Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Funny Name, Serious Movie

When I think of sublime director-actor couplings in cinema the past thirty years, only a few come to mind. Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski, The Coen Brothers and John Goodman, Tommy Wiseau and himself. Another pair is sure to join the list: Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. Greengrass is the shaky cam zen master, taking the helm for the excellent Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatium, United 93 and Bloody Sunday. His new collaboration with his protege is Green Zone, slated for March 10 of next year:

If you're wondering about the title (was REMF For A Dream taken?), it's based on the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City. I'm assuming very loosely based; no one on earth is enough of a bad ass to live the life of a rejected Greengrass espionage screenplay. I join Tom Ricks in hoping it breaks the annual tradition of awful Iraq movies. It would be a good start to the year. If we can get through the release without Michelle Malkin feigning outrage about Damon's keffiyeh, I'll call it a win.


What do you guys think about the trailer? I'm confident in Greengrass' discretion and I'm a fan of Matt Damon. It looks promising if you suspend a bit of that pesky disbelief.

Update: Here's the international trailer, now with 50% more Pentagon conspiracy!


Unknown said...

If he had had Dozer working for him he'd have found those weapons.

Bourne = max action => potential for The Green Zone to be a smash hit.


Alex Horton said...

Hell yes! That's why we didn't find the WMDs north of Mosul; Dozer stayed back.

You raise a good point, but Greengrass isn't a household name yet. They're going to have to push "by the director of the good Bournes" line. Hopefully Damon can put people in seats too.

Unknown said...

What about Scorsese/DeNiro and Coppola/Pacino?


Alex Horton said...

I left out some for brevity's sake, but Coppola and Pacino missed the 30 year threshold. Scorsese/De Niro's collaborations rank among my favorites, but I thought I'd put some different ones out there.

Unknown said...

1973's "Mean Streets" sure doesn't seem like it was 36 years ago.


Alex Horton said...

Look at Harvey Keitel in his role and you might change your mind!

Joe said...

Uh, I read that book and I thought it was just about the mismanagement of cash under the CPA and State Department interns drinking mohitos by the pool. Apparently I didn't glean the Bourne Identity plot out of it properly.

Alex Horton said...


I supposed it was tenuous at best. I hope they clarify that in the coming months.

Alex Horton said...

The amount of CGI in the international trailer is disconcerting, I must say. One of the many great things about the Bourne series is the choreographed stunts.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Jesusfuckingchrist! What a bunch of hollyfuckingwood bullshit.
Now people are going to watch this bullfuckingshit and think that's what we fucking did.
The "D" guys were cool, nobody did shit like that, it's total fuckingbullshit.
I think I'm going to fuckingpuke!
Fucking hollyfuckingwood ratbastards fucked it up. They could have done a real story and it would have actully been better than this crap.

Alex Horton said...


It wouldn't be Greengrass without vast government coverups and kung fu! Just look at this as a conspiracy thriller set in Iraq, not as a portrayal of actual events. I really have dismal hopes for our nation if people walk out of the theater and say, "Damn, I can't believe it went down like that!"

Pattie Matheson said...

Matt Damon? I'm there!

Liked the international trailer best. It gave more of the framework of the story, but ok, I know I'm not the demographic movies like this are appealing to.

Also liked the reference to the "Jack of Clubs." Remember when those playing cards were for sale with all the wanted faces on them? Still have mine somewhere.

I have the first 2 Bourne movies but not the 3rd - whats the deal there, different director?

First read Ludlum in the 60's -- probably when I should have been reading something else for class! -- and found when the Bourne movies came out that the book came back in amazing detail. No small feat for a lady of a certain age ;) You just can't read Ludlum with half an eye on the story but I had no idea then how thoroughly involved with the story I'd become. I've hauled those fat, heavy books around with me for 40+ years now. Great writer.

Thanks for the link to First read about Paul Bremer in NO TRUE GLORY, by Bing West. Fantastic book, but discouraging in the same way Gen Kill was. Speaking of which, haven't seen your review on that yet --

How's the broken arm doing?

Alex Horton said...


You caught me. I thought he turned down Ultimatum for some reason. He did that one and he's working on a fourth. Third one's ok, I liked the first two better. I made the correction in the post, but those that read the comments know the true story.

Generation Kill was decent; I really wasn't pulled in any direction enough to speak on it.

I have a doctor's appointment today to see about getting my cast off. Hopefully it's ready!

Anonymous said...

But, but, but.....

I thought Matt Damon wouldn't be doing violent films anymore...

Oh, and the movie looks like standard government conspiracy bullcrap.

Alex Horton said...

Good point Anon. It should be no surprise that the trumping principle in Hollywood has many zeroes attached to it.

NUGHT said...

it looks like it may be a pretty cool movie to me. I don't think they are tring to tie it to true events in the iraq war. I think it's like you said, a thriller set in iraq.

I wouldn't call it an Iraq war movie though. I just don't think that was the intent.

NUGHT said...

I would love to hear your take on the "push the button get a million dollars and someone dies" movie (i dont know what its called). I have alot to say about that concept.

Alex Horton said...

I think it's called The Box. I'm not too interested in Richard Kelly's work, but it's an interesting idea. Too bad the trailer makes it look like an elaborate story building up to some silly twist.

Anonymous said...

You know im there.... Im a sucker for explosions and AK-47s. I believe your comment to take this as just another govt. conspiracy movie is correct, could've filmed this thing anywhere. Cant wait to see what conspiricies movies come out of this presidency, for some reason I dont think it will focus on the Middle-East. Just sayin.


Alex Horton said...

Hell yeah dog! I'm always down for thinking man asplosions.

Kelsey said...

Can I ask you a question about the whole keffiyah thing? In Generation Kill, I noticed that most of the Marines are wearing some version of it around their necks, and I couldn't figure out why and it's been bugging me ever since. And in that screenshot of Matt Damon you posted, he's wearing one too. Is it some sort of military-issue, or a trend, or just something they picked up because they're in a location where the scarves are ubiquitous?

Alex Horton said...

I was never issued one, and I don't recall ever seeing someone wear one. Bandannas were the most helpful head accessory. They keep sweat out of the eyes and can be fashioned from a t-shirt sleeve. I imagine the keffiyeh is good for keeping dust and dirt from your eyes and mouth though. They probably threw it in because it has since become fashionable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your service. But you seem to forget that Matt Damon is anti-military and views you as a poor uneducated slob who enlisted in the military as a way out as he claimed in 2006.

Or more recently Saint Damon had this to say about violence in movies:

"I always look at the violence (in a script). I don’t want it to be gratuitous because I do believe that has an effect on people’s behavior. I really do believe that and I have turned down movies because of that."

What an incredible sanctimonious Douche Nozzle.

Semper Fi

Alex Horton said...

Thanks for your comment Anon. I'm aware of his general douchiness, but I try my best to separate the actor's (and director's) personal beliefs from their performances. It's how I can appreciate watching The Untouchables without thinking about what a raving lunatic Brian De Palma is. It's best to appreciate the art rather than the artist.

Unknown said...

But don't we in the end support the Artist with out support for their performances? This has been on my mind lately, specifically about Hollywood.

If you go see this, and they make that money, and turn that money and their celebrity that you support into a campaign against the very things you believe in...are you not suspect in the very attacks against your beliefs?

Yeah...I know...silly, but I still think about it.


Alex Horton said...


You raise a good point. I suppose it depends on how much you want to use your dollars to voice your opinion. You may want to show your protest against Keith Olbermann's commentary by not watching MSNBC or buying any of their advertiser's products. That's fine. But I'm not of that persuasion. I'm not going to toss out my Chinatown DVD because Roman Polanski is a pedo. Like I said before, the art comes before the artist. If I were to start boycotting the work of people I don't agree with on a political level, not would I become insulated from the viewpoint of others, but I'd be missing out on something that could be great. Mel Gibson is a whackjob, but you can't deny that he has put out some compelling work. Why would I want to miss Braveheart because he acts like a buffoon in public?

Let Matt Damon show his ass every day of the week. As long as he makes good movies, I don't care what he says. What he spouts off camera doesn't diminish or elevate his work. His talent can only do that. And that's all I really care about when it comes to Hollywood.

Rufus said...

Yours is definitely an evolved attitude toward Damon and his kind and I mean that as the highest compliment (i.e., I wish I was able/willing to separate their thoughts/actions from their work).

The economy of time can be a wonderful thing, however, and mine is in constant demand to the point where I can be picky about where I spend free time and money. There was a time where every movie that came out had to be seen and discussed endlessly but no longer as political awareness and competing demands have crept in.

The Sniper said...

My buddy is actually in this movie, Alex. They used Iraq and Afghanistan vets as all of the extras so it should be better than most of the tripe movies about the war... at least when you're looking at the extras. There shouldn't be any Hollywood hair stuffed under kevlar at any rate.

as for the story, I've given up on any decent, honest portrayals coming out of Hollywood regarding what we all went through. I guess using porta-potties in 110 degree heat and sleeping in the dirt and ditches and having FOBbits bitch about your dirty body armor in the chow hall aren't really a big box office draw.

Kelsey said...

Have you seen the previews for that new movie "Brothers"? Frankly, I'm horrified. It's a remake of a really good Danish movie, "Brødre" (which means "Brothers" in Danish), only this new one looks like typical Hollywood sensationalist crap.

"Brødre" is part war movie and part family drama about two brothers; the older one is in the Danish army and gets captured by the Taliban while in Afghanistan, where he's forced to do something horrible in order to survive and return to his family. However, everyone thinks he's dead and his family moves on, until he eventually gets rescued and goes home. While he was gone his younger brother--who had always been a screw-up in the past--sort of took his place with his wife and kids, which obviously causes friction when big brother returns. It's a really well-done movie--poignant and sad and touching, and not as over-dramatized as the new Hollywood version undoubtedly will be. In the new one, Tobey Maguire's character just looks psycho, whereas in "Brødre" he's clearly a person in pain who's having trouble dealing with what has happened to him. He's much more sympathetic, at least most of the time. You should definitely check out the original, but (as usual) I don't have very high hopes for the remake.

Kanani said...

Me thinks Malkin reads way too much into the kaffiyeh. The Hubs sent us several from Afghanistan, recently. It was a very special package he sent --the only one. They were only about $1.50 each, and egads... he's sent over photos of secret squirrels wearing them. And BabaTim from Free Range? Yup, kaffiyeh around the neck. So before she harps on Hollywood, maybe she oughta take a look around.

Besides, Kaffiyehs have been showing up on the runway for at least 3 years. I remember seeing a lot of them while I was covering Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. And egads... I remember them back in the 60's.

Pattie Matheson said...

"...If I were to start boycotting the work of people I don't agree with on a political level, not would I become insulated from the viewpoint of others, but I'd be missing out on something that could be great..."

Absolutely right!!!

Opinions drawn from only one perspective can't possibly be objective/informed.