Gifted Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) makes an odd misstep with this overwrought gothic horror thriller, which is so bloated that it's more silly than scary. At least it features a starry cast that has a lot of fun with the characters, providing some emotional undercurrents as things get increasingly crazed. But the truth about this film is that it's a haunted house movie with ghosts that aren't remotely frightening. And worse yet, they're essentially irrelevant to the story.
It's set in late-1800s Buffalo, as young aspiring writer Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is unsure about the romantic advances of her childhood friend Alan (Charlie Hunnam), who is now a hunky doctor. But he fades into the background when the dashing Sir Thomas (Tom Hiddlestone) arrives from England seeking funding from Edith's father (Jim Beaver) for a machine to mine valuable clay from his crumbling ancestral home. As he sweeps Edith off her feet, Thomas' sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) enters the picture with a clearly nefarious plan of her own. Sure enough, Thomas whisks Edith off to get married and return to the family mansion, a freaky towering wreck that oozes red clay. Or that might be blood. And since Edith has a history of seeing ghosts, the house feels particularly crowded to her.
The spirits are rendered as stretched-out skeletons surrounded by spidery wisps. And in England they're of course blood-red. Oddly, they merely seem to be observers to this story, never actually doing much proper menacing. And since they look faintly ridiculous it isn't easy to muster up the dread required to make this work as a horror movie. Everything else on-screen is just as absurd. The mansion looks more like an elaborately dilapidated over-sized movie set than a neglected manor house. Thankfully, Del Toro packs every scene with witty details and a lurid colour scheme that keeps the audience on its toes.
Continue reading: Crimson Peak Review
In the 19th Century in Cumbria, England, an old house stood overlooking a tremendous stretch of land. That house was Crimson Peak, inhabited by Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). When author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) marries the handsome and quite Thomas Sharpe, she moves to Crimson Peak to live with the siblings. However, upon arrival, strange thing begin to occur. Mysterious visions and terrifying objects begin to emerge, showing that the house is not as it appears. As Cushing struggles to get to the bottom of the house's dark history, the secrets of the family steadily begin to unveil themselves to her.
Continue: Crimson Peak Trailer
'The River,' which features Steven Spielberg on producing credits, debuted last night on U.S network ABC. The drama stars Bruce Greenwood, Joe Anderson and Leslie Hope among others and focuses on a storyline surrounding a crew on a state-of-the-art research ship who are on a hunt to find a missing TV explorer who went missing in the Amazon.
In truth it's been a mixed reception so far, with a wide spectrum of opinions. On the one hand People Magazine are effusive with praise, stating "The scares are not as over-the-top as American Horror Story but more chilling because they're applied glancingly." At the other end of the scale, The New York Times have been particularly damning, saying "The mixture of "Lost" storytelling and "Paranormal" style is neither intriguing nor particularly scary, and it doesn't help that there's hardly a glimmer of humor."
Most however have fallen somewhere in the middle, The Huffington Post states "The River isn't terrible, and it actually has some effective elements, but it's fairly indicative of Abc's post-"Lost" flailing," and Variety suggests "The River is one of those pilots it's hard not to admire, even if the longterm prospects for its journey remain shrouded in mystery." Ultimately the verdict appears to be cautiously positive - as it tends to be for most pilots, most reviewers waiting to see how the season develops before offering any further endorsement.
Effective drama can happen in a grocery store. Many priceless movie moments have taken place in unexpected locations. But Never Back Down doesn't bring earnestness and truth to this scene; it just feels awkward and clueless. There's also a scene where Jake breaks out his newly learned karate moves when a car behind him honks at a stop sign. And the music video-esque scene in which Jake's mother charges through the house and dramatically, um, does the laundry.
Continue reading: Never Back Down Review
Romero hasn't been able to get a feature film off the ground since 1993's The Dark Half, which is really too bad. He's one of the more distinctive filmmakers working within the horror genre, having made his start with the black-and-white classic Night of the Living Dead in 1968. That was a pioneer for modern horror as gruesome satire, followed up by the arguably superior Dawn of the Dead (where the zombie invasion was set against the backdrop of a shopping mall). Fans of Romero will be pleased to see him back to his old preoccupations. Bruiser could be viewed as an extension of the identity crisis in Martin, Romero's ambivalent portrait of a young man who may or may not be a vampire.
Continue reading: Bruiser Review
Bogosian is Barry Champlain, a brilliant loudmouth gab machine hosting a popular nightly talk show filled with his strong opinions and whack-job listeners. One fears her garbage disposal. One begs to visit Barry at the studio. And one (many?) offer the Jewish host death threats in the name of Nazism.
Continue reading: Talk Radio Review
Kiefer Sutherland will be lonely on set when the new series of hit TV show 24 starts filming later this year (03) - most of his castmates have left the programme.
The rugged Hollywood star will be without many of his current co-stars on the third series- particularly the female ones his character Jack Bauer has romanced.
Continue reading: Sutherland Deserted On 24
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