Open wide across the Metroplex today, Friday, January 20:
- ‘Haywire.’ Gina Carano, former MMA fighter and star of TV’s ‘American Gladiators,’ stars as an ex-military operative now working for a private contractor. When things go bad, she gets tough, as in “leave a trail of broken, dead bodies” tough. Her opponents include Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregory, and Michael Douglas; Steven Soderbergh directs with aplomb, with jazzy musical accompaniment by Dave Holmes (‘Ocean’s Eleven’). The action is fine, and it’s a novelty to have a female in the lead — a new competitor for the crown once worn by Cynthia Rothrock — but this is an action movie for people who don’t much like action movies. As such, it’s enjoyable, but won’t blow away hardened action fans. Recommended.
- ‘Red Tails.’ George Lucas provided the story and inspiration, and served as executive producer, for a long-gestating big-screen version of the Tuskegee Airmen story. Full disclosure: I walked out after 45 minutes, which had more to do with my state of exhaustion and the persistent talking of people behind me. From what I saw, the movie appears to be the expected mix of military exasperation, youthful bravado, CGI dogfights, and heroic exploits.
- ‘Underworld Awakening.’ Not previewed in advance, but I don’t believe any of the earlier installments were either. Kate Beckinsale returns in the skin-tight black leather outfit she made famous. Early word via Twitter suggests this is the most violent episode yet, and should keep fans of the series happy.