Film reviews: Finding Dory | Jason Bourne

The follow-up to 2003s Finding Nemo is stuffed to the gills with gags. Picture: Pixar
The follow-up to 2003s Finding Nemo is stuffed to the gills with gags. Picture: Pixar
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Alistair Harkness reviews the latest releases on the big screen.

Finding Dory (U)

***

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks,
Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy

In an amusing twist of distribution fate, this week there are two belated sequels featuring a memory-deficient protagonist. There the similarities between Finding Dory and Jason Bourne end – save, perhaps, for the mild disappointment that comes from Pixar revisiting yet another of its first wave of animated classics rather than coming up with another conceptually daring original film. Nevertheless, this follow-up to 2003’s Finding Nemo is stuffed to the gills with gags and generates plenty of empathy for the Ellen DeGeneres-voiced Dory as she embarks on an intuitive journey to find her long-lost family despite remembering very little about them.

Jason Bourne (12A)

**

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones

Nine years after The Bourne Ultimatum tied the game-changing action franchise off in high-octane style, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass return with this disappointing and vaguely unnecessary fourth instalment. This time out, the hitherto amnesiac assassin is drawn back into the fray by the realisation that he still has some blank spots concerning his decision to join Treadstone, the CIA black-ops programme responsible for turning him into a ruthlessly efficient killing machine. Kicking off with Bourne living off the grid in Greece, it’s not long before he’s back in the crosshairs of the CIA after a data hack threatens to expose the truth about the agency’s operations in general and Bourne’s recruitment in particular. Set in a post-Edward Snowden world, the film offers Greengrass plenty of zeitgeisty material to chew on, but while the action set-pieces are executed in typically breathless fashion, familiarity with the previous instalments drains them of tension and too often he falls back on the increased reach and technological wherewithal of the surveillance community to propel the plot forwards in ways that make little sense for the characters. Series regular Julia Stiles makes a welcome return, but Bourne’s interest shifts to Alicia Vikander’s cyber terrorism expert. Elsewhere, Tommy Lee Jones phones it in as the shady new director of the CIA, while the excellent Riz Ahmed pops up in the thankless role of a Steve Jobs-esque Silicon Valley superstar. Through it all, Damon soldiers grimly on as the taciturn hero, but the character now feels a little redundant, combating clandestine government forces not because he has to, but because he’s expected to. When the finale paves the way for yet another sequel, it’s clear Bourne has once again become a compliant foot soldier – this time in the service of a Hollywood studio desperate for an asset it can exploit for years to come.

Star Trek Beyond (12A)

****

Directed by Justin Lin

Starring Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba

Its immediate predecessor may have irritated fans, but this third instalment of the rebooted sci-fi franchise is, unexpectedly, a lot of fun. Co-written by Simon Pegg, it sees the crew of the Starship Enterprise forced to contend with a crustacean-faced tyrant (Idris Elba) whose early destruction of the Enterprise is symbolic of a greater desire to wreak havoc on the galactic peace the Federation has spent decades trying to maintain. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto return as Kirk and Spock.

Born To Be Blue (15)

***

Directed by Robert Budreau

Starring Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo

Ethan Hawke makes a valiant attempt to body-swerve the squandered genius clichés integral to the life story of heroin-addicted trumpeter Chet Baker. Focusing on a period in his mid-40s when Baker was trying to rebuild his career, Hawke offers more of an impression than a definitive portrayal, yet while the film won’t fully commit to its more experimental flourishes, Hawke makes it feel truthful in a way that conventional music biopics rarely manage.