Reel Critics: 'Conan' is truly barbaric, violent

The remake of "Conan the Barbarian" is exactly what you would expect.

It's a "Sword and Sorcery" blood feud of nonstop ancient battle scenes. This film takes no prisoners and carves up every enemy warrior in sight. It features all the realistic killings Hollywood can deliver, using modern special effects.

Jason Momoa is the new muscle man taking over the role made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger almost 30 years ago. The bulging biceps, grunts and yelps haven't changed. But the murderous rampage on screen is highly magnified by the top-notch CGI graphics not available in Arnold's time.

The plot trajectory is obvious once Conan as a boy sees his father and tribe slaughtered by a rival warlord. Predictable blood thirsty revenge is the heart of the drama. The outcome of this violent R-rated story is never in doubt. Only the final tally of the relentless body count is at issue.


Prickly sweet 'Hedgehog' comes to Orange County

"The Hedgehog" is an absolute treasure, a quirky, well-acted French fable about not being afraid to "let life in." After winning numerous audience awards at film festivals, this film has finally come to Orange County.

Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic) is a precocious girl who doesn't want to live in a privileged "fish bowl" like her family. She resolves to end her life on her 12th birthday, but not before she films their "absurd" existence.

One of the few people she deems interesting is the building's concierge, Madame Michel  (fabulous Josiane Balasko). Grumpy and alone save for her cat (a true scene-stealer),  Paloma tells the woman that she is like a hedgehog — prickly on the outside, but elegant and vulnerable within.

When Mme. Michel meets the new tenant, dapper Mr. Ozu (Togo Igawa), they recognize in each other a love of books. Indeed, she has kept a secret life as an avid reader with her own vast library of classics.

Mr. Ozu begins to court her friendship in an exquisitely gentle manner that is one of the film's greatest pleasures. The fates of these three are forever intertwined in their gradual realization that life can be full of lovely, small moments, if we remember not to be afraid.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and works as an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World