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Hansel & Gretel Get Baked

December 3, 2013 Leave a comment

By: Addison WylieHGBaked

While I try hard not to make the obvious crack at a movie, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked really does feel like a movie that’s been conceived by a bunch of stoners progressively coming down from their rich buzz.

It begins on ecstatic notes.  For one, Duane Journey’s horror/comedy has some delicious gore that had me squirming.  It’s the type of execution that sets the tone for how much of a riot Hansel & Gretel Get Baked will hopefully become.  The disgusting details in these kills don’t overstay.  The great effects linger just long enough to leave an impression and your face in contorts.

Inflicting the pain is a witch disguised as a marijuana peddling old woman named Agnes.  Lara Flynn Boyle plays the role with utmost joy; almost like she’s been waiting for a role like this.  The production has caked so much withered make-up onto her face that she successfully stays incognito and pulls off a fun performance that’s consistently campy.

Molly Quinn and Michael Welch as a modernized Gretel and Hansel have no chemistry with each other and fail at making these characters interesting in the slightest, but I at least appreciated Journey’s attempt to make his two main characters detectives.

When Gretel’s boy toy goes missing after a weed run to Agnes’, Quinn’s hunt is what has us hanging on.  The film focuses on this fragment of a mystery instead of grasping on to something bigger, but we’re still oddly hooked; mostly because we want to know where this wild ride ends up.  However, the half baked investigation would’ve been more enjoyable if Quinn’s questioning hadn’t been so shrill and Welch had something to do other than snapping pictures and firing off lame quips.

Right as I was about to claim Hansel & Gretel Get Baked as a slight guilty pleasure, the energetic high tapered off.  After about 40 minutes of Journey’s absurdities, it’s almost as if everyone collectively realized how complicated making a movie can be and how dumb the film’s concept was.  You can feel the film’s giant sigh as it slouches and exhaustively tries to finish what it’s started.

Because everyone stops having fun, Hansel & Gretel Get Baked becomes a colossal bore as it wraps up each loose end as lazily as possible.  A perfect example would be how two seemingly important cops are taken care of.

Even Boyle starts slumming with her role.  As Agnes captures her prey, she sucks their youth out of them, which in turn makes her look younger.  As more make-up is removed off of Boyle’s face, her excitement fades.  It’s known that costuming and physical transformations can help inspire an actor.  I believe that by taking this disguise away from Boyle, it affects her ability to perform well.  Take a scene where a younger Agnes tries to seduce one of Gretel’s friends by flirting with her.  It feels forced and the complete opposite of either sexy or funny.

Duane Journey and his dopey movie are not asking for much.  They want the audience to have a good time.  And, if those good times are heightened with the help of certain substances, even better!  But, because the film doesn’t have the strength to carry its own weight to a point where it’s fed up with itself, the audience is snoozing right along with the lethargy on screen.

TIFF 2013: Compelling, Cookie Cutter Cop Drama

September 9, 2013 Leave a comment

McCanickstill

By: Addison Wylie

In terms of being a worthwhile cop drama, McCanick won’t astound movie goers, but it certainly does the trick.

The problem with McCanick is that it has a really hard time trying to escape the shadow of other more successful cop dramas like Training Day and more recent middle-of-the-road fare brought to us by Antoine Fuqua.

Josh C. Waller’s film allows David Morse to take a break from being a quirky supporting character and take the stage as the renegade title role.

Daniel Noah’s screenplay utilizes many tired clichés unfortunately, which dampens the intimidation the film and McCanick are supposed to give off.  Morse is still nerve-wracking as an unstable loose canon, but anyone can be scary when they’re randomly pointing a gun at thugs – asking the audience to question who the real villain is in a scene.

However, a lot of McCanick is saved by its riveting performances.  The characters may lack originality, but the powerful acting by Morse and the remaining cast pack a successful punch.

Waller and Noah’s edginess is introduced during the final stretch, and the film becomes interesting and provocative; offering hidden intentions with tons of ambition on the filmmaker’s part.  I also liked the film’s greasy cinematography – adding a layer of grime to the shadiness.

Finally, Monteith’s last performance is exceptional and bittersweet.  It’s a well-handled role for the actor, making a sensible transition to more adult features with real consequences.  It’s a strong reminder that Monteith could’ve easily been a contender.

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McCanick has its world premiere at TIFF on September 9 at 7:15 p.m. at Scotiabank Theatre as well as an encore screening on September 10 at 10:15 p.m. at Isabel Bader Theatre.

Rating: 14A
Language: English
Runtime: 96 minutes

Realted Links:

For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.

Check out the McCanick TIFF page here.

Buy tickets here.

More TIFF13 Coverage:

Read my Wylie Writes review of Don Jon here.

Read my Film Army review of Faith Connections here.

Read my Film Army reviews of RolandParadise FallsAnatomy of Assistance, and We Wanted More here.

Read my Film Army review of The Dick Knost Show here.

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

TIFF: @TIFF_NET
Film Army: @FilmArmy
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie