The J.O.T. Film Festival, Day One

Yesterday morning I delivered Julia to the airport for a trip to Tucson, where she will be for a week visiting family. The stars weren’t properly aligned for me to accompany her, so that means that while the rest of us are here shoveling out and keeping the wolves at bay after the big Snowpocalypse 2012, she’s soaking up rays and probably dashing naked through the desert. Whatever.

As for me, I’m going to take the opportunity to indulge myself in some movies I want to see that she wouldn’t be interested in. I have to say that she’s generally pretty game; she goes to plenty of movies that hit my radar that she would probably never choose to see on her own. I like to think I do likewise on her behalf, but I also know that when I’m out of town she’s likely to watch stuff I’d never allow myself to be talked into. Beverly Hills Chihuahua, for example. Many of the movies I’ll watch she’s seen, in fact. She just isn’t a re-watcher, and I am. Big time. So while she’s gone, I’m going to do some catching up. I’ve done this exercise before; I call it the Julia’s Outta Town Film Festival. She’s been gone about 30 hours or so, and I have two under my belt already. These are classy films that just opened this week. I might have been able to coerce her to one of them, but certainly not both.

Haywire

I’d been eager for this film when I first heard about it. It’s the acting debut of MMA superstar Gina Carano, at least in a leading role. I’d seen her once before in the movie Blood and Bone, a criminally under-appreciated action flick. With a good cast, I was hoping to see a kick-ass action movie with a woman delivering the beatdowns. At least a woman who doesn’t look like she is going to blow away in the first stiff wind (:cough: Angelina Jolie :cough:). Carano certainly looks the part, and she’s the real deal when it comes to fighting. My biggest concern is that she would overtake the magnificent Zoe Bell as my #1 “woman who could probably kick my ass” crush. So Friday night I braved the snow rodeo that is my street and headed to the theater to check it out.

The Verdict:

I liked it. It didn’t blow me away quite like I hoped it would, but I still had a good time watching it. Carano does a pretty good job, especially in the action scenes. She looks the part better than any other female action movie star I’ve seen. Her acting is hit and miss, but that was to be expected. The pacing of the movie is a little herky jerky too. It’s billed as an ACTION flick, but it is trying more to be a thriller-type movie with action. Think the difference between something like the Bourne movies and The Expendables. One thing I did like about it is they didn’t overdo the lingering shots of Carano’s body; it’s not particularly over-sexed. There’s a little, but it isn’t obvious, nor is it distracting. Considering what they had to work with if they chose to, that’s kind of surprising.

 

There isn’t a bunch of slow motion fight bullshit going on either, which I appreciated. I blame The Matrix for starting that trend, and I hate it. I think some people might have had a hard time following it at times, but I didn’t. The supporting cast do their thing. Michael Douglas is great, and it’s always good to see Antonio Banderas and Bill Pullman. Happy to see that jack-in-the-ass Michael Fastbender get his too.

A solid effort, I’d rate it around a B-, but gets a boost on the curve up to a B. I’m hoping it does well enough to get a sequel or two. It was theater time well spent.

Oh, and Gina? There’s definitely a place for you in my heart. But Zoe’s still my girl.

Underworld Awakening

I love the Underworld movies. And this one has Kate Beckinsale back in the leading role, and Kate is something special . . . and not just because mentioning her here generates all the hits to my blog from people searching “Kate Beckinsale Naked” or “Kate Beckinsale Sexy Esquire Shoot” either. So, while I don’t have any naked shots of her, here’s the Esquire one, just to get that out of the way, right?

Click to make it bigger. The picture, that is.

The Verdict

Caught the early matinee of this one at the big new theater in Missoula, in 3D, and it was a blast. I don’t care that it’s getting shredded by critics. I don’t care that some of the CGI isn’t so great. It’s a movie with an absolutely gorgeous woman not much younger than me striding around in form-fitting leather kicking all kinds of ass. And she’s even a mom in this one. Ultimately, though, it’s a freakin’ monster movie, for crying out loud. I LOVE monster movies! I have to confess that, going in, I was a little nervous, which is why I probably liked it as much as I did. This is the kind of thing that huge buckets of popcorn, ginormous screens, and loud auditorium speakers were made for. Even the 3D was cool. It’s getting an A, and that’s without Kate appealing to me with creative ways to bump her grade up (though I’m wide open to that kind of thing, Kate, just so you know. . . . ).

Next up: Batman Night

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