Ewan McGregor

‘Mortdecai’ is hauntingly terrible

Seemingly late in the game of David Koepp’s Mortdecai, the eponymous character (played by Johnny Depp) asks his wife, “Are you quite finished with your barrage of insults?” It’s an apt question for the film itself, a cataclysmically unfunny, unbelievably tedious disaster of baffling misjudgments and multiple career lows that feels as long as Shoah, and only a little less harrowing. No such luck, though, as the film goes on for another 25 minutes. It then ends on people about to throw up. Also apt.

Haywire

‘Haywire’ is an effective counter-argument to every claim used to dismiss action heroines

In early 2012, while most of the film world was caught up in Oscar prognostications, one film quietly came and went through theatres, earning less that $20 million domestically, and just over $30 million internationally. That film was Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, with Gina Carano taking on the lead role of Mallory Kane, and its quiet box office reception is in no way indicative of the film’s quality. While it may appear, on the surface, to be a standard action thriller – and there’s certainly no issue with that, as the genre is littered with efforts that fail to even be competent in their execution – in true Soderbergh style, there’s a lot more going on in Haywire than it may appear at first glance.

shallow grave

‘Shallow Grave,’ a remarkably assured debut for Danny Boye

Working from a brilliantly honed script by doctor-turned-screenwriter John Hodge (who cameos as a police inspector), Shallow Grave is very dark British satire with a simple setup. This tight little thriller is a parable about the effects of greed on friendship. What would you do if you found a huge amount of money? It’s a plot worthy of Hitchcock, and Boyle’s relentless homage comes complete with dutch angles and shots lifted wholesale from the Master’s greatest hits.

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