ARRIVING on the silver screen this week by the tried and trusted route of ‘moderately successful book gets reasonable cast and crew attached’ is Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, which some have unkindly dismissed as Local Hero with sand.
That’s unfair. Local Hero had wit, charm, Burt Lancaster and a great soundtrack. This one has got fish.
Here’s the pitch – Ewan McGregor is a buttoned-up boffin recruited by a megabucks sheikh to make his dream come true. The potty potentate wants to bring fly fishing to the dry deserts of the Middle East, and Ewan has just the right CV to head up the project.
He doesn’t really hook into the romance of the idea until he meets the sandy supremo’s smoking hot English representative (Emily Blunt), and then he starts to warm to the project, and the prospect of turning his dull life around.
Paul Torday’s novel has enough fans to ensure a steady start, and the recent success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel shows that there is a market for movies that are aimed at the more mature punter.
A credit for screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, whose biggest hit so far was Slumdog Millionaire but who also penned 127 Hours for Danny Boyle and first hit it big with The Full Monty, should provide reassurance, and calling the shots is Lasse Hallstrom, who has a decent back catalogue of films for grown-ups including The Cider House Rules and Chocolat.
It’s slight, but sweet, and should pick up enough good word of mouth to keep it showing for a few weeks.
> That’s enough for the sweet, let’s get on with the raw meat. In Gone, Amanda Seyfried has to race against time to track down her sister’s abductor.
As it happens, she was kidnapped herself not long ago and she fears that the same nutter has struck again.
But the police think she’s got a screw loose and she has to go it alone.
Seyfried is a welcome surprise in the lead role – looks great, of course, but also does well with a challenging role.
This marks the arrival in Hollywood of much-praised Brazilian filmmaker Heitor Dhalia, and it’s certainly a cut above your standard seat-filler thriller.
> Guy Pearce. What’s he been up to recently? Working steadily, as it happens, and dividing his time between big bucks TV projects in the States and gritty big screen thrillers without a great deal of brain.
Which brings us to Lockout, a slab of sci-fi silliness which is enough to pass an hour or two but no more.
In the future, all the deadliest criminals are slammed up in an orbiting space jail. What could go wrong?
Oh, a VIP’s daughter pops in for a visit – why, pray? – and is promptly seized by the cons and held hostage.
Former government agent Guy, convicted of a crime he didn’t do, is made an offer – set the chick free, come up with plenty of sharp one-liners along the way and kill lots of baddies while you’re at it, and we’ll sort out a pardon. What’s a guy to do?
Watch out for the telltale fingerprints of Luc Besson in the background – that means visually striking sets as well as breathless action throughout.