The Sum of All Fears (2002)

Rating  12
Length 2hr 4
Release 16.8.2002
Director Phil Alden Robinson
About Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst needs to stop a terrorist group from planting a nuclear weapon at a football match in Baltimore, before they cause damage.


The Good

  • Not normally one to say it, but Ben Affleck did a good job headlining the film as Jack Ryan. The smug grin did come out to play at times, but overall, he did well as an analyst out of his depth.
  • Morgan Freeman was as delightful as ever playing the mentor to Affleck’s Ryan.
  • Its a decent plot with a good amount of action. Certainly, much better than the two Ford offerings.

The Bad

  • Liev Scriber was wasted. Scenes with him and Affleck together were brilliant and I was left wanting more of Scriber’s Clark. 
  • I love James Cromwell, don’t get me wrong, but I felt his switch from diplomatic President to “blow them all to hell” a little off the mark. I know the attack was meant to be a turning point, but he didn’t seem to shift till much later. Ignoring Ryan and ordering people to stop him also seemed off seeing as he was giving information from his mission that Cromwell sent him on.

The Ugly 

  • I sound like my dad with this, but there were a lot of similar looking faces all at the same place. It made it difficult to keep track of the whose and the whats.
  • It was over 2 hrs and I felt it. All of it. For a film that has many locations and fast paced action, it didn’t half limp along at times.

Final Thoughts

Flawed and patchy, but the best in the franchise so far.

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Rating 15

Length 2hr

Release 15.11.2002

Director Michael Moore

About Political documentary filmmaker Michael Moore explores the circumstances that lead to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and, more broadly, the proliferation of guns and the high homicide rate in America. In his trademark provocative fashion, Moore accosts Kmart corporate employees and pleads with them to stop selling bullets, investigates why Canada doesn’t have the same excessive rate of gun violence and questions actor Charlton Heston on his support of the National Rifle Association.


The Good

  • Well made and informative. It’s journalism in its truest form and pulls no punches. To that extent it certainly has a level of fair representation and at no point does Moore address the audience and give his opinion. Now, while it might be implied that he is anti-gun, its not said outright and I don’t feel like I’m having someone else’s opinion shoved down my throat. It gives you the freedom to make up your own mind.
  • The film looks at as many root causes to American violence and gun culture. The film looks at the social history, the political history and the culture of fear.

The Bad

  • I felt uncomfortable with some of the emotional manipulation of Columbine survivors, in particularly in regards to them arriving unannounced at a K-Mary head quarters. I believe it’s right to hold them accountable and the survivors have a right to be heard, but it feels a little exploitative to do it for a film.
  • Again, with Charlton Heston, I felt very uncomfortable with everything that is seen to happen after the interview is stopped. Again, he was an absolute knob. Holding a gun convention in a town days after a massacre is thoughtless and insensitive. To do it twice and, both times, refuse to relocate is barbaric. However, I did struggle with watching Moore follow him after leaving.
  • I found the run time a little too long to be affective when the narrative flow doesn’t feel as smooth as other documentary films out there.

The Ugly

  • How is it that the Columbine massacre was 20 years ago, yet there has been no governmental effort or change to ensure public places are safe for citizens? This event and Moore’s film should have been enough to legislate gun control.
  • The film was bold, it was brave and it made people think. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it would make a difference, so to watch it now it stirs up too much bitterness, too much frustration.

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of its flaws, this is a film that everyone needs to see. Not only that, I somewhat think its time for an updated follow up that looks into the rise of these incidents and the blind ignorance of the US and their flawed logic that guns are okay, but the kinder egg is dangerous enough to be illegal.