Director: Rupert Sanders; Cast: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart
Astonishingly beautiful and breathtaking in its brutal imagery, thrilling and frightening in equal measure, yet as bereft of satisfying substance as a poisoned apple. Director Rupert Sanders’ revisionist take on the classic Brothers Grimm fable upends expectations of traditional gender roles while simultaneously embracing what a fairy tale should be. And yet the performances (notably from Kristen Stewart as the title character) don’t always live up to the film’s promise. First, there’s the problem of casting anyone who’s supposed to be fairer than Charlize Theron as the evil queen. Beyond Stewart’s distractingly inconsistent British accent, she simply lacks the presence to serve as a convincing warrior princess. Still, the look and the energy of Snow White & the Huntsman keep it engaging. Theron, as the manipulative Ravenna, has married (and quickly killed) the king, locked his daughter Snow White in a tower and plunged a once-peaceful realm into a wasteland. Once the princess comes of age and earns her fairest-of-them-all status, Ravenna’s power is threatened. This sets the film’s chase in motion: Snow White escapes and Ravenna hires a veteran huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to find her, but instead this tormented soul becomes her reluctant protector. PG-13. 125 minutes.
DVD reviews: New releases that have hit the stores
Safe House (2012) ®
Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a low-level CIA officer, frustrated at having to be content playing keeper of a Cape Town safe house (a temporary harbinger for US prisoners of state). His life changes over the course of 48 hours when former CIA agent-turned-renegade Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought in for detention. Good action flick with some heart-tugging man-to-man emotions, though you may wonder if Cape Town is the world’s most lawless city—the cops never seem to be around even when the sirens sound. And despite sequences that thrill greatly, the bottom line is perhaps a little predictable.
- Duration: 115 minutes
- Genre: Action thriller
- What’s good: Denzel Washington, Denzel Washington, Denzel Washington — the man just gets better
- What’s bad: The anti-CIA rant — too tried and tested
- Cast: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendon Glesson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard
- Rating: ****
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) (PG)
In this follow-up to the 2008 hit Journey to the Center of the Earth, Sean Anderson receives a coded distress signal from his grandfather who is stranded on a mysterious island full of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean’s new stepfather, Hank, joins him in finding the island, rescuing its lone inhabitant and escaping before seismic shockwaves force the island under the sea.
- Duration: 94 minutes
- Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Comedy
- What’s good: Based on the works of Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island is everything a 12-year-old boy could want. Call it a tween version of Avatar and Jurassic Park, if you will
- What’s bad: Adults may find the plot a bit too dull
- Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine
- Rating: ***