Greetings, programs, and welcome to the 18th edition of the Awesome Friday Movie Podcast! This week we’re talking about The Humans, an adaptation of a Tony Award-winning play with an all-star cast, and Hawkeye, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Join us!Continue reading “Awesome Friday Movie Podcast: ‘The Humans’ & ‘Hawkeye’”
The main complaint about Clint Barton’s Hawkeye as a character, at least when it comes to the MCU version, is that he’s boring. I’ve never quite thought that myself, but it’s easy to see where it comes from: he’s a spy that shoots good, and in most of the films, that’s kind of all he is.
What the new Disney+ series Hawkeye proposes is: what if that’s ok?Continue reading “Review: ‘Hawkeye’ premiere episodes are lighthearted fun”
Another week gone by, another literal ton of news to go over. Welcome to the third edition of Awesome News! This week we cover the Hugo Award and Creative Emmy Awards winners, Hailee Steinfeld joins Hawkeye, AppleTV+ launch date and price, Disney+ full launch day roster, a feature length Kung Fury is still happening, Michael Fassbender is working with Taika Waititi, and new movies from Funko Pops (yes, really) and M Night Shyamalan. No word on a collaboration between those two. Yet.
Anyway let’s get to it.
Despite having the lowest summer box office in over a decade 2017 has been a great year for movies. It’s actually hard to believe that the box office has been so bad given just how many great movies have come out. It’s almost like the a glut of sequels and remakes combines with going to the movies being a kind of shitty experience is starting to take a toll. Or everyone spent the summer outside. You never know.
In any event, since I haven’t been writing reviews as diligently as I should (read: at all) I’d like to present you a few performances from this year in roughly chronological order that are worth of both your time and hefty amounts of praise. Mild spoilers for all films discussed.
Two summer movies that I saw! Hooray!
Yeah, I know, I’m still playing catch up.
Ed. Note: I’m not dead, i was just resting. Time to start catching up.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is out in just two weeks. Here are posters for each of the characters.
And that seems to be the theme of the second *Avengers* movie – self-destruction of the team from within. Here’s the second full trailer!
Here’s the other big bit of Marvel news I missed. Age of Ultron has a teaser trailer and poster.
I’ve been on hiatus so here’s me catching up on the movies I’ve seen.
In the 1980s one of the USAs biggest scandals was Iran-Contra, in which profits from arms sales to Iran were funnelled to Contra rebels in Nicaragua. That wasn’t the only source of cash for the Contras though; Reporter Gary Webb uncovered that Contras were helping Columbians smuggle cocaine into the USA with the Government and it’s agencies looking the other way (at least).
If it sounds like it would make a good movie then you’re in luck because they made a movie out of it.
The [first trailer was mainly just clips set to music](https://awesomefriday.ca/2013/08/american-hustle-trailer-has-bigger-balls-than-you/) and it looked awesome enough. This one has some character and plot elements and I’m even more on board.
American Hustle looks like it might be another smash hit from director David O. Russell, he of _Silver Linings Playbook_ and _The Fighter_ fame. You’ve already [seen a trailer for the abscam thriller](https://awesomefriday.ca/2013/08/american-hustle-trailer-has-bigger-balls-than-you/) and now you can get a closer look at the characters.
David O Russell has made some great films and it looks like he’s basically asked everyone who’s been nominated for an Oscar in his last few to come back and be in his new one, American Hustle. The film is a fictionalization of the ABSCAM FBI sting of the 1970s starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. That cast alone is enough to get my butt in a seat, but there’s a trailer now too so let’s check that out.
I must admit that when I first started hearing about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters I had some moderately high hopes. You see, there’s a type of movie that I would rather enjoy: the popcorn flick. You know the type; it’s a bit ridiculous, with lots of one-liners and actors having fun. We’re not talking about high art here; we’re talking about fun. Fun at the movies.
We’re talking about the type of movie where you sit down, turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. I was disappointed by a couple of films that promised to be this last year. So, how are we doing with the first big effort this year? Actually, pretty good!
Director Tommy Wirkola’s resume isn’t that long, but he’s best known for the horror comedy Dead Snow, a horror-comedy film released a few years back about a group of kids being terrorized by Nazi zombies. Thinking about that movie now, it feels like a dry run leading up to this. Where that movie faltered mixing up the horror and comedy, this movie has a pretty good mix of action and comedy plus a healthy dose of blood and guts and gore to round things out.
The story is fairly basic. Hansel and Gretel survive the childhood ordeal slightly differently than you remember it from the fairy tale and end up orphan witch hunters who come to a town with a bunch of kids gone missing under mysterious circumstances. Much anachronistic badassery ensues.
There’s not anything here you haven’t seen before, though and at just over 90 minutes long, there isn’t really time for anything you haven’t seen before, either. This movie is short and to the point; what little back story we need is given in a brief prologue and then the beautifully animated credits, and then we jump right into the story.
This is actually one of the film’s major strengths. Previous fairy tale re-imaginings I’ve seen that try to make sure you know they’re serious films end up boring. This movie doesn’t want you to be anything other than entertained, so the plot is kept to a minimum and the action to a maximum, and despite its predictability, it works. When things are revealed, you’re not going to be surprised, but you’ll probably be too busy enjoying a well-staged fight, some well-executed gore, or a zingy one-liner to care.
Speaking of action and gore, there’s a nice blend of practical and digital effects at play, too. Some things are obviously CG, but there’s one big practical effect that I loved. The film is rife with anachronism as well; seemingly set in the early 1800s, but the weapons in Hansel and Gretel’s arsenal appear to be from anywhere from the 1860s to the 1920s, and everyone speaks in a thoroughly modern mode of speech.
I’m sure a lot of these elements are going to wear thin pretty quickly for some. Chalk it up to the film’s short running time that they did not for me.
The film stars do pretty well with what they’re given. Jeremy Renner might be phoning it in, but Jeremy Renner phoning it in is still pretty good. Gemma Arterton plays the whole thing as an over-the-top ass-kicker and gets some great one-liners in, and while Famke Janssen isn’t amazing, her character is such a one-dimensional bad guy that it doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is that it seems like everyone involved is in on the joke, and as such it feels like everyone involved is having a blast making the movie.
Despite being a little repetitive, and a little derivative, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a solid B-movie, delivering action and effects and, where it needs to, performances. It’s not high art, but it is a good time at the movies.