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|© Amazon Prime Video|
Without Remorse is the latest attempt to ignite the Tom Clancy universe nobody has been asking for.
by Jeremy Fogelman
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Lauren London, Brett Gelman, Jacob Scipio, Jack Kesy, Colman Domingo, Todd Lassance, Cam Gigandet, Luke Mitchell and Guy Pearce
So how many reboots have there been for the ‘Tom Clancyverse’ (which I think is actually called the ‘Ryanverse’) over the years? In the movies first it was Alec Baldwin playing Jack Ryan, then Harrison Ford, then reboot #1 with Ben Affleck and reboot #2 with Chris Pine, and of course there’s the TV show with John Krasinski that’s still going. That Chris Pine movie was not good, although it had an entirely original script, unlike the first movies. It’s a move that’s potentially very risky, and ultimately, maybe impossible to avoid.
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse comes from director Stefano Sollima and writers Taylor Sheridan and Will Stapes, ostensibly being adapted from the 1993 book of the same name by Clancy. However, other than the main character being named John Clark, nothing is remotely the same. The book is about a white guy who has to deal with a bunch of pimps and early 90s nonsense -- naturally I’m unsurprised that the movie handles it differently.
Here John is played by Michael B. Jordan, and the movie starts off with him leading a team of fellow Navy SEALs on a secret mission to Syria to rescue a mysterious hostage from Russians. Back at home, we get a slight amount of character development with John and his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London), his various interchangeable team members, and his superior officer Karen (Jodie Turner-Smith).
The movie actually “starts” with a classic “fridging” moment when a bunch of masked soldiers kill everyone on John’s team and invade his home -- they kill his pregnant wife and seriously injure him. John manages to kill all but one of the men but sees his face (Brett Gelman) before they escape. It’s a classic very bad driving motivator for a character -- his pregnant wife is killed so now he’s going to get results by “any means necessary”.
|© Samuel Goldwyn Films|
The Outside Story is a charming story of finding life outside technology.
by Jeremy Fogelman
Cast: Brian Tyree Henry, Aunita Mani, Sonequa Martin-Green, Olivia Edward, Asia Kate Dillon and Rebecca Naomi Jones
Sometimes you can tell a movie has a “message” or a lesson to be told, and sometimes it’s explicitly spelled out by one of the characters. Usually these messages aren’t particularly clever or inventive, and often fall in the “yes, everyone agrees that nice weather is nice” category of mild revelations. At worst, this can come across preachy and angry, ruining the message and potentially making people think the opposite. But on the other side of things, sometimes you might find yourself agreeing after all.
The Outside Story comes from writer/director Casimir Nozkowski in his first feature film, and stars Brian Tyree Henry as Charles, a dude living in a decent apartment in Brooklyn. As we start off the movie, Charles has just broken up with his girlfriend Isha (Sonequa Martin-Green) after she kissed another woman. Charles has the fascinatingly morbid job of editing together in memoriam montages for celebrities in advance of their potential deaths, which is one of those jobs you never think about existing but make sense when you think about it.
We see snippets of how they met and connected, helping build a reason for us to experience the same feelings of loss as Charles. But the real conceit of the movie happens as mild tension begins to build up -- first Charles runs out of his apartment for a random reason, getting let back in by neighbors who he vaguely recognizes and exchange pleasantries. Then the hammer drops, and Charles realizes he forgot his apartment keys without any shoes on-- and naturally his phone is down to only 25% charge.
So at first it’s the typical sorts of things, trying to call the landlord, trying to find a charger he can borrow, etc. For the introverted Charles, it’s difficult because his neighbors barely recognize him in the first place. Charles manages to get his upstairs neighbor Andre (Michael Cyril Creighton) to let him use the fire escape as an attempt to get into his own apartment, but this reveals hidden depths about Andre he never knew.