‘Jason Bourne’ is a return to the franchise’s high-octane origins

The Jason Bourne of movies bears little resemblance to the Jason Bourne of the Robert Ludlum trilogy that began in 1980 with The Bourne Identity. That’s not a bad thing. The changes were the best part of the first three film adaptations of the Ludlum novels and now with the reunification of Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass in the new Jason Bourne, the franchise is back in a big way.

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ brings history to life in an outstanding film

Daniel Day-Lewis is 'Lincoln'
Daniel Day-Lewis is ‘Lincoln’

[rating=4]Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Straithairn, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, Gloria Reuben, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, Jackie Earle Haley and Jared Harris
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Tony Kushner, taken partially from the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a narrowly focused look at a critical portion of Abraham Lincoln’s tenure as President of the United States. It is an examination of the events that took place in the aftermath of Lincoln’s re-election in November of 1864 until the House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment in January of 1865.

Yes, it goes on for a short bit afterward, up until Lincoln’s death by assassin in April of 1865, but the critical matter is what takes place during those very turbulent months until the vote.

Read moreSteven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ brings history to life in an outstanding film

‘Hope Springs’ won’t win Oscars, but it’s not bad

Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in 'Hope Springs'
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in ‘Hope Springs’

[rating=3]Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Jean Smart, Elisabeth Shue
Director(s): David Frankel
Writer(s): Vanessa Taylor

Let’s meet the Soames family.  “Arnold Soames” (Tommy Lee Jones) is an accountant who has a bad back, loves golf so much he falls asleep every night watching golf instructional television, and has been married for 31 years to “Kay” (Meryl Streep).  Kay works in a clothing store and longs for the days when Arnold didn’t sleep in a separate bedroom because of his bad back.  She longs for the days when he would touch her with longing, and kiss her somewhere other than chastely on the cheek .  She longs for the days when they had sex.  Frustrated, she is wandering through the self-help section of a brick and mortar bookstore (they are getting rarer and rarer, aren’t they?) when she finds a book on having a better marriage by “Dr. Bernie Feld” (Steve Carell) and buys it.

Read more‘Hope Springs’ won’t win Oscars, but it’s not bad

‘Men in Black 3’ is… better than ‘Men in Black 2’

Josh Brolin and Will Smith in 'Men in Black 3'
Josh Brolin and Will Smith in ‘Men in Black 3’

[rating=3]Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve, Jemaine Clement
Director(s): Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer(s): Etan Cohen, David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson and Michael Soccio, from the comic by Lowell Cunningham

The singer “Meatloaf” was prophetic long ago, when he wrote a song that is now a perfect description of the MIB franchise.  The song “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” is an almost perfect description of this franchise.  The original Men in Black was great, Men in Black 3 was great, and Men in Black 2 is probably best just ignored and forgotten.

Read more‘Men in Black 3’ is… better than ‘Men in Black 2’