Six Picks for the Week of August 30 - September 5

Metroid: Other M for the Wii (Tue.)

ImageDial M for moderately good

Samus Aran returns after the successful Metroid Prime trilogy with a direct sequel to the Super Nintendo classic Super Metroid. The Tuesday release is a hybrid of 2D and 3D gaming disciplines that relies more on character development and cinematics than any Metroid game in the series, which can be attributed to developer Team Ninja (Ninja Gaiden II), the creative team behind this new Nintendo Wii chapter. Unfortunately, early reviews for Metroid: Other M have suggested that the increased backstory sexualizes Samus and dials down her legendary badassery.

George Clooney in The American (Wed.)

ImageClooney looks for a hit

Music video legend Anton Corbijn returns with his second feature-length film after his impressive and tragic tale of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, Control. Corbijn ditches the black-and-white palette of his 2007 debut for a colorful trip to Italy with titular assassin George Clooney in this adaptation of the Martin Booth novel A Very Private Gentleman. Clooney plays Jack, the sharp-dressed loner assassin who takes some much-deserved time off from killing and falls for the sultry Clara (Violante Placido). Can he escape his deadly past or will love save him? Find out when The American opens Wednesday.

Machete (Fri.)

Image You call that a knife?

Robert Rodriguez takes a funny “fake” trailer from his co-created Grindhouse and fattens it up to feature-length size. Danny Trejo reprises his role as the campily violent titular Mexican and is joined by up-and-comers Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal, and Nash Bridges co-stars Don Johnson and Cheech Marin in another cheaply made, hyper-stylized violent orgy à la Rodriguez. Lest you think Machete (out Friday) is a machismo all-male fest, the ladies get in on the action too, with Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriquez, and a straight-out-of-rehab Lindsay Lohan kicking some ass.

Get a taste of the carnage on the film’s official website.

Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 (Fri.)

ImageHot shot, part deux

The two-part Mesrine saga, starring Vincent Cassell (Ocean’s Twelve) as infamous real-life French gangster Jacques Mesrine, has finally hit the States. The first part, Mesrine: Killer Instinct 68, opened last week in limited release, while the second installment, Mesrine: Public Enemy #1, arrives in theatres this Friday. The nearly four-hour saga is being described as the French Scarface as the films follow Mesrine’s sordid life in violent crime -- which includes robberies, murder, and kidnappings. The conclusion of Public Enemy #1 relies less on violent action and instead focuses on Mesrine’s manipulation of the media and police while building towards an inevitable finale. Director Jean-François Richet (who directed the Assault on Precinct 13 remake) and the charismatic Cassel won César Awards for the films.

Learn a little more about the Mesrine films at the U.S. website.

Familial, the solo debut for Radiohead's Philip Selway (Tue.)

ImageGive the drummer some

Thom Yorke may be taking forever to put out his second solo album, but Radiohead drummer Phil Selway is stepping up in the interim. Familial is Selway’s first solo album, and the Tuesday release eschews the rocky electro-fizz of his main band and instead goes for a more acoustic, singer-songwriter feel. A few of the collaborators who were on Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide The Sun Came Out project with Selway return, including fellow singer-songwriter Lisa Germano (Lullaby for Liquid Pig).

You can listen to four album tracks and find tour dates at Selway’s website; NPR also has a full album stream, but only until Tuesday.

A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop (Fri.)

ImageNot so simple

Now here’s something you don’t see everyday: a foreign remake of the Coen brothers’ 1985 debut feature Blood Simple. Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) directs the film (originally titled A Simple Noodle Story), which transforms the setting from small Texas town to the desert of northwest China. The film premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival and was warmly received there, but subsequent reaction has been mixed, citing wild tonal fluctuations as a sticking point. (Be prepared: there's a a hip hop dance routine set to an original rap song.) You can see if the director masters the Coens’ style or simply produces another unnecessary remake when A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop opens in limited release on Friday.

View stills and a synopsis at the film’s U.S. website.

Closing the book on last week

Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source:
The Last Exorcism 63 $21.3 million; 1st week at #1
#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: SoundScan)
Eminem: Recovery 62 7th week at #1 (including 2-week gap)
Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)
NFL Preseason: Vikings/49ers (NBC) 10.8 million viewers; week of 8/16-8/22

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Comments (4)

  • Mat R  

    I played Metroid Other M to 100% completion, I can't think of any scenes that really sexualise her. And who was to say that the silent protagonist always had a bad ass attitude, it was shown in Fusion that she had similar thoughts and feelings to that of Other M. I think the critics response to the emotions displayed by Samus pretty much confirm that Western gamers want their heroes to be all badass with a sass mouth. Samus is still a strong woman but understands military order and ranking from her time in the GF, hence her attitude and willingness to follow Adam's lead and she has to bear a damaged core from a tragic past. But she does demonstrate, especially in the last half of the game, that she is strong and persistant, even if she does actually care about the lives of others. Critics also complaining about the voice acting of Samus, but what do you expect? It's supposed to sound like the reciting of a journal, Samus' external voice is only used a little in comparison. And you do notice that her external voice has a sense of power to it compared to the internal monologue.

    I think a lot of people who interpreted this game approached the character from the wrong end of the stick and created this image that all she is is a whiney arty emo kid that was sexistly created to perve on.

  • Ned B  

    machete just looks awesome.

  • Hey Hey Hey  

    I watched a preview screening of A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop yesterday and I do not recall any hip hop dance scene??? I have noooo idea even what this article is talking about.

  • Mitch Tough  

    The first Mesrine film is sufficiently tough.... though don't check it out on a full stomach.

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