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Wolf Lightning Day

Yay!  It’s Wolf Lightning Day!  Whatever the hell that is.  All I know is this week we trade the ‘crap’ of mid-winter movies for the ‘pap’ of late winter releases.  It’s like receiving an Orlando Bloom poster as a belated birthday present.  Sure, you’re happy to get a present, but what do you do with it?  It’s made for public display and it’s terminally out of style.  Given the upcoming holiday, a better example would be getting a lame and/or impersonal present for Valentine’s Day (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).  What would you do with a Costco tub of chalky sweethearts?  Or a broken (but supposedly easy to fix) vacuum cleaner?  Or an unused ticket for last weekend’s Superbowl?  These items barely have enough value to be put up on the worldwide yard sale of eBay.  If I were given one, I wouldn’t be sure if it was a gift or an inside joke that I don’t get.  Such items aren’t Valentine’s gifts, they are Valentine’s whiffs!  Can I get a ‘hell yeah?’

“As gooey and lacking in protein as a chocolate holiday bonbon, Valentine’s Day plays like a feature-length commercial produced by the Friends of the Valentine Promotional Society.” Variety Todd McCarthy

That was more of a “hell meh,” but it’ll do.

“Aggressively unfunny and unromantic, Valentine’s Day’s chief concern appears to have been the corralling of its cast of a thousand stars; it seems far less attention was paid to what to do with that cast once assembled.” Austin Chronicle Kimberley Jones

Claiming a “cast of a thousand stars” doesn’t sound as exaggerated when you see the list of who’s in the movie: Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, and Taylor Swift. If you have all this star power and a shameless holiday tie-in, maybe an engaging story and believable characters aren’t necessary after all.

“Makes you hate the day. Isn’t Garry Marshall (76) too old for a fluffy romantic comedy for teens? Lots of stars get paid for 3 days of easy work.”  Victoria Alexander FilmsInReview.com

Hey, that cast of overpaid actors slaved over this project for 3 whole days, can’t we all afford to donate 2 hours to their efforts?

“Light your money on fire and watch it burn. It will have an equivalent entertainment value and you’ll save on gas, parking and snacks.” Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine

Couldn't they have used a smaller bill for this demonstration?

While this looks like it might be fun (as long as it’s someone else’s money), what about all the young couples who are looking for a dark place to make out this Sunday?

“It’s a romantic piffle stuffed with so much candy that your skin could break out.” New York Observer Rex Reed

Nothing says teenage romance like a bad case of acne.

“Cliche piles upon cliche in this tepid comedy.” Harvey S. Karten Compuserve

So, we’re better off stopping to smell the roses instead of paying attention who’s grass is greener?  Anyone want to sum up the experience of watching a movie devoted to our country’s most lovingly commercial holiday?

“This is probably how it feels to be strangled with a candy necklace.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

Who knew that violent death would be something that Valentine’s Day has in common with Wolfman (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)?

“You know a horror film’s in trouble when the morning-after scene is more satisfying than the ‘night before.'” Steven Snyder Techland

Night-before/morning-after scenes are another thing romance and horror movies have in common.

“The Wolfman constitutes a pleasant surprise, if “pleasant” can be used to describe a brooding $100 million-plus diversion with this many beheadings and eviscerations.” Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

I don’t think “pleasant” is the word you’re looking for.  When discussing expensive amusements that involve the removal of people’s heads, perhaps “loathsome” or “odious” would be more appropriate.

“Del Toro gives his least mumbly performance in years, Blunt provides the film with a little heart and Hopkins delivers the laughs.” Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel

Humor?  Check.  Heart?  Check.  Mumbles?  Not present.  Scares?

Boo.

“While The Wolfman has some really proud moments, ultimately it feels like a Franken-film… In short, when the Wolf Man wasn’t ripping off people’s heads — it was unbearably boring.”  Brad Miska Bloody Disgusting

That review certainly lives up to the name of the publication.  For those of you who are eating while reading, I apologize.

“There’s more emotion in the monster’s howls, which were created by a baritone opera singer, than in Del Toro’s monotone mutterings.” David Germain Associated Press

Hold on.  You’re blaming a movie for having a stunt howler?  That doesn’t seem fair.  We don’t criticize stunt butts when actors use them.  Or at least, we only criticize the choice, not the butt.

“Congratulations Universal – you made Van Helsing 2.”  Todd Gilchrist H Magazine

Ouch.  That review feels like a silver bullet to the heart.

“In any event, The Wolfman makes a satisfactory date movie for Valentine’s Day, which is more than can be said for Valentine’s Day.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

Well, if we’re ranking the movies most likely please filmgoers this weekend (assuming they are willing to see something that doesn’t involve snogging), the numbers say you’re better off with the offspring of the Greek Gods: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

It seems like the question plaguing critics is: does this movie have too much in common with other young adult fantasy franchises?  For every Harry Potter, there is a Golden Compass.  For every Twilight, there is a Cirque De Freak.   Is this story the beginning of something new or just the newest thing?

“Whether audiences will get behind The Lightning Thief is hard to predict. Overall, it’s an entertaining introduction to a promising new world — but will the consuming shadow of Potter be too big to break free of?” Ben McEachen Sunday Mail (Australia)

Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to figure out.  Let’s start from the top.  Is it a concept that today’s kids can get behind?

“A fantasy adventure that fuses Greek mythology to contemporary American places and values. Anyone around 15 (give or take a couple of years) will thrill to the visual spectacle.”  Andrew L. Urban Urban Cinefile

So, the closer I am in age to the protagonist’s, the more likely I am to enjoy it?  That’s okay for your target audience, but most of us have been waiting for a good movie since New Years.

“Percy Jackson isn’t a great movie, but it’s a good one, trotting out kernels of Greek mythology like so many Disney Channel references.” Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

Do kernels of Greek mythology become the popcorn of the Gods at some point?

“Director Chris Columbus has fun with this goofy premise, but as always I am distracted by the practical aspects of the story. Does it bother the Greek gods that no one any longer knows or cares that they rule the world? What are the genetic implications of human/god interbreeding?” Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

An implication of human/god interbreeding: The reverse mermaid

“In Columbus’ hands, it once again all breaks down into a series of rushed, breathless special-effects setpieces, in a thrill ride that isn’t headed anywhere new.” The Onion (A.V. Club) Tasha Robinson

But we don’t pay for thrill rides because of their destination, the joy is in the journey.  I suppose the most important question should be, is the journey worth taking?

“What’s really lacking in The Lightning Thief is a genuine sense of wonder, the same thing that brings viewers back to Hogwarts over and over again.” Ethan Alter Hollywood Reporter

I wonder what makes wonder genuine.  A few years ago I heard about a Potter lawsuit involving the Books of Magic graphic novels which featured a boy wizard with glasses and a pet owl.  The problem with the lawsuit was, the Books of Magic were published first.  The existence of something similar doesn’t have to make the wonder less genuine.  Novelty doesn’t necessarily indicate quality.

Key difference: Harry Potter rides a Nimbus 2000, Tim Hunter rides a NASH

“Slavishly follows every rule of the kids’ fantasy franchise genre, but it’s a well-executed and imagined world. Bet the sequel’s darker.” Empire Helen O’Har

So the movie is good (not great) because it all feels familiar even though it’s different, but critics are still implying there should be a sequel.  Is there anything this movie does that’s original?

“Uma Thurman demonstrates she can wear a snake-covered head as gracefully as Pierce Brosnan can trot around with a horse’s netherlands.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

PDJ can't decide which is scarier.

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2 Responses

  1. I think you are wrong about Orlando Bloom.

  2. i was beginning to really feel i may possibly be the only gentleman whom thought about this, at the least at present i understand im not ridiculous 🙂 i will be sure to examine a few various other articles after i get a bit of caffeine in me, it is actually stressful to read without my coffee, I was really late last evening playing myspace poker and after downing a few brewskies i wound up melting away all my facebook poker chips take care 🙂

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