Skyfall

In his 50th year of onscreen existence, James Bond proves he is more vibrant and vital than ever by offering an intense, state of the art action film; one that is both pointed and personal. More than any other Bond film to date, it has things to say about security, espionage and intelligence gathering in today’s world, while at the same time revealing more of the history and character of James Bond than ever before.

It’s brimming with car chases, shoot outs, and explosions but it also features well crafted, damaged characters complete with backstories and understandable motivations. “Skyfall” is that rare breed of action film. Full of exciting, pulse pounding set pieces, while also deriving tension from worthwhile dramatic content.

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The Bourne Legacy

“The Bourne Legacy” is the fourth chapter in the “Bourne” saga, the series that to date has featured Matt Damon as the titular Jason Bourne, a trained killing machine with amnesia.

Each of the previous three were simple stories. Bourne attempts to elude pursuit and evade capture while simultaneously unraveling the mystery of his past.

In this installment, the camera pulls further back and shows much more of the program which created Bourne. The lead character, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), is a similar Treadstone subject who manages to survive elimination when the government decides to “Burn” the program in the wake of the Jason Bourne scandal, in order to mitigate the potential damage. But by delving so deeply into the background story, this chapter waters down its focus and becomes much broader. It doesn’t help that the action isn’t as plentiful – or as exciting – as prior installments either.

It’s still enjoyable, and I wouldn’t call it unworthy of inclusion in the series… but it’s undoubtedly the weakest chapter of the quadrilogy.

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Under the Radar?: “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”

“May you be in heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.”

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is a 2007 film about a pair of brothers who decide to rob their parents’ Jewelry Store, to disastrous consequences.

It stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marissa Tormei and Albert Finney.

Hoffman stars as an accounting executive with a drug problem who has been embezzling money from the company he works for. In anticipation of an upcoming audit, he proposes the robbery to his brother, who is also financially strapped. Their plan is to go at a time when they know the part time help will be working the counter, and not their parents. They won’t even have to use a real gun. Their parents have insurance, so they’ll be compensated for their losses. No one loses….

At least in theory.

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