Hellboy (2019)
Genre: Action, fantasy
Director: Neil Marshall
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim
Duration: 120 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Director Neil Marshall, famous for gore-heavy titles like The Descent and a few memorable episodes of Game of Thrones, gives us a fresh take on Mike Mignola’s characters in Hellboy.

With David Harbour (Stranger Things) in the title role as Big Red, the film dives back into the demonic mythos divorced from Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman’s 2004 and 2008 films respectively.

This time, the big bad Blood Queen Nimue (Milla Jovovich) is hell-bent on opening underworld and jump-starting the apocalypse, so it is up to Hellboy and his pals at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence (BPRD) to put a stop to it.

Hellboy has not left a good impression among critics, with comically hyperbolic reviews harping on the film’s many evident flaws making a splash across various platforms on the internet.

Common critiques lament a waste of the well-cast David Harbour’s talents, many nonsensical plot threads failing to come together coherently, as well as some heavy-handed editing choices that did not do justice to the film’s overall tone and aesthetic.

“The real villain of the movie is its rotten writing,” said  Alex Abad-Santos of Vox. “It turns Hellboy into hanging action sequences loosely stitched together by two or three sentences and a vague suggestion of a narrative.”

“Hellboy wants to remind you that this Dark Horse Comics brute with a soul still deserves a place in the superhero-movie ecosphere,” wrote David Fear for Rolling Stone. “Some things are better left dead.”

“Hellboy is a thin, clumsy and charmless attempt at rebooting a beloved franchise,” lamented Meg Downey of IGN. “It's populated by forgettable characters motivated by confusing stakes, cheaply executed visuals and distracting editing.”

The $50 million production indeed did not do well at the US box office, grossing only $12 million on its release last weekend.

IMDB: 6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Empire: 2 stars

Vince Vaughn (left) and Mel Gibson make some bad decisions in Dragged Across Concrete.Vince Vaughn (left) and Mel Gibson make some bad decisions in Dragged Across Concrete.

Dragged Across Concrete (2019)
Genre: Action, crime
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White, Jennifer Carpenter, Laurie Holden
Duration: 158 minutes
Class: 18
KRS Releasing Ltd

After footage of them emerges brutalising suspects in their custody, police partners Brett Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) are suspended without pay for their violent behaviour.

With little options left, they turn to their contacts in the criminal underworld to make some money while they ride out their suspension.

 Critics had mixed to warm reviews for the crime drama that opted for a slow burn rather than a faster pace in narrative.

This is reflected in the critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes: “As grim and grinding as its title, Dragged Across Concrete opts for slow-burning drama instead of high-speed thrills ­‒ and has just the right cast to make it work.”

David Edelstein of Vulture wrote: “For all the absurdist-tragic trappings, this is still your basic bone-headed, right-wing action movie ‒ skewed so that its heroes’ moral relativism is meant to be a sign of their manly integrity. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do ‒ however shortsighted and racist and sadistic.  I’ll see anything Zahler does because I was weaned on the same junk he was and find his mix of amateurism and genre smarts appealing.”

And David Fear of Rolling Stone wrote: “Dragged Across Concrete is apt to send crime-film fanatics, especially ones who prefer their pulp nasty, brutish and incredibly long, into frothing fits of glee.”

The film opens in Malta on Friday.

IMDB: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Empire: N/A

A girl’s imagination runs riot in Wonder Park.A girl’s imagination runs riot in Wonder Park.

Wonder Park (2019)
Genre: Animation
Voices of: Sofia Mali, Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong
Duration: 86 minutes
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

The animated adventure produced by Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies revolves around a girl named June.

The optimistic and imaginative child discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals. However,  the park is in disarray.

June soon discovers the park is the fruit of her imagination and she is the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring the wonder back in Wonderland.

Some critics praised the voice cast performances and the well-developed characters but others were less amused.

Teo Bugbee of The NY Times wrote: “In this amiable animated feature, a child’s imagination can power an amusement park. Unfortunately, the movie falls shy of providing the same sensory thrill ride.”

Similarly, Kristen Page-Kirby of the Washington Post commented: “Much of the movie feels like filler. Shots are often overlong, scenes drag or are entirely unnecessary.”

IMDB: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Empire: 2 stars