Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sometimes a film comes along that you wonder exactly what Hollywood was thinking. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton is just such a movie. Its conceit is that the young children who were left in the woods grew up to hunt witches in Central Europe. The film's central nemesis is Famke Janssen who plays the queen of witches, Muriel, hell-bent on Hansel & Gretel's destruction. The makers obviously thought that because superhero genre films are such big business, channeling that into a much-loved family fairy tale would attract today's cinemagoers. But the problem is that this film is so badly made with some particularly awful dialogue and pisspoor performances particularly from the atrocious Arterton that it doesn't even provide an entertaining ninety minute spectacle. Renner isn't much cop here either: he doesn't have much screen presence and doesn't convince as any sort of action hero really. I do wonder whether he will be able to translate any of his earlier potential into anything longterm at all. He was decent in The Bourne Legacy and very good in The Town but nothing else he's been in has been particularly memorable. Janssen and the rest of the cast sleepwalk through the nominal script too. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters may become one of those cult movies that enjoys a life on Blu-ray and DVD as the sort of Saturday night viewing, sitting at home watching it with a few beers but what is more likely is that it will just sink without trace. It is without question one of the worst films I've seen in quite some time…

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

I have always been a big admirer of the first two Die Hard films. They managed to combine a real sense of fun with a pretty sharp, enjoyable script. Die Hard: With A Vengeance, the third effort, was still entertaining but the rot had started to set in. Twelve years passed and the fourth entry, Live Free Or Die Hard, was eminently forgettable. So we fast-forward to 2013 and A Good Day To Die Hard. Policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is forced to head to Russia when he discovers that his estranged son Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) is stranded there. So the grizzled former New York cop turns up only to discover that his son is actually a US spy, working to prevent a nuclear weapons heist. Despite the fact that Willis looks significantly older than he did in the first three, A Good Day To Die Hard starts quite encouragingly. But it doesn't take long before the wheels fall off the car. What made the first two exceptional action films was a strong script and some well-conceived villains. Despite the absence of a decent villain in the third one, there were some nice touches in the script and a  good chemistry between Willis and his reluctant sidekick, played by Samuel Jackson. The problem here is that any wisecracking is kept to a bare minimum and the action is too relentless to give the viewer any time to breathe. Also, there is almost zero chemistry between father and son and the plot feels like a discarded 1980s James Bond film idea. It has a very short running time of only 90 minutes and it is obvious that they are looking to replace Willis with Courtney for a sixth outing of the Die Hard franchise. Let's hope that they give it a little more thought than this one. A Good Day To Die Hard is a tawdry exercise in explosive stunts and unmemorable villains, which is just about watchable but continues the slow decline of one of the better mainstream Hollywood cash cows…

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Well at last after taking it off Unbound, TRIPWIRE 21 is up on Kickstarter to pledge on. With pledges starting at only a £1, then if you love comics and genre, then there's almost no excuse. Here's some sample designed pages and the URL to pledge on it…

Kickstarter TRIPWIRE

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