This isn’t your parents’ Hansel and Gretel

Gemma Arterton

Gemma Arterton (Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Director: Tommy Wirkol

Actors:   Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton 

Rating:  ***

My only defence for watching this is it’s Halloween. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters starts with the traditional Hansel & Gretel story: abandoned siblings, tasty candy house, a child cooking witch, and ultimately witchicide. From there, the director takes a pinch of each of the popular teen genres in attempt to film something an audience will pay to see. There’s a sexy bad witch, a sexy good witch, sexy witch hunting siblings, trendy skin-tight leather outfits, really dark sets, blood, exploding bodies, steampunk like weapons, martial arts and trolls. Whew, oh yeah, swear words, a bare witch backside, a nipple flash, the torturing of captive witches, exploding peasants, sheriff’s men getting squashed and lots and lots of stunt people.

Don’t worry there is a story, something about finding eleven children that have disappeared from the village or something like that. If you want to see dead witches killed in multiple gory ways then this is the movie for you. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters can best be summed up by the words of Hansel himself, “Never walk into a house made of candy”, and “the only good witch is a dead witch”.

Jack Reacher: No Scientologists were hurt in the making of this movie

English: Rosamund Pike at the 2010 Toronto Int...

Rosamund Pike at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jack Reacher (2012)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Actors:    Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo

Novelist Lee Child‘s, Jack Reacher makes it to the screen, about a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter, in a not too bad thriller with Tom Cruise in the title role. Take an apparent random shooting of five people, a seemingly deranged sniper, throw in a gulag survivor, a beautiful defence lawyer, and an almost mythical ex-military police officer,lots of mistrust, add a few predictable twists and you have the gist of this movie.

If you like shooting and violence this is the film for you. Tom Cruise plays Reacher as his usual intense, focused and clichéd angry man character that romances the girl and bests the bad guys in the end.

Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo are good British actors once again strangely being cast as Americans. Robert Duvall plays a half blind ex-marine shooter that helps Reacher out. I’m guessing Duvall needed some fast money because he is sort of over-qualified for the role he has here. At 130 minutes the movie is at least 20 minutes too long, but still worth a Netflix look.

Are You Sure the Running time is Only 84 Minutes?

Cropped screenshot of Olivia de Havilland and ...

Remember Errol Flynn  for this role instead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Big Boodle (1957)

Director: Richard Wilson
Actors:    Errol Flynn, Rossana Rory

Rating:★☆☆☆☆

Set and filmed in pre-revolution Havana, this crime drama revolves around a casino card dealer (Errol Flynn) pulled into a counterfeit peso scandal. A tired and old-looking Flynn puts in a wooden performance worthy of a Sylvester Stallone film

To Flynn’s advantage the other actors’ performances are even worse than his. The production quality of the film has that “see I can make a movie for under a $1000” look about it. Not to be outdone by the acting and the production quality, the dialogue screams for the viewer’s attention with gems such as this line from a police colonel to Flynn’s character, “Maybe you can deal dealer, but you don’t like it when they’re dealed to you.”

On the plus side no colour film was used during this movie’s production and it is only 84 minutes long. This is not a movie you should watch if you are an Errol Flynn fan. There is no truth to the rumour this film was the catalyst for Castro’s revolution.

I saw this on Netflix: Heavenly Creatures

Cover of "Heavenly Creatures"

Heavenly Creatures

 

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

 

Rating:         ★★★★☆
Director:     Peter Jackson
Actors:         Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet

 

Heavenly Creatures is a fictionalized retelling of the events of the infamous Parker-Humle murder case that shook the people of New Zealand in 1954. Two girls, Pauline Parker (aged 16) and Juliet Hulme (aged 15) create a fantasy life for themselves and to stop from being separated, they plan and carry out the murder of Parker’s mother by hitting her in the head forty-five times with a brick.

 

Humle is played by Kate Winslet in her first movie role and Parker is played by Melanie Lynskey who would go on to play the stalker neighbour in the TV sitcom, Two and a Half Men. Director Jackson in his pre-Lord of the Rings days presents a chilling story of seemingly innocent teenagers turning into cold-blooded murderers. Well worth 99 minutes of your time.

 

An interesting side note is that after the release of the movie, journalists discovered that Juliet Hulme now lives in Scotland and is known today as the best-selling mystery author Anne Perry.

 

Interview with Anne Perry (Juliet Hulme) discussing the murder

 

 

Green Lantern: Well at least I enjoyed the popcorn

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern.

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Green Lantern (2011)

 

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

Director: Martin Campbell
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively

 

Review

 

This is a superhero movie where the green power of will is threatened by the yellow power of fear. After I realized there was no character named Will, I believed there must be truth to the power of will as the more I feared the movie would never end the weaker my will to live became.

 

As in all Ryan Reynolds films, Mr. Reynolds plays himself, but this time appearing in a green costume. The creature Reynolds fights looks like a cloud octopus thingie (no need to dwell). I won’t embarrass the rest of the cast by mentioning them here.

 

The Decoy Bride

the-decoy-bride

the-decoy-bride (Photo credit: Crazybananas)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Director:  Sheree Folkson
Actors: Kelly Macdonald, David Tennant, Alice Eve

**Review**

The Decoy Bride (2011) is one of those small British films you can’t help but think someone made to get a big tax write-off. It’s the story of a “movie-star” (Star Trek’s Alice Eve) and her fiancé (Dr. Who’s David Tennant) sneaking to an outer Hebridean island (played by the Isle of Man?) to get married and avoid the paparazzi. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a waste of your time? Well, Kelly Macdonald (from my dreams) is the decoy in the title and saves this film from being totally forgettable. There are some laughs, some sadness and it only lasts 89 minutes.

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

Ai Weiwei during documenta 12 (2007) 中文: 2007年...

Ai Weiwei during documentary (2007) 中文: 2007年,艾未未在第十二屆卡塞爾文獻展。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

**Director:** Alison Klayman
**Actors:** Ai WeiWei

**Review**
The Chinese Artist and activist Ai WeiWei. I knew of him, but not about him and this documentary changed that. It’s a look inside the artist’s life, his art, his politics and his unique way of living and changing the world around him. If you want to watch a documentary that will make you realize you haven’t done much worthwhile in your life then this is the one to watch.