1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount, 3,372 Theaters, 88 Minutes, Rated R): I’d like to go on the record here and say that this could quite possibly the stupidest movie ever. Well, that’s not fair. I haven’t seen the film. Allow me to correct myself. This could quite possibly the stupidest concept for a movie ever.
Everybody knows the story of Hansel and Gretel, right? Two children are abandoned in the woods. They come across a gingerbread house. Starving, they decide to eat it. The witch who lives there does not take kindly to them eating her house and decides to eat them. The kids narrowly escape becoming Witch Chow by shoving the witch into the stove. We all learn a very valuable lesson–don’t go eating strange houses you stumble upon in the woods.
This film picks up quite a bit after that story as the pair, so angered by the witch who was only defending their property, go into the witch hunting business. With pump-handled shot guns. In Medieval Germany. Yep, you read that right. You can almost hear the Academy calling Jeremy Renner to rescind those two Oscar nominations now.
If the concept alone isn’t enough to keep you away, realize this was scheduled to come out in March…OF 2012! Supposedly it was delayed to capitalize on Renner’s big 2012 of The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy. Unfortunately, the only one of the two that Renner had the lead role in failed to make its budget back domestically. Tough luck!
This is the first film adapted from the Parker line of books written by Donald E. Westlake under the the pseudonym Richard Stark where the author allowed filmmakers to keep the lead character’s names the same (for 1967’s Point Break, Lee Marvin starred as Walker and in 1999 Mel Gibson starred as Porter in Payback. Both films were adapted from Westlake/Stark’s 1962 Parker novel, The Hunter. This one is adapted from a later book called Flashfire).
The film is also directed by Taylor Hackford, whose past credits include An Officer and a Gentleman and Ray. So this should look a lot better than other films of its ilk. And with 26 novels in the Parker series, this could turn out to be lengthy franchise if this film does well.
3. Movie 43 (Relativity, 2,023 Theaters, 90 Minutes, Rated R): And then you have this movie, which is like 14 films all in one, replete with 15 writers and 12 directors. And a cast that redefines “star-studded.” Seriously, the only other place you’d see this many Oscar nominees and winners in one place would be the Oscars themselves.
The film is a parody anthology in the mode of The Kentucky Fried Movie, although it is closer structurally to the lesser known Amazon Women on the Moon. The basic conceit is that three teenage boys are looking for the most banned film of all time, and their search brings them down the path of one offensive film after another.
The cast is awesome, but from what I’ve seen of the ads, the film looks horrible. These kinds of films are always uneven, but there seems to be very little thought put into the film other than “Let’s have all of these great actors be as filthy and offensive as they can be! Everyone will laugh!” And this film was also supposed to be released last year. Take that as you will.