From the Archive: The Bourne Ultimatum

  I really thought this review was already on this site, but I couldn’t find it. That makes it fair game for “From the Archive.” The motivation for sharing it this week seems pretty obvious, I suppose. So, this is probably already more than enough preamble. In many respects, The Bourne Ultimatum, the third installment in the film series following the exploits of spy Jason Bourne, is much like the first two offerings. These films aren’t like their equivalents in the Bond series: there is no new supervillain to be bested, no grand scheme for world domination to subvert. There is … Continue reading From the Archive: The Bourne Ultimatum

Top Ten Movies of 2013 — Number Ten

Director Paul Greengrass is great at the particulars of a film’s story. That’s what made United 93 comes across a model of titanic restraint when it arrived, its keen attention to the simplest details of people reacting to terrible turns of history providing an emotional poignancy that Hollywood script speechifying could never muster. Even his contributions to the Bourne series are at their best when tightly focused on the physical mechanics of the scenes. And that’s what gives Captain Phillips its bracing immediacy. Based on actual events that took place in 2009, the film follows the hijacking of a cargo … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2013 — Number Ten

Greengrass, Nolfi, Scorsese, Van Dyke, Winer

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (Martin Scorsese, 2011). It’s very fun to watch Martin Scorsese in this later phase of his career in which he clearly feels empowered and has the accumulated goodwill and respect to make whatever damn movie he feels like at any given time. If that means he’s sometimes going to flip through his record collection and say, “Hey, what about this guy?,” so be it. This documentary on the Quiet Beatle isn’t hugely revelatory in any way, but it’s a nice, creative compendium of the life and art of someone whose undervalued membership in … Continue reading Greengrass, Nolfi, Scorsese, Van Dyke, Winer

Spectrum Check

After a customary end-of-the-year rest, the Spectrum Culture site returned with a spiffy new redesign this week. It was fairly low-content for the first week back, so my contributions were limited to pitching in on a couple of lists. First, I wrote on the latest Black Keys albums for our collection of the “honorable mentions” when it came to the best albums of last year. Besides that, the site has an annual tradition–in keeping with the features built around assessing older albums and films with fresh eyes–of kicking off the new year by looking back to the best pop culture … Continue reading Spectrum Check