Wilder's Movie Review

By: Dwayne Wilder

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Theoretically, It’s a Great Movie!
 
The story has all the elements of being great: romance, impossible odds and world relations consequences. The film is even better!
 
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” opens wide this Friday in the United States. It opened in 18 theaters two weeks ago; and made a respectable $226,000. I saw it last week in a screening that was only about half full; and that is about 200 people’s loss………….
 
The title – from the novel of the same name – puts you off at first. I was reluctant to see it only because who wants to see fishing in the DESERT?! But then, I started learning more about the story and when I heard that Ewan McGregor was the lead, I wanted to see it!
 
But first the story……….a fisheries expert is asked by a Yemen sheik’s representative to give his thoughts on the feasibility of introducing salmon fishing to the desert. Now, this is only the beginning! It doesn’t sound like much, but other factors complicate and complement things. For instance, the sheik’s motivations are actually pure and not selfish; the representative is persistent and the relationship between expert and rep grows during the project.
 
Then, you have the British government getting involved because it is a ‘feel good’ story about the Middle East instead of one that involves killing and death. I was pleasantly surprised and gratified that the story comes together in such a special way.
 
Yet, this doesn’t happen without the right actors playing the roles. And that brings me to McGregor! As Dr. Alfred Jones, the fisheries expert, McGregor has now done his signature role. In recent years, he has quickly become my ‘best actor in the world in waiting’ guy. In other words, I am watching him during his career and I expect him to be the best at some point. (FYI: Right now, it is Dustin Hoffman who took over for Jack Lemmon who died in 2001.)
 
McGregor gets there by this performance. He is British and it calls for a British character, so this works great, but he and co-star Emily Blunt agreed on his dialect, which is perfect in the character of Dr. Jones, fish guy!
 
And speaking of Ms. Blunt, who plays the sheik’s rep Harriet, I am impressed as well. She has done several good roles over the past decade and is quickly becoming a strong actor in her own right. She plays this part so well that if I went to the offices in London, I would expect to see someone exactly like her working there!
 
And the chemistry between Jones and Harriet is all McGregor and Blunt! It builds as the project continues and is just like real life; this is how you know it’s a good story/movie!
 
There aren’t a lot of characters in this story, but the ones present do justice to the story. Amr Waked is excellent in his (actually) smallish role as Sheik Muhammed. He is central but the story is really about the project. And Waked is perfect in this role. When he and McGregor and Blunt are on the screen together, it is simply movie ‘magic.’
 
Tom Mison portrays Captain Robert Mayes, Harriet’s would be boyfriend, who is central to the story, but is only present at the beginning and end. You’ll understand eventually!
 
But the one supporting actor that is awesome is Kristin Scott Thomas as the prime minister’s press secretary, Patricia Maxwell! She is simply incredible in this role. She makes every scene come alive and makes the most of her limited time on screen. You will laugh and guess what? -------------------------You’ll laugh some more!
 
Director Lasse Hallstrom is to be commended for an excellent film. He puts the actors in the right places and gives them the chance to make this story come alive. I am impressed with all of it: the acting, directing, set design and cinematography.
 
And what more can I say about the story?! Novelist Paul Torday and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy have brought an incredible story to life. I understand it is based on true events and that makes it even more incredible! To think that this actually happened………Wow!
 
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is 111 minutes long and rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content and brief language. It was filmed in London and Yemen and won best picture at the Toronto Film Festival last year.
 
This is the best film I’ve seen this year. Ewan McGregor will get an Oscar nomination for his work! ‘Salmon Fishing’ is a feel good story with romance and a triumph over impossible odds. The people involved are keys to the story and they shine in this movie.
 
It isn’t in Sherman this weekend, but it will be in the Dallas area. If you don’t get to go, I hope it comes to Sherman soon so you can! It is that good of a movie. Don’t miss it!!!
 
How High?
 
The new movie, “21 Jump Street,” is the theatrical version of the 1980s television series starring Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise. In the series, two young policemen infiltrated high school to solve crimes. Their department was at 21 Jump Street; hence the name.
 
In this 2012 incarnation, we have the same idea with two young up-and-coming actors, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, who are sent to ’21 Jump Street’ to work undercover in a local high school. The idea seems okay on the surface, but could easily be done wrong and end up in the bargain DVD bin someday.
 
Lucky for us, the producers of the film let Phil Lord and Chris Miller direct Hill and Tatum in such a way that rises above simply slapstick and parody. These guys actually do a good job as the bumbling cops who are given one more chance in the special unit.
 
This is Hill’s type of movie; it’s fast paced; he gets some good lines and he gets to bounce off a co-star. His type of humor isn’t done well every time (i.e. ‘The Sitter’), so when it is done right, he shines. And Tatum is growing as an actor in a very short period of time. Yes, a comedy is the simplest movie to do when you are not ‘schooled’ yet, but he fits in nicely with Hill.
 
I see them doing more movies together as a team.
 
“21 Jump Street” has the guys returning to their old high school to discover the supplier of a new synthetic drug called “HFS.” (You don’t want to know! One of the reasons this film is rated R.)
 
The high school part is a neat idea because it puts each character into the opposite ‘clique’ he was in when they were actually in high school (2005). This shows the smartness of the script. Each gets to learn what it means to be treated in a way they have never experienced. In the confines of the story, the two characters are only a few years removed from the high school experience and the contrast really opens their eyes.
 
And the entire time, the audience is laughing its collective ‘butt’ off……………………..!
 
The climatic scenes during prom night are a nice touch. Both get to live their ‘dream’ as well as catch the bad guys. The movie premise sounds stupid but it is well done, a pleasant surprise to go with the ‘action’ portion of the story.
 
Hill plays Schmidt the nerd and unpopular kid from high school while Tatum is Jenko, the athletic jock popular guy from school. They are befriended by Mollie (Brie Larson) and Eric (Dave Franco), who play the anti-popular ones in 2012’s version of high school. Rob Riggle plays a teacher Mr. Walters, who is featured prominently in the storyline.
 
But the best supporting character is the duo’s captain, Ice Cube, who plays Captain Dickson, leader of 21 Jump Street. You will be howling with laughter during the interplay between these three characters.
 
Writers Michael Bacall and Hill did a great job with the script. The dialogue can be lame at times but overall, it was crisp and funny. Of course, Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell did the original series.
 
This R rated film is 109 minutes long and rated as such for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and material, teen drinking and some violence. The movie was number one at the box office last week in its first week and made $35 million. That’s incredible for a movie with a $42 million budget!
 
One interesting touch is that Depp and DeLuise get to reprise their roles and Depp even has a long speech where he explains his character from the television series! Funny stuff!
 
“21 Jump Street” won’t win any Oscars, but it is better than it should be; and therefore, worth seeing.


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