Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

Great-Gatsby Movie

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald… Almost every high school in America includes this novel in their curriculum.  My high school did not do this book justice, and I recently re-read Gatsby and fell in love with it.  For as hopeless as it seems to end, The Great Gatsby is beautiful and rhythmic, built on symbolism and metaphor.  Everyone should read this book at least once in their life… seriously.

I’ve never seen any other film adaptation of the novel, however, I’ve heard that there are a few out there and that they suck (for lack of a better term).  So when I started seeing trailers for this version of Gatsby, I got really excited.  Then I started hearing some mixed reviews, which made me a little nervous about seeing it.  However, after having the weekend to really digest what I saw, I can say that even though it didn’t live up to the novel (no movie adaptation ever will, let’s be honest), I was content with what Baz Luhrmann presented us with.

the-great-gatsby-2013-movie-sceneThe Great Gatsby (2013) is narrated by Nick Carraway, a mid-Westerner who moves to New York City in order to pursue a career in stocks and bonds, even though what he really wants to do is write.  He moves into a small cottage in West Egg, across the river from his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom, and next door to the mysterious Jay Gatsby.  As Nick gets pulled into the lavish lives of the rich and the shallow, he is also drawn to the mystery that surrounds Gatsby’s past and who he really is.

There were things about Luhrmann’s adaptation that I liked and disliked.

To start with, I wasn’t really a big fan of some of the music that was present in the film.  It was a cool concept that I thought would be interesting, however, at times it kind of took away from the whole Roaring ‘20s feel that the movie should have had.  However, the remixes of modern day music with a jazzy spin on them were kind of cool.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the narrative in the film.  After discussing this with my mom, I can understand how the narrative would have helped for some people who have never read the novel.  However, I wasn’t really buying into it.  I thought it was corny, mainly because of the dialogue between Nick and his doctor.  When it was just Nick and his typewriter with the voice over narration—that was when I enjoyed the narrative the most.

Now let’s talk about the visuals, because they’re kind of hard to ignore.  I really like them.  I liked all the attention to detail and how lavish and beautiful everything looked.  However, they were very overwhelming… and sometimes cartoonish, which put me off a little bit.

As far as acting went, nobody was terrible but nobody was outstanding either—with one exception.  This was Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie—he was a great Gatsby (do you seegreat-gatsby photo 3 what I did there?!).  The one qualm that I have with this movie is that they didn’t just let the actors act because the majority of the time, the visual aspects drowned everything out.  But DiCaprio really did capture the essence of Jay Gatsby, this harsh metaphor for the American Dream who’s stuck in the past.

This was a very respectful adaptation of the novel.  The Great Gatsby is a book with a  plot that revolves around metaphor and symbolism—the green light, the downfall of the American Dream, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, time, etc.  I thought that the film was very reverent in portraying these things.  For example, in one scene where Gatsby, Nick, and Daisy are sitting in Nick’s living room, Gatsby accidentally knocks over a clock on the mantel and breaks it.  As he’s trying to repair it, he starts to beat it, but fails in repairing it.  Time is something that Gatsby wants to control, as portrayed in his famous quote: “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” and in the end, he has no control over it and he doesn’t get to go back in time with Daisy Buchanan.  I don’t know if the scene was improvised or intentional.  I’d like to think it was intentional because I really enjoyed how subtle, yet how important to the outcome of the story it was.

Baz-Luhrmann-The-Great-Gatsby-Green-Light

Overall, I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby.  It wasn’t perfect, however, it’s far from terrible.  It was very respectful to the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  And hell, it’ll give the kids something interesting to watch in English classes all across America now!

Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

silver-linings-playbook

I didn’t anticipate that it would take me this long to see Silver Linings Playbook (2012)!  I meant to see it when it was released in theaters, however, other things got in the way.  In the meantime, I had heard some good things about it, and some not so good things.  So when I finally watched this movie, I tried to clear all that out of my head so that I could form my own opinion… with only a little bit of bias I suppose.

246_SLP-09226[1]--621x414Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has just been released from a mental institution and moves back in with his parents (Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver).  His goals include getting his old job back, reconciling and reconnecting with his ex-wife, and trying to find the “silver linings” in his life.  This proves tough, however, as he is also trying to deal with his bipolar disorder.  When he meets a girl named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), they form a friendship that ends up helping one another in more ways than they imagined.

Fun fact about Silver Linings Playbook: if you ever wanted to know what my hometown of Upper Darby looked like, all you would have to do is watch this movie because it was filmed there!  I remember all the hype going on during the making of this movie, and how annoying it could get (thank you strange movie person for the directions, I had no idea how to maneuver around the town I’ve lived in my entire life).  However, it was really cool seeing some familiar places featured in the film like the Llanerch Diner, Prendie, and the Lansdowne Theater.

llanerch-diner-silver-linings2-680uw

Back to the film… I didn’t really know what to expect from it.  It seemed like it was marketed as a rom-com but watching it, it definitely didn’t feel that way even with the romance factor present.  It was so much more than that.  The film is basically about people trying to deal with their mental illness, and life in general.  It’s crazy at times, as well as heartbreaking.  There was a bit of a cynical tone to the movie, which I appreciated because I can be quite a cynical person, however it was balanced out nicely with the positive message that is portrayed- there is always a silver lining, you just have to find it.  It may take time, but if you try to be positive and let go of all the negativity that life throws at you, you’ll be able to attain it.

silver-linings-playbook-review3Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were great in this film.  Cooper’s always been one of those actors who played that douche bag in that one movie, so it was nice seeing him take on a more serious role; and boy did he nail it!  Lawrence is one of Hollywood’s best young actresses at the moment and she does a fine job next to Cooper, which earned her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.  The supporting cast also does a great job and really helped tie the movie together.

If you go into Silver Linings Playbook with the idea that it’s some generic romantic comedy, then you’re dead wrong.  The film deals with mental illness, and real emotions that people go through, while reminding us that we’re all kind of “off our rockers” in some way.  It’s a film about seeing the positive in seemingly impossible situations.

Review: Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead Remake 020

So I went to the movies for the first time since before Christmas (I think) and saw Evil Dead (2013) with my little sister who just turned 16 today.  Let me first start by saying that this is, in fact, not the scariest movie I have ever seen.  However, it is by no accounts a terrible film.

I’ve never seen the original The Evil Dead (1981) series, so I don’t know how true to the original this was.  I’m still unsure of whether that’s a good thing or not while writing this review.  Does it make my opinion of this irrelevant if I haven’t seen the original series?  I hope not!  Regardless, here we go… (This review will contain some spoilers)

Evil-Dead-2013.-Book-of-the-Dead-1.1In order to help his sister, Mia (Jane Levy), go through drug withdrawal, David (Shiloh Fernandez) and three other friends (Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore) bring her to their family’s cabin out in the middle of the woods to help with her rehabilitation.  During their stay, they discover a gruesome scene in the basement: dead cats hanging from the ceiling of their basement along with an ominous bound book.  With curiosity getting the best of him, one of the inhabitants of the house opens the book and reads from it, releasing an evil that possesses Mia and starts to consume each of them until only one is left to make a stand.

First things first, this film is EXTREMELY gory.  If you’re into that stuff, then this film is probably for you!  If gore is not your cup of tea, then you probably shouldn’t see this film!  A lot of the effects that were done in this movie were done with prosthetics and even though the results are nasty, they’re really impressive!  The only time I recall CGI being used was in a scene at the beginning of the movie where a possessed girl is burned alive.

Slide1

Jane Levy gave a stellar performance in this movie!  Her character was the only one that I can honestly say I really cared about, and I thought for sure that she was going to be the first to die.  I’m glad that she got to be the final girl.  She goes from being completely terrified to pure evil and it’s amazing to watch.  She also kicked ass in the final showdown.

evil-dead-jane-levy-trailer

Other than Mia being the final girl, I felt that the rest of the movie was pretty predictable, probably because we’ve heard “the cabin the woods” story so many times.  I jumped once and it was over something that wasn’t even scary (which was embarrassing).  Maybe I’vejanelevy1 just become accustomed to horror movies and their dynamics and that’s why I wasn’t particularly scared while watching this film (that’s highly unlikely).  However, just because I didn’t find it scary doesn’t mean other people won’t think it’s scary.  And a lot of people really enjoyed this film.

Evil Dead is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  Even though I’ve never seen the original series, I hope that, for the fans, this film did it justice.

Review: Giant (1956)

giant_main_titles

Giant (1956) was an epic.  It was one of the most expensive movies that had been made at the time and had three big names to go along with it: Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean.

tumblr_liire2GblM1qzy8r9

The movie is like three hours long so I’ll spare you an in depth description.  It basically tells the story of Leslie (Taylor) and Jordan (Hudson) Benedict and the ups and downs of their life in Texas throughout the years as newlyweds, parents, and then grandparents.  James Dean plays Jett Rink, a ranch hand, who strikes oil and becomes one of the richest men in Texas.  He’s also in love with Leslie for the whole entire film.

This movie does deal with some deep issues, specifically racism.  A lot of the characters, mainly the ones that originate from Texas, harbor a lot of prejudice towards Mexicans.  The tension of the subject comes to a head when Jordan and Leslie’s son marries a Mexican woman.  The issue has a lot to do with Hudson’s character and the changes that he has to go through in order to swallow his pride and accept the inevitable changes that will happen in life.  It’s Elizabeth Taylor’s character, Leslie that brings everybody together, regardless of the color of their skin.

The make up in this movie was unique because they made young actors look like they were older.  I thought that they did a great job with the make up (let’s not forget that this movie is from 1956).  Was it unusual in movies to make young actors look older at this point in time?

lizgiant_james_dean4Rock Hudson gave a really strong performance as Jordan Benedict.  He definitely did rile me up the majority of the time.  I was torn between completely hating his character for the ridiculous things he would do and then praising him when he finally got things right.

Elizabeth Taylor, who was as beautiful as ever (seriously, I wish I looked like her), did a great job as well.  Leslie was a very strong character who endures a lot during the film (because her husband is too prideful and her kids are stressful and a man she doesn’t love is in love with her) and Taylor carries her all the way through.

Giant (1956) - tough texan

Jett Rink, however, is probably Dean’s finest performance.  This is a smaller role than his previous films East of Eden (1955) and Rebel Without A Cause (1955).  However, anytime he is on the screen, you cannot take your eyes off of him.  Jett is a man who starts with nothing, and ends up with everything… except for the thing he actually wants (which is Leslie).  He plays a broken man who turns to alcohol for comfort.  Even though he can have anything he wants, he is alone, rendering him forever unfulfilled.

Seeing his performance in Giant, it really makes me sad to know that we will never see another great performance from James Dean.  Who knows how much more he would’ve had to offer us!

However, his legacy remains in the three films that he left behind.

His is infinite.  He will never be forgotten.

628x471

Review: The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong?  Have you ever felt like an outcast?  Of course you have, who hasn’t?  But it’s stories like The Perks of Being A Wallflower that really allow us to admit these things to ourselves, which isn’t easy to do.

I remember reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky for the first time a couple of years ago.  It was a very touching coming-of-age story about an introverted boy named Charlie who is trying to cope with the suicide of his best friend when he enters his freshman year of high school.  Throughout the book, he writes a series of letters to an unknown person as a coping mechanism.  He’s taken under the wing of two seniors, stepsiblings Patrick and Sam, and experiences drugs, alcohol, first love, first dates, bullies, drama, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I was very nervous when I found out that this was being made into a movie, however, when I heard that Chbosky was writing the screenplay and directing it, a lot of my worry subsided.  Who better to write and direct a movie based on a critically acclaimed novel than the writer of said novel?!  It worked in his favor, because I thought that the film was incredibly true to the book.

The three leads (Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Logan Lerman) were fantastic.  Sure, you would hear the slip of a British accent from Emma Watson, but they really did bring these characters- these insecure and lost characters- to life for me.

628x471

The film version worked so well because there was a lot of emphasis on the emotions of the characters.  What they feel are things that we all feel everyday: insecure, scared, alone, rejected, lost.  There are a lot of dark themes in this story, but there is also a lot of hope as well.  That’s why this story has resonated with so many people.

I just want to take a few moments to talk about Logan Lerman’s performance, specifically.  He was Charlie.  For me, there has never been a more perfect screen adaptation of a character from literature than Lerman’s Charlie.  Not to get too personal, but he hit a nerve with me.  He reminded me of why I relate to Charlie so much and why I fell in love with his story in the first place: because nobody is ever truly happy, and that’s okay; because sometimes people are different, and that’s okay; because there’s always going to be a lot of bad times in your life, but there’s also going to be a lot of good times as well.  Reading the book, it felt like Charlie was writing his letters specifically to you, allowing you into his world and into his problems while at the same time, giving you reassurance; watching the movie, it was the same exact thing.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful and touching story.  The film does the book so much justice.  Charlie’s story may just change your life.

“Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it’s okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. I feel infinite.” 

Review: American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho had been on my watch list for quite a while.  About a week ago I finally had the opportunity to see it.

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a young and very wealthy man who is working on Wall Street.  He seems to have everything going for him.  However, underneath this mask lies a dark and intense need to kill people for absolutely no reason.

The first time that I saw this movie, I didn’t quite understand the ending until I watched it a second time.  But even at that, I found American Psycho kind of fascinating, while at the same time wondering what exactly it was supposed to be about.

When we talked about it in class, there was mention of it being satirical towards Wall Street and focusing on themes of greed, vanity, and materialism, which aren’t just limited to the character of Patrick Bateman.  We see Bateman and his friends comparing business cards in an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” kind of way; his fiancé is all about appearance it seems; and if Bateman’s whole apartment/life/attitude doesn’t scream out materialistic, vain, misogynistic bastard then I don’t know what does.

The outward appearance of other’s is also a relevant theme.  Bateman is trying to fit into a world where virtually everyone is the same.  It seems like he is always trying to find meaning in things that have no meaning, like his constant critiquing of songs and music that are completely mindless.  (WARNING: The scene below is graphic! If you’re not into that, don’t watch)

Going off of the fact that everyone is basically pretty much the same in his society, Bateman has no sense of identity.  Keep this idea in mind when you watch the film and notice that from the very beginning of the movie, everybody is always mistaking certain characters for other people.  Even at the end of the movie, Bateman is mistaken as someone else by his own lawyer.

To me, the character of Patrick Bateman is probably one of the most disturbing I’ve ever encountered.  I automatically disliked him before he started his killing spree.  However I find it interesting that because of the fact that he lives in this society that is so conformed and petty, he has no sense of self; because of this he creates a monstrous alter ego where he is a raging psycho who kills other people just for the hell of it.  He is sick.  And disturbing.  And what makes Patrick Bateman even more frightening is the fact that at the end of the movie, you as a viewer (as well as Bateman himself, it seems) don’t know whether or not he killed anybody or if it was all in his head.

 

American Psycho is definitely worth a watch.  Christian Bale did an excellent job at portraying the monster that is Patrick Bateman.  It’s a movie that will shock you, disturb you, and leave you thinking in the end.

 

 

 

 

Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

I’m baaaaaaaack!

First off, I want to apologize for the almost month long absence.  I’ve been busy, y’know, trying to get an education.

Second, I miss this blog a lot.  And I feel terrible that I haven’t had the time to write.

Third, I’ve watched about maybe five or more movies during my absence and I’m going to try and review them all, but it will probably be awhile, considering the fact that my time management skills are just so awesome!

The review today is a film that I just recently watched in class on Monday night:  The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre follows the story of five teenagers traveling to their grandfather’s old home when they are hunted down, tortured, and killed by a crazy cannibalistic family.

Prior to seeing this, I had never seen any incarnation of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.  I had a vague idea of what the story was about, but I was under the impression that Leatherface was the only villain.  So I was pretty unaware of exactly what was going to happen in the movie.

The movie starts out kind of slow, however, there’s a lot of foreshadowing going on: desecrated and robbed graves, slaughterhouses, and the creepy hitchhiker.  However, when the film ended, I was left feeling disturbed and scared and very aware of the fact that it was 10 o’clock at night and I had to walk all the way to the bus stop, and then all the way back to my apartment BY MYSELF.

I can’t really remember the last time a movie left me feeling the way I felt after watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.  I thought it was extremely disturbing, and I’m glad I was left feeling like that because this is a horror movie after all!  I’m also glad that we watched the original, because I feel like the remake would not have had any sort of effect on me whatsoever.

Something really interesting about this film was that, in a way, it was very symbolic of the time period.  The Vietnam War was going on when this was released and the Watergate Scandal had just happened in ’73.  So there was a real loss of trust in the government and society as well as a decline in the belief of the American Dream.  This movie does a good job at reflecting that through its portrayal of the cannibal family.  The dinner scene is so demented and a good example of showing the breakdown of society and essentially evil taking the place of what is supposed to be good.

I also really like the whole apocalyptic tone of the movie.  There are a lot of shots of the sun that are very foreboding and eerie.  One of the characters, Pam, keeps reading from an astrology book with basically just bad news all around.  And every time we hear a radio, there is always bad news being broadcasted.  There is literally no sense of hope at all in the movie, and even though the final girl, Sally, escapes, it’s at the cost of her sanity and the killers aren’t captured and nothing is resolved.

I have to say that for as disturbing as this movie was, there was very little blood and guts shown, which is actually quite impressive!  The scared and disturbed feeling comes mostly from the tone set throughout the movie.

As far as horror movies go, this is probably one of the best that I’ve seen ever (which might not be saying much; I’m not exactly an expert on horror).  But it left me feeling uneasy and very disturbed, which is ultimately what I expect to feel when watching any horror film.

Review: The Artist (2011)


Out of all the movies at the 84th Academy Awards, one movie stood out amongst the rest.  Why, may you ask did this movie stand out amongst the rest? Because it was a silent film nominated at the Academy Awards, in the year 2012…

This is the one reason why The Artist peeked my interest.  I was in an American Film class that semester and we had just finished up with the silent film era and watched movies starring the likes of Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Charlie Chaplin.  I had never watched a silent film until this class and surprisingly, I enjoyed the ones I saw.  Needless to say, I was dying to see The Artist (that and a lot of people that I knew were pretty adamant in stating their disapproval over it’s Best Picture win).

The Artist is about a silent film star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who meets a girl named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo)and inspires her to try her luck in the film industry.  With the introduction of talking pictures in Hollywood, Peppy’s career starts to blossom, while George’s career and life crumbles as he tries to hold on to the past.

This movie reminded me of Singing In the Rain– minus the whole musical/comedy/romance.  But the plot is similar: silent movie star finding life difficult with the introduction of the talking pictures.  Whereas Singing In The Rain took more of a comedic route with the subject matter, this film looks at what it legitimately was like for those silent movie stars that fell from grace when the talkies were introduced.  Basically, it sucked.  The Artist also tips it’s hat off to films like Citizen Kane and Sunset Boulevard, filmmakers like Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder, and actors such as Douglas Fairbanks.

Other than one scene, a dream sequence, where George starts hearing sounds all around him but finds that he cannot talk, I did feel like I was watching a silent movie from back in the 1920s most of the time.  The opening credits are that of which you would see in old movies, with a list of characters and actors, crew, etc.  However, the dream sequence and the last scene of the film pull you out of that mindset, but they do so in a way that makes you as viewer not mind the transition at all.

I liked the conflict between sound and silence.  These two things are made very obvious in the film.  The juxtaposition of the two is shown most evidently in the characters of George (silence) and Peppy (sound).  If this movie had been made with sound, being just about a fallen silent film star and the trials and tribulations he has to go through, there wouldn’t have been anything unique about this film.

At times, I felt that this movie would get dramatic to the point of stupidity (the scene where George starts a fire in his angst filled rage and then has an “OH CRAP!” moment in which he tries to escape).  However, I really did enjoy this movie.  I enjoyed it’s uniqueness, I enjoyed it’s cliché Hollywood ending, and I enjoyed it as an homage to old Hollywood and the past.  I enjoyed The Artist.

Oh, and the dog was pretty cute to, I guess.

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

I have two things that I must own up to:

  1. I’ve neglected this blog for a bit.  And I apologize.  School has been my top priority recently.
  2. I haven’t seen any of the big blockbuster movies that have come out this summer, except “The Dark Knight Rises”…  Didn’t see “Avengers”, didn’t see “Brave”, didn’t see “The Amazing Spiderman”.  I’m sorry, ok?!  Hopefully, the fact that I did get to see “The Dark Knight Rises” will make up for all of that…. maybe.

With all of that being said, is there any point to writing a review of “The Dark Knight Rises”?  I mean, seriously, I don’t understand how anyone could not like this movie.

“The Dark Knight Rises” takes places 8 years after the events of “The Dark Knight”.  Gotham has found peace after the death of Harvey Dent and Batman has stepped out of the picture, a vigilante turned enemy of the city, taking the blame for Dent’s death so that Gotham can get its shit together (pardon the language).  That peace is broken, however, when Bane (Tom Hardy) steps into the picture and all hell breaks loose.

Christian Bale returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne and, as always, does a fantastic job in his portrayal of the Dark Knight.  I have to say though, there was more emotion in his performance in this movie than there has been in the previous two, and this ultimately worked extremely well for the entire film.

Gary Oldman is back as Lieutenant Gordon and, because it is Gary Oldman we’re talking about, he is awesome.

Michael Caine as Alfred was heartbreaking.  A couple of times, he nearly had me in tears.

Christian Bale and Michael Caine in “The Dark Knight Rises”

Marion Cotillard is Miranda Tate.  Her role may seem small, however, her character is an important factor towards the end of the film, and she pulls it off nicely.

Joseph Gordon Levitt  plays police officer John Blake.  Other than the fact that I have a huge crush on this man, I think he is an excellent actor, and I am extremely happy with how he has been in so many great movies (Inception, 500 Days of Summer, 50/50)  and has pulled off great performances.  This movie is no exception.  He is amazing.

Joseph Gordon Levitt in “The Dark Knight Rises”

Anne Hathaway stole the show for me as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman).  I was not expecting the girl from “The Princess Diaries” to pull off this role.  But she did, and I was extremely impressed.

Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises”

Last, but certainly not least, is Tom Hardy as Bane.  When I found out that Bane was going to be the villain in this movie, I wasn’t very ecstatic about it, I must admit.  Bane?! I thought.  After Heath Ledger’s Joker, they’re going to try and pull off Bane as the next villain?  I will say this, though- no actor in the world will ever be able to portray the Joker as amazingly as Heath Ledger did… ever.  However, I am being completely honest when I say that Tom Hardy as Bane was completely terrifying.  He literally leaves you feeling like there is no hope for anybody.  He is in control and he is indestructible.  It was everything that you expect in a villain.

Tom Hardy in “The Dark Knight Rises”

Amazing, phenomenal, fantastic… These words can’t even come close to describing what Christopher Nolan pulled off.  And it really is a shame that he won’t be coming back to make another one.

Everything about this movie is amazing- the acting, the visuals, the effects, the plot- everything is there.  Everything works.  Everything is great.

When I saw this movie, everyone in the theater was literally sitting forward in their seats in anticipation.  The entire theater was completely silent, just taking everything in- a testiment to how great this movie is, when you can go to a theater in my town and be in the presence of an audience full of movie-watchers who are not being obnoxious.

It’s an adrenaline rush that keeps delivering and keeps you wanting more.

Did you see “The Dark Knight Rises” yet?  What did you think of it?

Review: “The Woman In Black” (2012)

Daniel Radcliffe has been doing pretty damn well since his “Harry Potter” days came to an end.  He had a stint on Broadway, released his first movie since “Harry Potter” back in February, and has a couple projects already lined up, including the recently added supernatural thriller “Horns”, based on the novel by Joe Hill.  In anticipation of this news, I had to go back and revisit “The Woman In Black”.

“The Woman In Black” tells the story of a man named Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a lawyer, whose job is in jeopardy after the death of his wife during the birth of their child.  In order to redeem himself of his job and keep him and his son living a stable lifestyle, he is sent to a small town to sort out the paperwork of the recently deceased Alice Drablow in Eel Marsh House before it is put up for sale.  He soon encounters the vengeful ghost of the woman in black, whose acts of revenge involve the death of the children of the town after she is seen.

From the get-go, a creepy, dark atmosphere is established and doesn’t let up ever.  The time period is supposed to be the early 1900’s (Victorian era) and that was exactly what it felt like- from the costumes, to the props, to the sets- everything had a great Gothic and Victorian feel to it.  The locations that were used were outstanding and the Eel Marsh House was awesome.

Eel Marsh House

A mise-en-scene element that is used quite a bit is children’s toys.  In this movie, they are creepy looking, and are used to create tension, anticipation, and fear.  To a certain extent, this device worked, but at the same time, I feel that there could have been more done with them.

The acting isn’t extremely spectacular, but it is by no means terrible in the least.  I anticipated seeing Daniel Radcliffe as a character that was completely different from Harry Potter and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance and enjoyed it immensely.  He doesn’t necessarily have a lot of dialogue: mainly he has to wander around the creepy house looking scared/curious.  I thought he carried the movie very well and I look forward to seeing him in more films.

Daniel Radcliffe as “Arthur Kipps”

Something that I really loved was whole theme of white vs. black and the juxtaposition of the woman in black with Kipps’ dead wife, who is seen countless times in the movie dressed all in white; the woman in black (vengeance, evil) as opposed to the woman in white (innocence, purity).

Also, I liked the fact that you don’t really see the face of the woman in black clearly except for one scene.  In my opinion, not being able to clearly make out her face leaves her more mysterious, more uncanny, and scarier.

General consensus:  “The Woman In Black” is worth the watch.  Compared to the horror movies that Hollywood has been spitting out lately, it’s a refreshing ghost story.