Contrarian

The currents flowing between Will Smith and Charlize Theron in Hancock “are reminiscent of the heat generated by Gable and Harlow, say, or Bogart and Bacall. It turns out that there’s a bond between these two (which I won’t reveal), and the rest of the movie, which includes some superb comic invention as well as scarily turbulent scenes, grows out of it. Hancock suggests new visual directions and emotional tonalities for pop. It’s by far the most enjoyable big movie of the summer.” — from David Denby‘s New Yorker review, dated 7.7.08.

  • monsieur hire

    Agree wholeheartedly. I’ve seen Hancock, and am shocked at the “swiftboating” this interesting film is too quickly receiving, much due to its troubled production, tales of reshoots and edits, etc., and less to do with its quality.
    There is a lot to like in this film — it turns the genre on its head in tones and tropes (no villain, no big climax, etc.), and there are suprises you don’t see coming.
    There’s also trio of great performances from Smith, Bateman and Theron, some dark and frightening mysteries in the climax, some very mean-spirited humor and the whole thing feels totally fresh.
    Ignore the knee-jerking going on — it is not a perfect movie, but it sure is interesting and it got me.
    No doubt the masses (press as well) wish to sweep this under the rug and continue blathering about The Dark Knight, which about 3 people have seen by apparently revolutionizes cinema as we know it and which everyone seems to have forgotten is just a friggin’ BATMAN movie.

  • http://www.movingpictureblog.blogspot.com Joe Leydon

    This is a terrific movie. Seriously.

  • erniesouchak

    Let’s not forget Vince Gilligan wrote some of the better (and lighter, but not always) episodes of “The X-Files.” Too bad the third act of “Hancock” is a real mess. There’s a radical shift in tone and it just gets bogged down.

  • monsieur hire

    erniesouchak: “Let’s not forget Vince Gilligan wrote some of the better (and lighter, but not always) episodes of “The X-Files.” Too bad the third act of “Hancock” is a real mess. There’s a radical shift in tone and it just gets bogged down.”
    Totally disagree. It goes to dark and creepy places, and re-invents itself in the process. The scenes in the hospital, particularly the bedside conversation, are resonant. Berg obviously felt deeply about this material, unlike 99% of his hack colleagues cranking out their action crap.

  • berg

    No relation … variety is off the mark on this one, dare I say I was hoping it would be longer

  • http://www.movingpictureblog.blogspot.com Joe Leydon

    Monsiuer Hire: I have to agree. Why do people complain that every movie has to be neat? What I like about Hancock is that it is so spectacularly untidy. (And I realy, really like how the villain meets his fate.)

  • http://www.myspace.com/joetateparttimehero iamjoe

    I haven’t seen it yet, and will this weekend. I have been reserving judgment on it all except for this: only an hour and twenty minutes long???? Why? A film with Bateman, Theron and Smith? All fun performers and someone can’t put twenty more minute of word in there mouths?
    THAT alone makes me nervous.

  • breadlymoore

    “What I like about Hancock is that it is so spectacularly untidy.”
    Time for retirement, Ben Franklin.

  • monsieur hire

    Joe Leydon: “I have to agree. Why do people complain that every movie has to be neat? What I like about Hancock is that it is so spectacularly untidy. (And I realy, really like how the villain meets his fate.)”
    Agree again. Untidy is indeed a better way to describe this film. How often today does a Hollywood movie leave you wanting more, particularly a commercial “action” picture like this one? It doesn’t need to be perfect and have a carbon-copy, forumla screenplay where everything snaps into place, to be compelling.
    Theron particularly surprised me. NOW I understand why she did not ( could not?) do press for the film. Enough said on that.

  • Mumbleboy

    Is it true that this film was cut down from a R version to a teen friendly PG-13? If so, that is reason enough to skip the theatrical and wait for the eventual DVD.
    And this is coming from someone who’s seen all Peter Berg films in the theater and have always been happy with the results, but cutting the balls off any film means my $9.25 stays in my pocket. Netflix will send it to me before the election, I’m sure

  • Rothchild

    It was always meant to be PG-13. It was just a pain in the ass for them to get it there.

  • Michael Cavayero

    I think a lot of what makes this movie intriguing is the definitive sexual tension between the two leads. You can’t tell me that everyone watching this movie is not going to be thinking, what would it be like to see Smith√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Big, Black @#$% inside Theron√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s tan, shiny South-African pooch! Not to be crude, but I think there is a certain amount of carnal adrenalin-driven sexualness inside all of us, enough so that that visual image will hit us at least once during the screening.
    P.S Did anyone read that John Waters interview a few months ago about Alvin and the Chipmunks, and being ‘worked up’ as he calls it, like when the dad gets so worked up that he screams, “Allllllllvinnn!” Well Waters equated it to sex, and he talked about Dawn Davenport having an insatiable orgasm. The part when she’s with Gaiter in bed and he’s feeding her a carrot.

  • http://martiansattackingindianapolis.blogspot.com/ Josh Massey

    Ok, I’m done reading the comments – don’t want spoilers. But I’m so thankful to be reading positive things about this film. I’ve been anticipating it ever since I saw The Kingdom and realized just how goddamned talented Peter Berg is.

  • D.Z.

    So Indy 4 already dropped its second week in Japan. Tee-hee. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117988325.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

  • Jeremy Smith

    It’s an interesting failure, but the Theron/Smith chemistry makes a serious case for a tightly-scripted romantic comedy somewhere down the line. Shit, just give ‘em DESIGN FOR LIVING (with Will in the “George” role, of course) and see what happens.

  • Legowombat

    Indy’s done it’s Pump ‘n’ Dump business with the crowd here, DZ. Nobody cares about you gloating over yesterday’s meme, especially when there’s fresh movies like ‘Hancock’ to bitch about.

  • D.Z.

    Hancock will probably be forgotten even sooner, if even Wanted couldn’t beat Wall-E.

  • soap-and-water

    speaking of swiftboating… what the fuck was anyone who wrote even one critical word against Speed Racer thinking?!
    The thing’s a fucking masterpiece… the structure’s remarkable (flashbacks in flashbacks), those enormous racetracks are a design coup and the whole ‘singularity of vision’ ball isn’t dropped once!
    that ‘speedgasm’ when he crosses the finish line in the final race is major league too…

  • D.Z.

    Yes, we’ve established that Speed Racer is “underrated”, but it’s still not entertaining or fun.

  • vansmith

    Hancock will leave us wanting more, and maybe they’ll give it to us…

  • rr3333

    I agree with ‘iamjoe’. The 90 minute length is a big red flag.
    Not that I need to see 2 1/2 hours of crap like Sex & the City to feel satisfied, but it looks like they cut, cut, cut like crazy.

  • deadre

    Sooo over this movie and will smith………

  • Richardson

    “if even Wanted couldn’t beat Wall-E.”
    If you thought that an R-rated action movie had a shot in hell at beating a Pixar movie in opening weekend grosses, you’re even dumber than you come across on a daily basis, DZ. Unfortunately as it is, ‘Wanted’ did extremely well.
    But not nearly as well as ‘Crystal Skull’.

  • D.Z.

    Richardson: The point I was making was that, if a film like Wanted, which normally wouldn’t have a chance at knocking Pixar off its number 1 spot, couldn’t beat Wall-E, even though it came close, then Hancock probably has a slim chance, too. Though I guess if a film like Wanted came that close, it means that people are getting bored with Pixar films-especially since the last time it was this close was with Ratatouille and Die Hard 4.

  • PerfectTommy

    This is the ninth consequative Pixar film to open at number 1. Wall-E made $13 million more than the last Pixar film.
    This film is universally loved by critics, will probably win the Animated Picture Oscar and will continue to make a slew of money.
    So D.Z., where do you get the idea that people are getting bored with Pixar?

  • Howlingman

    The title of this thread could almost be in honor of DZ, couldn’t it?

  • D.Z.

    Tommy: “So D.Z., where do you get the idea that people are getting bored with Pixar?”
    Oh, the disappointing (by their standards) domestic box office for Cars and Ratatouille, the fact that people have been discussing that penguin movie and Kung Fu Panda more than Wall-E, and the fact that people are comparing them to certain low-budget 80s and early 90s movies..

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    I miss her insightful comments on film, and her bitchy commentary. She added a refreshing viewpoint to this site.
    FREE AUNT SASSY!!!

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