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Liz & Dick, Hansel & Gretel, A Common Man



Liz & Dick (NR)

Entertainment One

Everyone has already had their big laughs at not only the idea of Lindsay Lohan portraying Elizabeth Taylor, but the actual opportunity to see it in action with Lifetime's Liz & Dick. Having only just recently caught it, I've got to say I've seen a lot worse. (Remember when Jennifer Love Hewitt was Audrey Hepburn?) If Liz & Dick suffers from anything, it's not Lohan as much as it is the by-the-numbers writing, the cheap production values and the 90-minute TV running time. If anything, Lohan adds a tragic gravitas to the project that mirrors Taylor's own self-destructive tendencies. The tele-movie covers from when Taylor and Richard Burton met and had affairs on the set of Cleopatra, up until their first divorce, with little vignettes of their later lives thrown in as an afterthought. If this were a true feature film, Lohan would probably have garnered goodwill instead of guffaws. — Louis Fowler


Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (R)


Amid tough competition, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters emerges as the worst of Hollywood's exhausting infatuation with retold fairy tales. Starring lifeless leads Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the titular black-magic exterminators, Witch Hunters starts out as merely laughable as it sends its armed-to-the-teeth heroes to a wooded village where Famke Janssen's wicked witch is terrorizing townspeople. As our supposed heroes round up and gleefully slaughter dozens of magically inclined creatures, however, the "so-bad-it's-good" laughs also die. The genocidal turn is especially disappointing considering director Tommy Wirkola's breakout feature, Dead Snow, put such a fresh spin on the zombie genre by casting Nazis as the brain-eaters. Anyway, brace yourselves: The fairy-tale trend isn't going anywhere, and it's hard to imagine things getting much better. — Justin Strout


A Common Man (PG-13)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

A Common Man is a complex, confounding and ultimately confusing movie. The Sri Lankan production has many surface problems — horrific dubbing, hilarious screenwriting and hurried action sequences — but beyond that, the politics of the movie are so twisted that I have no idea if it is pro- or anti-terrorism. Sure, there are long-winded speeches about peace, but they are contradicted by the aspects of entertaining violence against the terrorists. Ben Kingsley, fresh off playing a terrorist in Iron Man 3, is the titular character who places multiple bombs around the city and will detonate them if a handful of imprisoned terrorists aren't freed. There's a nonsensical twist with this, that tries to turn Kingsley into the good guy, but it isn't very well thought out. A Common Man makes many common mistakes, but any theme of peace seems to totally be lost in translation. — Louis Fowler

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