Gregory Goodman

Gregory Goodman

Gregory Goodman Quick Links

News Film RSS

Jason Bourne Review

Very Good

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum, and now they're back. The plot feels like it was agreed by a committee, as thin as the non-title of this film. Honestly, this franchise offers endless options for titles, and they just decided not to bother this time. So even though the story has a whisper of soap-opera silliness about it (yet another blurred memory comes to light), the film is relentlessly entertaining, building momentum as it surges from dark drama to intense action.

Since finally figuring out who he is, Jason (Damon) has been earning a living as a bare-knuckle boxer on the Greek-Albania border. Then his former cohort Nicky (Julia Stiles) uncovers a new piece in his life puzzle, which allows the CIA's Director Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) to track them down. As he sends in a ruthless assassin (Vincent Cassel) to get rid of them once and for all, plucky CIA analyst Heather (Alicia Vikander) takes a different approach, determined to bring Jason back into the firm. But he's not coming in without a fight, and as the stakes rise, the chase shifts from Athens to Berlin, London and finally Las Vegas.

As all of this is happening, Dewey is also trying to strong-arm the billionaire founder (Riz Ahmed) of a hot social media platform to allow the CIA to have access to its customers. And he's heading to Vegas as well. This sideplot integrates cleverly with the main narrative, although its message about government overreach is a bit heavy-handed ("Privacy is freedom!"). Still, it adds some kick to the whizzy computer gadgetry that fills this franchise, from tracking devices and tiny earpieces to miraculous hacks.

Continue reading: Jason Bourne Review

Fantastic Four Review

Good

Until the special effects take over in the final act, this is an unusually gritty, grounded superhero thriller, with characters who are so believable that the wacky science almost seems to make sense. This is Marvel's very first franchise, and the filmmakers are unable to resist the pressure to indulge in an overblown finale, and the digital mayhem they give into is oddly unexciting. So as an origin story, this film is more involving than most, but the superhero action itself feels rather limp.

It opens as an exploration of the school friendship between the misunderstood genius Reed (Miles Teller) and junkyard bully Ben (Jamie Bell), whose teleportation science experiment gets them in trouble. But Dr Storm (Reg R. Cathey) sees that their work solves a problem he has encountered in his own experiments, so he brings Reed to New York to join his well-funded, high-tech team. Working with Victor (Toby Kebbell) and Storm's children Sue and Johnny (Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan), Reed builds a full-size teleporter that succeeds in crossing over to another dimension. And Ben joins the crew for an illicit first voyage that goes spectacularly wrong, leaving Victor on the other side, while Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny emerge with superpowers caused by altered DNA. The big boss (Tim Blake Nelson) immediately starts training them for military action, but Reed remains determined to make things right.

A strong cast helps all of this play out with remarkable introspection, letting each character develop an organic back-story that brings them together as an uneasy team. The inter-relationships are complex and engaging, veering from rivalry to camaraderie. Teller anchors the film with a layered performance as a smart, troubled guy who struggles to maintain friendships as he focusses on his work. Mara and Johnson add some feisty attitude, but it's Bell and Kebbell who provide the spark of personality that makes this crew so engaging. Then both of them become animated characters (Bell as The Thing and Kebbell as Dr Doom) without even a hint of the actors visible underneath. And the movie never quite recovers its momentum.

Continue reading: Fantastic Four Review

X-men: First Class Review


Extraordinary
Matthew Vaughn kicks some life back into the X-men franchise with this superbly written, directed and acted adventure. In addition to restoring a sense of subtext to the premise (missing since X2), the film is a thrilling, intelligent blockbuster.

It's 1962, and Charles Xavier (McAvoy) is recruited by US Agent MacTaggart (Byrne) to explore how the CIA can benefit from mutant humans. The telepathic Charles grew up with shapeshifting Raven (Lawrence), and they start assembling a team. A key partner is metal-manipulator Erik Lehnsherr (Fassbender), who's set on revenge against energy-absorbing Shaw (Bacon), who killed his mother in a Nazi war camp and has powers of his own. And now Shaw has his own mutant team (Jones, Flemyng and Gonzalez) and is sparking a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR.

Continue reading: X-men: First Class Review

Gulliver's Travels Review


OK
Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel is given the Jack Black treatment in this lively, colourful romp, which isn't nearly as funny as it thinks it is. But the childish rudeness will keep children giggling.

Lemuel Gulliver (Black) works in the mailroom at a New York newspaper, where he torments a young colleague (Miller) and pines after the travel editor (Peet).

After convincing her to let him write a story on the Bermuda Triangle, he's shipwrecked in Lilliput, an island populated by people who are 6 inches tall.

Continue reading: Gulliver's Travels Review

Stop-Loss Review


Good
Any suspicions that Kimberly Peirce was a one-note art house auteur (her first and only feature was 1999's Boys Don't Cry) will be immediately assuaged by the full-throttle war-film assuredness of the opening sequences of her Iraq war film Stop-Loss. Shot in part like the homemade videos that modern American soldiers often make of their own experiences (filmed on the battlefield and then edited, usually with pop music soundtracks, on their personal computers), it establishes with smash-bang audacity and authenticity the camaraderie and of an infantry squad serving in Tikrit near the end of their rotation. The combat witnessed is typically brutal, up-close, and all-inclusive (military and civilian) in terms of casualties. Without having to put much of anything into words, Peirce has put her fresh-faced young cast (Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) through a meat-grinder of an ordeal that makes it perfectly clear that once these guys are back stateside, patriotic or not, they're done.

Like In the Valley of Elah -- which this film occasionally seems like an MTV/Varsity Blues pop variation of -- most of Stop-Loss is set back in the States. The war is seen mostly in flickers and video-montages, the kind that keep a man up at night. In one particularly grueling scene set at a military hospital, a hideously scarred soldier missing two limbs confides that at night his ward sounds like a horror movie, with all the nightmares and screaming. Also like Elah, Peirce's script (co-written with Mark Richard) is steeped in oorah military brio and discipline, where there is little questioning of war itself. Stop-Loss is, however, a message movie, and no matter how artfully Peirce directs her cast and tries to avoid any sense of political polemic, there's just no avoiding that message, a fact that nearly scuppers the whole film.

Continue reading: Stop-Loss Review

Aeon Flux Review


Good
Music video director Anton Corbijn's video clip for industrial dance band Front 242's "Headhunter" featured a topless woman in a surreal black outfit holding a giant egg and wandering around a desolate industrial park. It's a music video that is absurdly artificial and at the same time engagingly artful.

Aeon Flux, Girlfight director Karyn Kusama's second film, is like a 95-minute remake of that video. It's visually sumptuous for no other reason than to indulge arty gluttons. And that's fine by me. I dig it, arty glutton that I am. Based on the animated short films of Peter Chung, the movie succeeds in translating Chung's fluid and sparse design. While it would be impossible to have an actress bend and slide like the heroine in the original MTV animated series, Charlize Theron is suitably acrobatic and looks great in spandex and black leather. The costumes are futuristic and the landscapes, mostly CGI, are eerily organic takes on mid-century design.

Continue reading: Aeon Flux Review

Aeon Flux Review


Good
Music video director Anton Corbijn's video clip for industrial dance band Front 242's "Headhunter" featured a topless woman in a surreal black outfit holding a giant egg and wandering around a desolate industrial park. It's a music video that is absurdly artificial and at the same time engagingly artful.

Aeon Flux, Girlfight director Karyn Kusama's second film, is like a 95-minute remake of that video. It's visually sumptuous for no other reason than to indulge arty gluttons. And that's fine by me. I dig it, arty glutton that I am. Based on the animated short films of Peter Chung, the movie succeeds in translating Chung's fluid and sparse design. While it would be impossible to have an actress bend and slide like the heroine in the original MTV animated series, Charlize Theron is suitably acrobatic and looks great in spandex and black leather. The costumes are futuristic and the landscapes, mostly CGI, are eerily organic takes on mid-century design.

Continue reading: Aeon Flux Review

Gregory Goodman

Gregory Goodman Quick Links

News Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Filmmaker


Suggested

Benedict Cumberbatch Joins David Gilmour Onstage For 'Comfortably Numb'

Benedict Cumberbatch Joins David Gilmour Onstage For 'Comfortably Numb'

The 'Sherlock' and 'Doctor Strange' star joined Gilmour onstage at the Royal Albert Hall for a rendition of the Pink Floyd classic.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Gregory Goodman Movies

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

Fantastic Four Movie Review

Fantastic Four Movie Review

Until the special effects take over in the final act, this is an unusually gritty,...

X-men: First Class Movie Review

X-men: First Class Movie Review

Matthew Vaughn kicks some life back into the X-men franchise with this superbly written, directed...

Advertisement
Gulliver's Travels Movie Review

Gulliver's Travels Movie Review

Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel is given the Jack Black treatment in this lively, colourful romp,...

Aeon Flux Movie Review

Aeon Flux Movie Review

Music video director Anton Corbijn's video clip for industrial dance band Front 242's "Headhunter" featured...

Aeon Flux Movie Review

Aeon Flux Movie Review

Music video director Anton Corbijn's video clip for industrial dance band Front 242's "Headhunter" featured...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.