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Crimson Peak Review


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.

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Hallmark Channel Summer TCA 2015 Party

Leslie Hope - Hallmark Channel Summer TCA 2015 Party - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 29th July 2015

Leslie Hope
Leslie Hope

Crimson Peak Trailer

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. 

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Disney ABC Television Group Hosts TCA Winter Press Tour Held At The Langham Huntington Hotel - Arrivals

Leslie Hope and Vanessa Marano Tuesday 10th January 2012 Disney ABC Television Group Hosts TCA Winter Press Tour held at The Langham Huntington Hotel - Arrivals Pasadena, California

Leslie Hope and Vanessa Marano
Leslie Hope and Vanessa Marano

24 End Of Series Party At Boulevard3

Leslie Hope Friday 30th April 2010 24 end of series party at Boulevard3 Los Angeles, California

Leslie Hope
Leslie Hope

Never Back Down Review

As Jake has an emotional breakdown and reveals his inner demons, his mentor listens with an attentive ear... as he browses the shelves for lettuce. That's right, the pivotal scene of Never Back Down takes place in the produce aisle of a grocery store. Did the filmmakers think audiences would take this movie seriously when the drama peaks as the characters are shopping for spinach and romaine?

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.

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Bruiser Review

A revenge fantasy in the E.C. horror comics tradition, George A. Romero's Bruiser is about Henry Creedlow (Jason Flemyng, Snatch), a Joe Average company man whose anonymous working life has made him invisible to peers and loved ones. His wife has been using him for his upwardly mobile financial status while cheating behind his back. His co-worker and best buddy has been skimming the profits, secretly preventing Henry from earning his fair share. Worst of all is the boss, Miles Styles (Peter Stormare, Fargo), a loud, obnoxious boor who enjoys ritualistically humiliating everyone at board meetings -- a character so smirkingly piggish and cruel it's a wonder God hasn't struck him dead. Henry discovers that nice guys finish last, and when he wakes up one morning to discover his face has magically transformed into a featureless white mask, he uses the anonymity once used against him as a device for smooth, calculated vengeance against all who have done him wrong. It's The Invisible Man gone corporate.

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.

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The Life Before This Review

Scene 1: Robbers on the run bust into a coffee shop and kill everyone, including themselves. Scenes 2-120: Time rolls back to reveal what happened earlier that day to everyone in the shop, including the robbers. Only the outcome may not be quite the same... Overwrought yet still engaging, this Sliding Doors-esque picture has been done time and time again (no pun intended), but it still manages to keep a certain level of charm. Thanks to a lot of really good actors like Polley, Rea, and O'Hara, The Life Before This is a bit more than just a gimmick.

Talk Radio Review

Two powder kegs of angry energy -- director Oliver Stone and actor/writer Eric Bogosian -- joined together in 1988 for this character study set during the late '80s media explosion, a combustible drama about a self-important talk radio host (Bogosian) on the road to disaster. With every ranting Bogosian monologue, with every listener phone call of derision or adoration, both actor and director keep their audience riveted. It's an impressive feat considering that the bulk of Talk Radio takes place in a single radio studio.

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.

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