Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., Feb. 24
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
The only honest one in the cast of this fractured fairy tale is Famke Janssen. When asked why she took the role of the witch, the actress acknowledged that she had a mortgage to pay off. Director Tommy Wirkola, who knew full well how to wrangle Nazi-zombies in Dead Snow, can’t muster more than the background atmospherics and practical effects needed to give the stupidity a stage on which to play out. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star as the fabled Teutonic twins. (He's 42, she's 27.) Their impoverished upbringing at the hands of a witch finds them snacking on candy-coated walls, not lead paint chips. Instead of waging war against diabetes, the pair mature and confront anything that flies on a broomstick. It's more grim than Grimm; the stench of Comic-Con filled the theater the moment the image hit the screen. D.W. Harper’s plotless script even comes equipped with its own built-in fan boy (Thomas Mann) who follows our heroes around with scrapbook in tow. Will Ferrell produced, which should account for the film’s adventitious comedic touches. (Pictures of missing children are slapped on milk bottles.) H&G sat on the shelf for a year while the studios waited for Renner's star to rise. The best that can to be said of mannequin Arterton’s performance is the costumes fit and she can take a good punch. 2013.
- Big Screen review • January 27, 2013