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FAIRY TALE ENDING?
Bryan Singer’s Jack The Giant Slayer is a film that was finished a little while back but apparently because of extra work needed on its 3D scenes, it has only just been released. 2013 is beginning to feel a bit like the year of the fairy tale movie with Raimi’s Oz The Great and Terrible and the atrocious Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters. Jack The Giant Slayer tells the story of the eponymous Jack (Nicholas Hoult) who grows up with stories of giants trapped in a magical kingdom above his home. The giants plot to return to terra firma and wreak havoc on the humans and Jack unwittingly gives them the conduit to make this a reality. King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) sends his best knight Elmont (Ewan MacGregor) to defeat the giants but it takes simple farmhand Jack to rout them and win the hand of the beautiful princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson). Jack The Giant Slayer feels like the sort of films they used to make in the Seventies and Eighties and with a predominantly British cast, it feels like no other Bryan Singer film to date. The dialogue is a little bit hackneyed and stilted but the film does have its heart in the right place, there are some strong visual touches and a solid cast including MacGregor and Stanley Tucci. It also feels less manipulative than Hansel & Gretel and with a simple plot that should appeal to young audiences over the Easter holidays. Not a perfect film by any means but an eminently enjoyable one…

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IT NEVER GETS OUT OF THE WOODS
Sometimes a film comes along that you wonder exactly what Hollywood was thinking. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton is just such a movie. Its conceit is that the young children who were left in the woods grew up to hunt witches in Central Europe. The film’s central nemesis is Famke Janssen who plays the queen of witches, Muriel, hell-bent on Hansel & Gretel’s destruction. The makers obviously thought that because superhero genre films are such big business, channeling that into a much-loved family fairy tale would attract today’s cinemagoers. But the problem is that this film is so badly made with some particularly awful dialogue and pisspoor performances particularly from the atrocious Arterton that it doesn’t even provide an entertaining ninety minute spectacle. Renner isn’t much cop here either: he doesn’t have much screen presence and doesn’t convince as any sort of action hero really. I do wonder whether he will be able to translate any of his earlier potential into anything longterm at all. He was decent in The Bourne Legacy and very good in The Town but nothing else he’s been in has been particularly memorable. Janssen and the rest of the cast sleepwalk through the nominal script too. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters may become one of those cult movies that enjoys a life on Blu-ray and DVD as the sort of Saturday night viewing, sitting at home watching it with a few beers but what is more likely is that it will just sink without trace. It is without question one of the worst films I’ve seen in quite some time…