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Fashion maven Diana Vreeland has the most interesting film this week, not Parker or Hansel and Gretel

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THE RIDGE THEATRE CLOSING: My wife was in India, turned on the TV in her hotel room and there was the Ridge with Terry David Mulligan standing below the sign reporting on something or other. In one of the Twilight movies there’s a long scene filmed there in the lobby. Yes it’s been an institution in many ways.

Now it’s into its last days and until Feb 3 is hosting a fine goodbye with a series of recent classics for only $5 each. They include two Oscar winners for best foreign language film, two current nominees (one for best picture, the other for best documentary), Woody Allen’s biggest hit ever (and multiple-nominee) and Skyfall, the lastest James Bond film which has already made over a billion dollars world-wide and just opened in China.

There’s a higher admission price for three films: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sing-Along Sound of Music and My American Cousin.

You can find the whole schedule in last Monday’s story on this site by Jenny Uechi or at the Festival Cinemas website: www.festivalcinemas.ca

HANSEL & GRETEL WITCH HUNTERS: A ridiculous idea is carried out with considerable panache but that doesn’t save it. At best, this is a concept for a comedy sketch not a full, huge-screen 3-D thriller. The two “orphaned siblings,” as old newspaper headlines tag them, are now grown up, experts on the ways of witches and bounty hunters for hire. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are summoned to a town where children are disappearing. Witches, they learn, are setting up a major event for the time of the “Blood Moon,” in two days. With big guns and occasional f-bombs (yes, from Gretel too) they hunt them  in the forest, down dank pits and even in the very gingerbread house where they had their traumatic first encounter.

  

It’s impossible to take seriously and it’s not a comedy. The sole distinguishing element here is the director, who also wrote the story. Tommy Wirkola, of Norway, made a name for himself a few years ago with a film called Dead Snow which pitted university students against zombie Nazis. He gleefully blasted heads and spattered blood across the white snow. He brings that same flamboyant visual style to this one but restrains himself and spares us by making the mayhem less graphic. Still, did we need yet another fairy tale re-imagined and bloated this way? (Scotiabank and many suburban theatres) 2  out of 5

PARKER: You sit watching this one hoping it will get better, maybe match the speedy, pulsing opening sequence. That’s an intricately planned robbery at an Ohio state fair with Jason Statham dressed as a priest but actually working with a gang led by Michael Chiklis. They set a fire and then pretending to be firemen get away with the loot. After that we get tidbits that seem promising but don’t pay off. The film slows down in the middle and delivers a lot of missteps.  When Jason turns down another job, a “score of a lifetime,” he has to dive out of a speeding vehicle, is shot and is found in a ditch but soon after, in hospital,  has enough left to overpower an orderly and escape. He sets off for Florida to foil the gang’s next job and starts by looking for real estate with a whiney agent played by Jennifer Lopez.

 

Ah, this has promise. Remember her sexy turn in Out of Sight? Nope, nothing likethat here. A few teasing scenes but no chemistry. He has her strip down to bra and panties but only to make sure she isn’t wearing a wire. Anyway, it would be hard to attach a believable love story to the brutality Statham’s films are known for.  He administers –and suffers--a lot of that towards the end. Most painful though is his unconvincing accent when he pretends to be a Texan, and that Lopez has to fail to notice how fake it is. The story is good (from a Donald F. Westlake novel). The movie isn’t. (International Village and some suburban theatres).   2 out of 5

Also now playing …

MOVIE 43: No media or other previews for this one. Not here anyway. A few people on imdb.com say they’ve seen it and report gushing praise (“brilliant”) and/or vile condemnation (“disgusting and awful”).  Peter Farrelly rounded up some of his director friends and a crowd of top Hollywood stars to create a series of short films that play like skits. He linked them with three teens searching the internet for banned films. So if you want to see the likes of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone, Halle Berry, Richard Gere and many others play it rude, here’s the place. I’ve seen one of the segments, Terence Howard’s spoof of a coach inspiring his players. It’s funny (“You’re black. They’re white. This ain’t hockey.”) and the language is raunchy but it seems to be one of the milder skits. Even the distributor has a warning: “This movie is not for the weak-stomached, faint of heart, or easily offended. “  (International Village and some suburban theatres)

NOTE: The images are movie stills supplied by the producers and, therefore, the exclusive property of their copyright owners.

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