What people will forget to tell you is that there's more than 90 minutes of an OK horror movie to watch before a glorious 10 minutes. Take away the ending--which ties the script's agnostic themes together too perfectly--and you get The Haunting, just with superior acting and production values.
Continue reading: The Others Review
So effective is writer-director Alejandro Amenábar's manipulation of the viewer's psyche that his English language debut -- a seriously goosepimply homage to old-school haunted house movies entitled "The Others" -- would be unshakably bone-chilling even if you blacked out everything on the screen except Nicole Kidman's porcelain face, her eyes frozen wide with fear.
The scariest parts of this movie -- which takes place in an creaky, empty estate house on the eerily foggy English Channel of Jersey just after World War II -- have no music, no special effects, no bleeding walls, rattling furniture, claps of thunder or flashes of lightning. The scariest parts of this movie consist, quite simply, of Kidman and her two children becoming frightened out of their wits by the very presence of unseen spirits that have come to occupy their home.
For all practical purposes, Grace (Kidman) is trapped in this house because her two children (Alakina Mann and James Bentley) are fatally allergic to sunlight, and she spends her days obsessed with their protection, closing heavy curtains and locking doors of any room they enter to prevent even a sliver of light from invading. Without a car or telephone since the occupying Nazis abandoned the island, the family would be helpless if not for the coincidental arrival of three new servants (the old staff recently vanished without explanation) who came round looking for work because they'd served at the house under a previous owner.
Continue reading: The Others Review
Director Peter Webber has such a mesmerizing command over the emotional resonance of "Girl With a Pearl Earring" -- a masterpiece film that imagines the story behind Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece painting -- that there are several moments in the picture so evocative, so stunning that they literally make you hold your breath.
One such moment comes as the Dutch master, played with alluring, untamed gravitas by the solemnly magnetic Colin Firth, cajoles his tentative, spellbound model -- a modest, reticent young housemaid (the extraordinary Scarlett Johansson) who has slowly become his muse and artistic confidant -- to wet her lips (and then wet them again, and again) as he readies her to pose for his most famous, most exquisitely lifelike and certainly most emotionally enigmatic portrait.
This scene is the culmination of an unspoken, unattainable desire between them and is a magnificent fusion of performance, intimacy and sudden, startling silences in Alexandre Desplat's stirring musical score -- the combination of which is a demonstrative potency that Webber manipulates at will.
Continue reading: Girl With A Pearl Earring Review
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