My August in Review

A month hampered by my desire to not burn myself out before my ten-film rout at TIFF next week, I spent most of my time either in the theater or catching up on some more recent 2012 releases. This in mind, I apologize for August’s lack of cinematic diversity, however I hope you enjoy this list all the same.

The Bourne Legacy (Tony Gilroy, 2012)

Series scribe Tony Gilroy essentially pulls a page from the Quantum of Solace handbook; deviating from Bourne’s literary origins with this fourth installment in the franchise for better and for worse. With Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross at the forefront, we’re systematically fed this new protagonist’s backstory, details regarding his superhuman skill set and a rather cookie cutter arc based around the events of the previous two films. While such a description makes The Bourne Legacy out to be more of a disappointment than anything else, for what it lacks in terms of intrigue it more than makes up for by way of involving CIA-centric blathering and visceral intensity. Full review here.

Premium Rush (David Koepp, 2012)

Remaining appropriately tongue-in-cheek for a fast-paced film based on an equally fast-paced profession, Premium Rush is a stylistically savvy piece of work that knows precisely what it needs to do in order to engage viewers. Focusing on could-be-lawyer-turned-adrenaline junkie Wilee, our protagonist succumbs to a case of “Wrong place, wrong time” as a crooked NYPD detective (a gleefully insane Michael Shannon) seeks to claim a parcel that could squash an outstanding gambling debt. Zig-zagging through traffic amid bits of semi-serious, frequently menacing encounters with Shannon’s Bobby Monday and cheesy yet effective humor, Wilee’s predicament is rarely unentertaining if a bit forgettable thanks to some ineffective marketing. Full review here.

2 Days in New York (Julie Delpy, 2012)

Remaining more of the same if still agreeably incisive, Julie Delpy’s sequel to 2 Days in Paris is successful but not nearly as refreshing as its predecessor. The same jokes are recycled amid Delpy’s Marion inviting her family overseas to meet her new boyfriend Mingus (Chris Rock), allowing him to witness firsthand the horrors of their grating eccentrics. Equal parts funny and semi-serious, insights are shared that either will or won’t appeal to self-deemed romcom fanatics such as myself, but at least it’s intelligent enough to warrant a view from those sick of uninspired drivel.

Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2011)

A trashy, Southern-fried romp through and through, William Friedkin’s hard NC-17-rated Killer Joe is both wildly entertaining and predictably divisive. Wholeheartedly embracing the MPAA brand its source material has bestowed upon it, the film centers around a family of detestable rednecks as a son (Emile Hirsch) hires a contract killer to off his good-for-nothing mother. Why? So his underage sister (Juno Temple) can collect on her hefty life insurance policy, of course. Enter “Killer” Joe Cooper, an eerily disarming Matthew McConaughey that takes said sister as sexual collateral. Soon enough, shit hits the fan as aberrant violence, borderline softcore pornography and shady backalley dealings permeate the proceedings among bits of effective black comedy and sheer engagement.

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Other first-time viewings (in alphabetical order):

About Cherry (Elliott, ’12)
Martyrs (Laugier, ’08)
The Tall Man (Laugier, ’12)
Total Recall (Wiseman, ’12)

Total number of films watched (including re-watches): 10

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