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PCR #433 (Vol. 9, No. 28) This edition is for the week of July 7--13, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Hellboy II: The Golden Army"  by Mike Smith
Guest Editorial:
"Mother of Tears" by Terence Nuzum
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 7 by William Moriaty
ED Tucker vs. Spook Hill  by ED Tucker
The Revenge of Oddservations  by Andy Lalino
Favre Saga Continues… .... Rays Slumping .... A-rod + Madonna = Pay Rod .... Jaguars’ Star Arrested .... Madden '09 Anticipation .... Tbc.......... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Amity Island Closes Beaches .... .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
Film Fans Rejoice .... Give Money A Chance .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1956 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

Ah, to be able to run around in the imagination of film maker Guillermo del Toro. The man who brought us “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” has the rare talent to take fantasy and turn it into a unique vision. Peter Jackson, the director of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy has the same talent. So the fact that Jackson has hired del Toro to direct the new “Hobbit” film is an obvious reason to celebrate. However, since that film is two years away, let’s concentrate on del Toro’s latest achievement, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.”

Fans of the first film, or more importantly the comics created by Mike Mignola, know that Hellboy was discovered by a US Army Unit during World War II. The film opens in 1955 on a military base where the young Hellboy (Montse Ribe”) is awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus accompanied by his guardian, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt). Unable to sleep, our little demon asks the professor for a bedtime story. As he dozes off he is told of a time when the world was shared by all, man and mythical creature. One day King Balor summoned the power to create an unstoppable army of golden soldiers, unbeatable in battle. Soon realizing his mistake, the king disbanded the army and had the magical crown that controls it broken into three pieces. Only when the crown is reassembled will the army reform. Centuries have passed and a long forgotten relative of the king thinks it’s time for the golden army to rise again. Who can stop him? Who indeed?

A visual treat in every way, “Hellboy II” delivers on all cylinders. As played by Perlman, our hero is a fun loving, cigar chomping man-child, having fun at other’s expense whenever possible. He also likes disobeying his superiors, who do their best to keep him under wraps, especially as he’s classified by our government as a “special project.” Needless to say, the powers that be don’t appreciate it when Big Red ends up on YouTube. It’s funny that, no matter how talented Perlman is, his greatest success seems to come in films and television programs where his face is entirely obscured by makeup. Be it here, in “The Name of the Rose” or as half of the popular television series “Beauty and the Beast,” Perlman has used his acting skills, coupled with his soothing voice, to his advantage. Now if he’d just do a film where we could see his face. As Liz, Hellboy’s pyrotechnic girlfriend, Blair has fun with the role. She also has more to do here than in the first film and shows a knack for action. As the amphibious sidekick Abe Sapien, Doug Jones is the backbone of the film. Probably best known as the Silver Surfer from the most recent “Fantastic Four” film, Jones has also appeared as the Pale Man in del Toros’ “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Here he actually plays several characters and is proving to be as important to del Toro as Andy “Gollum” Serkis is to Peter Jackson. While the special effects are well done, it is the variety of creatures that inhabit the film that makes it so memorable. Del Toro has stocked his film with creatures both great and small, so many that it would give the Cantina in “Star Wars” a definite run for its money. The film is also packed with great comic moments, including a great sing along to the vocal stylings of Mr. Barry Manilow. And give credit to del Toro for not only appealing to the fanboys in the audience by featuring a John Landis “in joke” as well as an “Anti-Smoking” advertisement during the end credits

A work of magic and belief on the unknown, on a scale of zero to four stars I give “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

This week's movie review of "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.