Cineast Movie Previews: ‘Hercules,’ ‘Adventurer,’ ‘Great Flood,’ ‘Banshee Chapter’

Planning to catch a movie this weekend. Here are four to consider, from action/adventure and fantasy to history and horror.

The Legend of Hercules

The Legend of Hercules looks to be a potent mixture of beefcake, violence, sex and half-baked mythology. Starring Kellen Lutz as Hercules, the strongest man in the world and, by virtue of the fact that Zeus is his father, a demigod. Now, if you were known to be the strongest man on Earth and a demigod, you might expect people to give you a wide berth. But poor Hercules is beset, seemingly from childhood, with a never-ending series of foes and tormentors who somehow get it into their heads that he is a pushover. It becomes his sorry fate to have to prove them wrong, over and over again, and it is sorry for the audiences of The Legend Of Hercules to watch him do so.

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box

Just to answer the obvious question: this film has nothing to do with cheap, deficient mufflers. The film The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is in fact set in England in the days before motorcars and mufflers, but not before the days of large, complicated machines. In fact, the film should be a steampunk’s delight. It seems that the Midas Box is a secret artifact held by a secret government agency, and it has the capability of bestowing untold wealth but also terrifying supernatural powers. The film was adapted from a popular teen novel, and is clearly aimed at youthful viewers.

The Great Flood

In 1927 the Mississippi River flooded, laying waste to 27,000 square miles in the Deep South. What wasn’t heavily noted at the time, but what has since become the subject of heated debate, was the decision to open floodgates and sluices in order to direct the floodwaters away from white populations and toward black agricultural lands. The flood’s devastation, along with the Great Depression that followed starting in 1929, led to a transformation in American culture, as poor black farmers in the South migrated North to urban centers for better jobs. They brought with them music and foodways that shaped 20th-century life in ways that could not have been predicted. The Great Flood uses newsreel footage to show the ruin left by the flood: the newsreel footage, itself now badly decayed, echoes in its bubbly, water-like distortions the ravages of the original disaster.

Banshee Chapter

The horror film Banshee Chapter takes off from the (true) story that the CIA and other government agencies experimented with giving hallucinogenic drugs to volunteer civilians, with sometimes tragic results. From that the film derives a fairly run-of-the-mill “don’t look now” type of fright fest.

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