Archives for category: movie reviews

For big ol’ splashy special effects and serious actors trying – unsuccessfully – to make an action movie seem like Shakespeare, I present “Clash of the Titans” (2010). For those of us who forgot most of the Greek mythology they were taught in high school, there’s familiar names (Hades, Medusa, Perseus, Zeus, etc.) playing various roles in a very-loosely-based-on-mythology quest to save humanity. More familiar names (Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Pete Postlewaite, Sam Worthington) and others utter pompous dialogue like they’re performing a certain Scottish play at The Old Vic. It all somehow comes together to satisfy the macho period blockbuster formula.

After all these years, it feels like Gerard Butler should be a bigger star, like he should have been nominated for an Oscar or something. Or maybe he’s simply a hardworking, mediocre leading man who churns out formulaic flicks you don’t have to think too much about. Like “Plane” (2023), in which he emergency lands an airliner in a warlord-governed Pacific jungle, setting off a by-the-book, action hero storyline of hostage saving and machine gunning. I don’t know aerodynamics well enough to understand how preposterous his two Sullenberger moments are, but they probably looked damn good on the big screen.

And here I thought Tintin was the dog’s name. In Steven Spielberg’s animated cinematic version of the Belgian cartoon series “The Adventures of Tintin” (2011), we’re presented with an adventure story featuring mesmerizing action that is equal parts James Bond and Rube Goldberg. There’s a lot more violence than one would expect from a film with the trappings of a kids’ story. (Tintin, a young journalist who solves mysteries with the help of his loyal terrier Snowy, is also quite skilled at gunplay.) Like John Williams’ score, the hero-villain story ultimately becomes a bundle of cliches despite a promising start.