Tag Archives: Joan Allen

The Set of 400: #195 – My Favorite Alexanderplatz Exposition

Today! Because we don’t have a choice –

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon (x3), Joan Allen (x3), Franka Potente, Brian Cox (x3), Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Marton Csokas, Gabriel Mann, Tom Gallop, Michelle Monaghan

Just so you’re prepared – this is my least favorite of the Bourne trilogy, and even this one cracked the 200. The most recent Damon outing – Jason Bourne, I want to say? – wasn’t eligible, and wasn’t anything special, and that random Jeremy Renner movie was fine, but the first three – man, those are exciting, highly interchangeable films.

Like the Mission: Impossibles, these all take place in random, similar looking foreign cities, which you get to see whip by out the windows of speeding cars. Bourne will get involved in some conspiratorial bullshit in a frowsy apartment or abandoned train station, but then it’s right back to running. The first movie is an all-out chase, as they are coming for Bourne hard, the third movie is when he finally manages to piece the whole puzzle together, leaving the middle chapter – which is a straight revenge film, albeit also chocked full of chases, and an ending that gives some closure, but obviously benefits from the existence of a third film. Second films are hard, you guys.

With the obvious exception of the Breakin‘ franchise

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The Set of 400: #214 – My Favorite Big Screen Tuberculosis

Today! Because there’s a cancer in the presidency and it’s growing –

Nixon (1995)

Directed by Oliver Stone (x2)

Starring Anthony Hopkins (x5), Joan Allen (x2), James Woods (x2), Paul Sorvino, Ed Harris, Powers Boothe (x3), Bob Hoskins, E.G. Marshall, David Hyde Pierce, David Paymer (x3), J.T. Walsh (x3), Mary Steenburgen (x2), Kevin Dunn (x3), Brian Bedford, Fyvush Finkel (x2), Annabeth Gish, Tony Goldwyn (x2), Larry Hagman (x2), Edward Herrman, Madeline Kahn (x2), Dan Hedaya (x3), Tom Bower, Tony Lo Bianco, Saul Rubinek, John C. McGinley, Michael Chiklis, George Plimpton, Marley Shelton (x2), James Karen (x2), Donna Dixon (x2), Sam Waterston, John Diehl, Robert Beltran

The last good-to-great movie Oliver Stone has made, Nixon is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the beleaguered 37th president, even while taking him to task for his many shortcomings as a politician and as a person in general. Throw in a bit of wild Oliver Stone-esque conspiracy speculation and a run time so bloated it manages to encompass decades of Tricky Dick’s life rather effortlessly, and you get a bombastic, overblown, sorta wonderful, sorta insane biopic unlike any other.

The performances carry through some of the more gymnastic directing – it’s a movie drowning in technique and style – with Hopkins’ amazing transformation into Nixon at its center. Many others have taken on this idiosyncratic role – Langella is fine in Frost/Nixon, Spacey a little less so in Elvis & Nixon, Dan Aykroyd’s terrific SNL take – but none were able to capture the manic nuance of the man, while also attempting to physically resemble him, the way Hopkins did. It’s magnificent. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #330 – My Favorite Dioscuri Homage

Today! Because I’m ready! Ready for the big ride, baby!

Face/Off (1997)

Directed by John Woo

Starring John Travolta, Nicholas Cage, Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain, Alessandro Nivola, Colm Feore, Nick Cassavetes, John Carroll Lynch, CCH Pounder, Margaret Cho, Thomas Jane, Danny Masterson, Steve Hytner, Harve Presnell, Robert Wisdom

A ludicrously over-the-top action thriller, Face/Off is almost non-stop style over substance, explosions and gunfights over science, acting dialed up to 15, and doves – oh, so many doves. John Woo, baby! 1997 was reaching the end of this sort of action movie, a staple of the decade. An extension of ’80s action films, which mostly focused on blood and bullets and pointing a camera at it, the ’90s brought us slow-motion battles and vibrant fireballs and interspersed doves. Well, okay, that is just a Woo thing.

Film MVPs

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