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Bill C’s Review – 3 Stars

Haywire is an entertaining action B-movie starring former female martial arts competitor Gina Carano. There are several good fight sequences and a couple of good chase scenes. Gina isn’t the greatest actress but she is excellent in all of the action sequences.   The supporting cast is surprisingly strong with Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum and Ewan McGregor. The plot is convoluted and has plenty of holes but the action sequences with Gina make this movie worth seeing.

Haywire on IMDB

Haywire on Rotten Tomatoes

Bill I’s Review – 4 Stars

At the risk of alienating readers by using some sophisticated film review language, Haywire is freakin’ AWESOME. I loved it, had a smile on my face the whole movie. Let me start with the main character, a female Michael Bourne-like character (or alternatively, a Jennifer Garner Alias-like character, only much more ruthless) played by hard-body Gina Carano. When Ewan MacGregor has to warn somebody about to meet you with “You shouldn’t think of her as being a woman. That would be a mistake”. Or when Antonio Banderas simply says when you pop up in his house “Oh shit”. The action is non-stop, and as directed by Steven Soderbergh, strikingly original. When was the last chase scene you saw that wasn’t a cliche you’ve seen 1,000 times, including every night on the TV cop shows? Well, look for the literal chase scene, Gina chases the bad guy on foot through the streets and back alleys of Barcelona. It’s an incredible piece of filming. I won’t spoil the opening scene, but suffice it to say I thought back to the diner scene in Pulp Fiction. The tension is so naturally built up, sometimes by just a glance, or the cool music, then erupts in fight scenes that are more realistic than most of what passes in today’s films. What a great supporting cast, as Bill C says above. Banderas was unrecognizable to me with his beard until the end. I don’t like to see movies more than once, since I love not knowing what’s going to happen – that’s why I will close my eyes and stuff my ears sometimes when the incessant coming attractions are shown – but this is one movie I would enjoy seeing again soon. I expect Carano will be back, maybe as a female Terminator. Here she is in case you never heard of her, same as me:


Bill C’s Review – 1.5 out of 5

Do not get Jodie Foster mad!!

Carnage is based on the hit Broadway play ‘God of Carnage’ and was directed by.Roman Polanski.  The comedy is centered on two couples civilly meeting to discuss the altercation between their two kids.  The discussion quickly escalates to World War III with ever changing allegiances among the four parents.

The movie has its moments but the acting (especially by Jodie Foster) seems overdone.  When she gets mad the veins in her neck are bulging, her eyes are popping and I was expecting to see steam coming out of her ears at any moment.  Whether laughing or crying, more subtle acting would have been better

None of the characters were likable and while I guess the point was about how childish the parents were. They all just seemed incredibly dysfunctional and mean spirited  and therefore I didn’t enjoy the movie.


Rotten Tomatoes


Best of 2011

Below are our list of the top movies of 2011. Believe it or not there were more that we could have included. Let us know your thoughts.

 Bill I’s Top Movies:

Very difficult this year for me to rank the top, so I list them as a group:
– The Descendants – Slow paced but genuine, Clooney and his teenage daughter are excellent. Hawaii scenery biggest star
– The Debt – Gripping thriller, set in two time periods. Jessica Chastain is a revelation, especially after The Help
– Margin Call – What are Wall St. moneymakers like behind the scenes? It’s not pretty
– Hugo – Magical fantasy as seen from kid’s eyes
– Moneyball – Straightforward tale of the book, solid
– Super 8 – Tremendous start with opening locomotive crash, carried by most realistic child actors, Great
– 50/50 – Excellent, perfect mix of real, funny and tuching. Who would have thought, a cancer comedy
– Crazy, Stupid, Love – Ryan Gosling steals this, helping make this one of the best movies of the year
– Bridesmaids – Fresh stuff, Apatow’s partner moves to female buddy romcom, but not rolling on the floor funny
– Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Incredible feats by Tom on world’s tallest building; great chase in automated parking garage
Bill I’s Best of the rest:
– The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo – Excellent, true to the book, Rooney Mara with an Oscar worthy performance
– Young Adult – Tour-de-force by Charlize, great character study
– X-Men: First Class – Best X-Men, cool back-story of their origins, fun and suspenseful, great acting
– The Bang Bang Club – Life-like portrayal of photo-journalists risking their lives in the most violent spots around the world,
– The Help – Decent story, well acted, but another white hero to rescue the poor blacks
– My Week with Marilyn – Michelle becomes Marilyn, definite Oscar worthy performance, based on real events
– Friends with Benefits – Mila Kunis carries this with a charismatic, genuine performance. Justin struggles to keep up
– 30 Minutes or Less – Just fun, outrageous scenes, kooky characters
– The Ides of March – Nothing new here, but kept my attention
– The Change-Up – Funnier than the what the critics say, plenty of laugh out loud moments
– Water for Elephants – Christoph Waitz confirms he can play one scary dude. Faithful representation of the book
– Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Too much razzle dazzle, Sherlock as James Bond of 1891
– The Union – Cool behind the scenes look of Elton resurrecting Leon from obscurity to make great music again
– Our Idiot Brother – Touching, good character driven
– The Sitter – Not bad, not crazy funny, pretty stupid, but amusing throughout. Excellent child actors, girl is amazing
– Midnight in Paris – Woody places his typical mid-life schlub into nostalgic Paris, wanne be magic, but falls short
– Bad Teacher – Over the top, good fun
– Horrible Bosses – Wacky caper, kept my interest, terrific Colin Farrel
– No Strings Attached – Done better later by Friends with Benefits

 Bill C’s Top Movies:

I also wimped out and did not order my top 10.
– 50/50 – a comedy about cancer. Funny but has serious moments too. Seth Rogen was good.
– The Artist – Unique and fresh silent black-and-white movie. Great performances including the dog. While I liked it a lot, some may find it slow.
– Attack the Block – British horror/comedy.about aliens attacking and the gang on the block does not appreciate it.
– Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D – Excellent documentary about 20,000-year-old paintings found in a cave in France. Ties for award of best use of 3D. Gets award for best movie co-produced by someone I know (Amy Briamonte)!
– The Debt – Really good action movie about Israelis seeking justice and the ramifications of their actions
– Hugo 3D – Very good movie that pays homage to early silent movies. Ties for best 3D movie. Not your typical Martin Scorses movie!
– Margin Call – Taut drama about the financial crisis and greed on Wall Street
– Midnight in Paris – Entertaining Woody Allen movie. Owen Wilson is excellent.
– Sienna – Great documentary about F1 race car driver Sienna.
– Super 8 – This is the second movie on my list having to do with Aliens (See: Attack The Block). Hard to believe. This gets my award for best movie edited by someone I know (Maryann Brandon).

Bill Cs Best of the Rest:
– Being Elmo – An entertaining documentary about Kevin Clash, the puppeteer for Elmo of Sesame Street
– Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop – Entertaining documentary following Conan as he prepares and during his concert tour after being dumped by NBC. A must for Conan fans but enjoyable for everyone. I saw this at SXSW and am surprised I haven’t seen this in general release yet
– The Descendants – Good family drama
– The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I enjoyed David Finchers version. I would have liked to see the original and this back to back to compare performances and plot decisions by directors.
– The Help – Good performances in adaptation of book on race relations in the 60s
– IP Man 2 – Sequel to Ip Man! A Martial Arts film loosely based on the person that trained Bruce Lee
– Moneyball – The dynamic duo of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in a movie about baseball!  You don’t really need to like baseball to enjoy this movie though.