August was an average month, with four films to review.
First up, Jason Bourne is the 5th film in the Bourne franchise, having coaxed Matt Damon back into the lead role after the terrible Jeremy Renner (as Aaron Cross) entry. It’s not a return to form, but a lot of boxes get checked: shaky cam action, improvised plans, and overblown plotting. The dialogue is noticeably spare, with Damon saying very little, but enough is conveyed by others to get the point. Vincent Cassel is also strong as this entry’s bad guy. Watchable, but far from essential. (See my Jason Bourne Twitter review)
Beloved Roald Dahl book, The BFG, is once again being turned into a motion picture, directed this time by Steven Spielberg. Mark Rylance puts in a great lead performance as the titular giant, nailing his odd dialect and mannerisms perfectly. Not much else works. The story is a bit flat and boring, with a good twenty minutes of runtime that could be excised, and visuals that are sub-par. Avoid. (See my The BFG Twitter review)
Next up sees Warner Bros. continue to squander the DC license with Suicide Squad. On paper this should’ve been great: send a well-cast group of baddies on a dangerous mission, with witty banter and threat from both sides. What we get is a solid performance from Will Smith and Margo Robbie, and… that’s it. The story telling is an expositional mess, the stylization is incoherent, and the characters lack any sort of motivation. Generic antagonists make up most of the fight scenes against the squad, who mostly dispatch them with guns rather than any kind of interesting ability. Visually terrible, badly edited, and a turd of a plot. Do not go near this. (See my Suicide Squad Twitter review)
Finally, War Dogs is the story of two young opportunists who inexplicably become arms dealers. The story beats are cliched, but could’ve been enjoyable had they not been told via tell-don’t-show narration. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill are okay as the leads, but the secondary performances are poor. Not worth it. (See my War Dogs Twitter review)
The winner for August is Jason Bourne, an okay film that would’ve struggled in most other months.