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Posts Tagged ‘The Woman in Black’

New movies seen at the cinema this month:

Chronicle – Three highs school students develop telekinetic abilities, but what will they do with them? A surprisingly good low budget movie, the found footage element is unnecessary and holds the narrative back especially in the finale.

Carnage – Two New York couple meet in one of their apartments to discuss a fight between their eleven year old sons. The amicable facade soon fades and is replaced by outright hostility. There is some great acting particularly from Christoph Waltz but the movie fails to rise above its theatrical origins.

Young Adult – Following her divorce, a “young adult” fiction writer returns to her Minnesota hometown aiming to hook up with her high school boyfriend who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter. A fantastic script from Diablo Cody gives Charlize Theron a platform resulting in an outstanding performance.

Man on a Ledge – A police psychologist is sent to talk an escaped convict (who claims to be innocent of the crime he was convicted for) off the ledge of a Manhattan hotel. If you have seen the trailer you probably know the rest of the story. Unoriginal and predictable but generally good fun. The only real problem Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez in supporting roles are far more interesting than Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks.

The Woman in Black – Daniel Radcliffe breaks from Harry Potter with an old fashioned haunted house movie that is notable for been the best movie from the resurrected Hammer. Atmospheric and haunting movie with a well balanced threat of melancholy running through it.

A Dangerous Method – The origins of psychoanalysis told through the relationship of pioneers in the field Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Intriguing and interesting with fantastic performances but lacking purpose, direction and depth.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – The sequel to 2007’s Ghost Rider is a slight improvement on the terrible original but is still an incoherent mess. Nicolas Cage’s over the top performance is fun but the film falls flat as does the poor and pointless 3D.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – A socially awkward nine-year-old searches New York for the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Centre. Not as bad as some reviews you would have you believe but certainly not deserving its pest picture Oscar nomination.

Rampart – Set against the Rampart scandal in late 90’s LA and telling the story of an old school cop who doesn’t let the law get in the way of his way of doing things. A week narrative, a sloppy structure and lack of focus hinder what could have been a compelling watch. As it is, the main reason to see the movie is a fantastic performance from Woody Harrelson.

I am honestly torn this month as there are three movies I loved. Chronicle, I had no expectations for but really enjoyed. The Woman in Black, a supremely well made chiller that dispels the myth that they don’t make them like the used to. But just edging it to be the movie of the month: Young Adult, largely for the Oscar worthy performance from Charlize Theron.

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As mentioned on many previous occasions I love Hammer movies. I grew up watching them and still watch them to this day. A few years ago, I went to the cinema on Halloween to see a Terence Fisher’s 1958 version of Dracula staring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing despite the fact I had already seen it at least half a dozen times. With this in mind you can probably understand my excitement when it was announced a few years back the old studio had been resurrected. How are things going for the new/old studio?

Beyond the Rave (2008): Originally aired on MySpace in 2008 (I signed up just to watch this), Beyond the Rave was split into twenty-part episodes. The day before he is due to fly to Iraq, soldier Ed (Jamie Dornan) and his friend Necro (Matthew Forrest) looking for his missing girlfriend, Jen (Nora-Jane Noone). The trail leads to a rave run by vampires. The acting isn’t great and the story loses its way. The online format soon became tedious. Not a great start but a step back towards filmmaking.

Let Me In (2010): I love Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire movie Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In). It was by far the best film I saw in 2009 and the best vampire movie for more than twenty years. The remake Let Me In is totally pointless. It looks fantastic and the young cast (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz) are great but the feels strangely hollow. While the story of a bullied child is the most important thing to Let the Right One In, it is secondary to the vampire story in Let Me In. Not a bad film in its own right but only a shadow of the Swedish original.

The Resident (2011): After splitting up with her boyfriend, Dr. Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank) moves into a new Brooklyn apartment. She soon realises something is wrong. The plot is simple and offers no surprises and little in the way of suspense. I am led to believe it was originally intended as Hammers “comeback movie”, as it turned out Let Me In made it to cinemas first, probably because it is a better film.

Wake Wood (2011): Following the death of their daughter a grieving couple (Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle) move to a small village. Once accepted in the community the couple are approached Arthur (Timothy Spall) the creepy community leader who offers to perform a pagan ritual, the potential result of which they cannot resist. With its pagan ritual and creepy atmosphere it is both a return to classic horror themes and form of Hammer. It offers little new or original and is probably to mild for fans of current horror movies but I really enjoyed it.

The Woman in Black (2012): After the disappointment of Let Me In and the disaster of The resident, artistically speaking, this is surely a make or break movie for Hammer. Happily it doesn’t disappoint. Based on a novel by Susan Hill and previously adapted as a TV movie in 1989. Young widower Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) leaves his son in the care of his nanny (Jessica Raine) when his employer, a firm of London solicitors sends him to a remote village to clear up the affairs of a recently deceased woman. It soon becomes clear that that he is not alone in the big old house. Beautifully shot well cast and acted and full of jumpy moments. This isn’t only a perfectly crafted old fashioned horror movie, it is truly a Hammer Horror.

After being initially disappointed by the new Hammer output: Beyond the Rave, Let Me In and The Resident, I was pleasantly surprised by Wake Wood and enormously impressed by The Woman in Black. I am now filled with optimism for Hammer and anticipation for their future films.

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