August 10, 2012, - 4:22 pm

Wknd Box Office: Bourne Legacy, The Campaign, Hope Springs

By Debbie Schlussel

If you see one new movie, this weekend, make it BOURNE! It’s the movie I really liked of the new releases in theaters today.

* “The Bourne Legacy“: Jeremy Renner does not disappoint in this latest installment of the “Bourne” movies. In fact, I like him far better than loathsome lefty (but good actor) Matt Damon. If you like a good thriller with semi-believable, fantastic stunts and non-stop, heart-pounding action, this is your movie. It’s my kind o’ movie. Although it’s a little confusing at the beginning, you quickly learn what’s going on. And I liked it a lot despite the fact that I don’t like Rachel Weisz (mostly because you can tell she’s a Brit faking an American accent in every movie she does, and it grates on me, plus I don’t buy her acting). You don’t have to have seen any of the previous Bourne movies to see this, although there are brief references to characters and happenings in the previous Bourne movie, “The Bourne Ultimatum” (read my review).

Renner plays a government-created agent, who was previously a U.S. soldier who “died” in the Iraq or Afghanistan war (I forget which). He’s training and going through tests in the cold wilderness in the middle of somewhere, when he runs out of the government-supplied pills that keep him alive and is suddenly being targeted by drones. Soon, he seeks out the scientist (Weisz) who works in the government lab where he was undergoing tests and blood work. She’s the lone survivor of a mysterious massacre at the lab.

I don’t want to tell you much more because it would spoil the movie. But it’s full of the usual stuff you’ve come to expect from Bourne movies and their mix of “Three Days of the Condor”/“The Parallax View” (read my review) style government conspiracies. Though I don’t believe our government actually engages in these kinds of massacres (unlike Truthers and other such nuts), it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good conspiracy theory movie, especially one that’s well done and full of suspense.

If I had any criticism, it’s that the ending felt like “not the end” to me, but then, they do that to you so you’ll pay money to see the sequel. I felt like I’d sort of seen just half of a movie. But it was a fun “half,” and I enjoyed it immensely. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, once it got going. Some of the stunts, particularly those with a motorcycle go beyond stretching credulity. But as with the Bourne, Bond, and other such movies, you know this is part of the package.

Fun, exciting, and worth it.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Campaign“: This movie had a lot of funny lines (and campaign commercials), and it had such potential and was hilarious and fun at the beginning. But it quickly degraded into a silly, crude, sophomoric exercise in stupidity. Plus, it’s a not-so-veiled attack on the conservative Koch Brothers, known for their donations to Republican candidates and SuperPACS. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are both their usual very funny selves in playing two candidates running against each other in a North Carolina Congressional race. Ferrell is philandering, sleazy Democratic Congressman Cam Brady, and Galifianakis is the effeminate, underachieving son of a racist rich guy. He is recruited by two very wealthy brothers, Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow, who get him to run as the Republican opponent, so they can bring Chinese workers to the district to make their cheap products (they call this “insourcing.” The Motch Brothers are clearly supposed to be some sort of parody of the Koch Brothers–it’s quite obvious. And, of course, there is no George Soros figure in the movie to balance things out.

I wouldn’t pay ten bucks to see this, but I might rent the video, if only to see the very campaign commercials that Cam Brady (Ferrell) makes, bragging about his extramarital affairs (comparing himself to Bill Clinton) and touting his opponent as an Al-Qaeda member because he has a mustache.

But, mostly, the movie is dreck peppered with some humor.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Hope Springs“: This should’ve been called, “TMI: The Movie.” Old people talking about their dysfuncational sex life to a counselor? Eeeuuuwww. Not fun, not entertaining, and definitely NOT worth two hours and ten bucks of your respective time and money. Not even close. Oh, and it’s your typical anti-male movie, where the bad person is the man in the relationship. He’s your typical “bete noir” bad, insensitive husband who is mean to his wife and insults her consistently. It’s what Oprah–if she still had a major daytime talk show and anyone still cared what she had to say–would be touting to her viewers as “the feel good movie of the year.” Guys, do yourself a giant favor and skip this at all cost if your wife or girlfriend insists on seeing it. Do anything else, instead. It’s that insufferable. I guarantee you will squirm in your seat if you don’t take my advice. You were forewarned. This is painful to watch. And I don’t just mean plain painful. I mean, dentist-yanking-out-all-your-teeth-without-painkiller-or-anasthesia painful. I hated this movie. Hate-hate-hated this movie. It’s the worst of feminist propaganda.

Meryl Streep plays a housewife, whose husband, Tommy Lee Jones, is the typical Hollywood narrative of husbands–insensitive, rude, and doesn’t share a bed with her. They haven’t had sex in several years and sleep in separate bedrooms. She pays $4,000 of her own money and drags her husband to New England for a week-long intensive set of sessions with a marriage counselor, played by Steve Carell. Don’t let Carell’s presence fool you. He is not funny in this movie and plays the role in a serious and straight manner.

I can’t understand why on earth anyone would pay to see such marital strife and melodrama, when they can see a much more entertaining version for free in divorce court. I don’t know what happened to Tommy Lee Jones (regardless of the fact that he’s a big liberal), but he definitely checked his testicles at the door before acting in this movie apparently written by the ghost of Betty Friedman.

Avoid this like the plague. Trust me, when the credits role, your hope won’t spring. It committed suicide in the first five minutes of this high quality Guantanamo Bay torture material on film.


Watch the trailer . . .

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22 Responses

I always look forward to the reviews here even thou’ I don’t see many of the films (per my taste). As a movie snob, I really appreciate your take and humour because even thou’ I am hard to please movie-wise, I almost always agree with your reviews when I do see the films.

I saw the Bourne preview when I went to see Batman (and I am glad I went…I went for a family member and man, was I glad. I really loved it and your review was spot-on). I’ll catch it when it leaves the cinema…and I usually don’t like these movies but I know I may due to your review.

LOL re: Rachel Weisz. I’m trying to remember if she can’t do the Yank accent myself…saw her in “The Shape Of Things” (which I liked) but maybe nothing else. It’s funny how certain Brits and Aussies can nail these accents that you’d never knew were not their own and others like Weisz and poor Cary Elwes (who always struggled so) can’t get it down.

Guy Pearce is fantastic in his accents as are his country-folk like Ben Mendelsohn (he’s brill!), Joel Edgerton and Rachel Griffiths and Toni Collette. You’d never know and they just amaze me. Oh, and I found out after “Warrior” that Tom Hardy was a Brit (amazing accent job!). You’d never know…so cool.

Too bad about “Hope Springs”. I heard a review on NPR and I was hoping the movie would be better because in America even thou’ men and women are skanky today many married couples forget to keep their marriage “spicy” and I was at least hoping the film would try to veer couples (mostly women) to not forget to stay their husbands “girlfriend”. But there they go again trying to make the man the bad-guy. Typical. No interest.

(Weisz is married to Daniel Craig and he is very ho-hum to me. I kept hoping all through “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” they had hired Viggo Mortensen for the role. I’m not into those Scandinavians but even thou’ he is an annoying Lib he is ALWAYS so interesting in the movies I have seen him in.)

Skunky on August 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Is the movie “2018” going to be shown in Michigan?

RT on August 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I made a mistake in that post. I meant the movie “2016”. Supposed to be an anti Obama flick.

RT on August 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

But does Jeremy Renner shoot a bow in this movie too?

luagha on August 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Thanks for saving me precious time that you Debbie, have so valiantly sacrificed.

P. Aaron on August 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I’ll definitely make it to “The Bourne Legacy.” The first three Bourne flicks were terrific, too. Jeremy Renner played a member of Tom Cruise’s reconnaisance team in last year’s “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” and of course, as the world-weary bomb-squad leader in “The Hurt Locker.” It’s great to see him in another lead this time.

Seek on August 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Debbie I saw Total Recall and you were right on. It was a vomit of chase scenes and special effects. The only good part was that I only had to pay $16 for my fancy balcony seat with free popcorn and valet parking as I saw a pre 4 pm show. It was odd that Kate Beckinsale’s hair was salon perfect throughout all her repetitive action scenes. Also the two female leads looked similar enough that it was slightly confusing. And why aren’t there any Jewish people in futuristic movies? I also saw Battleship. The movie made no sense but was mostly fun to watch and I liked the various guns and boats. The cowardly science nerd character may have been Jewish but I cant say for sure.

A1 on August 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I’m tired of Will Ferrell. I think like Sasha Baron Cohen his act has gotten lame and not so funny. I have Anchorman on DVD and Ferrell does commentary. Without a script the guy is not funny at all. He doesn’t seem like a sharp wit.

When is Meryl Streep going to lose her “Great Actress” crown since she’s appeared in some awful junk for years now?

I’ve never seen any Bourne movies. I might now that Renner is in them.

Jeff_W on August 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm

My dearest Skunky, hush yore mouth about one of my favorite actors, Daniel Craig. He is terrific as James Bond. He has made the James Bond movies relevant again in spite of the not so great scripts so far.

Jeff_W on August 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    LOL Jeff W! So sorry! I just find him blah. But tell me some of the films you liked of his and I’ll give ’em a go and see if I like him better. Who knows? 😀

    Skunky on August 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

The presence of Meryl Streep in a movie is a deal breaker for me. Yuck–borefest.

lexi on August 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Jeremy was even good in his bit part in THOR. Wish him well in the Land of Crap.

Entertaining Actor

Kevin Kehoe on August 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm

I was dragged to Hope Springs by exwife with whom I get along. The know it all therapist exudes faux sympathy. Obviously the expert knows more than reliable, steady, competent bourgeois husband, accountant. DS is right again.

Looking forward to Bourne Legacy.

Bobguzzardi on August 11, 2012 at 10:07 am

I don’t know. The Bourne movies seem to have an anti-American worldview. In the first movie our intelligence community wanted to assassinate a corrupt African dictator that we installed in power via a coup in order to keep him from writing a book about American dealings in Africa during the Cold War, a typical Marxist trope. In the second movie an intelligence leader who calls himself a pro-American patriot (read conservative) is actually corrupt and is killing people off in order to cover for his profiteering off oil deals. The third movie: more of the same, including giving a heroic role to a reporter from the anti-Semitic, far left (makes the New York Times look mainstream and centrist by comparison) Guardian. I like my spy movies better when we’re not the bad guys. The Bourne series just fits the modern Hollywood worldview that the world would be a much better place if America didn’t have a military, an intelligence apparatus, or so many wealthy industrialists and were more like Sweden instead. Granted, they’re well written, well acted and directed, but propaganda movies generally are. The Bourne series may be better than “The Long Kiss Goodnight” from back in the day, but it has the same worldview.

G: You are absolutely correct. But this one, unlike the others, is not that way. It’s more about the government trying to get rid of the government-created agents. It is still anti-government, but not pro-leftist, as in the other Bourne movies. DS

Gerald on August 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Nice comments by Burke and Gerald, above.

    Here’s another take:

    Imagine the Bourne film trilogy viewed in two ways: (A) as “anti-American” based upon the role of CIA or its officials as villains, doing all sorts of terrible deeds in the world, or (B) as a “cautionary tale” about the perils of bureaucracy, of the unmanageable and unintended evil consequences of Big Government — too big to be adequately supervised andheld accountable, with a fictitious CIA-type agency deliciously serving in that role by playing up a callous disregard of life to forward the plot.

    AndrewSlater on August 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Interesting comment, Gerald.

skzion on August 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hope Springs is a real place just like Humansville is too! Don’t forget Earth City has real people too.

Stunky on August 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Saw the Bourne movie today, I agree, I liked Jeremy Renner better than Matt Damon in all of the other movies. I too wanted more at the end. Had me on edge of my seat the whole time. One to see, Renner very good.

CJ on August 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Agree with your Bourne Review Debbie; wanted more at the end too.

Stephen Schochet on August 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Did MEryl Streep thank Mrs. Thatcher yet?

Stephen Schochet on August 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Good reviews, as usual, Debbie.

It was good to see you on the Roger Hedgecock show last Friday. Hedgecock is the talk radio host I (and apparently Skunky) like the most.

I personally didn’t enjoy “The Campaign” as much as you. Beyond the amusing schtick of Farrell and Galifianakis, I mostly saw an attack on political conservatives, particularly on emotional conservatives such as found in North Carolina. The Koch brother references in the film were just the tip of the liberal-talking-points iceberg, in my opinion.

Like you, I enjoyed this latest Bourne film (in terms of my involvement with the characters and plot) far more with Renner than I ever have with Damon. But I agree with Gerald commenting above that the anti-CIA subtext makes the film problematic. All the Bourne films suggest criticism of the CIA, but in the other three films, the problem lies mainly with a high-ranking official who has gone rogue and become greedy. There’s a hint of systemic callousness, yes, but the problem lies mainly with a single individual.

In “Bourne Legacy,” though, the corruption goes way beyond the problem of a rogue officer. The CIA that’s been packaged in this story is evil incarnate. “Shutting down” a program doesn’t simply mean discontinuing it, it means butchering everyone who knows about it, whether active field officers or peripheral clerks. Innocents are killed routinely without qualm, and the Ed Norton character offers smugly as justification for all his mayhem the idea that “We do the dirty work in the government so that the rest of America can pretend they are clean and innocent.” This is a talking point straight out of liberalism, that the CIA is a murderous, treacherous, evil institution which justifies all of its wanton butchery–including of its own officers– with the skimpy excuse that it allows the rest of us to pretend innocence.

What’s not well understood in the conservative community because it has little to do with our own goals and understandings, is that the CIA has become a symbol for liberals of everything that is evil and wrong in the world. It’s not simply a government agency that liberals hope to reform; it’s an integral part of the horror which needs to be vanquished in order for us to bring heaven to earth. I just finished Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine.” Klein is an important progressive polemicist comparable in her angry intensity and radical views to fellow Canadian Noam Chomsky. The book is a broad synthesis of everything that liberals consider evil: Milton Friedman’s Chicago School, Gitmo torture, CIA overthrow of Allende, electroshock therapy performed in mental institutions, dosages of LSD given by the CIA on unknowing dupes, etc. To liberals, all of these separate “problems” are fundamentally connected, and the CIA is directly at the core. This film, because it is artfully made, and because its view of Intelligence is so uncompromisingly harsh, goes a long way in promoting liberal mythology as the religion that it’s become.

Burke on August 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

You were spot on with Hope doesn’t Spring. I hated it! Why would anyone want to watch anything about it? I thought it must have been written by an over 50 year old feminist who wants to say older people can have sex too.
Also I thought it was a good study of Meryl Streep sampling facial expressions of all emotions. What a bad movie … even the placement of music where they couldn’t figure out anything else to put there.
Cringe is right…

shelley on August 19, 2012 at 12:28 am

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