Same old ‘Bourne’

Jessica Boullion
(Courtesy of Universal)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Bourne Ultimatum”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Universal

When you first got to know Matt Damon as young Will Hunting back in ’97, it’s a fair assumption you didn’t say, “I can see that guy crashing through a window and killing someone with a ballpoint pen.” A decade later, however, Damon has in fact reinvented the prototypical action hero as Jason Bourne. The final chapter of the trilogy, “The Bourne Ultimatum,” is a worthy finale filled with all the answers and ass-kicking you could ask for.

Bourne is still on the run after being chased through roughly 75 percent of the countries in the world. With the help of a former adversary (Julia Stiles, “Save the Last Dance”), he has almost reached the end of his search for answers. But now the full wrath of the CIA has been unleashed upon him and he must fight his way to the top using his patented three-punch disarming move, his ability to withstand horrific car crashes and, most importantly, the aid of his best friend, the hand-held camera, without which his escapades would only look half as intense.

The “Bourne” series is often too smart for its own good, and when “Ultimatum” tries to unravel it’s mysteries you realize there have been too many evil department heads and too many secret project names to keep track of during the course of the series. But in terms of pure enjoyment, “Ultimatum,” along with the rest of trilogy, will be heralded as a classic, even if it is a bit overrated.

PAUL TASSI

Not exactly ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“Becoming Jane”
At the Michigan
Miramax

Becoming Jane is a fictitious take on Jane Austen’s supposed love affair that pales in comparison to those found in her famous novels.

A young Austen (Anne Hathaway, “The Devil Wears Prada”), the daughter of a poverty-stricken pastor, defies the notion of marriage without affection that her mother and sisters so adamantly and daily force upon her. After multiple encounters with Tom LeFroy (James McAvoy, “The Last King of Scottland”) Austen’s writing develops a love affair with him she cannot attain. The story reflects a basic recipe – stubborn girl meets arrogant boy; they love, but can’t live happily ever after.

The film does captivate, however, with its dynamic characters and a plotline that ebbs and flows toward the promise of a fairytale ending. But it’s a promise left unfulfilled.

KELLYN JACKSON

Watch out, stunt man at work

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“Hot Rod”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Paramount

Following the misadventures of a group of misfits bent on beating the odds, “Hot Rod” really is a movie worth giving a chance. Ridiculed and rejected his whole life, Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) has barely taken notice. He and his friends pay no mind to minor things like perpetual bad luck, universal scorn or handfuls of broken bones. Such things are for lesser men to cry over, for Rod Kimble, you see, is a stuntman – the world just doesn’t know it yet.

The antics that Rod and his crew engage in while attempting one doomed motorcycle jump after another may remind viewers of middle-school caliber slapstick. But, aside from the fact that it is only rarely over the top, look closer and you find a movie that deals and wins in themes more grown-up films never quite master. The message is simple, and you’ve heard it before. But to see the dauntless Rod fight to live up to it, well, let’s just say I was inspired.

That “Hot Rod” follows in the good-natured incongruence of films like “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” might be enough to turn some people away. Good, there’s no room for explanations here anyway. The simple fact is, either you understand this emerging cinematic voice – not quite goofball, certainly not blue collar and only superficially underdog – or you don’t.

The roots of this genre may well spring from “Bottle Rocket,” the debut effort of a certain man named Wes Anderson, now one of the trademarks of mod Hollywood. You might want to jump on because this train leaves soon.

IMRAN SYED

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