Neil Fox on film: Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter, Chernobyl Diaries

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Thursday, 21st June 2012, 6:06 am

If aliens are orbiting in radar-defying craft, looking for signs that Earth is weak, lacking heart, imagination and fight, they’ll take great strength from this film. I’d expect a full-scale invasion soon.

This may have been a tongue-in-cheek graphic novel, full of verve and flair and humour, but in translation something is lost. No. Everything bar the title is lost.

It’s not that history is rewritten. Tarantino showed that you could do that gloriously with his Inglourious Basterds. It’s that the film doesn’t know what genre to plump for and the result is an unholy mess.

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President Abraham Lincoln is busy turning America round, when he learns vampires are seeking to take over the Earth, and he is having none of that.

Cue action, gore, historiography, fast cuts and humour. Or that’s the plan. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) is clearly capable, but he is never let off the reins and the shallow, cynical hand of the studio, pushing the product to tick as many boxes as possible, is constantly visible in the mess.

The Five-Year Engagement

The third collaboration between Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller – if you don’t count The Muppets – is a decent, but ultimately underwhelming, rom-com.

Following Get Him To The Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall it’s a nice, moderately funny film featuring another strong performance from Emily Blunt, who is fast becoming the go-to actress of quirky romance. She shines brightest in a story that revolves around a couple who are trying to overcome what appears to be a curse preventing them from wedded bliss.

There are friends and obstacles and lessons all around and it will make you smile but offers nothing new to any of the debates it showcases.

And don’t be fooled by the ‘from the producers of Bridesmaids’ tagline and branding appropriation. Bridesmaids this ain’t.

Chernobyl Diaries

Oren Peli is finally moving away from his phenomenally successful Paranormal Activity creation into a new area, a new country in fact.

His new film as writer and producer tells the story of a group of young people taking an extreme vacation to the town where the workers at the Chernobyl power plant lived.

Needless to say the film quickly becomes about what has moved in to the area as a result of the nuclear disaster and is now hunting the tourists.

What is sad is that this is a great idea for a film, but the constant focus on the gimmicks of the cameras telling the story, the found footage curse, stop it in its tracks and a great idea goes unexplored. A real letdown.