Thursday, July 26, 2012

Now-a-Dollary July 27

Posted By on July 26, 2012, 7:12 AM

Katniss is coming! Katniss is coming! Oh, and a few other movies are new at discount theaters this week, as well. ---

The headliner, though, is clearly The Hunger Games, the blockbuster adaptation of Suzanne Collins' phenomenon of a bestseller about a futuristic North America, where an annual battle-to-the-death between kids is the biggest thing on reality television. Director Gary Ross allows the character of Katniss -- the best thing Collins' novel has going for it -- to remain the focus, and Jennifer Lawrence turns in a terrific performance. Everything else that's not about her sags, but that fiery central presence makes up for a lot.

Much-anticipated for different reasons was Ridley Scott's Prometheus, the "is it really a prequel?" to his landmark 1979 horror-in-space thriller Alien. The result is a solid-enough piece of genre excitement that feels unduly burdened by its history, or the sense that it's trying to pack a bunch of explanations into its running time. Go for what it delivers that's not explicitly about its precursors.

An entirely different brand of horror with a history comes from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the adaptation of Seth Graeme-Smith's book speculating on the great American's long war with the undead. CW's MaryAnn Johansson appreciated its funky brand of revisionism, noting its "electric jolt of symbolism that sings with raw -- and unexpected -- power."

Finally, there's the historical drama For Greater Glory, which tells the story of the 1926-1929 Cristero War, a popular uprising by Mexican Catholics against oppressive anti-Church measures. Unfortunately, it's yet another example of faith-promoting filmmaking that can't manage to work as compelling storytelling.

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