In honor of the release of Trance, Spencer and Greg discuss Danny Boyle.
In honor of the release of Jack the Giant Slayer, Spencer and Greg discuss fairy tale movies.
I’m continually surprised at how underappreciated it feels like Bryan Singer is. Despite having directed one of the best thrillers (and my favorite movie) in The Usual Suspects, and helping to resurrect the comic book movie with his work on X-Men, he is generally overlooked when people discuss the best directors. Heck, I’m not even sure most people would know of him by name. This isn’t even factoring in his underappreciated film work (Apt Pupil) or his impressive body of TV work (producer on shows such as House—including directing the pilot). So it is amazing to me the general disinterest there seems to be towards his newest project, Jack the Giant Slayer. Now, I will concede that I wish Bryan Singer spent more time working on more unconventional projects, but any time he produces something, it is an event movie for me.
The South Asian tsunami is given a face that makes it as real as possible for those of us who can only imagine the destruction in The Impossible. Leaving aside the controversies this film has raised, including the changing of the family at its core from Spanish to British and the fact that Caucasians are used to show what happened to a predominately Asian population, this is an effective story of human spirit against adversity. By giving us characters based upon people who suffered but did not lose anyone, we can observe the pain, but never sink into it.
In honor of the release of This Is 40, Spencer and Greg discuss Leslie Mann.
In honor of the release of That’s My Boy, Spencer and Greg discuss fathers & sons in film.
With a light touch, the charmingly slight film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is set against the backdrop of a seemingly impossible task. Ewan McGregor stars as Dr. Alfred Jones, a mid-level British government employee. While the very definition of a reserved stiff-upper-lipped Englishman, engaged in a very proper marriage to a banking executive, he is also an authority on fly fishing and salmon behavior. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s press secretary (played by the bullish and cynical Kristin Scott Thomas), due to some recent bad press from the war in Afghanistan, is looking for a bright fluffy human interest issue that her government can support. Culling through a backlog of possibilities, she comes across the request of a Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) in Yemen who fell in love with fly fishing and wants to populate a river in his home country with salmon. He has petitioned help from a consulting firm, who have subsequently petitioned the government. Emily Blunt plays Harriet, the liaison working with McGregor’s character. She has a new budding relationship with a handsome soldier who is called into active duty and finds this project a useful distraction from his absence. So, together, the fish expert and the consultant are tasked with making this project work.
In this latest art house action thriller, Haywire, director Steven Soderbergh returns to some familiar stylistic territory while simultaneously adding to a growing subgenre. The story is rather basic when it comes to the plot; a black-ops special agent for a private security firm is double-crossed after pulling a job and seeks out revenge. Since Soderbergh is such an interesting and dynamic filmmaker, he takes a rather tired plotline and revitalizes it with style and character. Last year director, Nicolas Winding Refn did a similar (and even better) job of stylizing a retro concept with the film Drive, and pumped life into a seldom-sought-after genre of the art house action thriller, especially in a time of mega-budgeted, fantastical epics such as superheroes, transforming robots, and kung-fu-ing sleuths of Scotland Yard—all of which provide many grandiose explosions.