14 August 2012

The Campaign

Will Ferrell, left, and Zach Galifianakis are shown in a scene from "The Campaign."
With the presidential election less than three months away, "The Campaign," featuring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as dueling congressional candidates, couldn't be any more timely.

Director Jay Roach pulls from both sides of his career, attempting to mix the broad comedy of "Meet the Parents" and the Austin Powers series with the political drama of "Recount" and "Game Change." The movie doesn't have much to say beyond the obvious—politicians are not to be trusted, and campaigning is a dirty business. That's mostly OK, though, for what it lacks in incisive satire, it makes up in big laughs.

Ferrell is Cam Brady, a long-serving, philandering congressman representing North Carolina's 14th District, based in part on former Sen. John Edwards with a touch of Ferrell's George W. Bush impression. Brady serves not out of a desire to accomplish anything, but simply because he enjoys being "Congressman Cam Brady" too much to be anything else. His constituents keep electing him because he always runs unopposed.

News of Brady's latest affair creates an opening two industrialist brothers, Glenn and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), hope to exploit. Searching for someone to serve as their puppet, they come across Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), a naive, small-town tourism director.

10 August 2012

The Bourne Legacy

Jeremy Renner is shown in a scene from "The Bourne Legacy."
How many times have you seen the fourth installment in a Hollywood franchise and left the theater thinking, "I hope I don't have to wait long for part five?"

It doesn't take long to count to zero.

But Tony Gilroy, screenwriter of the first three "Bourne films," should create that kind of anticipating with "The Bourne Legacy," which he directed and co-wrote with his brother, Dan Gilroy.

Like the films that preceded it, this is a movie that, even its (brief) quieter passages, is all about momentum. Things are happening, the good guys are on the move, the bad guys are closing in. Its pulse never drops, its pace never relents.

Gilroy might even take that edge-of-your-seat feeling a little too far, barely offering a moment to breathe before the end credits start to roll rather abruptly. Maybe that just goes to show how completely I was wrapped up in the movie's action to that point.