Film: A thin sheet or strip of developed photographic negatives or transparencies. Review: To examine with an eye to criticism or correction. Basement: The lowest habitable story of a building, usually below ground level.
If you're still reading at this point, good! The obscure paragraph above basically laid out everything you needed to know about this column: it's about movies that are watched and reviewed by some guy in his basement. How's that for on the nose?
In truth, this is a spin-off of a radio show/podcast I co-host with Shawn Knippelberg called We Came from the Basement. Prepare for the shameless plug — it airs October to April on 92.5FM CFBX Kamloops and can be found online at wecamefromthebasement.com.
The concept here, as on the show, is to review movies that fly under the radar. The independent film made on blood, sweat and beers . . . I mean tears . . . of starving artists.
Given the B-moviesque title of the show, the reviews are primarily of genre pictures: horror, sci-fi, action and comedy. When we're feeling snooty we'll throw in a documentary or two.
These are the movies you find on the shelf at Movie Mart or while trolling a Video On Demand website and go “I think I've heard of that. But maybe not.”
Why these movies? Every mainstream critic watches the big Hollywood blockbuster. We're trying to offer something different here. Besides, nine times out of 10, these movies are better.
Instead of some boring rating system using stars or numbers or numbered stars we adhere to something far sexier. Anne Hathaway sexy.
Here movies are rated according to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Kudos to my friend Mike Stewart, who runs a movie-themed blog called The Corner of Terror, for coming up with this fine system.
The Good is a movie you'd own or watch again. It's the best of the best. The Bad doesn't mean the movie is bad, but it's not good either. You've watched it once and you're done. The Ugly is reserved for the worst crap money can buy. Stick it in a microwave, cook on high for 20 minutes, and watch the pretty colours.
Now that I've wasted about 350 words telling you why I'm here, it's time to rock off a quick review. Don't worry; I'll waste less of your time next time.
Haywire is a 2012 action film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Lem Dobbs. It stars MMA star Gina Carano in her film debut alongside veterans Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender.
Normally I'd get into more detail about the plot. Seeing as how we're crunched for space, let me say this is a female variation on The Bourne Identity, with an assassin double crossed and pursued around Europe and North America. Roll credits.
Haywire's biggest asset is Carano. Not only is she beautiful, but she'll break you into a million little pieces without breaking a sweat. Given her martial arts background, she's convincing during the fight scenes and gives as well as she takes. And there's no stunt double. Good for her.
Too bad the rest of the movie lets her down. Carano is so formidable, the viewer never fears for her safety. We know she can beat down everyone in the cast. Carano needed an opponent as powerful as she is, but she doesn't get one here.
The supporting players are great, but have little to do. These are big stars in bit parts. Too bad.
As for the fights, the first two or three are brutal, bone-crunching throw downs. Then Soderbergh repeats them over and over again. The action doesn't build and the stakes don't get higher, which means all the cards have been played by the time Carano gets her revenge. Suffice to say, the film ends with a thud.
I can't wait to see Carano in another action movie, one worthy of her talents. The Expendables 3 perhaps? That said, Haywire gets a Bad.
Jason Hewlett is the arts and entertainment reporter for The Daily News. Have a movie you’d like him to review? Email him at email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from the basement go to wecamefromthebasement.com.