Movie Trailer Monday: Tempeste

The new version of The Tempeste stars Helen Mirren in a gender-swap as Prospera, a sorceress. Says Mirren:

“I realized, watching this play,” in a production with Derek Jacobi playing Prospero, “that a woman could play this role, without any change to the text at all.” The discovery excited Mirren, who thought, “Wow, here’s a great role for me possibly to play in the future.”

The Tempeste

In her adaptation of Shakespeare’s mystical thriller, “The Tempeste,” Academy Award-nominated Julie Taymor. . . brings an original dynamic to the story by changing the gender of the sorcerer Prospero into the sorceress Prospera, portrayed by Oscar winner Helen Mirren. . . Prospera’s journey spirals through vengeance to forgiveness as she reigns over a magical island, cares for her young daughter, Miranda, and unleashes her powers against shipwrecked enemies in this exciting, masterly mix of romance, tragic comedy and the supernatural.

In addition to Dame Mirren, the movie also stars Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper, David Strathairn and Russell Brand.

More information:

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This week’s Danger Gal Friday profiles Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative accused of being a Russian spy, from the movie SALT. Angelina Jolie portrayed the character in this 2010 action-spy thriller movie.

The big news surrounding this movie was that the main character had originally been pitched to Tom Cruise who passed on the project. When Jolie showed her interest, the writers had to go back and change the main character from male to female as well as make other alterations: the original character of Edwin Salt had a wife and child while Evelyn has only a husband. Also, supposedly, the character of Salt’s husband had to be altered so he didn’t seem too wimpy. My take? If the spouse character is wimpy as a male, then the character was wimpy as a female. It’s sad that we’re fine with wimpy women in a movie. If this really is the case, then the character was flawed from the beginning and the gender switch only highlighted the existing problem — it didn’t create it.

Such a stir came from the main character’s gender swap that you’d think movie-goers had never seen a female action star before. In fact, Newsweek makes just such a point in its review of the movie:

To read some early reactions and online chatter, you’d think no one had ever seen Jennifer Garner’s television series Alias, much less Sigourney Weaver in Aliens or Jolie herself in Wanted.

The movie has been out for a while, so I don’t think I need to be too careful about spoilers, but some follow, be warned. The action in SALT was at times so over-the-top that it was unbelievable, but I think most of us come to expect that from action movies these days. Jolie got to jump off trucks, enjoy a quick getaway on a motorcycle, inject spider venom into someone, disguise herself as a man, wear a bunch of wigs and dress up like a nun. And she only had to appear in her underwear twice (is that progress?).

Overall I enjoyed this movie and, as usual, also enjoyed Jolie’s creepy vibe. Jolie is always pushing these sorts of boundaries and I appreciate that. I know I’m going to get something different from one of her movies — and in SALT it’s not just a lady kicking ass. In SALT, we never know who’s side she’s on, something even most male action-movie actors rarely get to play out.

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A New Web Site: I Haz One


My new web site is up! I now have a nifty new navbar above and recent posts available from any page on the site. M latest tweet shows up in the top left corner and I even have a funky tag cloud. What do you think?

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Amanda Seyfried of MAMMA MIA fame stars in this re-imagining of the Little Red Riding Hood folk tale called RED RIDING HOOD due out in March 2011. Plot summary via

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life.

Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon’s arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast–one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect…and bait.

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