Jack the Giant Slayer

JtGS posterWarner Bros./New Line (2013) 114 min. PG-13

Director: Bryan Singer

Screenplay: Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie & Dan Studney

Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel; Editing: Bob Ducsay & John Ottman

Production Design: Gavin Bocquet; Set Decoration: Richard Roberts

Costumes: Joanna Johnston

Score: John Ottman

Stars: Nicholas Hoult (Jack), Eleanor Tomlinson (Isabelle), Ewan McGregor (Elmont), Stanley Tucci (Roderick), Ian McShane (King Brahmwell), Bill Nighy (General Fallon), John Kassir (Fallon’s Small Head)

I was reticent to see director Bryan Singer’s version of the fairy tale after everything I’d read about rewrites, production delays, pushed back release dates and the film’s disappointing box office, a sure sign that something must be wrong with it. The unnecessary change in title itself seemed to bode ill, a too flippant attempt to make the story seem fresher and more hip. Linked by name to the likes of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, this title gives every indication of being just the latest product of a screen overrun with post-modern spins on classic fairy tale and horror concepts. The professional designation cheapens the concept in the worse way. Jack the Giant Slayer sounds like a cheesy direct to cable release for the SyFy channel. Which just goes to prove one shouldn’t judge a movie by its title. Continue reading


The Brothers Grimm

Dimension Films/MGM (2005) 118 min. PG-13

Director: Terry Gilliam

Screenplay: Ehren Kruger

Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel; Editing: Lesley Walker

Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Judy Farr

Costumes: Gabriella Pescucci & Carlo Poggioli

Score: Dario Marianelli

Stars: Matt Damon (Wilhelm Grimm), Heath Ledger (Jacob Grimm), Lena Headey (Angelika), Peter Stormare (Cavaldi), Jonathan Pryce (Delatombe), Monica Bellucci (Mirror Queen), Tomás Hanák (Woodsman), Martin Kavan (Delatombe’s Valet)

There’s a haze of droll waggishness floating about Terry Gilliam’s phantasmagoric fantasy that never quite materializes into definite physical form. The Brothers Grimm remains a leering, overspilling, grotesque gargoyle of a movie yet, unlike most films of similar caliber, the dim light of what was in theory a bright idea almost manages to shine through the muck and mire shoveled atop it. It’s not all bad.

Continue reading