There’s only one new wide release trailers this week, The Huntsman – Winter’s War, a Universal Studio’s follow up to the live action fantasy adaptation of the Snow White story. The first film, Snow White and the Huntsman, failed to make back its budget domestically, but went on to gross almost 400 million after including over-seas tickets. So guess what? This movie isn’t meant for you! And thank god, because it looks mind-numbingly stupid. There are two limited release features and just a handful of VOD, so apparently everyone in Hollywood is happy to let Disney eat its Jungle Book cake for another weekend. Luckily, hidden in there is another fantasy film worthy of your time, Tale of Tales.
The Huntsman- Winter’s War
Before he saved Snow White’s life and helped her overthrow the evil Queen, The Huntsman was a pawn in another grand war…between that same evil Queen and her sister. When the younger sister loses a child, she goes Galt and decides to destroy her sister by raising an army of children who she names her huntsmen. The two Queens’ war threatens to destroy everything, so the Huntsman and his protege decide to destroy them both…only we know the evil (eviler?) Queen lives to make it into the first movie, so I guess there’s not really much suspense here.
When to See It: Rent it, so you can watch the action and skip the dialogue. The action sequences look just fine. Not amazing, but pretty decent. The dialogue though! Holy hell, is it a giant bag of stupid. The evil mirror sounds like the laziest movie trailer voice impersonation you ever heard, and drops clunky prophetic insinuations that a child would roll their eyes at. The Queens are no better. And the actual narrator? “If she couldn’t raise a child, she would raise an army!” Dear god. I guess these lines play better in a foreign language…
Elvis and Nixon
One of the most iconic scenes of Americana was the photo taken of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon, an image that showed in stark contrast the end of idyllic fantasies of American innocence as both men would go on to shock the nation, one by a drug fueled death, the other by a scandal stained resignation. This film gives a dramatized, comedic take on the fateful meeting between the two larger than life men.
When to See It: Since its Amazon Studios, its appropriate to wait to stream this one at home, but not because it doesn’t look great. Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis are pitch perfect, and very funny. Collin Hanks, who has struggled to find a role with some teeth, seems like a good fit here as Nixon’s top aide who has to referee this photo-op gone wrong. Overall, feels like a good way to spend an evening.
A disgraced Mexican detective is on a personal vendetta to get even with Santo, a crime lord who set him up and stole his girlfriend. To do so, he tracks down “The Accountant,” a cyber criminal who broke into Santo’s systems and stole 10 million from him…only he turns out to be a nerdy American teenager with a disdain for Mexicans. The two reluctantly team up to take the bad guy down south of the border.
When to See It: Give it a rental. The action looks really slick, and Omar Chaparro seems like a likable leading man with some real swagger. The racial humor that most of the film trades in is mostly infantile, but there are a few good lines in the trailer. Be prepared for more than a few “beaner versus gringo” groaners, but everything else looks up to snuff.
A hit man falls for the daughter of a high-profile mark, and has to pretend he killed her. When she refuses to live in hiding, the hit man must wage a solo war against his former employers.
Warning, trailer is NSFW, due to nudity.
See It?: No. Dear god, no. This is every lazy hit man cliche rolled into one, with crappy dialogue, terrible acting, and lackluster action. The hit man’s choice of disguise, wearing a motorcycle helmet, is completely idiotic. Motorcycle helmets don’t look cool on people riding motorcycles, and they look decidedly stupid on guys who need all of their peripheral vision to pull off a job. Fail.
Tale of Tales
In neighboring kingdoms, trouble is brewing. In one, a lonely Queen desires a child and will go to great lengths to get an heir. In another, a bachelor king is enchanted by a beauty who he cannot possess. In the last, a young princess rebels against her father’s decree that she marry the winner of a contest of strength.
Mildly NSFW, brief partial nudity.
See It?: Yes. Now this is an adult fantasy movie worth watching. This is all of the grimmest fairy tales, complete with warts and teeth. Each vignette contains magic and mystery, fallible and engaging characters, and a the omnipresent atmosphere of imminent tragedy that was the hallmark of traditional folk tales. Cast looks great, visuals are wonderful, and the project looks solid. See this one instead of The Huntsman.