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The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Bourne's Ultimate Disappointment
First, let me state that I enjoyed the first two movies a lot. I have watched them many times, and I was looking forward to "The Bourne Ultimatum" very much. I watched it yesterday, and the disappointment still lingers.
The movie is horribly paced: It starts out with three cities in three minutes, most of them seemingly filled with zoom-in aerial pictures. I can do that too on Google Maps. Then the movie suddenly grinds to a halt, as everyone in the movie (I don't want this post to contain spoilers, hence the ambiguous wording) tries to figure out what is going on.
"Ultimatum" has terrible characters. Bourne is the only character that is still the most interesting -- how could an assassin with amnesia not be. The rest of the cast have two-dimensional cookie-cutter personalities: The evil, exchangeable killers. The cold-hearted CIA chief whose only way of dealing with anything is killing. The utterly predictable change of sides of someone. The amateur-like allusion to a past connection, including dyed hair -- from brown to black.
What I found most the most intriguing in the past two movies was Bourne's quick decision-making. He always instinctively knew what to do, there was never a bit of hesitation, and he always managed to stay one step ahead of his foes. This element is almost completely missing in "Ultimatum".
What also annoyed me tremendously, and here comes the spoiler, was the very forced happy end. Bourne said himself: "This is where it started, this is were it will end." I think it should have.
Children of Men (2006)
Requires thinking beyond what's depicted in the movie
The movie "Children of Men" is very gritty, dark, violent, and some images are rather shocking. If you consider just what's shown in the movie, then it may feel unsatisfying. I've heard from a lot of people that they didn't like the movie or didn't "get it" because so little about the background was explained.
I think I liked just that, because it made wonder about those things myself. The effects that world-wide infertility would have on society are very difficult to contemplate.
The plot of the movie feels very short. Not very much happens, but related to it is a vast number of thought experiments to perform. So, if you want to be spoon-fed a story that wraps up nicely , you're not going to like this movie. If, however, you enjoy going through what-if scenarios and their outcomes on topics ranging from economics to politics, from psychology to sociology, "Children of Men" may be just your thing.
The Black Dahlia (2006)
Horrible Waste of Time
When I read about this movie, I expected a glamorous if gory mystery, sepia tint, nice wardrobe, developed characters, no special effects, and a good plot. Well, I guess I got the sepia, the wardrobe, and no special effects. Can I have my time back, too, please?
Pretty much from the beginning, I was constantly asking myself if I had missed something. There were a good number of twists and turns in the movie, but in the end, I have come to the conclusion that I couldn't have foreseen any of them. There is no satisfaction in finding out why someone acted some way or who surprisingly gets killed and by whom if I am just a passenger along for the strenuously long ride without a need for a brain, whose only way of figuring out what happened is to wait and let one of the characters tell about it. He killed him because!" Oh, and then another, about something else. And another. Ah, but no, what the first character said actually wasn't true... It was THIS way... believe me. Please?
The film simply lacks credibility and doesn't get the viewer involved. Half-way through, if not earlier, I was wondering if all of this was serious, or if it was really some kind of comedy. Maybe it was, even though it's hard to say, because the characters weren't really doing anything funny or laughing, although the acting and display of emotions of both Scarlett Johannson and Aaron Eckhart were mostly laughable.
I'm easily entertained; I don't have high expectations of movies. My tickets to this show were even free. Yet I regret having gone. Perhaps "The Black Dahlia" worked as a book. I'm disinclined to find out, so painful was sitting through these two hours without a remote control and a way to effectively purge my memory from this stunningly failure of a movie.
Ocean's Twelve (2004)
Only makes it half-way
"Ocean's Twelve" tries to copy the non-linear style of "Ocean's Eleven" that leaves the viewer guessing until the very end, but it only manages to get half way: Instead of being confusing and smart, this movie just ends up confusing. Instead of working on pulling off one major job, the group of twelve is now sent from one job to another, and in the end, they all somehow end up as inconsequential. Why are they inconsequential? I can't really tell you. The movie lacks logic. My guess is the director just felt it wasn't quite complex enough, so he threw in another shocking twist. And Julia Roberts basically playing... Julia Roberts? That almost made me vomit in "Notting Hill" already. "Ocean's Twelve" was a sore disappointment.