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Julie Crawford - Canadian Film Critic

Tune to The 2 Guys Named Chris Show every Monday to get the scoop on the latest new films and releases to DVD from a Canadian point of view.  Julie Crawford, Film Critic for The Vancouver Courier, gives her twocents worth every Monday morning on Rock 92.
by Biggie Josh Ellinger posted Jun 10 2013 12:00AM
In Theaters

The Internship

Forty-something Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are watch salesmen, a dying breed. After the guys learn that their company has folded Nick takes a job at a mattress store managed by his sister’s pervy boyfriend (Will Ferrell, in the film’s best cameo) but Billy gets the genius idea to google Google and finds out about their summer internship program. Seduced by nap pods and free food at the cafeteria, the boys discombobulate the interviewers just enough to land spots in the program.

The men find themselves on a Bad News Bears-type team of misfits that has to compete against other teams for coveted full-time spots within the company. Naturally, the adults give the young ‘uns an alcohol-soaked lesson in how to loosen up, and the guys get a little smarter by being around the kids.

The script very cleverly utilizes layers of pop-culture references: older folks will giggle at Flashdance and Back to the Future references, younger viewers will enjoy playing spot-the-Android, and quick shots of Google co-founder Sergey Brin cruising the campus.

And refreshingly, the film is very funny without being mean-spirited. There are just the right amount of PG moments to keep things edgy without being cynical. Billy and Nick are like a wise-cracking Bert and Ernie, even sharing a bed in one scene, but there’s no need to exploit the situation for cheap laughs. Ditto Billy’s attentiveness to a young hottie teammate: it’s fatherly, not creepy. The audience is permitted to laugh without feeling like they have to shower afterward.


DVDs

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Opens with the Grimm’s fairy tale we all know, except that Hansel (Jeremy Renner) becomes a diabetic because he’s forced to eat all that candy. The orphans grow up to become mercenary witch-hunters with modern weaponry and slang. So when all the children in a village go missing right before an eclipse, the town calls Hansel and Gretel (former Bond girl Gemma Arterton) to take care of it, which puts them up against a beautiful leather-clad witch played by Famke Janssen. But while there’s a lot of bone-crushing, head-splitting going on, there’s just not enough witty lines or brother-sister camaraderie to make the film work. In the end there’s lots of fairy-tale gore but no magic.

Snitch
Fan favorite Dwayne Johnson stars in this based-on-true events story about an 18-year-old (Rafi Gavron) who is thrown in jail just because he signs for a courier package. The package is drugs from his shady friend, and now Jason is facing 10 years minimum unless he frames someone else and reduces his sentence. Johnson stars as Jason’s dad, a construction business owner who agrees to go after a drug kingpin if the federal prosecutor (played by Susan Sarandon) will get his son out. Johnson is not going to win any academy awards but this is a fairly entertaining and informative film about minimum-sentencing injustices.

Oz the Great and Powerful
Oscar (James Franco) is a circus magician and charlatan who gets caught in a twister and finds himself plunked in the magical world of Oz, hailed as a savior by the people. The sidekicks this time around are a talking, flying monkey (voiced by Zach Braff and a china doll girl, who is stronger than she looks. It’s Oscar’s job to decide which of the three witches is the evil one, save the good people of Oz from destruction, while finding the goodness within himself. Some of the CG work is underwhelming while others (the china girl) are fantastic. Some good performances here by Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz; James Franco, however, lacks the heft to play Oz convincingly, and in the end it’s not quite as enchanting as it should be. Great features including how a marionette was used for all the china girl work, one on the soundtrack, one on Franco’s experience, and much more.

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