About Double Feature

Double Feature is the title of a column that I write for the newsletter of Lehigh Pocono Mensa, the local group to which I belong. It gets published monthly in "Magniloquence." I used to belong to Central PA Mensa, so I offer the column to the editor of "Penn Central" and it shows up there pretty regularly.

As the title implies, each Double Feature column features brief reviews of two movies that I have seen. I try to find a connection between the two films - subject matter, stars, awards, etc. - but, since it's my column, I reserve the right to occasionally choose two films that have no connection to each other at all.

The reviews found in the Movies section of this Web site serve as the basis for Double Feature. I try to keep each column somewhere around 500 words (which fills about one page in the newsletter), so I usually have to edit the original reviews to fit into the space allotted.

If you'd like to read the individual reviews for the films mentioned in Double Feature, you can do so here.

The rating scales are a little different. The conversion chart is as follows:

  • **** = Loved it
  • *** = Liked it
  • ** = Ehhh, it was OK
  • * = Hated it

Current Column

April 2020 - More often than not, I feel a lot of rage these days. Road rage, to be specific. I like to drive fast – when it's safe to do so, of course – and I get furious at drivers who get in my way. I live vicariously through movies like these two.

Fast cars and a pumped up soundtrack fuel Baby Driver, a 2017 action flick about a young man who drives getaway cars for a criminal mastermind and his crew. Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Lily James and Kevin Spacey star in the R-rated film. Edgar Wright wrote the script and directs.

Elgort is Baby, a kind-hearted young man who's forced into a life of crime by Doc (Spacey). Doc plans robberies and, in order to pay off a long-standing debt to Doc, Baby works as his getaway driver. Baby seems OK with that until the crew, one named Bats (Foxx) in particular, starts killing people during the heists. By that time, Baby has fallen for a waitress named Debora and paid off his debt to Doc. But before Baby and Debora can drive off into the sunset, Doc enlists Baby for one more job.

Overall review: Liked it. Lots of action and very little dialogue make for a fast-moving two hours. The chase sequences are top notch. The movie seems to have been filmed on location in Atlanta, but the city itself is not a character and Baby could have done his driving just as well anywhere else.

Matt Damon is a man of few words in Jason Bourne, the fourth installment in the Jason Bourne saga. Instead, he's all action – throwing punches, shooting bullets, and driving fast and furiously while being chased by a CIA asset. The cast of this PG-13 film from 2016 also includes Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel and Alicia Vikander.

We last saw Jason Bourne in 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum. That's when Bourne finally remembered his true identity and recalled the CIA program that turned him into a super-assassin. Since then, Bourne has apparently been fight clubbing his way across Europe while former CIA analyst Nicky Parsons (Stiles) has been hacking into CIA databases to find out more about Bourne's background.

Her final hack gets the attention of a young CIA go-getter named Heather Lee (Vikander). She manages to trace the hack and implant malware in the stolen files. That bit of technical prowess sets off a wild chain of events that goes from (let's see if I can remember them all) Athens to Berlin to London to Las Vegas to Washington, DC with a couple of epic chase sequences along the way.

Overall review: Liked it. This movie runs just over two hours. That leaves plenty of time for plenty of chases, all of which seem to pass through very crowded streets. The film sure needs all those chases because there's not much dialogue to speak of. It does leave open the possibility of a fifth installment, and based on box office numbers, I bet it won't be another 10 years until we see Jason Bourne again.

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"No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." »» Roger Ebert