Do you like to ‘watch your review’ instead of reading it? Well, you are in luck, because we have a second take (from the same reviewer) on the Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, that puts it in context to a landmark 1960s wuxia watershed: Come Drink With Me. This is my shot at trying to be articulate via those fine folks over at The Substream.
Welcome to January, folks – the month when studios tend to dump their dogs into the theatres. If you are not looking to play catch up on the pre-Christmas derby of Oscar hopefuls working their way to a wider release or partaking of the blockbusters deemed too ‘holiday’ for the summer season, you may be on the prowl for one of those buried gems of quality nestled amongst the Hollywood trash heap. Steven Soderbergh makes a solid case for the no-nonsense action thriller, and a bid for a few of your shekels, with Haywire. The film does nothing particularly novel. Another expendable super-spy chase slash revenge picture of which there were at least three of last year – Colombiana, Hanna and Ghost Protocol – and features neither an extravagance for expensive set-pieces nor the over-inflated high stakes. But what then separates this from last year, or a multitude of straight-to-video Jason Statham vehicles is this classic Roger Ebert bon mot, “It’s not what you do but how you do it,” which certainly applies here; even something that feels like this particular filmmaker could do in his sleep has such a precise polish and rhythm that not a second of this film feels superfluous. There are enough little touches and intangables to forgive Haywire for having nothing whatsoever to say other than Soderbergh knows his craft. The film is a walkthrough of all the things that director favours and have been showcased in his prolific c.v. The film knows to be lean and mean and is completely unpretentious about its execution.
The question is simple. What is more terrifying: aliens descending upon the earth to scoop up its citizens and eat their brains or the ongoing global warming political and scientific brouhaha or the crazy devastation of laissez-faire economics. Maybe a better question would be, which of the three is more likely? Diving into the finer points of the enviro-doc, Cool It! proves interesting conversation fodder before throwing less intelligent insults and praise at what is essentially an 80-minute, SFX, demo reel in a (SPOILERS!) discussion of the Strause brothers’ Skyline. Kurt rambles rather incoherently on the style, tone and minutae of Charles Ferguson’s Wall St. melt-down doc Inside Job. Furthermore on the documentary front, Netflix.ca proves to be quite the treasure trove for old Errol Morris and other delights. South of the border, Andrew and Matt sort of take it easy on their DVD players this week. Tangents on the Harry Potter franchise, fanaticism and multiplex hordes (which take their sanity toll on a certain fellow working in the multiplex biz.) Then there are some interesting DVD and Blu-ray picks this week; including the restoration of Metropolis (Blu-ray) (unfortunately delayed for a week) and what sounds like even more of an amazing prospect is the documentary about a man with no arms and no legs jumping (so to speak) into the world of competitive mixed-martial arts which puts the peanut gallery in stitches vis-a-vis insensitive wise-ass remarks. Lastly, there is a call put out to the listener base to offer ideas for our 200th episode which should land somewhere in the early going-on of the new year!
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?
It’s a good thing that Dr. Soderberg has, for the time being at least, forgotten the chatter about quitting directing. Perhaps he was just having a bad day but whatever the reasoning, it’s clear he’s not abandoning film making just yet and frankly, with the awesomeness of The Informant! opening in a few week’s time, I can’t say I blame him.
Word now is that the good doctor will be directing Knockout, a James Bond-like action film about a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her martial arts skills for good. The doctor isn’t hiring an action star for the role, oh no. Soderberg is pushing the envelope of this Hollywood project closer to the edges of his most recent indie offering by casting Gina Carano, a mixed martial arts circuit fighter, in the lead.
Apparently Soderberg discovered the Muay Thai-trained fighter on the circuit where, with her good looks and talent, she is considered the face of the up-and-coming women’s mixed fighting. Some may also recognize Carano as Crush from the recent “American Gladiators” reboot. I recognize this as something to get excited about.