Winter Movie Guide: January 2012 – Week 3



Written by Lem Dobbs

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, & Michael Fassbender

“A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.”

After many grand stories about retiring (like 3 movies ago), Steven Soderbergh is still going strong, with his second film released in the last year.  This one stars MMA star Gina Carano as a black ops soldier who ends up on the wrong side of a mission in Ireland, who has to escape an international manhunt to make it home to the US to protect her family, and take revenge on those who hung her out to dry.

A flashy action thriller from one of the premier directors of slickly edited thrillers, this is the reason Soderbergh couldn’t retire, because he’s the only person out there consistently making funny, smart movies, and although he’s had more misfires lately than he did through most of his early career, I think this puts him on the right path after the divisive thriller Contagion.  Here, he takes advantage of everything he can to put together a slick action movie, and for a January release, it sadly probably won’t get the attention it deserves, but word of mouth will earn this one’s money back on video.

See what Jeremy thought in his review.

Red Tails

Written by Aaron McGruder & John Ridley

Directed by Anthony Hemingway

Starring Nate Parker, Cuba Gooding Jr., & Terrence Howard

“A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.”

Red Tails is the first non-Star Wars film from LucasFilm, and it’s an aerial action film about the Tuskegee airmen, who were long grounded in World War II until they were called into action when their race becomes of little consequence in some of the toughest dogfights that the USA ever participated in.  George Lucas has since said that he intends to make less blockbuster movies, and more personal films after Red Tails but at least he had his best digital F/X artists on this one.

The story seems generic in its inspirational nature, but with the curious addition of The Boondocks creator Aaron MacGruder on the creation of the screenplay, I have a feeling it may be smarter than the advertisements are giving it credit for.  It boasts and all-star cast, and while a predominantly black film (above the line, at least) it is sure to draw wide audiences between WWII enthusiasts, to people that just love films with great special effects.  We’ll just see how many spring to see it opening weekend, it doesn’t seem like a strong opener.  Jeremy will have the review shortly.

Underworld: Awakening

Screenplay by Len Weisman & John Hlavin, and J. Michael Straczynski and Allison Burnett

Directed by Mans Marlind & Bjorn Stein

Starring Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, & India Eisley

“When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrioress Selene leads the battle against humankind.”

The fourth Underworld film comes on the heels of the third film, a prequel concerning the rise of the Lycan clan and the start of the war between vampires and lycans.  Now, the fourth film is a direct sequel to Underworld: Evolution, where the vampire and lycan races have been discovered by humans, so the fight now goes from the two factions to the entire planet’s population of humans.

Good thing for the vampires, Selene (Beckinsale) is back, and she’s ready to take out some damn humans.  I’m sure her past love for a human/lycan hybrid will come into the story somehow, but anybody looking to go into this film will know exactly what they’re getting, highly stylized action, R-rated gore, and a story that keeps the action moving along.  From directors Marlind & Stein, who have a few features under their belt both in Sweden and one here in the states (Shelter) but this is their first big budget American feature, but it’s got a built in audience, so I’m sure Sony isn’t worried.

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