The Drowning (2016)

The Drowning
Director: Bette Gordon
Writer: Stephen Molton, Frank Pugliese
Based on: Pat Barker‘s novel Border Crossing
Cast: Josh Charles, Avan Jogia, Julia Stiles, Tracie Thoms, John C. McGinley
Seen on: 8.4.2021

Content Note: attempted suicide, stalking, saneism

Plot:
Psychiatrist Tom (Josh Charles) and his wife Lauren (Julia Stiles), an art teacher and artist, have arranged themselves with their different wishes for how their lives should be. So, Tom spends his time in a small town in New Jersey to enjoy the relative quiet and work on his newest book, while Lauren enjoys the art and culture of New York, but goes to New Jersey whenever she can. On one of her visits, the two go for a walk and see a young man (Avian Jogia) just about to commit suicide by drowning himself. Tom is quick to react, throwing himself into the water and pulling him out. The next day, Tom realizes that he knows the man – Danny used to be his patient when he was a child and Tom’s assessment led to him being incarcerated for murder when he was just eleven years old. Now, Danny obviously wants to reconnect with Tom, but Tom doubts his intentions.

The Drowning is a rather drab paint-by-numbers affair that never quite achieves the tension it would need to pull off its plot. Despite the cast, it remains a very average film.

The film poster showing a blurry male shape looking out over the water in dusk at what could be a tower under the moon.
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Hustlers (2019)

Hustlers
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Writer: Lorene Scafaria
Based on: Jessica Pressler‘s article The Hustlers at Scores
Cast: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Mette Towley, Trace Lysette, Keke Palmer, Mercedes Ruehl, Lili Reinhart, G-Eazy, Cardi B, Lizzo, Usher Raymond
Seen on: 18.12.2019

Plot:
Destiny (Constance Wu) just about scrapes by as a stripper until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) who takes her under her wings. She not only teaches her to dance, but also shows her the ropes on how to get the most from their customers. They make a formidable team until the recession hits and they have to go their separate ways. When they run into each other a few years later, Ramona offers Destiny the chance to play a new game – and Destiny gladly accepts, even if not everything is exactly legal.

Hustlers tells a crime story that isn’t as much interested in the crime and much more interested in the women and their friendships. Since that aligns perfectly with my interests, I was very happy about that choice – and the film in general.

The film poster showing Destiny (Constance Wu), Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), Diamond (Cardi B), Liz (Lizzo), Annabelle (Lili Reinhart) and Mercedes (Keke Palmer) in close-ups.
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Jason Bourne (2016)

Jason Bourne
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, and kinda The Bourne Legacy
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novel (kinda)
Cast: Matt DamonAlicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepherd
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Plot:
Ever since he exposed the secret government program that made him what he is, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been in hiding. But his partner Nicky (Julia Stiles) hacked into the CIA and discovered that there are more programs like that and even more information about Bourne’s past than they thought at first. So she contacts him to let him know. Her hacking doesn’t go unnoticed, though. Heather (Alicia Vikander), part of CIA cyber ops, first realizes that Nicky is up to something and when she and CIA director Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) discover that Bourne is involved, they are dead set on finally getting him.

Jason Bourne delivers what you expect from the Bourne Series. So much so that you could simply watch the first film again, instead of this rather tired re-hash of things we’ve all seen before.

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Based on: Matthew Quick‘s novel
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Pat (Bradley Cooper) was just released from a psychiatric hospital where he got committed after a violent episode and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) takes him home, where his fahter Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) carefully tries to reconnect with him. Pat is obsessed with winning his ex-wife Nikki back. So when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his best friend’s (John Ortiz) wife (Julia Stiles) who is still in touch with Nikki, all Pat sees in Tiffany is another chance to contact Nikki. But Tiffany who is just getting over her husband’s death brings her own set of problems. Among them a dance competition she doesn’t have a partner for. So she and Pat come up with a deal: Pat dances with her and Tiffany will deliver a message to Nikki.

On the surface, Silver Linings Playbook is pretty much your standard RomCom. But underneath that, it’s one of the most realistic and smartest films about mental illness Hollywood ever produced. I loved it.

silver-linings-playbook

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The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Bourne Ultimatum
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novel
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Paddy Considine, Édgar Ramírez, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, Daniel Brühl

Plot:
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still running, hiding and not remembering. But then he stumbles upon an article by Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) about himself, the Treadstone Project and Operation Blackbriar. So Jason goes to meet Simon to find out his source and get more info about his past. But in the meantime Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) is on Jason’s tail – and he wants nothing more than to make Jason go away for good.

The Bourne Ultimatumg is a rather satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and to Bourne’s story, though I didn’t get into it as much as I would have liked.

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The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The Bourne Supremacy
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Tony Gilroy
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novel
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Joan Allen, Marton Csokas, Michelle Monaghan

Plot:
Jason (Matt Damon) and Marie (Franka Potente) have been hiding for quite a while, but Jason’s past, while still not entirely clear for him, catches up with them in the form of assassin Kirill (Karl Urban) who, instead of killing Jason, ends up killing Marie. So Jason goes after him and the Treadstone project, trying again to figure out what the hell happened.

The Bourne Supremacy might not be quite as good as The Bourne Identity, but it’s still a pretty decent film with a very good cast.

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Re-Watch: The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Identity
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Tony Gilroy, W. Blake Herron
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Clive Owen

Plot:
A man (Matt Damon) is found floating in the middle of the sea with several shot wounds. The doctor on board puts him back together again, but the guy suffers from amnesia. The only clue he has is a number to a Swiss bank account. When he follows that clue, he finds out that his name is Jason Bourne. And he finds himself hunted by several agencies. Finding an ally in Marie (Franka Potente) who gives him a ride, Bourne tries to piece back together his past.

The Bourne Identity is one of our modern classics, and with good reason. It’s tightly paced, very well acted and tells a good story that keeps you interested even after multiple viewings.

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