SILVER BULLET THEORY – “The Wolfman”, reviewed
by Gregory A. Butler
As I’ve pointed out before here on the “MOVIE, REVIEWED” blog, a big budget does not necessarily a good film make.
With some films, it’s obvious they spent millions of dollars on star salaries and special effects – but they apparently got the script from the 99 cent store.
Now, that may be a bit harsh – but, with all due respect to the skills of screenwriters Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self, it applies to Joe Johnson’s “The Wolfman”.
Quite frankly, I suspect that Curt Siodmack, the writer of the original 1941 screenplay adapted by Walker and Self, might just agree with me on that!
In any case, our story begins when American actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) receives an urgent letter from his brother’s fiancée, Gwen Conlife (Emily Blunt), informing him that his brother has mysteriously disappeared on the moors near the rural English estate of his wealthy adventurer father, Sir John Talbot (Sir Anthony Hopkins – yeah, he’s a real live British knight playing a British knight – and Sir Anthony is in full “Silence Of The Lambs” creepazoid mode here)
Gwen urges Lawrence to come to Sir John’s estate as soon as possible to find his brother – but, Lawrence arrives to discover that his brother is already dead – brutally killed in the woods by an unknown creature.
The locals, reverting to small town racism, blame a band of Gypsies encamped near the village – but Lawrence (and we in the audience) quickly discover that this is not the case at all.
Actually, a half man/half beast creature slaughtered Lawrence’s brother – and several other townspeople, and the hunt is on to catch and kill the creature.
Lawrence puts his acting career on hold for the moment and throws himself full tilt into the investigation.
This leads him into an exploration of the traumatic childhood death of his beloved mother, opens the doors to a forbidden love between Lawrence and Gwen and ends up with Lawrence having a chance to explore lycanthropy from the inside.
This should have been the good part of the film.
Unfortunately, at this point, “The Wolfman” becomes mired in overdone special effects, excessive and random killing, overacting and a climactic fight scene that should have been awesome but instead ended up being nothing more than well filmed stupidity.
What could have and should have been a great film ended up being…kinda wack.
[At the end, members of the audience at the AMC Empire Theater on W 42nd St in Manhattan were actually yelling out “I want my money back”!]
On paper, this film should have been awesome – but on the screen, it ended up sucking rather badly – and that’s truly unfortunate, considering the vast sums of money invested in this film and the kind of talent they had in front of and behind the cameras.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is unwatchably bad – 10 is incredibly awesome) I give “The Wolfman” a 5.14.
SKIJACKED – “Frozen”, reviewed
by Gregory A. Butler
In recent years, North American moviegoers have gotten somewhat spoiled by all the multimillion dollar budget films presented before us in the multiplex each week.
It’s easy to forget what a skilled director and a talented writer can do with a simple story, talented actors, a few good locations and a couple hundred feet of film stock – indie auteur Adam Green’s “Frozen” reminds us that you don’t need big bucks to make a good movie.
As the story opens, we meet three twentysomething Boston-area college students – Dan Walker (Kevin Zegers) his lifelong friend Joe Lynch (Shawn Ashmore) and Dan’s new girlfriend Parker O’Neil (Emma Bell) who Joe very much does NOT like.
They’re on the slopes at a New Hampshire ski resort (with Utah standing in for the slopes of the Granite State) and Dan has gotten Parker to sweet-talk the ski lift operator into letting the three friends ride without paying for lift tickets.
This later proves to be their undoing when, on the way up for one last run down the slopes, Dan, Joe and Parker get trapped on the lift.
At first, the three friends think this is just a brief outage – soon, they figure out that they are trapped, because it appears that the lift has been shut down as the resort is closing for the night.
This is kind of a big deal – since this particular ski resort is only open on weekends and it happens to be Sunday night!
Initially, the skiers are only mildly uncomfortable – they’re starting to get chilly, Parker’s fear of heights is starting to really get to her and Joe and Parker both need to relieve themselves (Joe is able to find an undignified but effective way to relieve his bladder – Parker unfortunately can’t do anything about hers).
But then, after an attempt to get help goes horribly wrong, their situation rapidly deteriorates from minor inconvenience to a life or death struggle for survival.
Green keeps the suspense up throughout the last two thirds of the film – and you never know what’s going to happen next.
All in all, “Frozen” is a very good thriller and I would recommend seeing it.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is unwatchably bad – 10 is incredibly awesome) I give “Frozen” a 7.97.