Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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News of the World, rated PG-13
** ½

News of the World is a slow moving, though beautifully filmed western, which features solid acting performances by Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel. Though the film received four Oscar nominations (sound, production design, original score and cinematography), I found it to be too slow and predictable to recommend.
The film was directed by Oscar nominee Paul Greengrass (United 93), who worked with lead actor Hanks in Captain Phillips. The screenplay is by Oscar nominee Luke Davies (Lion), and is based on the 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles.
The film is set in 1870, a few years after the Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Tidd, played by two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia), is a veteran of three wars, including the Civil War. He is a decent, but lonely man. He speaks of a wife in San Antonio. He rides in a wagon from town to town in Texas dramatically reading from newspapers the latest news of the day to gatherings of people who are willing to pay a dime to hear it.
As he is in transit between towns, he comes across a wagon on its side. He sees a man who has been hung, and he notices a blonde-haired girl running away. Continue reading

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My Review of the Movie ‘Jason Bourne’

Jason BourneJason Bourne, rated PG-13

This is the fifth film in the Jason Bourne series, based on books written by the late Robert Ludlum. It is also the fourth time that Oscar winner Matt Damon has starred as Bourne. The one exception was 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, in which Jeremy Renner played the lead role as Aaron Cross.

The new film is directed and co-written (with Christopher Rouse) by Academy Award nominee (for United 93) Paul Greengrass. Greengrass also directed the second, 2004’s The Bourne Supremacy, and the third, 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, films in this series. This film had a budget of approximately $120 million.

As we pick the story up, the amnesiac and remorseful Bourne has been using his training to fight bare knuckle underground prize fights. During a riot in Athens, Greece, he is contacted by former colleague Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). She tells him about a top-secret government scheme that could be taken right out of our current news. Times have changed since Bourne has been away. So much now revolves around technology. Parsons has been working with WikiLeaks-like crusader Christian Dassault (Vinzenz Kiefer) and they are determined to reveal what CIA Director Robert Dewey (Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones), with the assistance of tech guru Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), has been up to.

Parsons has been able to steal some classified CIA files, which not only reveal Dewey’s scheme, but may also provide Bourne with some answers he has been seeking about his past. Parson’s hack is detected by Heather Lee (2015 Best Actress for The Danish Girl, and also Golden Globe nominee for Ex Machina, Alicia Vikander) of the CIA. She persuades Dewey to let her lead the mission as she tracks Bourne, trying to bring him out. But Dewey has other ideas, and contacts the Asset (Vincent Cassel) to finish off Bourne for good.

The film features exciting car chases and some great locations – Iceland, Washington, D.C., Athens, Berlin, London and Las Vegas. The Vegas scene alone took five weeks to shoot from midnight to sunrise, and reportedly 170 cars were wrecked.

Greengrass and cinematographer Barry Aykroyd (The Hurt Locker) capture the action using a lot of shaky hand-held camera work, giving the film a frantic feel at times.

It was great to see the now 45-year old Damon back in the role of Jason Bourne. The film is all about action. You’re not going to get a lot of deep dialogue here. It’s estimated that Damon only has about 37 lines in the entire film, and most of them pretty short ones. With Damon, Jones and Vikander, the film features a strong cast. But the emphasis here is on the action, not character development.

The film is rated PG-13 for spy-thriller intense sequences of violence and action, and some adult language.