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Relativity Media’s The Raven and Haywire

THE RAVEN


This film is set in a pretty specific time frame, but in a fictional setting, of literary icon Edgar Allan Poe’s life. Apparently the reason that drew director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Speed Racer) to this story was the suspicious events surrounding Poe’s last days. Apparently Poe went missing, and so this left a lot of room for playing around with a cool story set in mid 1800s Baltimore. The story revolves around a series of murders that are inspired by the stories of Poe (played by John Cusack). At first the authorities - the authorities being Detective Emmett Fields (played by Clash of the Titans' Luke Evans) - suspect Poe, but then discover that the culprit is someone else completely when Poe's lover Emily (played by Alice Eve) is abducted. The murderer leaves clues taunting Poe and Fields in an attempt to get them to play his twisted game of cat and mouse. 

Essentially the story is a mystery thriller, a detective story that’s grim, graphic and dark and in the same spirit as Johnny Depp’s From Hell. From the footage we saw it looks to be an interesting movie. If you like period pieces, it looks like the film does a really good job of trying to recreate mid-1800s Americana. 

HAYWIRE


This newest offering from seasoned film director Steven Soderbergh is unique in that it’s a story that he built specifically around professional MMA fighter Gina Carano. He mentioned that upon seeing her fight, he wondered why a movie wasn’t built around her. Enter Haywire, an espionage film starring a terrific ensemble cast comprised of Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Angarano and Channing Tatum. The story revolves around an ex-special ops agent who is contracted to do a mission, only to discover that she is being set-up as the fall guy (or woman, in this case). Her quest to find answers and get revenge on the people who framed her essentially makes the plot of this film. 

From the footage I’ve seen, it looks like Haywire is the story of a female Jason Bourne. Double-crossed elite fighters who have to go into hiding after they are pursued relentlessly by their former bosses - it’s a story that has been told before. What I thought was interesting about the film is that it really wanted to celebrate Carano’s MMA background by allowing her to do her scenes completely, and as a result, the other actors also did their own stunts. The fight scenes we were shown were pretty gritty and amazing and definitely very Bourne-ish. Soderbergh shares a funny anecdote about Michael Fassbender, who has a very physically-grueling fight scene with Carano’s character in a hotel room and says that Fassbender also did his own fight scenes and that the padding given to the actors for protection did not at all help against Carano’s attacks. It’s nice to see more female-centered action flicks, so this will be a welcome addition to that roster.