Tag Archives: Doug Liman

American Made (2017) Review

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Contains violence, offensive language & sex scenes
Cast
Tom Cruise as Barry Seal
Sarah Wright as Lucy Seal
Domhnall Gleeson as Monty Schafer
Jayma Mays as Dana Sibota
Jesse Plemons as Sheriff Downing
Director: Doug Liman

Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. The operation spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House.

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American Made had me immediately interested with Tom Cruise and Doug Liman involved. Cruise brings his A game to whatever movie he’s involved in (even if the movie isn’t always great) and Doug Liman have directed a lot of great movies with The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. Ultimately the movie is quite good, with solid performances, stylistic storytelling and was quite fun overall. I wouldn’t call it a great film and its not one of Doug Liman’s all time best, but it is very entertaining.

The film is very fast paced and kept my interest throughout. There is a lot of unbelievable things that happen in American Made, to the point where they all had to be real (granted I don’t know how accurate the movie is to real life). American Made is quite entertaining, though I think Liman’s direction had a big part of that, and the way he decided to tell the story. Despite it being quite a fun movie, the film doesn’t glorify Barry’s actions, you do get the feeling throughout that what he’s doing a lot of the time is unethical. The film is 1 hour 55 minutes long, which was a good runningtime for this movie overall, it was long enough but it also didn’t overstay its welcome. Honestly I don’t have a whole lot to say about the story, what you see from the trailer of American Made is what you’ll get from the movie, except its more insane and it does handle the dramatic aspects quite well.

Tom Cruise is so great in this movie, I don’t know what the real life Barry Seal was like but for whatever Doug Liman was going for, Cruise seemed to have been perfectly cast. He is so effortlessly likable, despite all the questionable things he does. Cruise was also great at the dramatic aspects of Barry, he wasn’t just Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise again. The supporting cast was also good, such as Domhnall Gleeson who plays a CIA agent who gets Barry Seal to work with him.

Overall I liked Doug Liman’s style, it played a huge part in this movie being entertaining and fun to watch. There are so many insane things that happens in this story, and so this style really was appropriate to show it. At times it did however feel that it was almost trying to have a style similar to Wolf of Wall Street, not that it was necessarily a bad thing, it was just a little distracting at points. One problem I do have with this direction is that this movie is shot handheld, and I never felt like it needed to be. I know Doug Liman often uses handheld/shaky cam quite often but it felt like there was no real purpose to make it that way, it wasn’t an action movie, nor was it a mockumentary style movie, it was very unnecessary.

American Made is fast paced and entertaining, and definitely keeps your interest from beginning to end. With Tom Cruise, the supporting cast, and Liman’s direction, it really works. It’s not going for any awards, and the camerawork is rather questionable and annoying, but it’s a solid movie overall. It’s not necessarily a movie you need to rush out and see in cinemas, but whenever you get a chance, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The Bourne Identity (2002) Review

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The Bourne Identity

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Chris Cooper as Alexander Conklin
Clive Owen as The Professor
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nykwana Wombosi
Director: Doug Liman

The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he recuperates, the man suffers from total amnesia, without identity or background… except for a range of extraordinary talents in fighting, linguistic skills and self-defense that speak of a dangerous past. He sets out on a desperate search-assisted by the initially rebellious Marie (Franka Potente) – to discover who he really is, and why he’s being lethally pursued by assassins.

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The Bourne series is one of the most famous action franchises, and with the 5th instalment of the franchise coming reasonably soon, I decided to start to review the Bourne movies (maybe not Legacy). The first film, The Bourne Identity, is a pretty good and influential action film which spawned a successful franchise. While the other films are arguably better, The Bourne Identity is still a great action film, from its action to its complex and dense plot, it is a must see for action fans.

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The Bourne Identity is a movie that requires your full attention to understand what’s going on, if you don’t, you’ll be completely lost as to what is going on. However with that said, after a few viewings, it wasn’t as complicated as I remembered, it’s just that there’s a lot of details that you have to process. The plot itself is written quite well, and all the details and plotlines structured well. The film does have quite a good balance of intrigue and mystery as well as action and thrills. Now I will say with the exception of Jason Bourne, I did not find any of the characters interesting. They weren’t bad by any means, they just weren’t that memorable to me. That’s really one of the only major flaw that I could find with this movie.

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Matt Damon gives one of his greatest performances in the Bourne series. With this film, he proved that he was action worthy material. He manages to be absolutely believable as a trained assassin in the way that he carries himself, what helps is that there are many action scenes where you can clearly tell that he’s doing a lot of his own stunts. He really is the stand out of the movie. The rest of the cast consists of such talented actors like Chris Cooper and Brian Cox, who are good but none of them really stand out, to be fair though their characters aren’t really that interesting, so it’s not like they had much to work with. One actor who does leave an impression at least to me however is Clive Owen, he’s only in a few brief scenes but he gives off a presence and he was great with the little amount he was given.

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The one thing known about the cinematography of the action is that it’s quite shaky (a technique that director Paul Greengrass would continue in the sequels), however I thought that it’s done rather well. That’s because it’s obvious that it’s not done in order to hide bad choreography like a lot of action movies which use shaky cam today (and you can actually see what’s going on), it’s done to put us directly into the action and to make it feel more realistic. On that note, the stunts are great and made the action even more believable, the action sequences are the highlights of the movie.

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While in my opinion it’s not the best movie in the franchise, the Bourne Identity is still a great action movie in itself. The plot is complicated but interwoven well, Matt Damon really brought his A-game and is completely convincing as his character and the action especially makes this movie. Paul Greengrass gets a lot of credit for the Bourne movies but people should know that it was director Doug Liman who started this series off with a bang.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Tom Cruise as William Cage
Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski
Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farrell
Brendan Gleeson as General Brigham
Director: Doug Liman

An alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). As Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.

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Edge of Tomorrow is one of the most pleasantly surprising Hollywood blockbuster action movies to come out in recent years. Under the direction of Doug Liman and acting talent of actors like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic action movie that is very entertaining and enthralling.

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I really liked the reliving the same day aspect, initially it may seem like it would make the movie feel repetitive, but that is never the case, these scenes never feel repetitive. Another great thing is that you really feel like Tom Cruise went back in time; the way that Tom Cruise acts, the way that other people act all makes the looping day aspect so great. This film also surprisingly has great comedy, and is often used with the looping day. Some people do have a problem with the ending, calling it a ‘Hollywood ending’; although I could see where they were coming from, I didn’t really have that much of a problem with it overall, even if it’s a little confusing and doesn’t make much sense. This movie is based on a manga and from what I’ve seen (on Wikipedia) the ending is much different.

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Tom Cruise was really good in this movie and in my opinion this is one of his best performances in a while; for me it’s mainly because at the beginning, his character doesn’t start out as a big action hero, he is in fact quite inexperienced. Over time however, he gradually becomes a badass as he becomes more skilful. Emily Blunt was just as good and added a whole lot more badassery to the movie, she had lots of great moments. The two of them have great chemistry together and both of them are great in the action scenes. The supporting cast was great too, which consists of Bill Paxton, who had some great lines and Brendan Gleeson, despite not having much screen time, does quite well also. They aren’t really as developed as Cruise and Blunt but they are still great when on screen.

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The action scenes are filmed to perfection, a great example of this is the scene that Tom Cruise’s character often relives which is the invasion scene; it is quite similar to the Normandy invasion scene from Saving Private Ryan. I also really liked the design of the aliens, they were really made threatening. The soundtrack by Christophe Beck is great and really ramps up the intensity in the action scenes.

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Edge of Tomorrow is a great action movie and is overall a very entertaining ride. There aren’t many flaws I can think that could’ve detracted from the overall experience. I recommend for you to check this movie out, no matter what type of movie fan you are; even for whatever reason you don’t like Tom Cruise, see this movie; when it comes to Edge of Tomorrow, there is something for everyone. If you haven’t already seen it you should as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.