The Snowman (2017)

The Snowman

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) stares at The Snowman

The suspense that is haunting me after seeing The Snowman is not from the story. It is wondering how in the name of all that is sacred did so many talented people make this utter piece of crap? I would rather shovel snow with plastic sandwich bags as boot replacements (and I live in the suburbs of Chicago). The film does give you chills, but far from the positive kind.

There are going to be a lot of names I mention that will make you realize how disappointing this movie truly is. Unlike the victims in the movie, these Hollywood talents will have their careers survive, but it will leave scars. Executive Producer Martin Scorsese (yep, you heard right) and director Tomas Alfredson (who made that timeless vampire movie Let the Right one in in 2008 and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy three years later) give us a movie that is grubby, drabby (not sure if that is a word, but it fits the movie), and muddled. Alfredson himself said the movie was rushed, and that up to 15% of the script was not even shot. I guess that figures out correctly, though to call the script loose is an understatement: I don’t think any screws were used at all to secure it.

It truly seemed like the talented Michael Fassbender was mopey the entire time. He stars as Harry Hole (I am all about character names where they have the same letter for first and last name, but his just seems weird), who I believe is a detective of some kind in Norway (which I did not know until I looked it up). There is a killer on the loose who is always ahead of Hole, leaving Snowmen at the scene of the crime. We also know that, as a child, he mother committed suicide by driving out on a frozen lake and waiting for the ice to crack.

Hole is also accompanied by Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson, who was in another bad movie earlier this year, Life). Whether it be as a team or as potential lovers, chemistry is completly absent. Hole also has an ex girlfriend (I think? the relationships were hard to follow) Rakel (Charlotten Gainsbourg) who has a son named Oleg (Michael Yates) who Harry is trying to be a father to (though he is not, I don’t  think). Even Mathias (Jonas Karlsson), Rakel’s current boyfriend, is cool with Harry.

Yeah, ok.

There are other subplots that are completely obscure. I am a big fan of J.K. Simmons, but his character, Arve Stop, adds nothing to the movie at all. It also hurt to see that his accent was just atrocious. Another character that is borderline laughable is Rafto. He is played by Val Kilmer. His character is told in flashbacks, but he is supposed to be a myth in the business of the police. Had Kilmer been given enough to work with (which he is given the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar), he may have had something. It also does not help that Kilmer seems to have been dubbed horribly (I do know the actor recently had battled cancer, so if that is the reason, then I obviously would not fault him at all. There is also Chloe Sevigny as twins, because…….um, well, it does something for the story I guess. Seriously, these great actors are just left out to dry.

Parents, there is some swearing, a bit of nudity (the Simmons character was almost borderline Harvey Weinstein which thankfully did not happen), and a lot of violence. I say High School and above. The IQ level you need, however, is anywhere above 10.

Even the editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, is a victim of The Snowman. She has worked on Scorsese masterpieces (Goodfellas and Raging Bull, just to name some). Being show in snowy landscapes, there are maybe one or two nice looking shots that got my attention, but that is it.  I mean, seriously. The only thing worse than a bad movie is a bad movie made by talented people. The Snowman is a movie that can be used to blackmail movie lovers (let alone critics), sending shivers down the spine.

There is still the worst movie sin that The Snowman does commit.

One that no movie, never, ever, should.

Being utterly boring.

Overall: One Star *

 

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

x-men Apocalypse

The younger versions of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).

X-Men: Apocalypse is sure to dazzle the biggest fanboy (or girl), but it is almost generic in being a summer film, one that may not completly be remembered by the end of the year.

After the brilliance of X-Men: Days of Future Past two years ago (I still have yet to see X-Men: First Class from 2011), we fast foward ten years and are introduced to the biggest baddie in all mutant history (also the first), En Sabah Nur (Oscar Issac), also known as Apocalypse (though I don’t think he is called anything else in the movie). His ability is to move his conscience into other beings, picking up their powers along the way (at least that is what I gathered: I was a fan of X-Men as a nineties kid, but never got around to Apocalypse).

Meanwhile, we see familiar faces such as Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who is still running his school for the gifted with the help of Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is leading a normal life with a wife and daughter, though still working in a steel mill seems awkward for the man once known as Magneto. Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), also known as Mystique, has become kind of a folklore legend, but refuses to be seen as a hero. We also see three young versions of familiar heroes; Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Bush), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). However, Apocalypse has also managed to recruit some mutants of his own, including Angel (Ben Hardy), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Psylocke (Olivia Munn).

Still, as it was with Days of Future Past, my favorite is still Evan Peters as Quicksilver. It is a difference character than the one we met in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and a better one (and not the because of the reason you think). He is witty, smart, funny, yet still has a tortured soul. He has a scene reminiscant of the one he had in Days of Future Past, and, as was the case in the previous movie, it is the best scene of this film as well.

All actors give strong performances (I did especially enjoy the chemistry between Sheridan, Bush, and Smit-McPhee), and the action sequences were very cool. Still, the story itself was just luke warm to me. Even at nearly two and a half hours (which it did not drag on as much as I thought it would), I feel they could have added a few more levels of depth to each character, as well as give a little more sinister-ness to the villian (though Issac does a fine job here).

Parents, the movie does have some revealing clothing, and some nudity (all Mystique, though the nudity is always her in blue). There is also some swearing (including one F bomb, though it is well placed). Basically, the PG-13 rating is justified, though it could have been rated R.

I will end by saying do still feel I liked this film better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, though not nearly as much as Captain America: Civil War. I understand not all comic book stories are light and fun: some can be dark. I feel there is still some room left for another X-Men film or two (which will more than likely happen), but they need to stop looking at the horizon and take a leap of faith.

 

Overall: Three Stars ***