Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Snow White and the Huntsman
Watch this movie for the production design and nothing else, because beyond Snow White and the Huntsman‘s awesome look, there is only blandness and missed opportunities. As you’d expect, the skeleton of the story remains the same as it is in the Grimm brothers fairy tale – a wicked queen who is obsessed with being the most beautiful person in all the land discovers that the young Snow White is going to grow to be even more beautiful and orders her killed by a huntsman. The huntsman spares Snow White, who escapes into the forest, meets some dwarves, and eventually leads to the queen’s demise. But this story is severely diluted underneath layer upon layer of gritty design, as the filmmakers are clearly trying to make this movie feel more serious than is actually is. There are loads of questionable choices, not least of which is the casting of Kristen Stewart, who is as wooden here as she has ever been. The huntsman of the title, while played well by Chris Hemsworth, is given barely anything to do, and the dwarves barely contribute anything either. Truth be told, I barely remember anything from this movie that wasn’t shown in the preview, so you might as well spare yourself the two hours and just watch the trailer instead. Unless you are a die hard Kristen Stewart fan, there is little enjoyment to be had here.
2 out of 5

Insidious Chapter 2
I was a very big fan of James Wan’s film Insidious, which injected the haunted house genre with a much-needed dose of energy and interesting ideas, so I was excited to see what he would do with the follow-up Insidious Chapter 2. The answer? Well, a lot of the same stuff that he did in the first movie. I should say up front that I enjoyed Insidious Chapter 2 well enough, because a lot of the stuff that I liked about the first movie is present here, and there are some neat plot ideas that subvert tropes and cliches found all too often in this kind of film. But too little of the movie is fresh, too few moments feel original, and thus Insidious Chapter 2 manages only to feel “okay”, especially when compared to its predecessor. The sequences set in the ethereal plane are still neat, though, and provide most of the film’s best moments. It’s a movie that I would recommend to fans of the original Insidious, because the story does continue in a way that I found satisfying, but like many horror sequels, Insidious Chapter 2 fails to recapture the magic that made the first one so memorable.
3 out of 5

The History of Future Folk
The History of Future Folk is a quirky indie comedy that delivers exactly what the trailer promises – no more, no less. A alien military leader named General Trius lands on earth with the intent of destroying the human race, but quickly discovers something that humans have invented which exists nowhere else in the universe: music. Trius immediately falls in love with music, and ditches his earth-demolishing responsibilities to pursue a career as a bluegrass musician. Soon a second alien named Kevin is sent to capture Trius and complete the mission to destroy earth, but Kevin also becomes enamored with music and the two aliens form a bluegrass duo called Future Folk. For a low-budget indie sci-fi comedy, The History of Future Folk is very charming. The music is good, the performances are solid, and there are a few very funny moments. Apparently the film was based on the mythos created by the two stars to promote their real-life duo called Future Folk, and I get the sense that this movie was made primarily for their fans. As a non-fan newcomer, though, I found quite a bit to enjoy. It’s not deep, but it’s sweet, and it’s heart is in the right place. A scene where General Trius interrogates Kevin by brandishing musical instruments as though they were torture devices is particularly well-executed, and the highlight of the movie for me.
3 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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