In the past several years, Luc Besson‘s name attached to a movie usually meant two things: he didn’t direct it and it’s a cheesy action film. Since The Fifth Element in 1997, Besson has directed a few films, but he’s produced many more and it felt like the man who made Leon: The Professional and La Femme Nikita was just waiting for some inspiration. Maybe he was waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi.

A Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of a Burmese General who was murdered in 1947, eventually leading to the military taking control of the country. Years later she left Burma to go to school but in 1988, after marrying a foreigner and having two sons in Oxford, she returned and immediately took her father’s place as the head of a pro-Democracy movement in the beautiful but violently oppressed country. Over twenty years and several terrible hardships later, she’s still struggling today.

This is the story of The Lady, and it’s a return to form for a more mature Besson.  It’s not flashy, it’s not action-packed, it’s just Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, David Thewlis as her husband Michael (and his twin brother) and one of the most incredible true stories of standing up against evil imaginable. The film recently played at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi, opens on December 2 and you can read more after the jump. Read More »

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The titles Carnage and Kill List sound like they could be the same movie. Kill List: Carnage. Carnage: The Kill List. I’d see that movie. In reality though, they’re two movies which, besides their ominous titles, couldn’t be more different. One is a comedy, the other a thriller. One is American, the other British. One is from a well-known filmmaker, the other an up and comer. And one has four of our most celebrated actors while the other is populated by unknowns. Yet despite being so different, these two films, both of which played at AFI Fest Presented by Audi, make nice bed fellows because they’re so different. Read some thoughts on both of them after the jump . Read More »

Odds are when you first saw the trailer for Haywire, Steven Soderbergh‘s action film starring MMA fighter Gina Carano, you thought, “Why is a Steven Soderbergh movie starring Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum and Antonio Banderas coming out in January?” January is an odd movie month as it’s generally a place studios can release films they’re unsure about. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad, just without obvious award or blockbuster potential and such is the case with Haywire. It’s an understated, down-the-middle action/spy film elevated by Soderbergh’s direction.  Haywire basically comes off as an exercise to watch an attractive woman beat the crap out of a bunch of famous guys.

The film had its world premiere in Grauman’s Chinese Theater Sunday night as part of the 25th annual AFI Fest Presented by Audi. Read some thoughts after the jump. Read More »

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