My wife and I lived in Strasbourg, France for about ten months back in 2004. We sublet a tiny studio apartment from a university student who was spending a year living in England. There was hardly any furniture - a small desk, a coffee table, and a couple of half-broken chairs. She’d taken the bed out as it was only a single. A friend of ours let us borrow a blow-up mattress, but it had a tiny hole in it so as the night crept on we got lower and lower to the floor. After about a week of that, we decided to purchase a surprisingly comfortable futon.
In those early days, we’d wander about the city during the afternoons when my wife wasn’t working, but come nightfall (and it comes really early in France in September), we’d sit around the apartment. There wasn’t much else to do. We didn’t have a TV, just my laptop and some DVDs I brought over from America. The Internet was not yet hooked up either so we didn’t have that distraction. I did, however, bring a few books, one of which was The Bourne Identity, and I have very distinct memories of trying sitting on the apartment’s hard floor, constantly adjusting myself to find some modicum of comfort and reading about Jason Bourne's adventures.
It's a pretty good thriller and, obviously, it spawned a very successful film franchise starring Matt Damon. The spy genre has been done to death but writer Robert Ludlum found an interesting twist to make it fresh. Jason Bourne is your typical super spy, but he doesn’t know it. Just before the first book begins, he was attacked and now has amnesia, and thus no idea he’s a spy. Slowly, he learns who he is and remembers he has super-spy powers. That’s a pretty good set up for a thriller and it works well in the book. The movie, too, if I recall. There were two more movies in the original trilogy plus The Bourne Legacy (which replaced Damon with Jeremy Renner). I think I did see the second one, but its memory has long disappeared and I never bothered with the rest. Once Bourne recovered all his memories, I lost interest.
Nine years after Matt Damon left the series, he’s come back for Jason Bourne. It's a direct sequel to The Bourne Ultimatum and finds Bourne running from the CIA hit squads he previously uncovered. The reviews have not been particularly kind and as noted I’m not that big of a fan of the series. But just seeing his face on the poster brings back all of those memories of sitting on the floor in a tiny apartment in France and I get weirdly excited.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
The Secret Life of Pets: Animated comedy about what pets do when their owners are away. Looks really silly. Stars Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, and Albert Brooks.
For the Love of Spock: Documentary about the iconic Star Trek character and the man who played him, Leonard Nimoy. Featuring lots of never-before-seen footage and interviews with family, friends and colleagues.
The Shannara Chronicles: Season One: Fantasy series based upon some Terry Brooks novels. I’ve been meaning to try it as my friend says it's good and it's currently streaming on Netflix.
Heart of a Dog (Criterion Collection): Lou Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson made this poetic film about love and loss. Weaving in personal mediations about her recently deceased dog with thoughts on life in a post-9/11 New York, Budhist philosophy, and more, Anderson has created a film that sounds really interesting (but one I imagine I’ll put off watching for some time - until I’m in the mood for this sort of thing).
Mad Max: Fury Road (Black and Chrome Edition): Apparently George Miller wanted to make Fury Road in black and white but the studios balked at the premise. With the help of digital manipulation we can now see it the way he originally intended it to look. That’s kind of a fun idea but the film used color in such an interesting way I can’t imagine I’ll appreciate this version more. Luckily for those who are interested in seeing it in this way but aren’t completely sold on the idea (and haven’t purchased the film in its various other Blu-ray editions), this package also comes with the original color palette.
The Exterminating Angel (Criterion Collection): Luis Buñuel’s satirical surrealist film about a group of bourgeois dinner guests who, for inexplicable reasons, find they are trapped in the music room of a large mansion. Buñuel is always interesting and this is supposed to be one of his best.