January 25, 2013, - 4:57 pm

Weekend Box Office: Parker, Quartet, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

By Debbie Schlussel

Only one of the three new movies (that I screened) in theaters, this weekend, is absolutely horrid. But, then, “Movie 43″ was not screened for critics, a pretty big hint that it’s a stinker.

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* “Parker“: This is the new Jason Statham/Jennifer Lopez vehicle. It is incredibly and unnecessarily violent. And it isn’t the greatest of caper or crime movies, but it’s not entirely bad . . . other than the blatant anti-Semitism, that is. I like Jason Statham, and if you like him and his movies, you’ll probably like this, though it isn’t as good as his usual stuff. It’s definitely entertaining, and you won’t be bored. Lopez is only in the second half of the movie and she’s kinda lackluster. Most offensive in this movie is that a criminal is pointedly wearing a Jewish Star/Star of David (and has an obviously Jewish surname), and the camera makes sure you notice that Jewish religious symbol. It’s the only religious symbol, by the way, that you see in the entire movie. Think they’d do that with a character wearing an Islamic crescent charm? Only if you’re on crack. Not sure why this anti-Semitic stuff was inserted into the movie. It wasn’t necessary and has nothing to do with the story or plot, but someone clearly has a thing against the Jews. That’s hip in Hollywood, these days, and for that reason, I suggest you skip this.


The story: Statham is a criminal who has a code of honor. He only robs the wealthy. If his victims listen to him and do what he says, they won’t get hurt. And he doesn’t like to kill anyone in the jobs he pulls off. But Statham’s partners in a robbery of the Ohio State Fair don’t have that code. They ask him to give submit his take in the state fair robbery to them and take place in a bigger, more lucrative job. When he turns them down, they shoot and leave him for dead, but he survives. He soon discovers that his one-time partners in crime are in Palm Beach, Florida, where they are planning a jewel heist. Stathem dupes a down-and-out-on-her-luck real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez) into helping him find them and ultimately get his money back. And all the while, he’s being chased by hired hitmen of the Jewish criminals mafia relative.

A good deal of this movie is hard to believe, including Statham’s brief, awful Texas accent and actress Patty Lupone pretending to be J-Lo’s mom. And, as I noted, the movie is just far too violent–and I’m shocked this only got a “PG-13″ rating, when it clearly deserves an “R” and isn’t suitable for kids. Then, there’s the anti-Jewish thing.

I would have given this one HALF A REAGAN (at best), but I can’t because I don’t applaud Jew-hatred in any way shape or form. Is author Donald E. Westlake’s novel, “The Hunter,” on which this movie is based, anti-Semitic, too? I don’t know. Either way, both Statham and Lopez went down several notches in my book because they clearly had no problem with it. Ditto for the alcoholic-tomato-red-faced Nick Nolte, who co-stars and whose attempts to speak are painful to listen to. Man, did he fall from the People Magazine “Sexiest Man Alive” perch. Sorry, Jason Statham, but when you conspire in the defamation of my people, I gotta give you at least . . .

ONE GOEBBELS

Watch the trailer . . .

* “Quartet“: Last year, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (read my review) was marketed as THE movie for senior citizens featuring senior citizens. But that movie–sort of a bad episode of “The Love Boat” for old people–stank. This movie is THE movie for senior citizens featuring senior citizens. Even though it’s predictable, I found it touching, entertaining, and a light and enjoyable movie. It’s directed by Dustin Hoffman and had a lot of Oscar buzz at the end of last year. The movie features many real-life retired British stars of the opera in bit parts. The star, Dame Maggie Smith, you will likely recognize as one of the stars of Palestinian Broadcasting System’s (PBS) “Downton Abbey” (and she’s also in the Marigold Hotel film). The movie also stars comedian Billy Connolly.

The story: A famous female opera singer (Smith) retires to a home for retired musicians and opera singers. There she encounters many of her friends from long ago and also her one true love, her ex-husband (Tom Courtenay), on whom she cheated and whom she left. But she’s still in love with him. In the home, she also encounters many of the problems–such as illness and Alzheimer’s–which face senior citizens in every day life. And some of her former opera colleagues want her to perform in an annual fundraiser to keep the home from shutting down and leaving everyone homeless.

I enjoyed watching this, even though I knew what would happen. Dustin Hoffman has a touch for directing and even making interesting fare out of what could be a very stuffy, depressing, boring story in the wrong hands.

THREE REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters“: Absolutely horrible. Silly, ridiculous, and a bloody, gory, violent, complete waste of time. Plus it has nude nude shots and swear words–not what you’d expect for something based on a kids’ fairy tale and something kids are sure to beg their parents, er . . . womb and sperm donors, to see (and the donors will easily capitulate per usual, I’m sure).

I’m not sure why every single fairy tale must be turned into some sort of slayer, hunter, or vampire movie (a trailer for the upcoming “Jack the Giant Slayer” (some perversion of Jack and the Beanstalk) was shown before the movie began–Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, I Smell Something Very Dumb). But it’s annoying and stupid. Is there some reason we need to re-remake fairy tales into violent action movies? I say “re-remake” because I note that the original Hansel and Gretel is one of the Brothers Grimm tales, and many of the Grimm fairy tales were violent, sexual, and openly anti-Semitic. They were toned down for children, who were not the original target audience, way back then. Now, they’ve been punched back up, and I’m not sure why we’re regressing this way. In any event, the movie is awful, laughable (I laughed several times where I’m sure laughter wasn’t the intended audience reaction), and not entertaining.

The story: Hansel and Gretel are sent into the forest by their parents, whom they never see again. The kids encounter a house made of candy and go inside, where they are imprisoned by an evil witch. But they eventually turn the tables on her and kill her by burning. Then, they grow up to be famous witch slayers who are paid by mayors of various hamlets throughout Europe to hunt and kill witches, as the witches have been kidnapping the towns’ children. They find themselves in a new town and must fight the witches in the forest and find the kidnapped children. There’s not much more to the movie, and I’m making it sound far more exciting than it is. Far more. It’s also completely absurd that in a movie set centuries ago, there is suddenly an automatic machine gun and other accoutrements of contemporary life. Stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton.

If you have the time and money to waste on this, your life must be pretty empty.

FOUR MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

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30 Responses

Debbie,

The Donald Westlake novel that “Parker” is based on isn’t anti-Semitic at all, and isn’t as violent as most movies based on his works.

John Hardin on January 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

“Most offensive in this movie is that a criminal is pointedly wearing a Jewish Star/Star of David (and has an obviously Jewish surname), and the camera makes sure you notice that Jewish religious symbol.”
Oh Debbie, you are Bleepin’ High-larious. What was your previous post about again? And then you go and accuse a movie of being antisemitic because of symbol in your very next post. Um, it’s fictional movie, Debbie. A fictional movie. Unbelievable. I wonder if even you know how hypocritical and ridiculous you sound sometimes.

Anon on January 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Hey Moron, I mean Anon, every scene and line in a movie such as the one described by Debbie is in there for a reason. The Jewish name and symbol attached to the bad guy are there for a reason. Does the bad guy being Jewish have anything actually to do with the story? No. So it’s there to communicate anti-semitism. I guess that if a rat were shown associated with a Jewish bad guy, you would just blow that off also. So, when’s your next meeting with the Bundt or Sharia committee, Anon?

    I was thinking of seeing this movie, but thanks to Debbie now I won’t.

    Concerned Citizen on January 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Is Gemma Arterton nude in Hansel & Gretel? Because if she is, I’m seeing it. It’s Debbie’s mission to screen every movie to ferret out the hairy hidden hand of anti-semitism, but I’m going to see Gemma’s beautiful boobies. I have time, I have money, and beautiful women make me happy.

JJ Glanton on January 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    J.J., thanks for sharing your middle school maturity with us. I am also glad that you have money for your movie and bon bons. You probably had to work some overtime at Arby’s to have enough money for your ticket and snacks. Do get there early though. You need to allow yourself enough time to grunt and groan your way into your seat. After you are warmed up by the show, you could hit a strip club. They love those chubby dudes with sweat pants who toss out dollar bills. Of course, you would have to save up a couple of years to do that, so nevermind. Stick to your movie with bon bons.

    Worry01 on January 27, 2013 at 1:54 am

      Hilarious. You have a Michael Mooresque imagination about how other must be.

      I’m completely comfortable with my healthy attraction to Gemma Arterton. While you are right that I have worked fast food in my early years, I have time and money thanks to starting and running tech companies, employing hundreds of people, retiring young, etc. Since I go to a lot of movies, maybe I should start my own review site. Debbie has her acute angle, I have mine.

      JJ Glanton on January 30, 2013 at 1:32 am

More and more movies are being funded with Arab money, so there is consequently more blatant anti-Semitism. I just don’t go to the movies anymore, and I wish the rest of America would boycott this garbage.

Jonathan E. Grant on January 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm

“I’m not sure why every single fairy tale must be turned into some sort of slayer, hunter, or vampire movie”

Actually it’s quite simple. First you take a story (fact or fiction) and twist the hell out of it, than you re-write it to fit your socialist/liberal/communist agenda. Aesop and the Brothers Grimm are not off limits and neither is the word of G-D. Twist a story one way, than another and before you know it you have an ‘Elders of Zion’ on your hands. It don’t take much to fool the folks that voted for Obama. Make the biggest lie you can think of and keep repeating it. Gradually, people will believe it. Convince yourself and you can convince the world.

…basically, just another step in the Liberal agenda.

theShadow on January 26, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Because Fairy Tales are about good vs. evil and are violent, although it is less graphic by today’s standards. Stop thinking Disney-fied versions. Read the originals. Hansel and Gretel are taken to a forest to starve and/or be eaten by wild animals. (child abuse and murder) This by their womb/sperm donors. They are taken in by a witch who enslaves Gretel and imprisons Hansel so she can fatten him for the slaughter (child abuse, murder, cannibalism . They escape when Gretel figures it out and deceives the witch. They then lock her in her cottage and burn it, the standard punishment for a witch, btw. That’s where the tale ends but you call that not violent?

    Italkit on January 27, 2013 at 3:53 am

25 years ago, if I had walked by a marquis with a title like “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” on it, I would’ve automatically assumed that it was either the latest from Mel Brooks, or Zucker, Zucker & Abrahams. If it becomes a big hit, I wonder if the follow-up will be called “Little Bo Peep The Impaler” or something.

Irving on January 26, 2013 at 4:22 am

Maybe Parker was anti-semetic in honor of the last version of this movie (may actually be the 45h or 5th remake) starred Mel Gibson in Payback, the name was Porter.

ender on January 26, 2013 at 9:47 am

That publicity photo for Hansel & Gretel … boy they some bitchin’ tailors back in the evil Dark Ages, yo? Those are bad-ass leather threads. And the weapons? Off the hook, baby.

Who knew?

In that same line, how come the Anasazi could build such exquisite and complicated earth and stone multi-story structures, ruler straight roads and perfect circle kivas but they couldn’t draw worth a damn? Ever seen the stick figures they painted on walls and the ridiculous animal reproductions?

That right there … doesn’t make sense.

Jack on January 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I don’t think it’s the Dark Ages, Jack. They have fully automatic weapons, belt-fed brass cartridges, smokeless powder, and shotguns.

    JJ Glanton on January 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Of course Arab $ is funding lots of Hollywood movies and that is why there are many slurs against the Jewish People. BOYCOTT anything Hollywood makes these days. Pure trash movies. I watch old movies from when Hollywood and America was at its peak before the downfall starting in the 60’s and increasing until now.

Fred on January 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Denouncing movies one hasn’t seen is a surefire recipe for not being taken seriously. As for your call to boycott movies of the last 50 years (in favor of the crap that constituted at least 70 percent of all pre-1960 movies), no thanks. Two hours at the multiplex or arthouse is a fine date night.

    Seek on January 28, 2013 at 11:52 am

I’m almost as disappointed that the studio would defend the anti-Semitism of the movie (the two comments here by obvious flaks), as I am in the anti-Semitism itself.

But anti-Semitism, unfortunately, always seems to accompany decaying societies. This blog has discussed countless times the decay of the United States, politically, economically, socially and culturally. Like most societies in decay, anti-Semitism becomes rampant. And the liberals are more prejudiced than anybody.

Little Al on January 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Although on second thought, ‘anon’ might be one of the Polish Nazis.

    Little Al on January 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Is Gretel a she-woman stomping the shiite out of significantly larger physical specimens?

Then sign me up! Can’t get enough of these computer-generated fakery she-women beatdowns!

/sarcasm off

PitandPen on January 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Today’s Global Warming Updates are not for the faint of heart (pun intended)…

http://commoncts.blogspot.com/2013/01/global-warming-updates.html

Steve on January 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I just saw Parker today. I didn’t even notice the Jewish Star/Star of David.

I love just about anything with Jason Statham, especially the Transporter movies with the great Luc Besson.

Parker is not one of Statham’s best, but I liked it a lot. Nice story and the bad guys are really bad. Statham is just awesome. I’m not much of a JLo fan, but she was fine in this. Her booty should be listed separately as a star since it got a lot of screen time/closeups, and that’s not a bad thing.

Sneaked over and saw quite a bit of Zero Dark Thirty. Good, but it reminded me of Blackhawk Down. Just has no sizzle mainly. Either be a documentary or entertain.

Jeff_W on January 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Jeff, I usually agree with your take on movies, and this time is no exception. I laughed when I read what you had to say about JLo’s booty being listed separately as a star. I noticed the same thing, first with the tight dresses, then the specially angled camera views and finally, as if in parody, when she was checked for wearing a bug and the camera went right down for a very slow, liesurely look at her backside while she stood there almost naked. Your other comments I agreed with too; not the best Jason Statham movie, but still very enjoyable. This film was directed by Taylor Hackford, a talented director I’ve long admired who’s been around making good movies for years, and the production values and line delivery were good (the first scene at the circus was dynamite). Although the script was occasionally laughable when it turned corny or obvious, it was never slimy. Despite the fact that he’s a crook pulling heists, Parker is a good, honorable theif who doesn’t exploit others, keeps his word and protects his loved ones. Unlike Debbie, I also loved seeing Nick Nolte in the film, even if he’s not exactly a handsome leading man anymore. Debbie’s points are well taken in general, but, like you, Jeff, I didn’t notice the Jewish identity clues either.

    Burke on January 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Really gratifying to see how many of the comments here are about Quartet, the one decent movie reviewed.

Little Al on January 27, 2013 at 3:14 am

    LA, I’m a senior and I love opera but the trailer was a total turn off. I can’t relate to any of those people at all. They’re just a bunch of old fools. Dementia is not a necessary consequence of getting old, not at all but stupid movies like this one encourage the notion that it is and that lives are over once we reach our 70’s if not sooner. It’s just a stupid premise anyway. Many people do retain their voices much later now due to better understanding of the vocal apparatus and training that preserves rather than destroys it but the fact is most singers of that vintage could nto put out a decent performance and the response would be merely sentimental, if not embarrassing.

    If you want the real skinny on these artists, I suggest: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086928/reviews

    Italkit on January 27, 2013 at 4:05 am

Well, I guess we can’t all be smart enough to be in Mensa. Some of us are doomed to be in the great unwashed population that suffers various disabilities as we get older. For someone like me, who is not so extraordinarily gifted, it is nice to see a movie that shows compassion.

Little Al on January 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Funny, Al, since you seem to have so little for anyone who you perceive to have “more” than you do of anything. You’re so full of resentment and bitterness over what you think you’re missing that you can’t be gracious to anyone who disagrees with you. You wanted comments about “Quartet.” I gave you my opinion. I don’t know how old you are but as someone who is considered a “senior” and I HATE that term, I found the movie offensive and condescending. Most of the people I know who have reached their later years have become aware of what it means to be “real” rather than running around flaunting their egos in each others faces and doing “shtick.” That includes opera singers and other show biz types. There’s nothing more pathetic than a bunch of geezers trying to live the lives they had at 35.

    Italkit on January 28, 2013 at 6:16 am

      I’m afraid you’re projecting, Italkit. The use of expressions like “old fools” might still be taken with those of us with limited intelligence to express ‘resentment and bitterness’ regardless of your implied disclaimer. And you “HATE” the term ‘seniors’ — no resentment or bitterness??? And ‘geezers’?

      And going from emotion to intelligence, the thing is, those who keep talking about how smart they are either are much more limited in intelligence, or have emotional blocks that stand in the way of effective use of intelligence. In your case, I suspect, a little of both. Kinds of reminds me of the redoubtable Joshua of the vaunted 160 IQ.

      Your harsh and condescending language in post after post during the time you have ‘graced’ this blog with your comments invites retorts that are a little sharp. This is part of debate and discussion, and if you cannot see this, you need to re-examine your generally-insulting tone, and try to understand how others might view it.

      Little Al on January 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

I saw “Hansel and Gretel” and liked it more than Debbie did (but not by a whole bunch). It reminded me of Rodriguez’s cult classic about vampires, “From Dusk to Dawn.” Like Rodriguez’s movie, the special effects of H & G were terrific and the monsters were very scary. Those who like good horror as I do will, I think, enjoy that aspect of the film. The film also tries to be hip and fun, but that didn’t work out too well, probably because the screenwriter isn’t Tarantino as was the case with Rodriguez’s film.

I agree with Debbie that the bad language in the film was excessive and annoying; those who go to see fairy tales aren’t the same type of people who want to hear the f word in every other sentence; after all, this isn’t a Cameron Diaz or Natalie Portman comedy.

It was interesting to me that witches were portrayed as truly evil. It’s far more normal for them to be shown as misunderstood Wiccan martyrs. The injustice of the Salem witch persecution as an important feminist symbol of past oppression is usually well understood by Hollywood. Somebody slipped up and allowed this film to get past the censors.

Burke on January 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Judging from what Debbie has reviewed…

“Parker”: I’d see the movie in a heartbeat. But when someone singles out a group (like the Jews), I get pretty offended. And after all, I wouldn’t want to finance an Arab sheikh’s son’s flight lessons, would I? (Based on JEG’s observations.) FEH!

“Quartet”: it’s good to see Dustin Hoffman doing a bit of directing on the side. And this movie shows great promise. But I’ll be content to wait for a movie to which MY generation and I can relate. Which would be in about 10-15 years. MEH.

“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”: this is directed by the man who unleashed the Norwegian cult Nazi-Zombie (a redundant term?) flick “Dead Snow”. Do you expect this to be a children’s tale? I don’t think so. Grimm’s stories, in their original form, were not meant to be for children – they were more like Poe than Mother Goose – and the director simply ratchet up the action and the silliness. This would be a great, no-brain action thriller for the connoisseurs of the genre. Sometimes, no-brainers are good. So, YEAH!

Otherwise – NETFLIX, Torrent or (in my case) Skyrim (can;t wait for the latest DLC).

The Reverend Jacques on January 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

Hi Debbie – Although in real life there may be Jews who don’t keep to the straight and narrow, I think novelists and movie-makers have to tread extremely carefully when making a Jew a
villain. I think the Hitler gang took that option away. There’s a lot of idiot-haters out there who’d immediately say – that’s a typical Jew, they’re all like that…

When I used to read Westlake (also his other non-de plumes) there never was any anti-Semitism.

P.S. – in the trailer Parker is doing something illegal while wearing a dog collar.

Nir Leiu on January 29, 2013 at 12:55 am

I might see the Hoffman film. 50% of people over 85 do have Dementia, Alzheimer’s type of one level of severity or another.

But, on the whole, I watch Riff-Trax and avoid Hollyweird. I just can’t help but think that 4 trips to the movies with my family= 1 one-tenth ounce perfect mint state gold coin. Which will be more useful for my kids in 10 years when they are going to college?

Occam's Tool on January 29, 2013 at 1:25 am

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