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Tag Archives: Ewan McGregor
At one point, late in Steven Soderbergh‘s globe-trotting thriller “Haywire,” two men plan a murder. One is the intended victim’s employer and the other a killer-for-hire with a dangerous past. The killer takes a sip of whiskey, hesitating. He admits he’s never killed a woman before. The employer waves that off. “You shouldn’t think of her as being a woman. No, that would be a mistake.” That ominous warning works as a joke, but it also works as a real assessment of “Haywire” star Gina Carano, a mixed martial arts fighter the director saw on TV one night while idly channel surfing. As he said at the film’s L.A. premiere, “I saw Gina Carano beat up a woman in a cage, and I thought ‘The only way this could be better is if she were beating up a male movie star.’” He was smiling as he said it. You’ll be smiling as you watch.
When a filmmaker who needs no introduction gives us a leading lady who does, it’s tempting to write the result off as a gimmick, a ruse, a delusion. And Soderbergh, who’s seemed hell-bent on making as many movies as he can before his contemplated “retirement,” is throwing himself into his recent films with a vengeance. Some have said that the director’s recent (digital-video aided) productivity in advance of his retirement is like the alcoholic who intends to walk through the doors of rehab saturated in booze. After his most recent string of films, though, I’m inclined to respond to that the same way Lincoln did when told of Gen. Grant’s drinking problem: Find out what whiskey he drinks, and send his peers a case of it.
While not every film at SXSW is a premiere, the festival seems to have an awfully gracious attitude about films that have played other festivals making a bow at SXSW, and has a roster full of movies from Sundance and Toronto playing the fest. If you’re heading to SXSW — or just keeping score at home — here are a few films whose buzz has already been loud, and is sure to only grow louder after SXSW.
“Beginners“: Featuring what’s been called a surefire Oscar-nominee performance from Christopher Plummer, “Beginners” stars Ewan McGregor as a man recounting how his father (Plummer) came out of the closet … at age 75. Awards hype aside, anything with McGregor and Plummer is a must-see, and writer-director Mike Mills’ film earned a great deal of love from the audience at Toronto.
“The Sound of My Voice”: One of my favorite what-the-what? surprises from Sundance this year, “The Sound of My Voice” manages a tricky twisting metamorphosis: It’s a thriller! It’s a relationship drama! It’s science fiction! No, it’s a crime film! Its squirrelly, unnerving energy constantly pushes you to the edge of your seat, helped in no small part by the can’t-look-away performance by writer and star Brit Marling.
“The Interrupters”: Yes, this is a 190-minute-long documentary. But it’s by Steve James, the man who directed the brilliant “Hoop Dreams,” and takes us inside whole new ways of thinking about the seemingly age-old problem of inner-city violence in Chicago. Everyone who saw this at Sundance came away shaken, moved and praising its brilliance … and that kind of enthusiasm makes me incredibly hungry to see “The Interrupters” for myself.
“Tabloid”: After a few searing documentaries, Errol Morris gets back to wild, weird stuff with “Tabloid,” a twisted, true tale of love, abduction, religion, life after death, madness, money, Mormonism and more, all told by Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming with no shame and even less restraint. Crazy, yes — and crazy fun.
“Bellflower”: Mixing comedy and drama with “Road Warrior” visuals, “Bellflower” is the story of two lifelong friends who worry about the end of the world … namely, that it won’t happen, and all of the plans they’ve laid (and crazy contraptions they’ve built for the post-apocalypse) will be for naught.
South by Southwest starts March 11 and runs through the 20th. We’ll have more from Austin here at The Rundown next week.