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The Green Hornet, Blue Valentine, Barney’s Version, Crispon Glover in person and seven other new films

 

Suddenly, there’s a rush of new films, three about marriage difficulties, three on human rights, two pure Hollywood and an entertaining Canadian.

 

These are today’s titles:

The Green Hornet: 2 1/2 stars

Blue Valentine: 4

Barney’s Version: 3 ½

Somewhere: 2 1/2

The Dilemma: 2

London River:  3 1/2

Enemies of the People: 4

You Don’t Like the Truth --

Marwencol: 3 1/2

 

THE GREEN HORNET: Loud, dumb and sometimes fun. Only sometimes though. Point Grey High School’s two most famous graduates have crafted a superhero comedy that delivers a few laughs early on, outrageous action later on and nothing much consistent anywhere. Seth Rogen, who also wrote the script with his long-time best friend, Evan Goldberg, plays the masked crime fighter like pretty well every Seth Rogen character we’ve seen before. He’s a wisecracking slacker, not a debonair playboy as the previous radio and TV incarnations had him. Whether running the newspaper he inherits or chasing criminals, he’s rather inept but convinced he’s a sharp idea man. It gets tiresome under much long-winded dialogue.

Jay Chou, a pop star from Taiwan, is Kato, the sidekick who’s the real idea man, and Christoph Waltz, fresh from his Oscar win last year, is a crime boss looking to re-make his image into something more scary.

There’s potential in those concepts but the script can’t find much of it. Instead, it rests on a boyish fascination with gadgets and toys and then action: a cop car crashing into a store, a car chase inside a newspaper printing plant and then another one plus a gunfight up in the editorial offices. Michel Gondry’s quirky directorial style is not much in evidence and the added-on 3-D isn’t worth paying extra for. (Scotiabank, Oakridge, Dunbar, Rio and many suburban theatres)  2 out of 5 

BLUE VALENTINE: This is the hottest title of the week, a must-see for anyone ready for brilliant acting and a grueling story. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams enact the disintegration of a marriage. They’ve both been getting awards and nominations in numerous venues for their work. It’s so real and harsh, you might want to be careful if your own marriage is a bit shaky.

We see them fall both in and out of love. The film jumps back and forth between the early and present days. When he first meets her, he’s working as a furniture mover. She wants to go to medical school. Their courtship has a goofy, charming warmth topped by a sidewalk dance by her to a ukulele-accompanied song warbled by him. The song is “You Always Hurt the One You Love.”  Flip to the other scenes, and it’s painfully evident that love has evaporated, certainly in her. She’s now a nurse doing sono grams and uneasy that he hasn’t shown much ambition, having advanced only to house painter. He’s got a good heart but can’t understand why she’s unhappy and the film doesn’t judge either of them. It just shows their life changing. They listen to different music, just one of several well-observed small signs that they’re drifting apart. There’s a passionless sex scene and a dismal attempt to restart the fires with a night in a motel. It’s a grim but deeply affecting drama. (International Village and Silver City Coquitlam)  4 out of 5

More in New Movies

Widows of criminals doing it for themselves, the seed of modern politics and the perils of war reporting

Also an ingenious take on the migrant crisis, and a second appreciation this year of Ingmar Bergman that adds to what we already know from the first

Melissa’s forgeries, Rami’s dead-on Freddie Mercury and a cult classic re-imagined

Also: a bit of opera (real with Maria Callas and fictional in Bel Canto) and an ode to BC’s chief geographical feature in This Mountain Life
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