Review by Vives Anunciacion
Published February 5, 2013
A vapid biopic about The Master and a kung-fu Western with the wrong lead actor – two movies which probably started as a good idea but eventually, emphatically, end up being repetitively boring.
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
One would expect the biopic of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock would mimic the master of suspense’s distinct filmmaking technique, but instead, director Sacha Gervasi gives a safe, ordinary story of who Hitchock was behind the camera – not so much as a creative genius but more as a husband to lifetime partner Alma Reville.
The film starts out promisingly: we get glimpses of what and how Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins) was as a filmmaker before and during the making of the suspense classic, Psycho. It’s in the first thirty minutes of the biopic that we see Hitchcock’s famed dead-pan humor and sarcasm. I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents on local TV years ago, and that show started and ended with Hitchcock’s trademark dry humor commentary.
The movie however focuses on Hitchcock’s relationship with wife Alma (Helen Mirren) after the first half-hour. While it is interesting to know what kind of a man Hitchcock was to his wife, it just never becomes engaging. Using the character of psychopath murderer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott) as a device by which Hitchcock processes his inner and outer tribulations does not add to making the film dark and mysterious as the movies of the master, only more confusing and honestly, trite. Hopkins does a fine imitation of the legend, but nothing outstanding. Mirren does more for a sorry character, but even her eyebrow can portray Alma.
After the screening, I re-watched Psycho and North By Northwest at home.
The Man With the Iron Fists
Directed by RZA
Wu Tang Clan rapper-turned actor-writer-director-musical scorer RZA (which I think is pronounced as Raza) pays bloody tribute to kung-fu Westerns in The Man With the Iron Fists.
Warring clans and assassins converge in Jungle Village in 19th Century China for fabled golden treasure. Among them are Zen Yi (Rick Yune) who is out to avenge the death of his father, Capt. Jack Knife (Russell Crowe), who is suspiciously out of place, Brass Body (Dave Bautista, formerly the wrestler Battista) who inexplicably has mutant powers, Poison Dagger (Daniel Wu) who is your run-of-the-mill bad guy expert only in one stupid weapon, and The Blacksmith (RZA) who gets caught in the crossfire and eventually becomes The Title of The Movie who would defeat all the bad guys and protect the village. In the mix is Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) who operates a brothel of beautiful babes in lace.
If lots of bloody so-so wire-fu action and beautiful assassins dressed in negligee are your things, go see this by yourself but don’t shame yourself by bringing a companion. The story is as complex as a 10-piece Disney Princess puzzle and the acting is worse than in Twilight. Co-developed by torture king Eli Roth, I must admit I thought this movie was going to be decent considering that it had Quentin Tarantino’s blessing. So, actually, no, don’t waste your hard-earned money on this. If you have seen this movie and regret doing so, that’s not my problem. Jackie Chan, we will miss your Drunken Master techniques.