movies. Strangely this film is not based on a Robert Ludlum book, but on a story of the same title by Eric Van Lustbader, yet without a Jason Bourne and without Matt Damon.
While Jeremy Renner does a pretty good job as a replacement Bourne, for an action/drama movie The Bourne Legacy is something of a stop/start affair. There is a complicated and lengthy intro where the evil Col Byer (Edward Norton) decides to eliminate a number of loyal covert operatives, thanks to the mess that the previous Bourne has created. And after some complexities and spy/babble and various bits of high speed shoot-em-up action, there is a much too long climactic and chaotic chase through the streets of Manila.
As with the previous stories, most of the film is a hunt. Aaron Cross (Renner), is on the run with the lovely Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), which adds just a hint of romance and definitely the option to continue the franchise. While the whole exercise seems like an acceptable thriller, it smacks more of a sound business move. Thankfully the wisely chosen Renner and Weisz are up to the task.
Title: Hope Springs
Director: David Frankel
Meryl Streep has shown for more than thirty years her determination to take on as wide a variety of dramatic and comedic movie roles as one could fit in a lifetime. And following her recent award-winning turn as the steely Margaret Thatcher, she has grasped a very different downbeat acting opportunity in Hope Springs. While it is a romantic comedy of sorts, it is certainly not dumbed down in the current fashion. It is actually quite serious and touching, as it delves into that strange American taboo of reigniting the flame of sex and intimacy in a tired and long term marriage.
Streep is reunited with director David Frankel, following their more successful work together in The Devil Wears Prada, and while the script by Vanessa Taylor does carefully peel back the layers of Streep's role as a fastidious and frustrated wife, this is a long way from her best work. Compared to her role in Mama Mia, this is a much more interesting sociological study of aging Americana love.
Kay (Streep) and crabby Arnold Soames (Tommy Lee Jones) have drifted apart over their thirty year marriage, but somehow Kay convinces her reluctant husband to take time out to visit Great Hope Springs in Maine, and to attend sessions with seasoned sex therapist Dr Feld (Steve Carrell in a very uncomedic role). The film proves to be largely yet another showcase of Meryl Streep's considerable talents, with Jones and Carrell mostly along for the ride.