Reviews of Penelope and Hellboy II.

1. Penelope. It’s a teeny little film with Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon and James McAvoy (who, even though he looks like he needs a good shampooin’, is still super-yummy). There’s a curse on her family, she’s born with a pig snout instead of a nose, only a blue blood male who marries her can break the curse, etc. I don’t understand why it wasn’t a bigger hit. It’s cute and sweet and while it’s a fairy tale it doesn’t feel childish or simple. The only thing that irks me is that everyone is like, “She’s a hideous monster! She’s a pigface! The horror!” People flinging themselves through plate glass windows, for God’s sake. And she looks like this:


I think she looks kinda sweet. It really hurts one’s self-esteem when someone who looks like Christina Ricci (hot) with a pig snout (cute) is treated like a leper whose critical parts have fallen off. It made me not want to go outside for fear people would hurl themselves in front of buses. But other than that, good film, you should rent it.

2. Hellboy II. Yeah, there’s a plot. It’s not good. And the dialogue, that’s not good either. But the costumes and special effects are phenomenal. Guillermo del Toro is very similiar to Julie Taymor (the woman who came up with the costumes and sets for Lion King on Broadway). I recommended afterwards that one should rent Hellboy II, turn the volume off and play Nine Inch Nail’s “The Downward Spiral” while watching the film. That would be perfect. One thing I thought was a bad design decision was this: there are elves, and when they die, they turn into stone sculptures. The problem is the stone sculptures are cream/yellow-colored, so they look identical to a butter sculpture of Garth Brooks from the Iowa State Fair. So one of them dies and we the audience are supposed to be moved, and I’m sitting there trying not to think about smearing these elves on toast. But the troll market sequence is gorgeously designed and very textural and visually stimulating, so that’s terrific.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t see Batman, it’s because it was sold out until 1:00 a.m. and the lines were out the door. The IMAX is sold out for another two weeks, so eventually I’ll get around to seeing the damn thing. Then I’ll comment on whether it is worth all the hoopla.

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