26th Nov2016

A United Kingdom (Film)

by timbaros

thumb-image2The story of an African King who meets and falls in love with a British office worker is told in the middling film A United Kingdom.

Why do I use the term ‘middling’ to describe this film? Because it’ just that – middling – it goes through the motions – it tells a story like someone who is reading a book in monotone voice – there’s not much life or excitement to it.

If it wasn’t for David Oleyowo who plays Seretse Khama, ‘A United Kingdom’ would not be worth the watch. He is electrifying as Khama, a future king of African nation Bechuanaland who, while in London studying in 1947, meets plain and simple office worker Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), and they instantly fall in love (the scene where they set eyes on each other for the first time looks very staged and thereby unrealistic). But their love was not meant to be, Khama’s uncle, who was the king as Khama’s father had passed away, forbade him from marrying this pasty white woman – and she looked nothing like the women from his tribe whom Khama was expected to marry.

But there were not only problems from his side, Ruth’s father was very disappointed in her choice to date, and eventually, a black man – he didn’t approve of the relationship. But this was the least of their worries. The British government stepped in to meddle in their romance – they attempted to prevent the couple from getting married in the church fearing that their marriage would destabilise the British government’s relationship with it’s colonies in Africa. When Khama and his new bride Ruth do go back to Bechuanaland, he then returns back to the UK to get the British government to recognize his marriage, however, they then forbade him from going back to his homeland while Ruth, all alone except for the tribeswomen who eventually came around and accepted her, gives birth to their first child. Their interracial marriage was one of the first for it’s time, and for some reason not many people have heard of this historic relationship until now.

But A United Kingdom, directed by Amma Asante (Belle), tells the story like a playbook. It’s as if each scene was shot just as it was written, then the filmmakers went on to shoot the next scene, while failing miserably to make the scenes look believable and have emotion to them at all. And it’s Pike’s performance that also brings down the movie. She was excellent as the spurned girlfriend in Gone Girl, but as the romantic lead of a very important story about a love affair that almost changed the world, she just can’t carry it. She just doesn’t have the facial emotions nor the likability of a woman that a future king would risk all just because he’s in love with her. This film is based on extraordinary events, but the film itself is in no way extraordinary.

26th Nov2016

Jason Bourne (DVD)

by timbaros

gallery4-5719055980b79-1Matt Damon is back and is better than ever in the new Bourne film appropriately titled ‘Jason Bourne.’

This is Damon’s fourth outing as the rogue CIA agent (Jeremy Renner stepped in to star in 2012’s The Bourne Legacy), and he comfortably steps back into Bourne’s shoes, a role Damon made his own back in the first of the series – 2002’s The Bourne Identity. In the new film, directed for a third time by Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips and Green Zone), Bourne is seen in several countries around the world, attempting to find answers about his past, while at the same time still being tracked by CIA chiefs. Among them is Tommy Lee Jones who plays CIA director Robert Dewey (Jones looks like he’d rather be elsewhere). With him is CIA Agent Heather Lea (recent Oscar Winner Alicia Vikander), who’s not given much to do except hunch over computer terminals tracking Bourne’s every move. But ignore the scenes that take place in the CIA headquarters as it’s the shots of Bourne in various parts of the world where the film really kicks ass. In Greece, Bourne is reunited with agent Nicolette Parsons (Julian Stiles) who has been in hiding but it takes a drastic turn for the worse and it takes Bourne to Berlin, Istanbul, London and lastly Las Vegas where he finally meets up with Dewey and Lea in a final scene that feels contrived and a bit ridiculous. In between Bourne’s running all over the world is a subplot involving a social media wunderkind (Riz Ahmed) who has entered into an agreement with Dewey to provide data for the CIA, a plot line that’s a bit irrelevant and unnecessary. It all makes for one head spinning action adventure movie.

Greengrass displays excellent directorial technique in the action sequences and less so in the scenes with Jones and Vikander – their performances are quite stiff. So the action that takes place in Greece (which is really Malaga), Paddington, and especially in Las Vegas are where the film excels. These action scenes are fast and frantic, involving lots of quick editing and camera work, with expertly staged car crashes and bystanders caught up in between it all. Vincent Cassel pops us as an assassin out to get Bourne, but we really don’t get to know much about him and why he’s on the CIA’s side. But poor Vikander and Jones, both Oscar winners, who take a huge back seat to Damon’s rough and ready and on the run Bourne. Could we see more of him and less, or none, of them in the next one?


Jason Bourne [DVD + Digital Download] [2016] (DVD)

Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel
Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

Matt Damon returns to his most iconic role in Jason Bourne. Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, once again joins Damon for the next chapter of Universal Pictures' Bourne franchise, which finds the CIA's most lethal former operative drawn out of the shadows. Jason Bourne, now remembering who he truly is, tries to uncover hidden truths about his past.
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