Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Movie Mini-Reviews 1

Will Smith, Jason Bateman
I loved the premise of this film. What if a superhero was not a nice guy but a drunk, and a coke snorter? What if he's a fuck-up and doesn't care about anyone but himself ? What if he's homeless, imperfect, a jerk? What if he's black?

Being life-long comic book fan, it sounds like a breath of fresh air. But a movie is more than one original idea, charismatic stars, an abundance of special effects. Hancock works at times and sometimes not. Despite the innovations in the script, the screenplay occasionally veers into typical Hollywood superhero movie cliches in the second half, which makes what could have been a great movie into merely a fine one.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Ron Perlman, Selma Blair
Though the first Hellboy worked very well as terrific superhero movie, nicely imagined by the thoughtful auteur Guillermo Del Toro, This picture is the rarest of the rarest, a sequel that outdoes the original. Now that all the origin business has been taken care of, we plunge directly into the story, which is a monster fest: wonderful, outrageously imagined monsters and beasties, each one more frightening and strangely beautiful than the last. The story is a standard Hobbit-like battle of good vs. evil, So it doesn't matter much, but the film itself is a magical feast for the eyes and also unexpectedly funny and tender.

Chapter 27
Jared Leto, Linsday Lohan
Pointless. This plodding, glacially challenged snore fest is borderline offensive: a minute by minute account of the days leading up to the murder of John Lennon. Leto too effectively plays Mark David Chapman, a self absorbed creep who at first is enamored with the formal Beatle, and then through contrived circumstances, decides to gun him down. Lennon himself is a mere shadow. The film attempts to depict this diseased killer's state of mind. Personally, I was much more interested in Lennon's state of mind just before this asshole shot him. This movie rewards him with just what he wanted: immortality, just like his former hero. He doesn't deserve it.

The Incredible Hulk
Edward Norton, William Hurt
Of the two Marvel comics vehicles this summer, this is the weaker one. The formula is in place: A-List actors in an action-filled popcorn movie. The first half, depicting Norton as the eternally suffering Bruce Banner in South America, desperately learning how to control his anger which could lead to freeing the monster inside him is fun and absorbing. Norton does a nice job humanizing the proceedings. But almost the instant when he shows up stateside in the second half, the CGI generated Hulk steals the show, along with endless gunfire, explosions and even uglier monsters for Hulk to smash. Too bad, because they really had something there for a minute.

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