This is really special. I have one fabulous complete set of the brilliant “Prime Suspect” series from the BBC and PBS, starring Helen Mirren as police detective Jane Tennison. USA Today called it “A masterpiece” and “A perfect marriage of astoundingly talented actress and brilliantly conceived character.” The Washington Post raved, “One of the great character creations of our time.” It is a gritty drama about a dedicated woman who faces challenges to her authority inside the department as well as the challenges in solving crimes outside. Mirren is unforgettable as Tennison. You might not want to work for her but if someone happened to someone you cared about, you’d want her on the case. The show has won a basketful of awards including Emmys, Golden Globes, and the prestigious Peabody.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which Helen Mirren role is your favorite. I will select a winner at random one week from today. Good luck!
And so, when the movie opens, showing us Salt/Jolie being tortured by North Koreans, wearing nothing but her scanties, all of that comes along with whatever we are learning about her character. She is fierce and brave and will do anything it takes to protect her home. Once she is rescued, she holds it together until she sees who it was who insisted on getting her out, not the CIA, which has strict procedures for calculating the greater good, but her German boyfriend Mike (August Diehl), a scientist specializing in spiders.
Five years later, she has a desk job at a CIA cover organization and is getting ready to celebrate her wedding anniversary when a Russian guy shows up with an offer to provide information. He says that Salt is a Russian spy and is about to kill the Russian president (yes, I know that does not seem to make much sense). Her long-time colleague Ted (Liev Schreiber) believes she is telling the truth when she says she is loyal to America. But another official named Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) wants her investigated. Salt runs. It could be because she thinks Mike is in danger or because she does not trust Peabody. Or it could be that the Russian was right.
The chase and fight scenes are well staged, especially when Salt leaps across the tops of trucks as they race along a highway. But the absurdity of the plot is made even harder to accept because Jolie’s dignified diligence seems so out of step with the film’s tone. The Jolie of “Tomb Raider” and even “Gone in 60 Seconds” knew how to have fun on screen. But the wild child era is over, and even in film these days, Jolie seems to want to go for the gravitas. If so, this is the wrong movie.
The Daily Beast has a great gallery of villain fashion. Sean Macaulay writes very perceptively about what we learn from the way the bad guys dress.
The key to any great supervillain–and why we secretly like them–is that they are not destroyers, at heart, but creators. They don’t want riches or power, they want to realize a vision. They are arrogant and remote. Their certainty is breathtaking. But there’s no denying their artistry.
Macaulay notes that good guys tend to be conservative. They are about preserving the status quo and playing by the rules. Bad guys want to shake things up. They have vision — yes, evil, destructive vision — but they undeniably want to make some big changes. They want to stand out and make a mark and that is often reflected in their attire. Macaulay admires the stark contrast in the style choices of the two arch-villains and arch-rivals in “Despicable Me.” One is goth-grubby traditional with his gray sweater and striped scarf, his alligator sofa, rhinoceros chair, vehicles made from scrap metal emitting puffs of dark smoke, and beds made from bomb casings. The other is sleek and spotless, everything white and shiny with orange accents.
The accompanying gallery is a bit disappointing, though. Every one of the sartorial examples is male and three out of twelve are James Bond villains. They’ve left off my favorite fashion-forward villains. I’d include The Snow Queen in the Narnia movies, Hannibal Lecter with the face mask to keep him from biting, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger as The Joker, the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz,” Disney villainesses like Ursula in “The Little Mermaid” and Malifacent in “Sleeping Beauty,” Agent Smith in the “Matrix” movies, Alex in “A Clockwork Orange,” Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men,” various Draculas, and the greatest fashion icon villain of them all…..