Past the Popcorn film roundup—Thank Goodness for Green Monsters… and Norwegian Artistes

Movie ticketsEach week, Past the Popcorn offers a thorough look at the latest round of films opening on big screens.

The latest iteration of The Hulk—this time courtesy of the beast’s own publisher, Marvel—may not be getting the kind of reviews that Iron Man has, but reviewer Jeff Walls likes it quite a bit. He finds it “anchored by terrific performances from Edward Norton and Liv Tyler,” and that it features “strategic and well-timed humor.” Aided by “terrific special effects, this film manages to make the Hulk more realistic-looking than the somewhat cartoony earlier version.”

Ah, if Greg Wright only had such nice things to say about The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s much-promoted venture into R-rated territory. Though he grants that the film is “aiming toward something meaningful” with references to environmental damage and the power of love, he finds that the subjects deserve “a much better treatment than this shoddy, predictable variation on the zombie genre.”

But he does have great things to say about the (soft) R-rated Norwegian art-house flick Reprise, finding that it “offers an intelligent artistic and philosophical look” at the dilemma behind recapturing artistic magic. “It’s an optimistic and progressive view of life,” he says… and then cautions: “The problem will be getting past the film’s first twenty minutes. Resist the urge to walk out; give it just ten more minutes than you might be inclined to… I think the film will win you over.”

Jennie Spohr also finds The Promotion to be a soft R full of underplayed, intelligent humor. “This is not the gag-reel type of goofball comedy. Instead, these are two guys who could very easily exist in reality—and could just as easily get themselves into and out of these awkward situations.”

Also reviewed this week: Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, and John Cusack’s scathing satire War, Inc.

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