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So, we're back to the common or garden multiplex after our little festival jaunt, which means that Craig's back with us. Huzzah!
Not a promising start, as we kick off talking aboutThe Incredible Hulk, which is most certainly not Incredible in the least. This speedy reboot of the series after Ang Lee's criminally under-rated Hulk, presumably to fit in with the new Marvel Studio's vision of their IP sees Ed Norton become Bruce Banner and The Hulk become a big green unconvincing CG mess. With a cast looking so completely bored it's next to impossible to care about the CG creations once the action kicks in. Rather lifeless and tedious.
Going completely rather than largely CG, with Dreamwork's Kung Fu Panda drawing heavily on Star Wars parallels, this sees a chosen one learn the mystical ways of the Force, or Kung Fu, or something to defeat an evil lord of the Sith, or Kung Fu, or something. Chock full of uninteresting CG chopsockey and vocal performances from big ticket actors that add very little to proceedings, KFP isn't a terrible film, just one that's been hit around the head with the mediocrity spanner until it's gone wonky.
Quality takes a leave of absence as we look at The Ruins, where a bunch of vanilla general issue teens take a trip up a vine covered Mayan temple. And the vines attempt to kill them. Ooooooooookay. Trying to make hedge trimmings scary was always likely to be a losing proposition and this manages to (drum roll please) Ruin it completely (badoom-tish). Simply not scary in the slightest, and it shows a complete absence of clue as to what's actually scary. Avoid.
The extraordinarily silly Wanted manages to pack more ludicrous...ness into a film than practically any action flick since John Woo's heyday. With a plot we'll politely skip over, this film is saved by knowing exactly how silly it is and taking itself rather lightly, and is pleasingly bloodsoaked, more than earning its 18 rating in a world chock full of PG-13 diet action shootouts. And it has an army of bomb rats, so is therefore recommended.
Hancock sees Will Smith as a drunk, angry, rude superhero who causes as much damages as the criminals he stops, leaving him pretty much universally hated. After Hancock saves a PR man from a train crash, he decides to repay him by working on making the general public see how much they need him and try to make Hancock a shade more palatable. For an hour, Hancock is very funny, well acted and a breath of originality in a cinema scene choking on the dry bones of Superhero flicks. The last half hour trails away into a high concept relationship drama that's a little too flat for its own good, but the first hour is more than good enough to be worth your money. We have no idea why this has been getting so much bad press and feel that it's entirely unwarranted. We like it, and by this point you must realize that there are two types of opinions, the wrong one and ours.
Ben Affleck directs his younger brother Casey in Gone Baby Gone in this detective tale of a missing Boston child. Casey's PI is aided and abetted by Morgan Freeman's police force. With strong acting from the entire cast, and the leads in particular, this is certainly a very good, absorbing film and a nifty slap to the face of Affleck naysayers.
The Mist sees Frank Darabont direct an adapted Steve King story which has a good track record, at least. Thomas Jane stars as an everyman turned hero as an unearthly mist descends on Maine, bringing with it horrible insectoid monstrosities provoking panic and hysteria in the surviving humans that's just as terrifying as the baddies in the mist. With believable and likable characters and more focus on the human aspects of the situations rather than the slightly shonky CG creature features, The Mist proves to be a very effective horror film, albeit not one that speaks to mass market acceptance. Certainly the best horror film of the year thus far, and well worth a look.