Review: The Woman In Black (2012)

The Woman In Black is the latest release in Hammer’s modern revival, coming hot on the heels of less-than-stellar fare Wake Wood, Let Me In and The Resident. Loosely adapted from Susan Hill’s novel of the same name by up-and-coming screenwriter Jane Goldman, The Woman In Black attempts to reclaim the spark that’s been missing from modern day horror productions through an eerie atmosphere and slow-burning minimalism.

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a solicitor and father, is sent to a secluded village on the East Coast of England to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased Continue reading “Review: The Woman In Black (2012)”

Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)

Awards season enters its prime with the long-awaited release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a new cinematic adaptation of John Le Carré’s acclaimed spy thriller of the same name.

Entrenched in the mid-1970’s, George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is pressured from semi-retirement by Control (John Hurt), the head of British Intelligence, to expose an undercover Sovient agent within MI6’s ranks. His list of suspects include the wily Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), liberal Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), laconic Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds), reticent Toby Esterhase (David Dencik) and then, of course, Smiley himself. Continue reading “Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)”

Trailer: The Woman In Black

Director: James Watkins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer and Shaun Dooley

Plot: A young lawyer travels to a remote village to organize a recently deceased client’s papers, where he discovers the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance.

UK Release: February 10, 2012

Review: The Rite (2011)

Loosely based on Matt Baglio’s novel The Rite: The Making of a Modern Excorcist, The Rite traces the experiences of Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), a young seminary student who discovers the true powers of faith when he’s drafted into the Vatican’s Exorcism School and confronted by the forces of darkness.

Mikael Håfström’s direction is competent, and makes full use of the wonderful city of Rome, but never breaks free from its bleak, by-the-numbers nature.

The script, by Michael Pertroni, is predictable, starting off placid and, aside from picking up slightly when Father Matthew enters, ends in a rushed, disappointing manner, one that predominantly sticks to the thoroughly-mined themes of previous exorcism-orientated horror films.

Fortunately, even with the film falling apart at the seams, Hopkins stays on form, continually shining. He plays Father Lucas as a smooth and effortlessly witty priest, in the vein of Hannibal Lector. Everything he does is interesting to watch, and somehow makes you believe you’re watching a very different, more compelling film.

It’s a shame, then, that the film continually pulls focus back to Kovak. While intriguing, O’Donoghue doesn’t have the zealous nature to hold audiences attention, and Kovak suffers for it, never achieving the powerful stance required, often coming across as plain boring.

The supporting cast, including turns from Ciarán Hinds, Alice Braga and Rutger Hauer, populate the background to great avail, delivering compelling performances in their shamefully limited roles.

The Rite, despite a solid turn from Hopkins, is ultimately a strained, predictable and largely irrelevant addition to the exorcism sub-genre.