Double Feature Monday
Today ended up being a double feature day with a couple of recent DVD releases.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Haywire is the story of Mallory Kane, former marine turned operative on a mission that goes south. As is the standard procedure for such plots, Kane goes rogue to find out who set her up.
I have to be honest, I was not really expecting a great movie when I picked this up, just another action movie. Casting MMA fighter Gina Carano (who I first saw as Crush on American Gladiators) added a level of realism to the fight scenes, which were not your typical Hollywood fight scenes, but true knock down drag out bouts. In addition, she also holds her own, acting wise, with a number of Hollywood’s stars, like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas.
What really sets this movie apart is the director, Stephen Soderbergh. In anyone else’s hands, this movie would have been a typical action movie. Soderbergh puts his own personal stamp on this film. Flashback scenes and a hip soundtrack, reminiscent of Ocean’s 11, pull this movie up to a new level. In his hands, the action almost becomes secondary to the mystery of who set Kane up, and why.
It’s not Ocean’s 1, or even Oscar material like Traffic, but Haywire is definitely worth a look.
Chronicle is the latest “found footage” movie to hit the box office, this time telling the tale of three school mates who start to develop super powers after stumbling onto a mysterious object. Unlike other such “found footage” movies, this one does not rely on a single camera perspective. Other cameras, from stray cell phone cameras to police dashboard camera, help to assemble the footage as we watch them grow more powerful with each stunt. The movie also takes advantage of the characters’ growing powers as they start to manipulate the cameras, allowing for a more traditional movie approach.
The film plot itself it pretty mundane. The three supers of the movie are the typical characters you would see in any high school movie (the tormented at home and school “loser,” the slacker turned responsible one, and the popular one running for class president). Needless to say, it becomes obvious which of the three starts a gradual slide toward super villainy.
If this movie does anything, it shows what is probably a more realistic origin of a superhero and a supervillain. These three do not decide to start wearing costumes and fight crime with their new powers. They decide to test their abilities by goofing around, pushing themselves further with each use.
If you are curious about this movie, you may want to give it a go. The “found footage” does not get so shaky that you start getting seasick. But the story itself is nothing we have not seen elsewhere, though it is a different spin on the idea.