January 25, 2013, - 4:57 pm
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.
* “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 . . .
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.
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.
Watch the trailer . . .
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