horror, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

October 30th, 2018 Movie – Paranormal Activity

paranormal activity

You know, this is a rather appropriate movie to be watching right now. Ever since The Blair Witch, the whole “found footage” style of movie took off, with a new one seemingly coming out every year. When today’s movie came out, I honestly didn’t think much of it because the whole “mockumentary/found footage” style of movie was getting a little stale (and it had only been about 8 years at this point). Still, apparently plenty of people did enjoy the movie because I remember hearing a lot of people talking about it. I finally rented it when it came out on video and was surprised to find that it was a pretty good movie, but I didn’t feel like buying it. Luckily, my ultraviolet accounts decided that I needed to own this movie. So let’s get our scare on with today’s movie, Paranormal Activity.

The plot: In San Diego, Micah is showing his girlfriend Katie the new camera he bought to record any paranormal activity that may occur while they are asleep. Micah is skeptical that anything will happen but Katie says that whatever happens has been happening since she was a kid. Micah films them throughout the day then sets it up for the night, figuring out where to place it and making sure there is enough light to see anything. As they are sleeping, strange noises can be heard in the video and the next morning, Katie finds her keys on the kitchen floor instead of the counter where she left them. Katie invites Dr. Frerichs, a famous psychic, to the house and as he asks her for more details about what is happening, Katie tells him that this has been happening since she was a kid. Both her and her sister saw a figure standing at the foot of her bed and their house had caught fire but there was no explanation for what caused it. As they explain about the camera and tell Frerich about the stuff that has happened in their house recently, he tells them that hauntings usually feed on negative energy then says that it sounds like she is dealing with a demon, as it has followed her around. Frerich says that he isn’t able to deal with it and suggests a colleague named Dr. Averies that can help them. Micah asks about getting a Ouija board to try and communicate with the demon and figure out what it wants and Frerich says it most likely wants Katie and if it senses them using a ouija board to try anfd communicate, it could make things worse. After Frerich leaves, Katie chastises Micah for being rude to him and says that she wants to call Averies in the morning but Micah convinces her not to, as he still doesn’t believe anything supernatural is going on. Micah sets up the camera for the night and as they are asleep, their bedroom door is shown to move and strange growling sounds can be heard. When Micah reviews the footage, he sees the door and shows it to Katie, who is shocked to see it happening. Micah wants to try to find a way to make money off of it but Katie just wants to figure out a way to get rid of it. As Micah taunts the entity, Katie says she wants to stop filming things but Micah continues with the camera, taunting the demon while moving the door back and forth. That night, Katie wakes up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and as Micah comforts her, they hear a loud noise downstairs  and Micah goes to check things out but finds nothing. The next day, Micah plays some audio that was recorded from the camera before they woke up and says that he wants to buy a Ouija board but Katie makes him promise not to. Several days pass where nothing happens and Micah taunts the demon before they go to bed but that night, they hear a loud screech before a massive thud is heard and when they check downstairs, they see that thud was enough to cause the chandelier to shake. As they head back upstairs, they continue hearing sounds throughout the night and Micah is excited about the situation. Deciding to do an experiment, Micah uses a microphone and starts trying to ask questions of the demon and as he listens to the recording, he hears a grunting sound when he asks if he would like to speak through a Ouija board. The next night, Katie gets up in the middle of the night and is shown to be standing at the side of the bed staring at Micah for 2 hours before she heads outside, where Micah finds her on the back porch swing. As Micah goes to get some blankets, he hears a noise upstairs and their TV suddenly turns on and starts playing static. As Micah looks around, he is surprised to see Katie at the doorway and she tells him that he woke her up as she gets back in bed. The next day, Micah shows the video to Katie, who has no recollection of anything that happened. That night, Micha borrows a Ouija board and tries to get Katie to help him use it but she gets pissed off that he broke his promise and leaves the house, as they were supposed to be going out. Micah follows after her but while they are gone, heavy footsteps are heard and a strange breeze is seen blowing the leaves of their plants as the needle on the Ouija board starts moving around, just before the board catches fire. When they return home, Micah is shocked by the Ouija board but Katie is upset and says she is done with everything and kicks him out of their bedroom. The next day, Katie makes Micah apologize on camera and he tries to show her the Ouija board but she tells him that she doesn’t care and he needs to get rid of it. As things continue happening, Micah decides to try an experiment and pour baby powder on the upstairs floor by their bedroom to see if whatever is making the noise leaves any tracks and Katie agrees to let him on the condition that she can call Dr. Averies if it doesn’t work or it makes things worse. That night, they are woken up by a noise and see footprints in their room and when Micah follows them, they discover the attic is open. Micah heads up to look around and sees something in the insulation and when he goes to get it, he discovers it is an old picture of Katie as a kid that has been burnt, which shocks Katie. Katie calls Dr. Averies, despite Micah objecting to it, only to learn that he is out of town so she calls Fredrichs and ask him to come back. That night, something turns on the downstairs light and heavy steps are heard coming up the stairs, waking Micah and Katie. As Micah goes to get out of bed, the bedroom door suddenly slams shut and they hear a banging noise on the door and Micah goes to look around, with Katie following behind him, when the bedroom door suddenly slams shut and more banging is heard and Katie refuses to go back in the bedroom but when they hear more noises coming downstairs, Micah convinces her to come back to the bedroom. The next morning, Micah finds her on the couch and Katie is exhausted from staying up all night and as they are eating, they hear the sound of breaking glass and they find a picture of them has been broken. Katie feels something breathing on her and runs downstairs and Micah searches the upstairs but find nobody there. When Fredrichs arrives he senses the presence and tells them he can’t help them as his presence is only making things worse and tells them to wait for Averies to return in a few days. As they go to sleep that night, something moves the sheet off of Katie’s foot and more lights turn on and off when Katie wakes up as she feels something breathing on her. The next day, they watch the footage from the camera, with Katie getting freaked out when she sees a shadow moving across the bedroom door. Micah finds a story online about a girl in the 60’s who went through the same thing that Katie is going through and her parents hired an exorcist but Katie doesn’t want to do it as the girl died. As the day progresses, Katie and Micah end up arguing over what is happening but as they go to bed, the demon drags Katie out of the bed and down the hall, with Micah struggling to get her back to the bedroom. The next day, Micah says they are going to go get a hotel room, as he doesn’t want to stay in the house another night and he uses the camera to record Katie’s wound on her back, which he says looks like something had bitten her. As Micah packs and goes to leave, Katie says that she doesn’t want to leave and that everything will be fine if they stay and Micah gets upset but refuses to leave Katie by herself. That night, Katie gets out of bed and stares at Micah for 2 hours, as the sheets are dragged off of his body, then heads downstairs to the kitchen. Katie suddenly starts screaming for Micah and he wakes up and rushes downstairs but after a minute he screams in pain while Katie suddenly goes quiet. Heavy footsteps are heard moving up the stairs and Micah’s body is suddenly thrown through the bedroom door, knocking over the camera. A blood covered Katie is shown in the doorway and she approaches Micah and crawls over to his body, then looks up at the camera and lunges towards it, with her face taking on a demonic appearance. In a written epilogue, police find Micah’s body on October 11th, 2006 but Katie’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Paranormal Activity met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.” The movie was a box office phenomenon, earning $193.4 million off of a $15,000 budget, and would spawn 4 sequels and a spin off. While originally developed as an independent feature for film festival screenings, Paramount /Dream Works acquired the rights to distribute it for $350,000, making this one of the most profitable films ever made, though the exact amount is hard to determine.

As much as I didn’t initially care about this movie, this was a surprisingly good horror movie. The acting was good, with Katie Featherston (Katie) and Micah Sloat (Micah) doing great jobs in their roles. The basic premise was pretty interesting, as it seemed like a combination of Poltergeist and The Exorcist. This blend actually worked well with the camera format that was used, as this made for some really good tension and quite a few good scares out of the mix. The scenes with the footprints appearing in the baby powder, and where Katie is dragged out of the bed and down the hall, made for some incredible imagery, and really helped the increasing tension in the movie. The camera work was pretty good and really helped with the overall tone, as you could feel Katie’s increasing dread over what was going on, as well as Micah’s increasing frustration at not being able to figure out what was happening. A really good horror movie and one that would be worth watching tomorrow especially.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, movie, movie review, thriller

October 11th, 2018 Movie – Jason Bourne

jason bourne

No, your eyes are not deceiving you about the date for today’s movie. For the first time in over four years, I did not review a movie on the day I was supposed to. The reason for this is due to the fact that I found out I a class I signed up for for work started right after yesterday and by the time I was finished, I was pretty much exhausted and ended up going to bed almost as soon as I got home. I may try to double up on the weekend if I can in order to pre-write Wednesday’s reviews but if work continues like it has, then I might just have to deal with not doing a review on Wednesdays for the immediate future.

Now, on to today’s movie. The Bourne movies have been some pretty entertaining movies to watch and I enjoyed all of them, though was a little disappointed with The Bourne Legacy. However, when I heard that a new Bourne movie was coming out, with Matt Damon reprising the role of the title character, I will admit that I did have much interest in going to see it. I felt like the movies had pretty much run their course and, unlike the James Bond franchise, there was only so much you could do with the character. So if that was my feelings on the subject, why would I own today’s movie, Jason Bourne. Well, this was yet another one of those free movies that I received when I signed up for my ultraviolet accounts. So let’s see if this movie is any good.

The plot: 10 years after exposing Operation Blackbriar and disappearing off the grid after being shot, Jason Bourne has remembered everything about his past and has isolated himself from the world, spending his days earning money by bare-knuckle fighting on the Greece/Serbian border. Meanwhile, ex Treadstone handler Nicky Parsons heads to the headquarters of a hacktivist group in Reykjavik, Iceland, and uses an old CIA device to hack into the CIA files on their Black Operations. At CIA Headquarters in Langley, Heather Lee, the head of the CIA’s cybersecurity division, is alerted to the device trying to breach their firewall but when she heads down to check herself, she discovers that the device has actually found a back door into their system and has her team trace it while she attempts to upload a malware program onto the device. In Reykjavik, Nicky is looking through the Treadstone files and discovers that Bourne’s father was involved with Treadstone. After closing out the file, she notices that someone is attemptign to track her device, just as the CIA locate where she is hacking from and shut the power down and Nicky quickly burns the device and leaves. In Langley, Lee is able to track the device’s past uses to Christian Dassault, the leader of the hactivist group, and through him, is able to discover that Nicky was the one that was using the device. Lee informs Robert Dewey, the new Director of the CIA, and Edwin Russell, the head of National Intelligence, and tells them that Nicky was the one behind the hack and if they allow her to lead the team to catch her, she will get not only Nicky, but Jason Bourne as well if he is still alive. Dewey reluctantly agrees to let Lee lead the team but secretly contacts an Asset in Rome to tell him about Bourne’s possible involvement and sends him to Athens. In Athens, Bourne is involved in another bare knuckle fight when he spots Nicky in the crowd and after he wins, he finds a note with an address on it in his bag. In Langley, Lee and her team track Parson’s via CCTV and send in some CIA agents to capture Nicky and anyone she meets with, while the Asset also lands in Athens and makes his way to where Nicky is. Nicky meets with Bourne during a violent anti-government protest, using it as cover for their meeting. Nicky tells Bourne about hacking the CIA for Dassault and what she found and Bourne is annoyed, as he feels that this has nothing to do with him anymore. As Nicky tells him about what she saw concerning his father, Bourne sees the CIA team tracking her and tells her they need to move. Bourne allows himself to be spotted, figuring that they will follow him, then tells Nicky to meet him at the Statue of Athena. The two separate and Bourne is able to knock out the agents but another team tracks Nicky. Bourne knocks out a police motorcycle cop and steals his bike, then heads out to rescue Nicky, taking out the CIA team in the process. The two go to escape but the Asset shows up and chases after them and when they manage to cause him to crash, Lee tells the Asset where they are heading and he is able to shoot Nicky, causing Bourne to crash. Bourne recovers and tries to get Nicky to cover but she tells him no, then goes to throw something to him but the Asset shoots her again, finishing her off, while the key she was going to give to Bourne clatters to the ground. In Langley, Dewey tells Lee to track down Dassault, as he will possibly lead them to Bourne and when Lee asks him if the Asset knows Bourne, Dewey tells her that when Bourne exposed Blackbriar, the Asset was undercover in Syria and ended up being captured and tortured when he was exposed. Bourne takes the key Nicky had and uses it to open the locker where she stored a weapon and the USB drive with the files on it. Using Nicky’s notebook, Bourne is able to track down where Dassault is in Berlin and heads there. Meanwhile, Aaron Kalloor, the CEO of a social media company called Deep Dream, is giving a press conference in Washington D.C. and afterwards, he meets with Dewey, who had secretly funded Deep Dream and plans on using the company for mass surveillance in tangent with the CIA’s newest assassination operation, “Iron Hand”. Kalloor tells Dewey that Nicky’s hacking of their system has him worried and he no longer wants a part of Dewey’s program but Dewey attempts to calm him down and says he is already involved. In Berlin, Bourne meets up with Dassault and hands him the USB drive, telling him to open it, unknowingly activating the malware and alerting Lee to their location. Bourne starts going through the files and discovers that Nicky was right and his father was involved with Treadstone and that he was placed under surveillance for recruitment into the program. Dassault attacks Bourne but Bourne is able to knock him out, then looks up where to find Malcolm Smith, the Treadstone surveillance officer that was watching him. Suddenly, the files are deleted, as Lee was able to remotely access the computer and delete them, and Dewey tells her to call Bourne. Bourne picks up the phone and both Lee and Dewey try to convince Bourne to come in but while Dewey stalls him to allow their team to get there, Lee texts Bourne and warns him about the incoming team, allowing him to escape. Later, Dewey, his assistant Craig Jeffers, and Lee are meeting with Russell and Dewey says that Bourne seems to be going after Smith and he wants the Asset there to take Smith out, as well as Bourne. Lee argues against it and tells Russell that she believes she can get Bourne to come in peacefully if she meets with him face to face and Dewey tells her to go ahead and try, but then tells the Asset to kill Bourne when he gets the chance. Meanwhile, Kalloor is served with a federal injunction to prevent him from altering Deep Dream and he tells his aide to get all of the recordings regarding every meeting he had with Dewey, including the off the books meetings, but his aide calls Dewey and alerts him to Kalloor’s intentions. In London, Bourne calls Smith and tells him to meet him in Paddington Plaza but Lee and her team tail him, handing the Asset a tracker and comm device so they all stay in contact but the Asset leaves the tracker and comm device on the roof he is assigned and follows Smith without Lee’s knowing it. . As Bravo team follows Smith, the Asset, under Dewey’s orders, kills them in order to make it look like Bourne is killing them, then kills Alpha team as well and Dewey takes control of the operation from Lee. When Lee notices that the Asset isn’t moving on her screen, she realizes that she was played and tells her team to get to Paddington Plaza. Smith reaches the plaza and tells Dewey, who is in contact with him, but Dewey wants him to stay there in order to lure Bourne out, so the Asset can kill them both. Bourne creates a diversion and a panicked Smith attempts to leave but Bourne grabs him. The Asset is unable to get a clear shot just as Lee arrives and sees Bourne leaving with Smith. Bourne questions Smith about his father and Dewey tells Smith not to answer but Bourne injures him and continues questioning him. Smith finally admits that Bourne’s father did not want him in Treadstone and he was killed and it was made to look like a terrorist attack in order to get Bourne to join Treadstone. Suddenly, the Asset shows up and shoots at Smith and Bourne, killing Smith and knocking Bourne off the roof. The Asset goes to see if Bourne is dead or not and finds that Bourne has disappeared and wants to go after him. Dewey tells him no, that Bourne will be going after both of them, and that he should head to Vegas, as they have a problem with Iron Hand, not realizing that Bourne had grabbed Smith’s comm device and heard what Dewey said. Bourne hijacks Lee’s van and tells ehr to drive, then questions her about Dewey and Iron Hand. Lee tells him about them and says that she can help Bourne get to Dewey, as she wants him gone just as much as he does, and hands him a passport and phone. Bourne flies to Vegas and as he goes through customs, Lee hacks the servers and is able to get him through without flagging any security measures. Bourne arrives at the hotel where the conference is taking place and as Kalloor enters the area, Bourne looks around at some of the tech on display and grabs some samples. He texts Lee and tells her to meet him by the elevators but as she is waiting, Jeffers approaches her and tells her that Dewey wants to see her, and Bourne secretly slips a tracking device into her jacket. Following Lee, Bourne is able to record the conversation she has with Dewey and they head off backstage for the show, where they meet with Kalloor, while the Asset gets in position to take out Kalloor. As they get ready to go on stage, Jeffers tells Dewey he has a high priority message coming in and Dewey tells them that he will be on stage momentarily. As Kalloor begins talking, Jeffers tells Dewey that Bourne arrived in Vegas 2 hours ago and Dewey realizes that Lee is helping Bourne and decides to take her out as well. Lee, noticing Dewey’s change in demeanor, secretly texts Bourne that something is wrong and he rushes towards the conference room. On stage, Kalloor is about to tell everyone the deal he had made with Dewey and Dewey orders the Asset to kill him, then Lee. Bourne shows up and figures out where the Asset is and spoils his aim, causing him to only wound Kalloor, while Bourne fires at the Asset and wounds him. Panic ensues and Bourne flees from the security detail while Jeffers tries to escort Dewey out of there but Dewey tells him to take him to the penthouse. Dewey gets there and pulls out a gun before waiting for Bourne, who eventually shows up. Bourne says he knows about what happened in Beirut but Dewey tries to convince Bourne that he secretly wants to come back to work for him. Jeffers shows up and tries to kill Bourne but Bourne kills him, only to be shot by Dewey and when he moves to finish Bourne off, he is killed by Lee. Bourne helps Lee cover up her involvement in Dewey’s death, then goes to leave when he sees the Asset, who is making his own way out of the building. The Asset kills a police officer and steals a S.W.A.T. truck but Bourne steals a car and gives chase, After a dangerous car chase, Bourne and the Asset end up fighting in the basement of a hotel and Bourne eventually kills the Asset. Some time later, Lee meets with Russel and tells him that Dewey was living in the past and his methods suffered for it and when Russell names a new Director, she wants to be it. Russell asks about Bourne and she tells him that she has Bourne’s trust and she can bring him in and if not, then he will be put down. Lee leaves Russell and heads to a park, where she meets up with Bourne and asks him to come back in. Bourne tells her to let him think about it and walks off and Lee heads to her car. When she gets there, she finds a recording device on the passenger seat and when she plays it back, she hears the conversation she had with Russell regarding Bourne and realizes that any trust she had is gone now and she has no chance of bringing him in.

Jason Bourne met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Jason Bourne delivers fans of the franchise more of what they’ve come to expect — which is this sequel’s biggest selling point as well as its greatest flaw.” Matt Damon and Julia Stiles were the only characters from the original trilogy to reprise their characters in the latest movie. While David Strathairn, Joan Allen, and Edward Norton’s characters are still alive at the end of The Bourne Legacy, they are never mentioned in this movie. The movie was a box office hit, earning $415.5 million off of a $135 million budget, making it the second highest grossing film in the series behind The Bourne Ultimatum.

This was a pretty decent movie but I still feel like it was rather unnecessary. The acting was good, with Matt Damon and Julia Stiles doing good jobs reprising their roles of Jason Bourne and Nicky Parsons respectively. I thought that Tommy Lee Jones did a good job as Dewey, as did Alicia Vikander (Lee) and Vincent Cassel (Asset). The story honestly felt pretty weak. I mean, I liked the idea that after so much time had passed, Bourne got his memory back but instead of offering something new for a plot device, they turn to the same old thing; something from Treadstone’s past that has a direct bearing on Bourne’s past and he gets dragged into the matter. The action scenes were pretty well choreographed and while the slow, methodical pace serve the previous movies pretty well, in this case it just made the movie boring as everyone knew how things were going to play out. It’s an enjoyable movie but does nothing to add anything new to the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 6th, 2014 Movie – Brain Twisters

brain twisters

I love when hurricanes wreck havoc on any sort of plans you may want to make. Yes, I am being sarcastic with that comment. Now don’t get me wrong. I am by no means trying to make light of the seriousness of a hurricane, as I have been through a couple of them in my lifetime. I just hate when you try to make plans and then have to change or cancel them because you have no idea how bad the weather may be. Now that I got that off my chest, time to get on with Brain Twisters. Now this is one of the movies from the Sci-Fi Invasion box set and I have a vague recollection of this movie from the first time I watched it but don’t really remember much about it. Now let’s see exactly what type of movie it is.

The plot: A woman is jogging along a road in the woods when she is run down by a car that had swerved to hit her. Meanwhile, Dr. Phillip Rothman is conducting experiments on consenting students to test their brain wave patterns when exposed to random patterns of colors and lights. As he is conducting the experiment on a girl named Yvonne, he receives a call from Wrightnour, his financial backer for the experiments he is performing, saying that they might need to terminate the experiment. Rothman puts him on hold while he pays Yvonne for her participation, then argues against terminating the funding and says he will get the funding elsewhere but Wrightnour tells him that he signed an agreement so all of the equipment is theirs. Later, Rothman is teaching his class and as the class ends, Rothman talks with Laurie Stevens about her signing up for the work study program and he tells her to giver her a list of her free time so that he can schedule her appropriately. Meanwhile, Denise is walking with her boyfriend Ted out of class and accidentally bumps into a landscaper as they leave the building. She apologizes but the man just stares at her and Ted calls the man a creep but as he looks up at the sun, he starts to space out. Later that night, Ted takes Denise back to her apartment but she tells him she will see him tomorrow, as she plans on working out with Laurie that night, which upsets him. As Denise is getting ready, someone breaks into the apartment and attacks her and when Laurie gets there, she finds Denise has been hanged. Laurie calls the police and she is questioned for a while by one of the officers before Detective Frank Turi takes over, asking her about Ted and where he might be. Meanwhile, another student, Michelle, goes to see Rothman and attempts to seduce him into giving her a better grade but Rothman doesn’t fall for it and offers to let her take part in the experiments to help her get a better grade and she reluctantly agrees. The next day, Frank has Laurie go with him to the restaurant that Ted works at and when she points him out, Frank approaches Ted and asks to speak with him alone. Frank starts asking Ted some questions about his being with Denise last night but the lights from the nearby pinball machine begin to affect Ted, causing him to attack a customer. When Frank pulls him off the guy, Ted pushes Frank away, then stumbles around before jumping out the window and falling to his death. Later, Frank asks if any tests were done to Ted’s body to see if he was the one to kill Denise and he learns that Rothman’s company had claimed it and taken it with them. Frank goes to see Rothman and tells him they need Ted’s body to prove or disprove he is Denise’s murder and when Rothman refuses to hand it over, saying Ted had signed an agreement to donate his body to the foundation but Frank hands him a court order remanding Ted’s remains to the county morgue for autopsy. Rothman tells him he has an urgent matter to attend to but he will be back in an hour to let him have the body. When Frank returns with a hearse and some officers, he discovers that Rothman had severed Ted’s head and placed it in a jar and angrily tells Rothman that he needs the head as well as the body. As Frank leaves, Laurie arrives at Rothman’s lab and confronts him about how he questioned Ted but Frank tries to defend himself. As the body bags are wheeled out, Frank tells her about Rothman having Ted’s head in a jar, causing Laurie to be a little disturbed about Rothman’s actions. Laurie heads into the lab and Rothman tells her she could go home if things are to disturbing but she wants to be there to keep her mind off Denise and Ted’s deaths. Later, Frank is back at the precinct and has his partner tell him the information he has found out about Rothman when their Captain interrupts them and calls Frank into his office. When Frank gets there, he finds Rothman seated inside and the Captain tells Frank that Rothman has a court order for Ted’s remains. Rothman taunts Frank by saying the same words Frank told him earlier, then tells them he just wants Ted’s head. After he leaves, Frank asks how he managed to get the court order so fast and the Captain says that he must have some connections. That night, Michelle shows up at the lab to take part in the experiment and Rothman places her in the chair before starting the program. The next day, Yvonne is swimming in the school pool with Laurie but she spaces out as she stares at the shifting reflection in the pool. Yvonne’s boyfriend shows up and offers to take them to get some food but says he needs to get his car washed first. As they go through the car wash, the lights, foam, and brushes trigger a reaction in Yvonne, causing her to jump out of the car and run off. Meanwhile, Frank and his partner go see Rothman and asks him about a former student at another school who killed himself and tell him that Ted had killed Denise as well as another girl, which shocks Rothman. Meanwhile, Yvonne is taking a bath while a costume party is going on downstairs but when the bubbles set her off, she wanders downstairs in her robe and proceeds to kill her boyfriend and his friend, then breaks down in tears as she snaps out of whatever trance she was in. As the authorities arrive and Yvonne is taken away in an ambulance, Frank notices Rothman had arrived at the scene and comments about it being a coincidence that so many of his students seem to be killing people recently. Rothman heads to a bar and after a few drinks, he calls Wrightnour and chastises him for not telling him about his former student’s death and that they should cancel the experiments as they are damaging the kids’ brians. Wrightnour tries to pacify Rothman but when Rothman hangs up on him, due to the flashing lights at the club triggering a response in him, Wrightnour tells the board that they should get rid of him. At the club, Rothman is staring around watching people and when a bouncer tries to escort him out of their, Rothman hits him in the head with a bottle, smiling as he does so, then leaves. The next day, Frank is told that they are dropping the murder cases, as the feds are taking over the investigation. He calls Laurie to talk to her and invites her to dinner, telling her he will cook, and she accepts but is unaware that Rothman was listening in to their conversation. Later, Laurie leaves her apartment to get some groceries and while she is out, two men enter her apartment. That night, Frank cooks dinner at Laurie’s apartment and he asks her a couple of questions about what she does for Rothman but Laurie doesn’t feel comfortable talking about her work. Later, as Frank handles the dishes, Laurie turns on the TV when someone overrides the signal and displays a flashing pattern of colors. Laurie heads into the kitchen, picking up a knife on the way, but when she approaches Frank, she suddenly kisses him and one of the men that had rigged her apartment calls someone and tells them that the plan failed. Back at the apartment, Laurie pushes Frank away, saying she isn’t normally like this, and when Frank goes to ask her a favor when she is at work, she yells at him to get out. The next day, Frank is sitting outside Rothman’s building as Rothman arrives for class. Inside, Rothman is giving a lecture but the color from the projector light causes him to stumble over his words and when he sees Frank in the room, he cancels class, then yells at Frank to leave him alone. Later that day, Laurie calls to apologize to frank for the night before but as Frank talks with her, his Captain tells him Rothman filed a complaint so he is suspended for 2 weeks. The next day, Laurie shows up to work and Rothman talks to her about Frank being her lover, then talks about how much he likes her and offers to get her some ice cream. As soon as he leaves, Laurie starts looking around and reads some of his files and when he returns, she makes up an excuse and leaves. That night, Michelle and her boyfriend Roger break into the lab and Michelle activates the machine and gets inside. When it finishes, She exits the machine and Roger wants to leave but she kisses him before ripping out his throat with her fingernails. At her apartment, Laurie is watching the video of Rothman undergoing the experiment when Rothman knocks on her door, attempting to explain what is going on. When he angrily starts banging on the door, Laurie calls Frank but gets his answering machine. Rothman breaks into her apartment and attempts to kill her but a spinning crystal chandelier stops him and he quickly leaves. Rothman heads back up to his lab and finds Wrightnour inside and when Rothman says he is out, Wrightnour tells him he isn’t finished yet, then he walks out of the room as Frank’s partner enters and shoots Rothman. Wrightnour tells Frank’s partner to kill Laurie and he heads over there while Wrightnour oversees the removal of all the equipment for the experiment. Frank drives by Lauries place and sees his partner pull a gun on him so he continues driving, then circles around and rams his truck into his partner, killing him. Wrightnour tells the truck driver where to take the equipment, then gets into his limo and tells his driver to drive but the driver’s head leans back, revealing his throat has been ripped out and Michelle appears in the passenger seat, then crawls back and kills Wrightnour. Frank and Laurie arrive at the lab and see it has been empty and Michelle is sitting in Rothman’s chair with a blank look on her face. Laurie tells Frank she thinks they did something to her the other night and asks if she is still affected. Frank assures her she will be fine and as he comforts her, Michelle bursts through the glass window on the door, screaming out like mad. Some time later, a kid is playing video games and when his mom tells at him to come down for dinner, the kid gets an angry look on his face and yells down, “I’ll be right there, Mother!”, indicating the game was using the graphics pattern that Rothman’s machine was using.

This movie had a lot of potential as far as the plot went but it ended up falling a little flat in reality. The acting was ok, with Farrah Forke doing a decent job as Laurie. I also thought Joe Lombardo was good as Frank but Terry Londeree felt too monotone in his character of Rothman. The story was actually pretty interesting but I felt like they could have done a better job of really explaining what was going on. I mean, you don’t really figure out that Rothman’s experiment is turning people into killers until almost halfway through the movie. The special effects in the movie mainly consisted of a lot of flashing lights, which is honestly enough to give anyone a headache. Meanwhile, the action scenes were a lot of slow motion effects for the most part, which really killed any sort of tension they had going for them. I wish they were able to live up to the potential but it is simply a passable bit of time killing fluff.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 4th, 2014 Movie – The Brain Machine

the brain machine

Man, I am exhausted for some reason. Not the best way to start off the weekend. Then I find myself having to rewatch this movie and my head just went ahead and exploded. I had never heard of this movie before I bought the Sci-Fi Classics box set but the description sounded somewhat interesting. So I had some decent hopes going into this movie but they ended up being dashed when I finally sat down to watch The Brain Machine.

The plot: A man places a call to The General and tells him that there was a break in of the top secret files; with the only ones missing being the ones for the brain machine and Dr. Krisner’s file. The General believe Krisner was responsible and orders the man to get Krisner and have Saxon secure the grounds. Meanwhile, Doctors Carol Portland and Elton Morris are going over the test subjects that Dr. Roland Roth has selected for the Brain Machine; Minnie Lee Parks, Judd Reeves, Reverend Emory Neill, and Willie West. As they finish making their plans, Carol notices Krisner acting strange as he walks by their room and out the building. The General lands his plane and after getting in his car, he calls Saxon to ask how the search for Krisner is going and they tell him that they haven’t found him yet. One of Saxon’s men spots Krisner and fires at him but misses and when he chases after Krisner, Krisner manages to ambush him. The two struggle and Krisner accidentally shoots the man, then keeps running but fails to pick up his briefcase with the files that he stole. Krisner tries calling Roth to warn him about what the General’s plans are but when he sees two men approaching him, he is forced to run, knocking out one of the men and stealing his gun as he does. Krisner attempts to contact a senator but is unable to get through to him. The Senator contacts the General, as they are working together, and after the Senator tells him where Krisner is hiding, the General sends some men to kill him. After receiving a call that Krisner is dead, the General has a memo made up saying that he had been transferred and sent to the staff at E.C.C., then tells Saxon, the director of E.C.C., to have Roth’s team begin working on the brain machine without their knowledge, a move which Saxon argues against but is overruled. At E.C.C., Roth is greeting the test volunteers and explaining the rules of the study when he is called away to speak with Saxon, who tells him that their backers want him to participate in a different program or else they will hold up his funding. Carol is doing a test with Rev. Neil but when some of his comments unnerve her, she has Elton finish the test. That night, someone enters Minnie’s room and approaches her bed but she wakes up and screams, chasing the intruder out while Carol and Elton enter the room and comfort her. The next day, Ross chastises Judd for lying on his application and wants to kick him off the project but Judd convinces him to let him stay. The General orders his men to attempt to take control of Ross’s computers, using a fail safe circuit that was listed in the files Krisner stole, but they are unsuccessful. The test causes their computer to be unresponsive briefly and Ross has someone from engineering to check out the circuits and the worker notices something but when he touches the rogue cable, he is electrocuted, while a security guard sees him but walk off without helping. Later that day, Elton explains the test they will be participating in to study population explosion, saying they will be in a plus-shaped room, with the walls gradually moving closer to the central control hub as time passes. The next day, the General’s men attempt to take control of the computers again and manage to succeed this time, preventing Ross and Elton from being able to use the cameras in the test room to view the individual subjects but they are still able to view the control panel. The General’s men then begin feeding false questions into the computer for Elton to ask the subjects, causing tempers to start flaring up in the room. Suddenly, the biometric sensors go on an overload, causing all of the subjects and Carol to experience intense pain, all at the behest of the General’s men. Ross figures out that Saxon is somehow behind what is going on and argues with him, while the General’s men continue messing with the computer. As Rev. Neill has a dream about an affair he had, the computer was able to read his brainwaves and prints out a question to ask if he was the one to enter Minnie’s room and about the affiar. When Carol asks the question, Rev. Neill gets upset about the fact that he is not allowed his provate thoughts and he activates the fail safe to leave the room, which instead traps them inside as the walls begin shrinking in. Ross argues with Saxon that he is killing the people in the room but as he leaves to go try to get them out, he finds armed guards outside the door with orders to keep him and Elton inside the computer room. In the test room, Minnie hangs herself and as Rev. Neill prays over her body, Judd gets upset and starts yelling at him to shut up. When the feedback occurs again, Judd and Neill are killed and Carol is rendered unconscious, with Willie being the only person still awake. As the walls get closer to them, Carol regains consciousness and Willie grabs and pulls her closer to the central chamber. In the computer room, Ross and Elton tell Willit to smash through the control panel in the center of the room and hide in there with Carol. As Willie does that, Saxon enters the room with the two guards and Ross and Elton go to help rescue Carol and Willie. The guards refuse to allow them to leave, even when Saxon says they can, so Elton, Ross, and Saxon incapacitate the guards and take their weapons. As Saxon holds the guards at gunpoint, Ross and Elton rush to rescue Carol and Willie but as they climb down the control panel to get them, the door closes and is locked on them, and they end up being electrocuted to death inside the panel. The General and his guards appear at the computer room and when Saxon asks how he plans on covering all these deaths up, the General shoots him. Some time later, a news report talks about how Willie had gone nuts and killed himself and everyone else in the E.C.C. testing room when he smashed a control panel and electrocuted everyone. The General and Senator are watching the report and when it ends, the Senator asks about Saxon and the General says that he has been transferred. The Senator then says that the test was a success and that they should get the brain machine out of there and the General says it is already being done, as a truck is seen leaving the E.C.C.

God this movie is somewhat of a train wreck of confusion (although that might have been exacerbated by my exhaustion). The acting was ok, with James Best (who will always be Sheriff Rosco Coltrane from The Dukes Of Hazard to me) putting in an interesting performance as Rev. Neill. However, everyone else honestly was either two boring or wooded to warrant much attention. The story was honestly pretty confusing the first time I watched it and didn’t seem to get any clearer this time around. I mean, I understand the basic plot was that a secret government project piggybacked onto another project and when things went horribly wrong, they covered up all of the deaths. However, the way they went about doing this was poorly explained at times and just kept flipping between the two experiments, which didn’t make things any better. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and the drama was decent at times but some of it felt forced at times which didn’t help the movie any. A confusing bit of a thriller that isn’t really worth watching.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 3rd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Legacy

the bourne legacy

So when Matt Damon decided to step away from the Bourne franchise, the studio decided to create a new character and a new actor to fill the void. Enter Jeremy Renner, fresh off the massive blockbuster The Avengers, and the studio was hoping to cash in on his new found fame to bring in the audience.  Yes, I know that The Bourne Legacy was filmed before The Avengers hit the screen; doesn’t mean that my previous statement isn’t what the studio was thinking. Anyways, I didn’t get around to seeing this movie in theaters and only picked it up so as to complete the series. The question is, how good of an impulse buy did I make with this movie.

The plot: At a Department of Defense Special Operations Group training site in Alaska, Aaron Cross emerges from a frozen lake with a dead drop container that was left as part of his training mission. Meanwhile, CIA Director Ezra Kramer goes to visit Retired Navy Admiral Mark Turso, telling him about the situation with Simon Ross and his looking into Jason Bourne, Treadstone, and Blackbriar. When Turso chastises Kramer for his handling of Bourne and the Black Ops programs, Kramer says that maybe he should let Colonel Eric Byer know what is going on but Turso tells him that he is in enough trouble and to let him contact Byer. Later that night/early morning, Turso meets up with Byer as he goes for an early morning jog in the rain. Back in Alaska, Cross spends the night fending off a pack of wolves and when day breaks, he begins making his way across the mountains. In Washington DC, Byer heads to the National Research Assay Group, which he oversees and Turso runs, and gets his team to go over everything possible related to Treadstone, Blackbriar, and their own operation; Outcome. Meanwhile, at Sterisyn-Morlanta, a biogenetics company that does support for Outcome, Dr. Marta Shearing approaches an Outcome operative, called # 6, and tells him they need a full panel work on him since he had been out in the field for so long. Meanwhile, Byer’s team discovers a video of Dr. Albert Hirsch of Treadstone socializing with Dr. Dan Hillcott, Outcomes Director of Medical Research, and as Byer shows the video to Turso and Terrence Ward, he tells them that their best course of action to ensure that they don’t get linked to the mess that Treadstone is finding themselves in with Bourne, is to go ahead and burn everything surrounding the Outcome program and start up the beta programs. Back in Alaska, Cross opens a pill kit he carries and noticing he only has one blue and one green pill left, he hides them in his boot as he heads to cabin, firing his gun several times to alert anyone there of his approach. He is met by Operative # 3, who is surprised to learn that Cross had gone over the mountain, shaving his time by 2 days, and invites him into the cabin. #3 tells him to go ahead and get his blood work started but Cross tells him that he lost his chems and needs replacements and #3 is reluctant to help him. While all this is going on, Ross is assassinated by Paz, and when Bourne shows up in New York City, CIA Agent Tom Cronin, Pamela Landy’s assistant, calls Byer to let him know. Byer goes through with hsi plan to begin eliminating the Outcome agents, sending their handler’s yellow pills to give the agents, who tell the agents that they are new chems, but when the agents take them, they are shown to be poisoned. In Alaska, Cross and #3 are at the cabin and Cross hears a drone approaching but, believing that something is wrong, he decides to leave the cabin just as the drone fires a missile and blows the cabin up, killing #3. Cross then makes a run for it as the drone’s pilots notice that Cross’s signal is still active and circle the drone around for another pass. Cross uses a pot to mask the signal coming from the tracing beacon implanted in his thigh, then uses his rifle to shoot down the drone as they try locate him. Cross heads back to the wreckage of the cabin and tries to find #3’s stash of chems but finds that they have all been obliterated. Meanwhile, Byer learns that Cross is still alive and he heads to the drone control room to ensure that the kill Cross with their next drone. In Alaska, Cross removes the tracker from his thigh, then lures in one of the wolves that had been following him, snaring it in a trap, then feeds the tracker to the wolf before chasing it off. As the second drone reaches the area, it fires a missile at the wolf, thinking it is Cross, and as they confirm the target is dead, Byer thinks back to one of his first meeting with Cross when he recruited him to Outcome. Later, Byer and Turso are talking with Ward about Pamela Landy’s upcoming Senate hearing and they tell him that they are not concerned about Landy’s testimony as they will make it seem like she is a traitor. In Sterisyn-Morlanta, Dr. Donald Foite makes his way into the research lab for the chems, locking and disabling the doors as he enters the lab, then he begins to kill everyone inside the lab, with Dr. Shearing being the last one alive. As security makes it in there and fires on him, he appears unfazed by the bullets and turns the gun on himself. As Cross makes his way to DC, Shearing is questioned by the police about the shooting incident before heading to her home. The next day, she is interviewed by some federal agents, who want to make sure she is cleared and has not broken her confidentiality agreement. When she says she hasn’t told anyone what she was working on, the two agents questioning her grab her and attempt to force her to shoot herself. Suddenly, Cross shows up and kills them, then asks Shearing if she has any chems there but she tells him know. When a 5th member of the assassin group radios in for a sit-rep, Cross pretends to be one of the team and says that Shearing is dead, then proceeds to pour kerosene inside the house and set it on fire before leaving with Shearing. As they are driving, Cross asks her where he can get some meds and they begin arguing over their situation. When Cross reveals that he is taking green and blue pills, Shearing is shocked that he is still taking greens as he had been virally modified so that the effects of the green pills were permanently in his system, meaning he did not have to take them any more. When he asks if the same could be done for the blue pills, she says yes but they would have to travel to the other side of the world to do it, as that is where the facility is. Meanwhile, Byer, Turso, and Ward are trying to figure out what happened at Shearing’s house as they come up with a cover story to use for Shearing’s death/disappearance. Later that night, Cross and Shearing are talking and Shearing asks why it is so important for him to get more of the blue pills. Cross shows her a file online that is his death certificate, saying he was “killed in a roadside bomb” in order to take part of Outcome and he needs the blue pills, which raise the user’s intelligence, in order to keep them both alive and because his recruitment officer lied about his IQ and wrote it down as high enough to meet the army’s minimal requirement and he doesn’t want to revert back to how he was. Cross makes some fake passports for both of them, and as they wait to board the plane for the Phillipines, Cross sees a news report that Dr. Hirsch had died from a heart attack before his scheduled testimony at the Senate hearing while Shearing sees the news report that Byer’s team cooked up about her printed in the paper. Cross and Shearing manage to make it to Manila and head to Sterisyn-Morlanta’s plant there so that Shearing can give Cross the viral package to permanently alter his brain. Meanwhile, Byre’s team has managed to track Shearing and as they try to figure out who is helping her, they discover it is Cross. Byre clears out all the unnecessary people from the room, leaving himself, Truso, Ward, and two other and they realize that Shearing had gone there to inject Cross with the viral stems so he no longer needs the chems. They contact building security there but Cross is able to take them out, then he and Shearing escape. Realizing they have a limited window to deal with them, Byre orders LARX-03 to be activated, shocking Turso as he didn’t know that the proposed “super soldier” program was up and running. Cross and Shearing are walking the streets of Manila when Cross begins to suffer flu-like symptoms from the viral stems, and starts having flashbacks to when he first joined Outcome. Shearing rents a room to tend to him and he tells her that he has money and spare passports in his jacket, wanting her to run if things get bad. Shearing goes to get Cross some medicine while the police and LARX-03 both head for their last known location. As Shearing is paying for the medicine, she notices the police surrounding the building and she screams out a warning to Cross, telling him to run before running herself with the police in pursuit. Cross manages to escape onto the roof and make his way across the rooftops following after Shearing, eventually rescuing her from one of the cops that manages to catch her. As they continue walking and trying to evade the police, Cross spots LARX-03 following them and he quickly steals a motorcycle to try and escape. The police chase after him, as does LARX-03 in a stolen police car. Cross manages to evade the police but LARX-03, stealing a police motorcycle after his car is totaled, continues chasing after them. Cross and LARX-03 both shoot at and wound each other but they keep going until Shearing is able to cause LARX-03 to crash into a pillar. Cross loses control of his motorcycle due to his blood loss and as he and Shearing slide to a stop by the docks, Shearing begs a boatman to help them. In DC, Byer and his team are getting video of the room Cross and Shearing stayed in, where they see Cross’s pill case hanging from the mirror, with the words “No More” written on the glass. Meanwhile, Noah Vosen is testifying to the Senate Committee, where he lies and says that Blackbriar was created with the sole purpose of tracking down a rogue agent, Jason Bourne, and he doesn’t know why Landy chose to ally herself with him. As Landy is leaving the hearing, she is besieged by reporters asking for her thoughts but she refuses to respond. Meanwhile, Cross and Shearing are on the boatman’s boat, sailing towards some islands where they hope they can disappear together.

The Bourne Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “It isn’t quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell — and benefits from Jeremy Renner’s magnetic work in the starring role.” When Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) explains the origins of viral engineering, she refers to a 1985 incident at a U.S. Army base named Fort Detrick. Fort Detrick is an actual U.S. Army base and, during the early Cold War, was the home of the U.S.’s biological weapons program until then President Nixon closed down the program in 1969.The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $276.1 million off of a $125 million budget.

I have to say, as far as spin-off/sequels go, this one falls a little flat. The The acting was ok but honestly, Jeremy Renner (Cross) and Edward Norton (Byre) both seemed to be pretty boring in their portrayal of their respective characters, while Rachel Weisz (Shearing) just didn’t seem to really to be too into her character. The story was really odd, with the main plot basically focusing on a DOD operation that was running somewhat parallel to Treadstone/Blackbriar, but the whole bits where they tried to fit it in with what was happening during the last movie just made it feel too forced. I think it would have been better to just have it be it’s own movie and not try to force in the tie in with the original Bourne trilogy. The action scenes were pretty good and probably the best part of the movie but they couldn’t really help the lackluster plot and uninspired acting in the movie. Soo much potential but it simply got wasted away with this movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 2nd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Ultimatum

the bourne ultimatum

Full confession time here. Today’s movie is the only movie in the franchise that I have ever seen in theaters. After renting the previous 2 movies, I knew that this would be worth going to see in theaters and I wasn’t wrong on that part. The funny thing is that even when the newer movies came out, I still didn’t go see them in theaters. Anyways, The Bourne Ultimatum came out at a time where a lot of changes were going on in my life so I really needed the brief distraction from reality that this provided me. Now to find out just how good of a movie it really is.

The plot: During the events in the previous movie, a wounded Bourne is attempting to evade the Moscow police before he makes it to a restroom so he can treat his wounds. As he is working, he has another flashback, this time of when he first started at Treadstone, just as two police officers enter the room. Bourne knocks out one of the officers, then points his gun at the other, who begs for his life, but Bourne says his argument is not with him, then leaves the room. 6 weeks later, Pamela Landy is in a meeting with CIA Director Ezra Kramer, where she plays the recording of Ward Abbott’s confession for him. Though Landy argues against it, Kramer feels that Bourne is still a serious threat to the agency and wants her to continue looking for him. Meanwhile, reporter Simon Ross meets with a source who gives him information regarding Bourne and Operation Blackbriar, the CIA program that replaced Treadstone. In Paris, Bourne goes to see Marie’s brother and tells him about her death. In London, Ross has just returned from his trip and phones his editor, telling him about the information his source gave him, unaware that the CIA had picked up his use of the word Blackbriar during his call and begin tracking him. At a CIA building in New York, Deputy Director Noah Vosen tells his men to keep tabs on Ross, bugging all of his phones and car, so that they can figure out who the source is, putting an asset on standby in case they need him. Meanwhile, Bourne is taking the train from Paris to London when he reads Ross’s article about him in the paper. Bourne contacts Ross at his office, calling someone else’s line to ensure that the CIA couldn’t listen in, then arranges to meet with Ross at Waterloo Station. Bourne arrives at Waterloo and purchases a pre-paid phone, then waits for Ross to show up. Ross leaves his office and as he hails a taxi, the CIA mobile team uses a mike to learn where he is going, then Vosen orders teams to get in position at the station, as well as calling in the asset, Paz. When Ross arrives at the station, Bourne watches him briefly then notices the CIA team getting into position. Walking past Ross and slipping the pre-paid phone in his pocket, Bourne calls him and alerts him to the CIA surveillance teams watching him, then gives him instructions on what to do. Bourne has Ross act like he is talking to someone at a bus stop and as the bus pulls up, he tells Ross to walk away, leaving the CIA to abduct the man he was supposedly talking too while Bourne takes out one of the surveillance operatives. Bourne meets up with Ross and starts asking him questions and Ross tells him about Blackbriar being the program after Treadstone and how his source knew Bourne. Bourne sees some agents coming and tells Ross to answer his phone as the walk away, allowing Bourne to direct him into avoiding the security cameras and agents looking for him. When Ross panics and deviates from where Bourne was directing him, Vosen and his team spot him and Bourne directs him to a place to hide as he works on taking out his followers but he ends up being spotted by one of the cameras. When Vosen realizes that Bourne is the one helping Ross, he tells his men to seal the exits and orders Paz to take out both Ross and Bourne. Bourne tells Ross to wait for him to make sure it’s safe but Ross refuses to listen and ends up leaving the store he is in, where Paz promptly shoots him. Bourne goes to Ross’s body and searches it, finding his notebook, and goes to leave when he spots Paz and tries to catch him but is unable to stop Paz from boarding a train. Later, Bourne heads to an internet cafe to look over Ross’s notes and when he sees mention of a company and that it is located in Madrid, he leaves the cafe to head there. Meanwhile, Ross’s source hears news of Ross’s death on the television and he quickly opens his safe and grabs the money inside before quickly leaving. The next day, Vosen meets up with Landy, who had been ordered to assist him in finding and capturing Bourne, but Landy and Vosen have differing opinion on how they should handle things. As Landy and her assistant Tom Cronin head to the office and begins coordinating with Vosen’s men, the determine that Bourne was not the source for Ross’s information. Realizing that whoever Ross had spoken with had a high security clearance, Landy is able to determine that the leak was Neal Daniels, a section chief in Madrid, and Vosen orders a heavy team to be sent there, telling Landy that Bourne is probably heading there as well. In Madrid, Bourne reaches the address for the company and determines that it was a CIA office. As he looks around, he notices a picture on the ground of Daniels as well as another man, causing another flashback. When he recovers, he realizes that the CIA team is there and he sets a trap to take out the two men but when a third person shows up, Bourne goes to meet them at the door and is shocked to find it is Nicky Parsons, who was stationed there after her run in with Bourne in Berlin. Bourne starts to question her but Vosen calls and Nicky answers the phone. Vosen gives her a call sign and when Nicky gives the all clear response, Vosen asks her about the men, Daniels and Bourne. Landy then talks to Nicky and tells her they are still looking for Bourne but she doesn’t think he is a threat like others do. Vosen then tells Nicky to stay there and back up will be there in an hour but when Nicky hangs up, she tells Bourne they only have 3 minutes. She tells Bourne that she knows where Daniels is and Bourne calls the police to cause a distraction so the CIA won’t be able to follow them, then they leave and head for Tangier. Back at the office, Landy questions Vosen about what Blackbriar is and he tells her it is the umbrella that all of their Black Ops operations runs from. Elsewhere, Bourne and Nicky are waiting for the ferry to tangier and Nicky asks Bourne what brought him back. He shows her the picture from Daniel’s office and she recognizes Daniels but can’t place the other man. Bourne tells her that he met him when he first joined Treadstone and Daniels was the one to introduce him. Bourne then asks why she is helping him and she tells him that it was difficult with him, indicating that something happened between them before he lost his memory. Vosen’s team learns that Daniels is in Tangier and they send an asset there to kill him and when Landy learns about this, she tries to call Kramer but he refuses to take her call. Bourne and Nicky arrive in Tangier and after she gets online, she learns that Vosen has sent Desh to kill Daniels and Bourne has her redirect to meet with him so that he can follow Desh to Daniels. In New York, Vosen and his team notice Desh moving away from the target route but Vosen decides to let things play out. As Desh heads back towards Daniels, Vosen’s team discover the illegal breach and discover that Nicky had contacted Desh and Vosen orders them to send Desh after Nicky when he finishes with Daniels. Landy argues with Vosen about his ordering Nicky to be killed, claiming he doesn’t have the authority, but he tells her that he does and she storms out of the office. In Tangier, Desh receives his new instructions and notices Bourne following him as he continues on his route. When Daniels gets close to the bank, Bourne tries to get him to stop but realizes that Desh had left a bomb on the moped he had been driving and Desh activates it, killing Daniels and stunning Bourne. As Desh heads off to kill Nicky, Bourne recovers and grabs a motorbike, using it to escape from the police that had arrived. Meanwhile, Nicky realizes that Desh is coming after her and she leaves just as Desh arrives and he starts following her. Bourne arrives at the cafe Nicky was at and goes looking for them but is forced to run from the police as well. Bourne heads into an apartment and makes his way to the roof, where he spots Nicky and Desh on the street below. Bourne begins jumping from rooftop to rooftop to keep pace with Nicky and Desh, and when he spies them in another building, he leaps from the rooftop and crashes through the window to attack Desh and eventually kills him. Bourne has Nicky use Desh’s phone to signal that they have been killed and when it comes up on their screens, Vosen has his aide confirm the kills and keep an eye on Landy. He then calls Kramer to tell him of Bourne and Nicky’s deaths and Kramer tells him he can’t afford to let anything about Blackbriar come back to haunt him. Back in Tangier, Bourne helps Nicky to disguise herself and leave the city, telling her it gets easier over time to stay underground and hidden. Bourne then heads to the morgue to examine Daniels’ effects and as he sifts through the burned papers in his briefcase, he sees a sliver of paper from a CIA file from New York. In New York, Vosen is told that Desh’s body has been discovered and he realizes that Bourne and Nicky are still alive. Meanwhile, Cronin tells Landy that an early Treadstone passport linked to Bourne had just been scanned in customs in New York and he says that Vosen and his men don’t know about it because it was never used or activated before. Landy knows what Bourne is looking for so she calls the airport and pages the alias, attracting Bourne’s attention. Bourne heads to the building across the street from the CIA office and contacts Landy (the end scene from The Bourne Supremacy). Vosen is made aware of Bourne’s call to Landy and when he hears Bourne’s final words, he realizes that Bourne is in New York and organizes his team to locate him. Landy leaves the building, telling Cronin that if he sees her he will contact her. Bourne sees her leave, as well as Vosen’s men who are tailing her, and he sends her a text for a location to meet at. Vosen leads his team out to intercept Bourne and Landy at the meeting place but Bourne had used the text to get Vosen and his men out of the office, allowing him to enter. As Vosen and his team waits for Bourne, Bourne calls Vosen, getting his name on his recorder so he can open Vosen’s safe, then he taunts Vosen by saying he is in his office. Bourne then goes through the files for Blackbriar that Vosen was storing and leaves the office as Vosen calls his aide and tells him to check the office. Cronin goes to pick up Landy, telling her that Bourne had broken into Vosen’s office and she tells Cronin to take her to 415 71st Street, and Cronin realizes that she had secretly told Bourne that address, disguised as his birth date. Bourne leaves the CIA office but is spotted and forced to run, using the police to help him escape at one point. As Bourne speeds off in a stolen police car, Paz shows up and begins chasing after him, trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Vosen’s team discover that Landy gave Bourne the wrong birth date and when they tell Vosen, he realizes that she told him where the training facility is and sends his teams there. Bourne and Paz get into a wreck and Bourne goes to kill Paz but changes his mind and walks away. As he heads to the training facility, Vosen calls Dr. Albert Hirsch, the doctor that trained and conditioned Bourne, and warns him that Bourne is coming but Hirsch says he refuses to leave. As Bourne reaches the facility, he finds Landy waiting for him and he asks her why she helped him. She tells him that Blackbriar is not what she signed up for and he gives her the files he took from Vosen and tells her it is everything she needs to shut them down. As Bourne heads inside, Landy sees Vosen and his men arriving and she ducks inside as well, but not before Vosen spots her. Vosen and his team search for Bourne and Landy and Vosen finds Landy but is too late to stop her from faxing out the Blackbriar files to the press. Meanwhile, Bourne reaches the training room and finds Hirsch waiting for him. Hirsch talks with Bourne and as he talks, Bourne starts remembering some of his past and remembers that he had volunteered for Treadstone. As the CIA agents show up, Bourne makes a run for it and escapes onto the roof only to find Pax waiting for him. Pax asks Bourne why he didn’t take the shot and Bourne tells him “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” Pax lowers his gun and Bourne runs for the edge of the roof, planning to jump into the East River below but as he jumps, Vosen shows up on the roof and shoots him. Some time later, Landy is testifying about the files she had faxed about Black Briar. Elsewhere, Nicky is watching a news report, which says that Kramer is under investigation for his part in Blackbriar, which had occasionally targeted U.S. citizens for assassination, while Vosen and Hirsch had been arrested for their roles. When the news report says that Bourne’s body had not been found after a 3 day search, Nicky smiles as she realizes that Bourne had survived and is still out there somewhere.

The Bourne Ultimatum met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.” The movie was a box office hit, earning $442.8 million off of a $110 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the franchise. The Bourne Ultimatum was the only movie to be nominated for an Academy Award and won in all three categories that it was nominated in; Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

In my opinion, this really was one of the best, if not the best, movie in the franchise. The acting was great, with Matt Damon (Bourne), Joan Allen (Landy), and Julia Stiles (Nicky) doing great jobs reprising their roles. I really liked David Strathairn, whose portrayal of Vosen made him a great protagonist against Bourne. The story was really good, doing a decent job of trying to tie up everything and not leave things too confusing. I did like that there was no real resolution to Bourne’s memory loss, as he regained a lot of his memory but still was spotty as to his time before Treadstone. I also liked the open ending it had as the fact that he survived meant he was free to come back for more movies, but it was not vital that he do so. The action and stunt scenes were just as good as the previous movies and I especially liked the early scene with Bourne leading Ross through the terminal to avoid the CIA while simultaneously taking out members of the team as it added a great bit of tension to make the scene more effective. A great movie and a good way to end the original trilogy of films.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: June 1st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Supremacy

the bourne supremacy

Well, I just have one month of flashback reviews to go, then the couple of movies I have bought this year and I will be able to take my break. Now for the matter at hand, this was yet another movie whose trailers had piqued my interest but I did not see in theaters. In fact, I didn’t see The Bourne Supremacy until I rented it along with The Bourne Identity several years after they had come out on video. Now obviously I wanted to watch it, and my buying the movie not withstanding, but the question remains as to just how good of a movie this actually was.

The plot: Two years after the events in Paris, Jason Bourne is living in Goa, India with his girlfriend Marie. Bourne still can’t remember everything about his past with Treadstone but sometimes, he has flashbacks of things when he dreams and has taken to writing them down in a notebook. Elsewhere, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy is in Berlin overseeing a $3 million payoff to a Russian source who has with him the “Neski” files, details about a $20 million theft several years ago. As the source arrives at the building and makes contact with Pamela’s buyer, Kirill, a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants some explosives on the power junction box, planting a fingerprint on one of them. Kirill then sets off the explosives, with the one that has the fingerprint planted on it failing to detonate, then heads up to the now darkened room, where he kills the source and everyone there, then takes the money and files. The next morning, Kirill meets with Russian oligarch Yuri Gretkov, who gives him his payment for the files, then tells Kirill he will get the rest when he finishes his job, passing him the information on his next target. Some time later, Kirill arrives in Goa and asks the manager of the telegraph office if he has seen Bourne, but Bourne spots him and, figuring that Kirill is after him, quickly heads back to his home to get his jeep. Driving into town, he sees Marie at a diner and honks his horn to pick her up, telling her that their blown, and spots Kirill on the nearby beach. Believing Treadstone is after them, Bourne drives off with Marie and after he manages to lose Kirill, he has Marie switch places so she is driving. They head for a nearby bridge, where Bourne plans on jumping out so that he can ambush Kirill when he follows after Marie but Kirill had gone to a nearby hill and fires at the car, hitting Marie and causing the jeep to crash off the bridge and into the river below. Bourne survives the crash and after getting Marie’s body out of the car, he kisses her goodbye before letting her float to the surface while he swims off in another direction. Back in Berlin, the investigation team finds the fingerprint on the explosive and when Landy’s team goes to match it, they find themselves blocked by a demand for clearance due to the print being flagged by Treadstone so she orders her team to head back to Langley. Kirill heads back to Russia and meets with Yuri to tell him Bourne is dead and Yuri gives him the rest of his money, telling him he will contact him in a month. Back in Goa, Bourne watches as Marie’s body is fished out of the river, then heads home, grabbing all of the weapons and supplies he stashed there, burning several of his fake passports and pictures, then leaves India. In Langley, Landy tells the director that she needs level 5 clearance so she can follow up on their lead and he gives it to her, allowing her to match the fingerprint to Jason Bourne. After reading up on the files, Landy meets with Deputy Director Ward Abbott and talks to him about Treadstone, Bourne, and Conklin but he doesn’t say much to her. Landy is attending a meeting with the Director and the other Deputy Directors, where she tells them about the theft of $20 million and how a Russian politician named Neski had contacted them and said it was an inside job but before he could give them the information, he was killed. The case had gone cold until their recent contact but he was apparently killed by Bourne, whom Landy believes was working with Conklin and had stolen the money, then killed anyone that could prove it. Meanwhile, Bourne is picked up and detained in Naples and when Landy hears this, she asks what assets they have there and rushes to contact the local police to let them know who they are holding. In Naples, Bourne is being interrogated by the local CIA agent when Landy’s assistant calls him to tell him about Bourne but when the agent hangs up, Bourne quickly knocks out the agent and the guard watching him. Bourne then takes the agent’s phone and copies the sim card before grabbing his stuff and leaving, blocking the door so they can’t follow him. As Bourne gets in the agent’s car, Landy calls the agent and Bourne is able to listen in, learning about his being blamed for the deaths in Berlin and that Landy is the one looking for him now. Landy is heading back to Berlin, and the Director orders Ward to accompany her so they can finally capture Bourne. Bourne heads to Berlin and as he does, he has another flashback from an assignment Conklin gave him. Meanwhile, Ward heads to the Netherlands to pick up Nicky Parsons, Bourne’s Treadstone handler in Paris, and Landy questions her about Bourne and Treadstone. Elsewhere, Bourne heads to Munich, where Jarda, another former Treadstone operative, lives. Bourne subdues Jarda and questions him about Conklin and Treadstone and learns that Conklin is dead and Treadstone has been shut down. When Jarda apologizes, Bourne realizes that he must have somehow contacted the CIA and goes to leave when Jarda attacks him. Bourne manages to kill Jarda, then rigs the house to explode just as the CIA show up. Bourne then heads to the Berlin Airport and after placing some of his items in a storage locker, he calls several hotels until he finds the one that Landy is staying in, then figures out who she is and follows her to the Berlin office. As Landy, is speaking with her team about Bourne, Bourne heads to a nearby rooftop so he can observe Landy and her team, then calls Landy. As he talks with Landy, Landy’s comments prompt another flashback, causing him to hesitate. As Bourne recovers, he notices Nicky standing next to Landy and tells Landy he wants to come in but wants someone he can trust to bring him in. When Landy asks who, Bourne tells her Nicky and where to meet and when Landy asks what will happen if she can’t find Nicky that quickly, Bourne tells her that she is standing right next to her, revealing to all of them that he was watching them. Landy and her team work to figure out a plan for the meeting but Ward wants to use the opportunity to kill Bourne, prompting an argument between Landy and Ward. Nicky heads to the meeting spot and as the CIA agents keep track of her, a crowd shows up just as Bourne calls and tells Nicky to get onto an approaching tram. As the tram approaches it’s next stop, Bourne grabs Nicky and forces her off the train before Landy can have her men get her out of there, then starts questioning her about Landy.  When Nicky tells him about the matter in Berlin, Bourne tells her that he was in India watching Marie die when that happened. Bourne asks her what Landy was buying and when Nicky says information about Conklin and a Russian politician, Bourne recalls Neski’s name and asks Nicky when was he on assignment in Berlin but she tells him that he was never on a job here or if he was, it wasn’t in his file, and Bourne threatens to shoot her but then leaves, leaving her frightened in a bathroom stall. Landy, who had overheard everything Bourne had said due to Nicky’s wire, begins checking to see if what Bourne said is true, though Ward argues against it. Ward’s assistant, Danny Zorn, then has Ward follow him to where they botched buy occurred and tells him that he believes Bourne was set up to cover for someone else’s crime and Ward ends up killing him. Meanwhile, Bourne looks up the information on Neski’s murder, then heads to the hotel where the death occurred, remembering everything that occurred and how he killed both Neski and his wife. As Bourne is in the room Neski died in, the hotel manager had gotten the report to hold Bourne for questioning and calls the police, which alerts the CIA to where he is. Bourne makes his way to the roof and manages to get away from the hotel but when a patrol officer spots him, he is forced to make a run for it, eventually managing to get away by jumping onto a passing barge, then using a boat hook to grab onto the underside of a bridge as it passes underneath it, then climbing up the bridge and boarding a train. Landy and her team investigate the hotel when they learn about Danny Zorn’s death and Landy tells her assistant to stay on Bourne while she goes to see Ward. Meanwhile, Ward calls Yuri and tells him that the CIA is onto the Neski murder and that he needs to kill Bourne but Yuri says that he doesn’t need him anymore and then hangs up. As Ward hangs up the phone, he senses Bourne behind him as Bourne asks him why he killed Marie. Ward tells him it was an accident as he was supposed to be killed so that when the files went missing and he was blamed, the CIA would be chasing a ghost for years without learning his involvement. Bourne moves to kill him but then stops, saying that Marie wouldn’t want him to kill him, then stops the recording of their conversation and leaves. Later, Landy goes to Ward’s room to confront him about Zorn’s death and Ward tells her he isn’t sorry for what happened, then kills himself. Later, Landy is listening to the recording Bourne had made, as he had left it at the hotel addressed for her, and her assistant tells her that Langley wants to know what the update on Bourne is when her team sees Bourne boarding a train for Moscow and LAndy contacts the Russian Interior. In Moscow, Yuri approaches Kirill outside the club he had been in and tells him Bourne is alive. Bourne takes a taxi to an address just as the police arrive at the train station and start questioning people about Bourne, eventually learning where he went. Bourne arrives at the address he wanted and as he asks where the Neski’s daughter is, he learns that she had moved out of the city. When his taxi suddenly takes off, Bourne realizes the police are close by and he rushes off before they can get there. Kirill is driving to the location when he spots Bourne and he quickly gets out of his car and shoots at him, hitting him in the shoulder, but the police show up and detain Kirill, allowing Bourne to get away. Bourne tries to evade the police but then ends up in a brief altercation before stealing a cab and driving off. As he works on stopping the bleeding in his shoulder, Bourne drives through traffic and manages to elude his pursuers until Kirill catches up to him but Bourne manages to shoot out Kirill’s tire, then force him to crash into a barricade. An injured Bourne gets out of his car and approaches Kirill only to find him near death and he quickly leaves the scene. As Landy arrives in Moscow and helps the FSB arrest Yuri, Bourne heads to where Neski’s daughter lives and breaks into her apartment to wait for her. When she arrives home, Bourne tells her that her mother didn’t kill her father and then kill herself like the papers said, but that he killed them and staged the scene, then apologizes for the pain he caused her as he leaves. Some time later, Landy is in her office in New York City when she receives a call from Bourne, asking her why she is still looking for him. Landy thanks him for the tape that he sent her that closed the case on the Neski files and Bourne goes to leave when Landy stops him. Landy then tells him his real name is David Webb and gives him his birth date and hometown and asks him to come in but Bourne doesn’t respond for a while, then tells Landy to get some rest as she looks tired, revealing he had been watching her when he made the call.

The Bourne Supremacy met with mostly favorable reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.” To give this movie its gritty, documentary-style appearance, director Paul Greengrass used mostly handheld cameras, and a muted color palette. Greengrass also made sure to avoid computer graphics at all costs, and all of the stunts shown in the movie were achieved practically.The movie was a box office success, earning $288.5 million off of a $75 million budget.

I have to say, I honestly liked this movie a little better than the first one. I thought the acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job reprising his role as Jason Bourne. I also thought Brian Cox (Ward) and Julia Stiles (Nicky) were good as well, while Joan Allen made a great new foil for Bourne, though she seemed to also be somewhat of an ally at the end. Though it differed from the book that it was titled after, the plot was actually pretty good. The only problem I had with it is that they seriously had this set up as the middle part of a trilogy, without really announcing that there was going to be a trilogy. Everything in the movie seemed to be set up to give more background into Bourne’s past with Treadstone, while the ending was a total set up for a future movie. The action scenes were incredible and definite some of the best coordinated stuff I had seen in a while, at that point in time. The fact that they didn’t use any CGI in the movie really made them seem that much more impressive. A great movie and definitely an outstanding follow up to the original movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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