All posts by Melissa Haggar

Jason Bourne – Review (Spoilers!)

Much like Ethan Hunt and James Bond, James Bourne is one of those invincible guys that just keeps on going; an unstoppable movie force that execs have no problem resurrecting. Using his steely gaze and focused demeanour for good (sort of) Bourne is back in this new self-titled endeavour, searching for more truths from his past (although at this point, how many more secrets can you realistically unearth?) Also back to save us from Jeremy Renner’s disappointing outing in The Bourne Legacy, is Matt Damon as he tries to redeem the Bourne franchise and deliver a contemporary action film of Rogue Nation standard. Needless to say, there’s a lot to accomplish this time around.

Set a decade after his disappearance at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) returns with the help of Nikki Parsons (Julia Stiles), as he attempts to discover information about his past that has been brought to light. Unfortunately for Bourne, Operation Ironhand is attempting to hunt him down and exterminate, led by Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), the CIA Director, who has enlisted an asset to help (Vincent Cassel). The film also stars Academy Award winning Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, a CIA agent who is eager to bring Bourne in, instead of killing him.

What Bourne excels in is the fundamentals of its genre – the breath-taking, thrilling action sequences that audiences have come to expect – executed with precision in the hands of director Paul Greengrass and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd. The latter takes great care in transporting you to the heat of the action, with visceral, in-your-face shots that capture the agility and immediacy of the scenes and its actors superbly. Whether it’s on the back of Bourne’s rickety motorcycle, in the swift movements of deadly falls or trailing behind an intense car chase, Ackroyd and Greengrass know how to assimilate an audience into the fabric of a movie. Without a doubt these action sequences – particularly the Athens Protest scene, and the ending Vegas chase – are the best feature of the film, and should be commended for their sublime execution. Truly, the locations and sets used rival Skyfall, with Jason Bourne showcasing the alluring and mysterious destinations that make action and spy films so enthralling.

Fortunately, Matt Damon excels in his signature role as the cool-headed, deadpan assassin who you can’t quite predict. Regardless, Damon brings a sense of believability to a character whose feats are above all, ridiculous and mind-blowing, and in anyone else’s hands, Bourne would melt into a meagre, forgettable puddle. One of the more promising characters from the original series also returns – Julia Stiles’ Nikki Parsons. Although prepare yourself for her quick exit, this proving to be one of the more frustrating elements of the film. As a rare, complex character, she is reduced to a jerk-reactionary character that is used to fuel Bourne’s venture back into a world he so adamantly swore off entering again. It’s lazy at best, and a travesty at worst. The film attempts to compensate you by introducing another female counterpart – this time played by Alicia Vikander – Heather Lee, who admittedly, Vikander manages to make relatively interesting, but she’s not given much to work with. Aside from Bourne himself, the movie fails to introduce any solid characters that have more than an initial impact, although it does a rather impressive job at covering this up with explosive action, so you have to give them props for that.

While the plot itself is a little predictable, Jason Bourne tries its best to remain familiar to audiences with its classic musical score, and key stylistic elements, whilst also introducing itself as something fresh and invigorating, that isn’t simply a rehash of former Bourne outings. For the most part, the film succeeds in being engaging and different, while also maintaining its familiarity, even if it missteps at quieter periods in the film.

However, in this particular ultimatum, Jason Bourne manages to reign supreme and regain his former identity (see what we did there), proving to be a compelling and relevant action hero amidst several competent competitors. You can rest easy and rely on Jason Bourne to fulfil your unsatisfied action cravings, despite a few expected flaws.


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie – Review

What’s a girl to do when your Absolutely Fabulous television series ends but you want to get the whole gang back together for another alcohol-induced ride? One word, darlings: movie. Ah, the enchanting allure of the silver screen, how many television adaptations has it given us? Probably more than we care to admit (or acknowledge), but for some reason, they keep on coming.

This time around it’s the shockingly self-indulgent Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) and Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) who grace our screens, with a shell-shocker of a story. Needing a new client for her PR – and not content with the likes of Lulu or Emma ‘Baby’ Bunton – Edina sets out to recruit the glowing Kate Moss into her fold. Things don’t go too well though, as she manages to ‘push’ her into the Thames and kill her.

Yes, the oh-so-fabulous Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders return as the questionable and OTT duo, Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, launching themselves into new and dramatic situations, and thankfully, the pair have plenty of bubbly chemistry; just like a good champagne, darling! Lumley’s Patsy is a train-wreck of a character but that’s precisely why it’s so easy to love her – you simply can’t pry her away from a ciggy even when she’s about to drown to death. Evening out the ratio of utterly tragic is Saunders’ Edina, who whilst finding herself in sticky situations manages to bring the humour, which you’d expect from someone as seasoned as Saunders. Supporting the two are plenty of familiar (and new) faces, such as the wacky Bubble (Jane Horrocks) who commands attention in her inflatable, zany outfits, and Saffy Monsoon (Julia Sawalha), the long-suffering daughter who provides a structured, solid ground for a film containing a plethora of personalities. Every performance is over emphasised, extravagant and shrouded in self-mocking humour that sails the film to success – at least for the first half.

The problem is while the film may be aesthetically stunning and benefit from absolutely fabulous performances, there isn’t much going on plot-wise. Whilst the first half of the film actually functions relatively well, we delve into the realms of ridiculousness when the gals go to the French Riviera, and suddenly everything is poorly paced and descending into lunacy. There’s a quick marriage with seemingly random follow-up that is grossly out of place, a ludicrous chase scene reminiscent of Johnny English, and a brief karaoke interlude at a drag bar. Needless to say, it plays out like drugged up fever dream that we wish we could wake up from.

However, the film thrives when it remains close to home territory, with the scenes in London containing some of the more hilarious segments and cameos, particularly surrounding Kate Moss’ death and the subsequent media attention for Monsoon and Stone. Truly, whilst the scenes in France are aesthetically pleasing, there is little substance in this idyllic land, and aside from a few chuckles involving a Shirley Bassey impersonator, there is little to laugh at. Fortunately, the main principal cast – and the barrage of celeb cameos – do their best to detract away what little is going on, and you might be able to ignore it if you truly try, sweetie.

Whilst Absolutely Fabulous might be too overwhelming bizarre and thinly stretched for some tastes, it will no doubt delight fans of the original TV series, and ultimately contains enough liveliness and sheer chemistry from its disastrous duo to make it entertaining to watch.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!