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By Rob Kendt and Rob Kendt,Los Angeles Times | July 29, 2007
NEW YORK -- When actor Edgar Ramirez had a break from shooting The Bourne Ultimatum in London last spring, he didn't hit the English nightclubs or take a long weekend to unwind in the Cotswolds. Instead, he hopped over to Paris to observe the first round of the French national elections. "I still have credentials to observe elections," Ramirez recounted recently over a slab of steak at an Argentine restaurant in New York. "I went to the banlieue, the very faraway voting centers, and it was really amazing the amount of people who were intending to vote."
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By Michael Sragow | February 22, 2008
/*The argument against awarding Oscars to supposedly frivolous entertainment is that it would crowd out spots for films of vaunted social-cultural importance. It is a compelling line of debate: In these days of hyper-commercialism and caution, it takes guts to back movies like the elegant, moving Atonement, the terrifying No Country for Old Men, the sharp, iconoclastic Michael Clayton and even the bombastic There Will Be Blood. Still, when wide audiences embrace movies that seem slight, they often have deep reasons for it. I think Juno chokes on its own self-adoring cleverness, but my e-mails suggest that it answers the hunger of teenagers and their mothers for an adolescent female who is responsible and hip. Juno is up for four awards, including best picture, but I can think of several others that could have been honored not just for pleasing crowds, but also for resonating with them.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | August 3, 2007
Few films combine a dense and tingling atmosphere with the headlong pacing and adventure of The Bourne Ultimatum. The director, Paul Greengrass, takes the minimalist story line and snaps it like a whip. Then he revels in the shock waves that concuss the denizens of a packed London subway station or a Tangier marketplace. The set-up couldn't be more elemental. Bourne (Matt Damon), determined to confront the secret CIA Treadstone programmers who made him a killer, stumbles on an even more lethal program called Blackbriar.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow | November 11, 2007
KILLER OF SHEEP The Charles Burnett Collection SHREK THE THIRD Paramount Home Video, Dreamworks / 29.99 Next to The Bourne Ultimatum, this summer's most satisfying three-peat, Shrek the Third, comes to DVD in all its slapstick glory. The best special feature is film of animators pitching sequences like a cross between silent clowns and standup comedians.michael.sragow@baltsun.com
NEWS
By Michael Sragow | November 11, 2007
KILLER OF SHEEP The Charles Burnett Collection SHREK THE THIRD Paramount Home Video, Dreamworks / 29.99 Next to The Bourne Ultimatum, this summer's most satisfying three-peat, Shrek the Third, comes to DVD in all its slapstick glory. The best special feature is film of animators pitching sequences like a cross between silent clowns and standup comedians.michael.sragow@baltsun.com
FEATURES
By Josh Friedman and Josh Friedman,Los Angeels Times | August 7, 2007
HOLLYWOOD -- Once a dumping ground for Hollywood's dregs, August has become a key month in an increasingly competitive, year-round business at the box office. Proof came this weekend when Universal Pictures' thriller The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon, opened to an estimated $70.2 million in the United States and Canada - a record for a movie launched in August and one of the best starts ever for an action film. "This year, in particular, there are a lot of good movies coming during August," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of domestic distribution.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | August 3, 2007
Laszlo Kovacs was justly celebrated for pioneering the anything-goes handheld camera style that made audiences feel they were catching experience on the fly in movies like Easy Rider. When a style like that breaks out and is "of the moment," it can feel right even in movies where it isn't absolutely necessary. But as years pass, and it becomes just one more available technique, it registers as outrageous affectation unless it's rooted to the story and the characters. Today's two major American film openings show the good, bad and ugly of what happens when a creative camera explosion evolves into one more instrument in a director's tool-kit.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow | February 22, 2008
/*The argument against awarding Oscars to supposedly frivolous entertainment is that it would crowd out spots for films of vaunted social-cultural importance. It is a compelling line of debate: In these days of hyper-commercialism and caution, it takes guts to back movies like the elegant, moving Atonement, the terrifying No Country for Old Men, the sharp, iconoclastic Michael Clayton and even the bombastic There Will Be Blood. Still, when wide audiences embrace movies that seem slight, they often have deep reasons for it. I think Juno chokes on its own self-adoring cleverness, but my e-mails suggest that it answers the hunger of teenagers and their mothers for an adolescent female who is responsible and hip. Juno is up for four awards, including best picture, but I can think of several others that could have been honored not just for pleasing crowds, but also for resonating with them.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach and Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critics | August 10, 2007
Capsules by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach unless noted. Full reviews are at baltimore sun.com/movies. The Bourne Ultimatum -- combines a dense and tingling atmosphere with the headlong pacing and adventure as director Paul Greengrass takes the minimalist story line and snaps it like a whip. Using his camera to put you in Bourne's (Matt Damon) shoes or his sightlines, cutting with each shift of attention or slash of hand, foot and elbow, Greengrass lets you experience his hero's extreme sensations without overdosing on brutality.
NEWS
By DAVID ZURAWIK and DAVID ZURAWIK,SUN REPORTER | August 5, 2007
THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY and its ever-present story lines of spies and lies are all over the media these days. The release of New York Times reporter Tim Weiner's history of the agency, Legacy of Ashes, last month was met with critical acclaim, while a whirlwind of Page 1 stories greeted the CIA's release of its own 25-year narrative of coups and assassination attempts, known as The Family Jewels. In all, more than a dozen books about the CIA have been published in the past six months.
FEATURES
October 26, 2007
Capsules by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach unless noted. Full reviews are at baltimoresun .com/movies. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford -- As Jesse James (Brad Pitt) nears the end of the line at age 34, his idolatrous and jealous fan, Bob Ford (Casey Affleck), sees him as his ticket to glory. The writer-director, Andrew Dominik, acts less like a filmmaker than a Dictaphone, pillaging Ron Hansen's novel for period argot and scene-setting narration rather than shaping dramatically charged scenes; he's got a childlike notion of "tell me a story" moviemaking, and, alas, a child's skill at it. (M.S.
FEATURES
By Josh Friedman and Josh Friedman,Los Angeels Times | August 7, 2007
HOLLYWOOD -- Once a dumping ground for Hollywood's dregs, August has become a key month in an increasingly competitive, year-round business at the box office. Proof came this weekend when Universal Pictures' thriller The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon, opened to an estimated $70.2 million in the United States and Canada - a record for a movie launched in August and one of the best starts ever for an action film. "This year, in particular, there are a lot of good movies coming during August," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of domestic distribution.
NEWS
By DAVID ZURAWIK and DAVID ZURAWIK,SUN REPORTER | August 5, 2007
THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY and its ever-present story lines of spies and lies are all over the media these days. The release of New York Times reporter Tim Weiner's history of the agency, Legacy of Ashes, last month was met with critical acclaim, while a whirlwind of Page 1 stories greeted the CIA's release of its own 25-year narrative of coups and assassination attempts, known as The Family Jewels. In all, more than a dozen books about the CIA have been published in the past six months.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | August 3, 2007
Laszlo Kovacs was justly celebrated for pioneering the anything-goes handheld camera style that made audiences feel they were catching experience on the fly in movies like Easy Rider. When a style like that breaks out and is "of the moment," it can feel right even in movies where it isn't absolutely necessary. But as years pass, and it becomes just one more available technique, it registers as outrageous affectation unless it's rooted to the story and the characters. Today's two major American film openings show the good, bad and ugly of what happens when a creative camera explosion evolves into one more instrument in a director's tool-kit.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | August 3, 2007
Few films combine a dense and tingling atmosphere with the headlong pacing and adventure of The Bourne Ultimatum. The director, Paul Greengrass, takes the minimalist story line and snaps it like a whip. Then he revels in the shock waves that concuss the denizens of a packed London subway station or a Tangier marketplace. The set-up couldn't be more elemental. Bourne (Matt Damon), determined to confront the secret CIA Treadstone programmers who made him a killer, stumbles on an even more lethal program called Blackbriar.
NEWS
By Rob Kendt and Rob Kendt,Los Angeles Times | July 29, 2007
NEW YORK -- When actor Edgar Ramirez had a break from shooting The Bourne Ultimatum in London last spring, he didn't hit the English nightclubs or take a long weekend to unwind in the Cotswolds. Instead, he hopped over to Paris to observe the first round of the French national elections. "I still have credentials to observe elections," Ramirez recounted recently over a slab of steak at an Argentine restaurant in New York. "I went to the banlieue, the very faraway voting centers, and it was really amazing the amount of people who were intending to vote."
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