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I Got 99 Problems But The Witch Aint One!


HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013) Director: Tommy Wirkola Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare Rating: R for Fantasy gore, horror gore, witch gore, gory language, and brief non gory nudity.  

Okay, forget everything you know about the Hansel and Gretel.

Now forget everything you know about geometry!

No, no, no, I’m just kidding. Don’t forget your geometry. You’ll probably need it some day. Honest.

But you have my permission to forget everything you know about the aforementioned fairy tale. Why? Because the horror-action extravaganza Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters has taken the tired old Brothers Grimm story and juiced it up with everything you want in a movie: guns, gore, gratuitous hand to hand combat, and guns!

Plus that witchcraft spell stuff for the Harry Potter crowd. They love spells. And that red haired girl. What’s her name… Henrietta? Yeah, her.

As the movie opens, young Hansel and Gretel are dropped off in the woods by their Dad because it’s important to the plot later in the movie. They wander around and find a gingerbread house, a witch captures them – yadda yadda yadda – the witch gets broiled as the kids high five.

Since Hansel and Gretel are now orphans and need to get jobs, they become professional witch killers and in a montage that plays during the opening credits we see newspaper clippings of their Witch hunting exploits because in early 19th century European newspapers witch killings were featured every day since sports hadn’t been invented yet.

Hansel and Gretel (now played by adult movie stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton respectively) are hired by the village or Augsburg to kill the crap out of some witches who are abducting the towns children.  Against the orders of the dickish Sheriff Berringer ( Peter Stormare at his most oily), the siblings begin their investigation and almost immediately run afoul of trio of powerful witches led by the evil Muriel (Famke Janssen) who is part superwitch and part Batman villain.  Turns out Muriel wants to use the kidnapped children as a sacrifice in a ceremony called Blood Moon that will make all witches invincible, their hats pointier, and their cauldrons bubblier.

With the help of local teen Ben (Thomas Mann), a village girl Hansel has the hots for named Mina (Pihla Viitala), and a cartload of anachronistic weaponry (we don’t have repeating crossbows in this century), Hansel and Gretel face off against Muriel and her black magic women, and in the process discover why their Mom and Dad abandoned them and why they must continue their quest to rid the world of witches even if it takes two more movies and a possible TV spinoff.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a highly watchable action packed flick that delivers just what the title promises. You got Hansel, Gretel, some witches, and hunting.

I like movies that do that.

Ever see Waiting for Guffman?

Spoiler alert: They waited for Guffman, and he didn’t show.

What a ripoff! I never forgave that movie, and I never will.


The Designated Damon!


THE BOURNE LEGACY (2012) Director: Tony Gilroy Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach Rating: PG-13 for some explosions, guns going off, and other spy vs. spy action.

The Bourne Legacy is a spinoff to the popular Jason Bourne spy movie series starring Matt Damon. A quick reminder; a spinoff is where a very minor character from a good movie is given his or her own film, and the results are usually sucktacular. For an example, I sight the 2011 abomination Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, which was spun off from the High School Musical series.

Do not get me started about Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. YOU NEVER MESS WITH A HIT! That’s all I have to say.

Actually, The Bourne Legacy is a “sidequel” to the Jason Bourne movies, with the action of Legacy taking place almost simultaneously with one of Damon’s three Bourne adventures.

Trouble is I’m not really sure which movie… I know it was the one where Jason Bourne was running around and making phone calls, and he fights a bunch of assassins, and they cut back to the CIA chiefs who shout “find Jason Bourne” over and over…

Is that the second one? No, it was the third one; The Bourne Equilibrium. Is that the title? I’m confused. And my back hurts.

Anyhoo, as The Bourne Legacy opens, the once secret events of the previous Bourne movies have gone public, and the big muckety-mucks in Washington are anxious to know how and why everyone working for the CIA (except maybe the janitors and cafeteria personnel) is trying to kill Jason Bourne and vice versa. Secret Ops overseer Eric Byer (a cranky Edward Norton), who’s a little peeved that one amnesiac loner has offed almost every covert assassin in the CIA’s Rolodex, decides to shut down the secret project that made Jason Bourne the one man killing machine he is today.

 It turns out Jason Bourne is just one of a small army of CIA “super soldiers” (from a unit known as Operation Outcome) who have been genetically altered to be better, stronger and more secret agent-ier than your average spy.  And since the CIA doesn’t “shut down” anything by merely asking people to clean out their desks and turn in their I.D. badges, (this is the movies, after all) we all know things are about to get messy.

Fellow Operation Outcome member Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) learns the hard way that his services are no longer required when a spy drone tries to blow up the huge chunk of Alaska he happens to be standing in at that particular moment. A little miffed about his crappy severance package, and jonesing for the “chems” that will keep him in tip top super soldier condition, Cross sets out to get some answers using his spy skills: cleverly avoiding every closed circuit camera in the country because the CIA can monitor every one of those at the same time, picking up his phony passport collection from his secret stash, and driving cross country in just a couple of hours. He is a super soldier after all. They don’t need bathroom breaks!

Cross hopes CIA genetics whiz Marta Shering (Rachel Weisz), one of the scientists who created the super soldier pills will be able to help him replenish his dwindling supply, but she’s been targeted for early retirement too because she’s part of the many loose ends that is Operation Outcome and she can’t fake an American accent for a tinker’s darn!

Now Cross and his pretty scientist pal are on the run trying to escape the remaining assassins Jason Bourne hasn’t killed so they can live free to be a covert spy and genetic engineer without the pesky CIA looking over their shoulders. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

Sadly, if you’ve seen The Bourne Identity, its two sequels, and every movie that has ripped off The Bourne Identity and its two sequels, there’s nothing very new or unique about The Bourne Legacy, because it’s pretty much like every other “rogue spy” thriller we’ve seen in the last nine years.

Sure, there’s plenty of gunplay and fisticuffs, which is always good, and Jeremy Renner is a decent stand in for Matt Damon, whose salary demands are probably in the billions of dollars by now, but I think maybe it’s time to give the Jason Bourne movies a rest for a while.

Then a few years down the road, you can reboot the series with Jason Bourne’s son picking up where his Dad left off!

They can call it The Bourne Conception…

You’re welcome, movie studio guys.