2012 Written by Lem Dobbs
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Why is the hallway all lime green all of a sudden?
Versatile director Steven Soderbergh has a cinematic talent and creative desire that he will work in almost any genre at any level of funding. Soderbergh also has a realistic view on his output, he knew he was in a creative funk at one point (and used one of his own films to help inspire him to greatness) and knows he will get jaded at film directed again, so is setting his eyes on becoming a painter. But before critics with even snootier voices begin tearing into his work, it’s still our time! Haywire is Soderbergh’s action spectacle, a femme fighter basher that gives us some great fights. Continuing Soderbergh’s trend of using nontraditional actors, MMA fighter Gina Carano making her major film debut (she was previously in the DTV flick Blood and Bone, was an American Gladiator as Crush, and is featured in the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha).
Oh, honey, that’s not how you apply foundation!
Opening with an on the run Mallory Kane meeting Aaron at a diner, Kane quickly ends up beating him up, as he’s assigned to take her in. Now in a stolen car, she relates her tale to her hostage Scott, letting us into her recent escapades in Barcelona and subsequent betrayal in Ireland. Though fleeing from every law enforcement branch in the country, she remains calm and collected while trying to evade her pursuers.
Haywire‘s greatest strength is the choreography, but unfortunately I’ve seen things that may Haywire look like a snooze in the park. Haywire does excel at showing just how brutal violence is, especially physical violence in close quarters. Mallory Kane battles several men in claustrophobic situations, either trapped or led to an isolated area. Kane doesn’t back down from the fights, either out of a sense of desperate survival or a sense of duty to track the one man who escaped the raid on a hostage situation.
I’m just gonna take a big smoke on my phallic symbol…
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) – Our heroine, former marine, and private military agent who goes on the run when she’s framed for murder and flagged as wanted. There is lots of looking and slightly squinting eyes by Gina, it is called acting. It’s probably even a method acting, under the great Franz von Lookensquint.
Aaron (Channing Tatum) – Fellow agent who also works for Mallory’s employer, is sent to go get her when she goes on the run.
Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) – Kane’s former husband and her employer, though she’s leaving his business.
Paul (Michael Fassbender) – British agent who is teamed with Mallory in Ireland…where’s she’s betrayed. Will turn out to not be a big fan of ladies’ thighs…
John Kane (Bill Paxton) – Kane’s father. The two aren’t close, he’s retired military and spends his time writing long military fiction. It is unknown if any of his books are about bughunts.
Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas) – Spanish agent who doesn’t like Kane and her team playing in his pool. There is more going on than that, though…
Hi, yes, I recently bought your Automatic 2000 garage door opener, and I think there may be a problem…
2011 Written by Simon Beaufoy and Paul Torday (novel).
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a film about a ridiculous premise that becomes less ridiculous as the premise comes closer and closer to fruition. It is a journey of achieving what seems impossible if you just have a vision and drive (and unlimited money!) The film is very very British, complete with dry humor and accents that force you to pay attention. Based on the 2006 novel by Paul Torday, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen just sounded weird when I first heard of it, but a free movie is a free movie, so why not attend? And I enjoyed Salmon Fishing, so it was well worth it.
Once again, Tars has sold out and attended an advanced screening for free! But this time, they were peppering the Bay Area with so many free screenings of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen that it was hard to avoid wandering into one…. And as usual, we attend as members of the public and not as a critic, even though the critics get all the best rows reserved for them (and none ever show up! Lazy, lazy critics!) Director Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules) I have lost track of recently, though he hasn’t lost any of his charm since I last saw a film of his a decade ago. The film looks beautiful, with some gorgeous Scottish countrysides and Morocco standing in for Yemen giving us some great desert scenery.
Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) – a government scientist who acts in the proper British way. Stuck in life. But it is time for faith… No relation to the famous archeologists.
Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) – Investment firm member who is put in charge of the Sheik’s fishing plan. Emily Blunt tried fly-fishing for the first time on the set of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and accidentally hooked Ewan McGregor’s dog Sid during her first cast. Sid has fully recovered, and Blunt vowed to never fly-fish again.
Bridget Maxwell (Kristin Scott Thomas) – Bridget Maxwell is the press secretary and supermom who is the character you will be talking about. Can engineer miracles with funding and government help, but is still working for the Prime Minster and always in search of good PR.
Sheik Muhammad (Amr Waked) – The eccentric Sheik who came up with the crazy plan about fly-fishing. Is a dreamer and wants to bring waht gives him peace to his people.
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Padmé
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sideous
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
I didn’t want to go over this movie immediately after I saw it, I wanted to give it time to sink in. What is supposed to be the last Star Wars film ever (at least for the next twenty years.) After some disappointments with Episodes one and Two, disappointments meaning Episode One was HORRIBLE, and Episode Two could have been saved by some decent editing, we get the finale of the Prequel Trilogy, the end of the beginning. From the previews coming down before footage was released some signs were good, the rumors of it being dark, the rumors of the PG-13 rating, the knowledge of certain people dying because they just weren’t in the Original Trilogy. There were some bad rumors as well: Chewie helping birth the twins, Yoda farting, Jar Jar not being horribly killed, and Lucas still directing. The end result? It was actually pretty good, all things considered.
Halle Berry as Cappy
Ewan McGregor as Rodney Copperbottom
Mel Brooks as Bigweld
Robin Williams as Fender
Greg Kinnear as Ratchet
Amanda Bynes as Piper
Let’s take a break from this Mars businesses to do a current movie. Robots is the new CGI film from Fox Animation. All CGI films are inherently superior to traditional animation, as evidenced by Pixar films. Except that statement is a lie, and believed only by morons. Pixar movies are popular thanks to good story telling, they could be animated by shadow puppets and they’d be blockbusters. This movie is mediocrity in action. After weeks of sitting through some cinema pre-show where the director starts yammering on about how he’s wanted to tell the story of Robots for a long time, I thought maybe it would have a good story. At least it would be visually interesting, right? And it was. Visually interesting, that is. The story is lame rehashing and zero character development.