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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #516 (Vol. 11, No. 7). This edition is for the week of February 8--14, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Wolfman"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"The Wolfman"  by Mike Smith
Tales for Another Day: Night of the Badfinger  by ED Tucker
Comic Book Craze Part 2: From DC to Dark Horse  by Chris Woods
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover  by Lisa Scherer
Japanese Directors: Then and Now  by Jason Fetters
Valentine's Day Massacre!  by John Miller
Congrats! .... Movie Notes .... And One From Music .... Welcome To Kansas City .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 48 mins

The time: the late 19th Century. The place: England. The moon: Full. While walking his family’s estate, Ben Talbot (Simon Merrills) feels as if he’s being followed. He begins to run, only to be attacked by…something. Days later, his almost unrecognizable body is discovered. Ben’s fiancée Gwen (Blunt) learns that his brother Lawrence (Del Toro), an actor, is currently performing in London and informs him of the tragedy. Lawrence returns home, wary of not only the bad memories of his youth but of his father (Hopkins), whom he blames for his mother’s death. Lawrence is told that a band of gypsies and their trained bear are responsible for Ben’s death, and he goes to visit them one night while the moon is full. Bad mistake!

Based on the 1941 horror classic, “The Wolfman” is not only a roller coaster ride of horror but a fitting and worthy tribute to the original. In fact, were the film not in color and so blood drenched, you might think you were watching Lon Chaney, Jr. and company. This is testament to the fine work of Benicio Del Toro, who not only stars but serves as a producer on the film. He is the perfect actor to play Larry Talbot, as important to the role as Chaney was in his time. He is well supported by the rest of the cast. All three leads turn in solid performances, as do the supporting characters, led by Art Malik and “The Matrix’” Hugo Weaving. Malik is Singh, the elder Talbot’s loyal assistant who keeps a rifle and specially made silver bullets close at hand. “I didn’t know you hunted monsters,” Larry asks him. “Sometimes,” Singh replies, “the monsters hunt you.” Weaving is Inspector Abberline, the true life detective that investigated the Jack the Ripper murders.

Of course you can’t have a movie called “The Wolfman” without, well, a wolfman. The special effects and make up used to transfer the title creature from man to beast are spectacular. Much credit must go to Rick Baker, who almost 30 years ago won the first Academy Award for make up for his work on “An American Werewolf in London.” The CGI effects, including shots of the wolfman as he scampers over the roof tops of London at night, are also well done. And high praise indeed to cinematographer Shelly Johnson, who previously worked with director Johnston on “Jurassic Park III.” His use of low light makes the actors stand out against the foggy English country side and adds to the tension of the film. The script, by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self, sticks mainly to the original story but gives the Talbot family, and Lawrence in particular, a great back story that adds to the tale. Walker, incidentally, wrote the movie “Seven,” so he truly knows his way around the horror genre.

On a scale of zero to four I give “The Wolfman”  

This week's movie review of "The Wolfman" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.