Saturday, 21 February 2015

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH


31/2/5

A young woman Eve Parkins has to leave London to look after the orphaned children who are being evacuated away from the dangers of german bombings. Among the children is a little boy Edward who had just recently lost his parents. Eve, who herself harbours a trauma, befriends the little boy. Things turn even darker when it is clear that the house in which the children are stationed is haunted by a terrible vengeful spirit of a child killer. The Woman In Black wants Edward. But Eve is not going to give him up without a fight.

THE WOMAN IN BLACK: ANGEL OF DEATH is made in the vein of many other classic HAMMER movies. It is atmospheric, spooky and well acted. A score from horror regular Marco Beltrami will not disappoint. The film may be low on scares and the level of tension cannot be compared with the original, but it is always entertaining. 

The story is a problem. While the idea of sending the bunch of lovely kinds into the house of a child murdering ghost shall be spine tingling, it does not contain any original twists. Phoebe Fox as Eve is a lovely heroine, but she does not deliver a conflict and a very one-dimensional protagonist. Eve’s romantic involvement with a young picture perfect ex-soldier lacks any chemistry and her final confrontation with the killing spirit is not as satisfying as it could have been, because nothing really made us believe that she is capable of this extreme bravery.


WOMAN IN BLACK ANGEL OF DEATH is not as dark and as gloomy as the original. It is wonderfully designed and beautifully executed horror, but is too familiar to be a standout and memorable film.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: FIFTY SHADES OF GREY





31/2/5

A chance encounter between a university student and A young billionaire creates mutual affection. But this Cinderella story has a twist. Cristian Grey has a special sexual appetite. Ana Steel has to choose to accept a set of rules in order to be with the man she loves. But if she decides to change for him, will she loose her true self forever?
 
50 SHADES OF GREY works perfectly as a melodrama, but as soon as it steps into uncharted territory of perverse sexual games it is prudent and slightly awkward. In one scene Ana's best friend Kate asks her to describe Grey, and Ana bursts out the first word that came to mind: "Clean." This description fits the movie in whole - it is slick, clean and safe, at times even sterile. The steamy scenes in Grey's playroom are picture perfect, full of designer sex toys that never really have a chance to be used properly. Take these scenes out and movie will not lose anything.
 
The good news are that even without so called controversy the film lives up to expectation, the chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan is strong and camera loves them. Dakota Johnson has a look and style of young Sophie Marceau, while Jamie Dornan is a rough modern version of Ryan Phillippe. They do make a great movie couple.
 
While film battles with the explicit nature of the material, it manages to raise a few interesting questions: does one always have to change for the sake of love? And does it really worth it?
 
For a book that is penned as badly written and shallow there is an an interesting depth in the film that is based on it. And there are a few moments for a thinking viewer, where they are least expected. 

Monday, 2 February 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: THE WATER DIVINER


4/5

It has been four years since Gallipoli battle and an Australian farmer Conner ventures into Turkey to find the three sons he lost to the war and bring their bodies home. On his way he meets new friends, faces new foes and discovers hope he did not think existed.

The trailer to THE WATER DIVINER revealed one of the major plot twists, however I will not mention in my review as I consider it a spoiler. I guess it is very hard to promote a movie about a father who had lost everything without a glimmer of hope. Talking about hope - it is a common thread going through the movie and THE WATER DIVINER was released in Turkey under the name of LAST HOPE. It may be a better name.

THE WATER DEVINER is a very sentimental movie. The romantic relationship of Connor with a Turkish single mother is one of the main plot features. Olga Kurylenko shines as a single mother and a widow who is determined not to succumb to the fate of the women of her status. Kurylenko is beaming with charisma and has enough presence to be the most likeable and identifiable character in the film.

In many ways THE WATER DIVINER is a western, that is stuck between the better Clint Eastwood films and Indiana Jones. It is surprisingly lighthearted for the serious drama effect it is trying to achieve and it is as beneficial to the movie as it is frustrating.

Russell Crow's directorial debut is firm and focused. The biggest fault here, however, is the lost of credibility of some scenes where important dialogue is replaced by background music, letting us to fill in the gaps. Crow's overuse of slow motion effect is also, eventually, becoming annoying.

Russell Crow had chosen a very straight forward way to tell a good story and it worked, however I cannot stop thinking that WATER DIVINER could have been so much bigger, better and deeper.