Feature film directors (and Meryl Streep) tell the tales of American feature film directors in the 1930’s and 40’s who were sent to war to make documentaries for the homefront… with one of the best motion-graphics-meets-stock-footage opening title sequences. If you’re interested in filmmakers and/or war, the whole thing’s just fascinating.

William Wyler, fresh off the inspirational Mrs. Miniver, rages against racism while Frank Capra is producing Private Snafu cartoons. Working (mostly) under Capra, John Ford and George Stevens are sent to film D-Day. John Huston makes the gritty San Pietro, using mostly reenacted fight footage but real dead bodies. And Citizen Kane cinematographer Gregg Toland proves himself a poor director. Stevens went on to film the liberation of concentration camps, while Wyler snuck a trip home and found the holocaust had killed his family and all their neighbors. In the end, Huston’s final work about emotionally wounded soldiers was censored for decades, Ford returned to make They Were Expendable, and Capra/Wyler/Stevens founded their own Liberty Studio, which immediately went broke on the flop It’s a Wonderful Life.

I’d love to watch a bunch of the original documentaries themselves, all available on netflix: Battle of Midway, Report from the Aleutians, San Pietro, Let There Be Light, The Negro Soldier, The Battle of Russia, Nazi Concentration Camps and Memphis Belle. But that’s six hours of WWII docs, and it’s Cannes Month now, and six movies I want to see opened in theaters this week, and a new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 just came out, and it’s baseball season…

A quality ending to the trilogy. I liked the timely references (waterboarding, gov’t using Echelon to track keywords spoken over cellphones) and new actors – David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) as the new evil bureaucrat and Paddy Considine (same year as Hot Fuzz) as an intrepid reporter. Unfortunately, by Strathairn’s orders, Considine gets a bullet in the head.

Evil David Strathairn:

Julia Stiles and Joan Allen take Bourne’s side, and a wide-mouthed Albert Finney plays a haunting evil from Bourne’s past, proving that all women are friendly and craggy-faced old men are wicked.

Evil Albert Finney:

An informant in Madrid is blown up by a CIA hit man. Bourne fights two of those guys but only kills one, at most. He’s like Arnold in Terminator 2 now, a killing machine that doesn’t want to kill. The action is surprisingly comprehensible except for one hand-to-hand fight edited for maximum headache potential.

The series has a new director, one who likes to edit so quickly as to barely let you catch the meaning of action scenes, but with an admirable energy, not the seemingly random cutting of Transformers. I’m not trying to champion or justify this, as some film critics did, calling Greengrass the best filmmaker of the 2000’s and all that, just saying it wasn’t as annoying as I figured it would be.

Felt like the obligatory sequel, bringing back all main characters from the last movie and giving each a big scene, tying up narrative loose ends, and giving lord baddie Brian Cox the death he deserved. I’m hoping part three can be more free with the plot and character. Bourne conveniently half-remembers certain things from his past, a good plot device.

Since Chris Cooper is gone and Brian Cox has gotten so desperately evil he’s shooting people in the hallways now, we get a new FBI (or is it CIA, or some made-up agency – I forget) person: Joan Allen (the same year she starred in Yes). Lola Potente is killed off in the early scenes. Julia Stiles is still in the movie for some reason. Damon’s big moment is discovering in his memory that he killed some respectable foreign politician and his wife for nefarious reasons, faking it as a murder-suicide, so now years later he finds their daughter and apologizes for killing their parents.