I’ve decided that it was time that *someone* do running movie reviews of both new and old movies so that those of you who are thinking about buying or renting various films might get some idea of what you might be getting yourselves into. Some of these will be new, some of these will not – in case you think I give a shit whether or not I am keeping these fuckers current, think again. This is at MY leisure (isn’t everything?).
There WILL, most likely, be spoilers in these reviews, so if it’s something you think you are DYING to see, then perhaps these reviews aren’t for you.
The rating system is done in stars, just to keep from confusing people with other metaphors and, mostly, because I’m lazy. 🙂
***** // Five Stars
MUY FABULOSO! *LOVED* the movie. Couldn’t be better.
**** // Four Stars
Great movie. Somehow, someone managed NOT to fuck up the story.
*** // Three Stars
Okay movie, could use some improvements. Might like it if it were a gift but would think twice about paying for it.
** // Two Stars
Crap movie. Sure as hell wouldn’t pay for it and probably borderline pissed that I bothered to watch the damn thing.
* // One Star
Complete shit. Don’t pay for it, don’t watch it and, if you are unfortunate to have already done so, burn it at once. Have holy-water on hand.
“Charlie Wilson’s War”
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
I was skeptical of this film as I tend to be skeptical of anything that claims to be based on, or worse yet, “inspired by” a true story and this one falls squarely into the first category.
Let me start by saying that I am NOT a big Tom Hanks fan. I cannot seem to shake images of him and Darryl Hannah from “Splash” years ago that are still burned into my psyche, but every now and then he seems to pull an amazing performance out of his ass like that in “Philadelphia” for example. “Charlie Wilson’s War” is another excellent example of this man actually being able to act. Julia Roberts could have had a better southern accent, but if you’ve seen the scary-ass woman she’s playing (in real life), you will realize that she’s earned that Academy…
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”
Starring: Thomas Kretschmann (I list him first because he is, unbeknownst to him, one of my many future ex-husbands), Ron Perlman, , John Hurt, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor
Let me preface this by saying that I am NITPICKING this crap film because it had SO MUCH potential with Guillermo del Toro – the man is an amazing genius, but I think maybe having done “Pan’s Labyrinth” so soon before starting this one may have fried his ability to be creative (loved “Pan’s,” mind you).
The first weirdness in this movie is discovering that THREE different people play the new Ectoplasmic head-of-operations, Johann Krauss. First, it is played by Thomas Kretschmann (who, even though he *IS* a native German, didn’t *sound* German enough – more on that in a moment), then James Dodd (a dancer, nonetheless – even though Johann doesn’t do any dancing that *I* am aware of in this movie) and, finally (sort-of) John Alexander (an unknown). Apparently none of them could produce a German enough sounding voice (even the German), so it is played by THREE people and then VOICED by another (Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” and “American Dad” fame – yes, I know…).
John Hurt (whose voice alone I have always loved even outside of his acting abilities) has merely a bit part as Hellboy’s “father” in this movie with a terribly animated/acted/THING of a young Hellboy whose head appears to be barely hanging onto the gyroscopic mechanism upon which it is delicately balanced.
They opted to change Abe Sapien’s voice to that of the actual actor’s voice (Doug Jones) from the much more convincing David Hyde Pierce. Doug Jones sounds *somewhat* like Pierce, but lacks the ability to emote properly – there is a REASON he *NEVER* does the voice of the people he plays (body of the Silver Surfer, but Laurence Fishburne the voice, etc., blah, blah, blah). Terrible idea. He is also the Angel of Death (not the voice) as well as the Chamberlain (also not the voice). Wonder why? Listen to Abe for a few minutes and you will know why…
Selma Blair (whom I also normally love) has had a personality bypass in this – she is overstated and underplayed. She’s had a new Super Heroine Du Jour hair-do to go with the abilities and makes sure to blither the same EXACT lines (“you should be running” – great once, but not always) from the first film. There is TOO MUCH of a focus on the she and Hellboy’s relationship in the film and it’s associated bullshit – I didn’t pay to see a love story, I PAID to see a dark, engaging film about the darker side of the world.
There is even (yes) a Troll-Market in this movie that looks like it was right out of the NOT pile of cut scenes from the 1980s film “Labyrinth.” Ugh.
The visual effects are good and the puppet movie in the beginning of the film telling the tale of the beginnings of the Golden Army is fantastic – they should have done the entire movie in this style. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so put off. The creature effects are also incredibly done (a del Toro trademark).
I mention Luke Goss (Prince Nuada) and Anna Walton (Princess Nuala) as they are the break-out roles in this film and are about the only thing that make it worth stomaching. The characters are powerful and beautiful – they are apparently in the wrong movie.
They changed Hellboy’s look just enough to be irritating – the facial hair changes as well as the subtle body changes only make him look closer to Perlman’s actual 50+ age with a head that is way too big for the body. Perlman is brilliant but even he couldn’t save this disaster.
I think the biggest problem I had with this movie is that, while it IS based on a comic (from Dark Horse out of Portland, Oregon, of all places), it tends to be WAAAAAY too comic-book-esque and cheesy. The occasional cheesy line amidst the darkness of the first film was endearing, but here is is just ridiculous and pandering. Also, do you THINK they could have made the “Tecate” product placement a LITTLE *less* obvious?