The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Instead, we are now following Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner from The Avengers and The Hurt Locker), another one of the brainwashed agents from a secret government program. Thanks to the publicity of the Jason Bourne story, the cleanup crew is brought in to eliminate evidence of the subsequent programs. And that includes the elimination of Aaron Cross. The action in The Bourne Legacy roughly coincides with that of The Bourne Ultimatum and we recognize this based on a few television news clips that intersperse the film.
The action is definitely slow to start, taking over an hour to establish circumstances that we should have already gleaned from the original Bourne Trilogy. You get the same shaky camera work, there’s a female lead for balance, and it’s just a constant state of “what can we learn” and “how can we run away.”
While Renner did what he could, I found Aaron Cross to be not as likeable as Jason Bourne. We just don’t connect with his character in the same way. What’s more, the action feels disjointed, as if it were action for action’s sake. The ending is somewhat anti-climactic with the final sequence feeling like it’s only good enough to be a midway point. I don’t blame Hollywood for trying to capitalize on this franchise, but without Bourne, this is hardly a Bourne movie and it’s not nearly as intriguing to boot.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
Who on Earth would want to spend over $300 for about a dozen pieces of sushi for dinner? While I’m not necessarily convinced that I’d want to spend about $30 per piece of raw fish and seasoned rice, after watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I can understand the appeal.
This is technically billed as a documentary about Jiro and his sushi restaurant in Japan, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, there is some good sushi in Vancouver, but nothing quite like what Jiro has to offer. He is a master at what he does and this film really does capture that passion for perfection, from choosing the right fish to orienting the pieces a certain way. If you love sushi or you love Japanese culture, you’ll love Jiro.
Up in the Air (2009)
It’s not exactly pleasant getting fired, but it’s not particularly enjoyable to do the firing either. And that’s why some companies outsource that task to other firms. In Up in the Air, George Clooney’s character specializes in the “letting go” of employees, flying all across the country to do it. Anna Kendrick is the young counterpart who wants to revolutionize that industry, turning to teleconferencing to do the firing remotely.
There is a quiet quirkiness about this film that reminded me of The Descendants. You feel that struggle between being satisfied with the empty life and finally realizing just how empty your life is. The development can feel slow at times, but it’s all meaningful and well thought out. This wasn’t really what I expected, but I’m all the happier for it.
The Woman in Black (2012)
There’s a curse involving–you guessed it–a woman in black and all the children in the village are dying as a result.
Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe’s character is there to deal with some paperwork when he falls into the middle of this curse and we get spooked by some cheap scares along the way.
No, you don’t get any real gruesome violence in The Woman in Black, but there are at least a few moments that will make you jump. Ultimately, The Woman in Black is easily forgettable and is already lost among the abundance of B-grade horror flicks.
American Reunion (2012)
The only reason why you’d want to watch American Reunion is because you watched the original American Pie movie and you enjoyed that style of humor. As a standalone film, American Reunion doesn’t hold much merit, but as a way to catch up with Jim, Jim’s dad, Michelle, Oz, Heather, Finch, Stifler and Stifler’s mom, this is a fun little romp that will put a smile on your face. Even John “Harold from White Castle” Cho is here to reprise his role as “MILF Guy #2.”
There are some cheap laughs and everything is highly predictable, but if you liked the original, this is a good way to waste 114 minutes.
Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind (2009)
Also known as Street Fighter IV: The Animated Movie, this was a special movie included in select Street Fighter IV video game bundles. Since Street Fighter IV effectively rebooted the franchise and brought fighting games back into the mainstream, it only makes sense that we get a way to catch up on the new story. We are introduced to Crimson Viper, Seth, S.I.N., BLECE and so on, while Ryu has to fight to control the Satsui no Hadou (“Surge of Murderous Intent”).
Again, not unlike American Reunion, the only people that would really be interested in The Ties That Bind are going to be the kind of people who are already playing Street Fighter (and reading Hadouken Online). The storyline rarely matters in fighting games, but this is a good way to get some background on both the old and the new characters in the game.