Sorry for the radio silence vacation, then the always more challenging vacation recovery.
I know I’m not the only one to have mentally written off “Hancock” once its marketing campaign stopped presenting it as a comedy and started pitching it as an action movie, indicating that studio higher-ups somewhere had begun to doubt the film’s ability to generated Big Laffs, and decided to pretend it was never really intended to generate said Laffs to begin with. Despite what look to be some awesome tonal problems, “Hancock” has the most promisingly complex premise of the summer tentpoles, and while the reviews have been the definition of mixed, they’ve also suggested the film at least flirts with some semi-ambitious themes and goes places you wouldn’t expect from July 4th weekend fodder. A selection:
Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe: “As a courtesy I won’t be terribly specific, but the movie suggests a rather incredible racial odyssey. It culminates with an intriguing Hollywood metaphor for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s endless tussle for the Democratic nomination.”
Manohla Dargis at the New York Times: “He’s Pothole Man, Train Wreck Man, but mainly he’s Seriously Ticked Off Man, which, given that he’s also a black man in Los Angeles, suggests that this superhero story comes with some bite, even a few nibbling sharp teeth.”
An extremely supportive David Denby at the New Yorker: “We’re also puzzled by Berg’s visual style, which, in these intimate scenes, depends on a handheld camera, restlessly moving yet pinned to the actors in super-tight closeups. It’s as if he were making a Cassavetes psychodrama. Suddenly, we realize why he stays so close. We are watching genuine actors at work, not well-paid hired hands filling up the space between agitated zeroes and ones.”
Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times: “I have been waiting for this for years: a superhero movie where the actions of the superheroes have consequences in the real world.”
Stephanie Zacharek at Salon: “I still can’t get over the movie’s suggestive reference to Hancock’s coke use, or even just his reckless swilling of liquor — we are talking about a character played by one of the most popular stars in Hollywood today, an actor who, whether he wants it or not, has been draped with the mantle of role model.”
[Photo: “Hancock,” Columbia Pictures, 2008]