Now in Cinemas: Reviews for April 12, 2007

The Hills Have Eyes II and Norbit
Reviews by Jason Pirodsky

A slow weekend at the cinemas brings Prague a pair of sub-par Hollywood flicks to go along with two foreign-language releases: Taxi 4 (showtimes | IMDb ), the latest in the hit French action-comedy series from director Gérard Krawczyk and writer Luc Besson (opening wide, screening in French with Czech subtitles); and Princesas (showtimes | IMDb ), a drama set in the world of prostitution from Fernando León de Aranoa, director of the highly acclaimed Mondays in the Sun (limited release, screening in Spanish with Czech subtitles).

The Hills Have Eyes II
Directed by Martin Weisz. Starring Michael McMillian, Jessica Stroup, Daniella Alonso, Jacob Vargas, Lee Thompson Young, Ben Crowley, Eric Edelstein, Flex Alexander, Reshad Strik. Written by Wes Craven and Jonathan Craven.
IMDb link
Uninspired, unnecessary sequel to 2006´s uninspired, unnecessary remake. A squad of failed National Guard trainees find themselves at a deserted desert outpost; here, they are picked of one by one by the sadistic mutant cannibals living within the abandoned mine shafts in the hills. By-the- numbers all the way, with thinly drawn characters and a distressingly predictable plot; cheaply and quickly made, and it shows. Thankfully missing much of the nihilism of the first remake, but also missing the style, and sorely lacking the tension and suspense needed for a horror flick to thrive. The sequel almost seems cobbled together from two of Neil Marshall´s movies: the group of ragtag cadets taken from Dog Soldiers, and the struggle against monsters in caves from The Descent. Especially pales in comparison to the latter; despite having a network of caves built by the same team, pic is completely missing the overwhelming claustrophobia of Marshall´s underrated film. Bizarre rape sequence, which begins, cuts to another scene, and resumes ten minutes later, is far more disturbing than the filmmakers know or intend. Written by Wes Craven, director of the original 1977 The Hills Have Eyes (and its 1985 sequel), and son Jonathan Craven. For undiscriminating horror fans only.


Directed by Brian Robbins. Starring Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Mighty Rasta, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, Marlon Wayans. Written by Eddie Murphy, Charles Murphy, Jay Scherick, David Ronn.
IMDb link

Unpleasant, offensive, and entirely unfunny ‘comedy´ starring an unrecognizable and unlikable Eddie Murphy in three roles as the pathetic title character, his morbidly obese wife Rasputia, and Chinese caricature Mr. Wong. Plot: orphan Norbit is forced into marriage by overbearing Rasputia; when his childhood love (Thandie Newton – what was she thinking?) comes back into town to brighten up Norbit´s life and buy the local orphanage, her conman fiancé (Cuba Gooding) and Rasputia´s gangster brothers scheme to turn it into a strip club. It´s up to Norbit to save the day, but by the time all these annoying characters are introduced we want nothing to do with the film. Full of degrading African-American stereotypes that would put Stepin Fetchit to shame; these and other racist gags are only outdone by the endless barrage of fat jokes that seem to sustain the entire film. Completely dull when it isn´t offensive; only briefly comes alive during scenes with Eddie Griffin and Katt Williams as a pair of smooth-talking pimps. Murphy has made a lot of junk in recent years, but this is arguably the worst; yes, even Pluto Nash was better. An embarrassment for everyone involved.

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