What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
Film Review: Spielberg’s Disappointing ‘The Adventures of Tintin’
CHICAGO – Being a huge Steven Spielberg fan and a pretty big aficionado of Peter Jackson (who produced) as well, I was pretty psyched to see what these two undeniable geniuses could do in the world of motion-capture animation with their collaboration on the adaptation of the hit Herge cartoon “The Adventures of Tintin.” That’s why it hurts me to say that, excepting a few stand-out action scenes, this is a shockingly dull affair, something that lulled me to sleep far more often than it inspired my imagination to life. Hardcore fans of the series may be satisfied and the film has been a juggernaut overseas where the source material is more popular (it’s made $239 million already worldwide), but I guess something is just lost in translation for this critic.
As I mentioned, I really wanted to like “Tintin.” After a jaunty opening credits sequence scored to a jazzy composition by, of course, John Williams, the action of the piece kicks in as we meet the intrepid title character (voiced and mo-capped by Jamie Bell) and his loyal canine companion. Tintin seems like an engaging chap, the kind of wide-eyed protagonist to follow on a globe-trotting adventure. Sadly, he takes a back seat almost immediately to what is basically a non-stop action kid’s movie that becomes monotonous in its breakneck rhythm. Character, humor, whimsy, invention – there’s no time when Spielberg, Jackson and his team are busy crafting the next set piece.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Adventures of Tintin” in our reviews section.|
Falling into the timeless young adult model that any action could start an amazing adventure, “The Adventure of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” kicks off when the title character buys a model of an old ship at a flea market. Before he can finish looking at it, people are trying to buy or steal it from him, including an American (Joe Starr) who warns him of danger and our nefarious ne’er-do-well, Sakharine (Daniel Craig). Before long it is revealed that the model ship hides a clue to not only the secret history of the seafaring vessel on which it was based but the path to a hidden fortune.
The journey begins on a ship guided by Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis, in another inspired bit of motion capture performance), a drunkard who it is revealed is the last living relative of the former Captain of the Unicorn, Sir Francis Haddock. Through investigation, Tintin and Haddock discover that three clues were hidden in Unicorn models that would lead them to the buried treasure. Their quest takes them to Morocco and the city of Bagghar and even brings in the skills of Interpol agents Thomson and Thomson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in a clever bit of casting that nonetheless fails to provide anything particularly humorous). Can Tintin help Haddock return glory to his family name, uncover the secret of the Unicorn, and become rich in the process?
The Adventures of Tintin
Photo credit: Paramount