The Woman in Black

Momentum Pict./CBS Films (2012) 95 min. PG-13

Director: James Watkins

Screenplay: Jane Goldman; based on The Woman in Black by Susan Hill 

Cinematography: Tim Maurice-Jones; Editing: Jon Harris

Production Design: Kave Quinn; Set Decoration: Niamh Coulter

Costumes: Keith Madden

Score: Marco Beltrami

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe (Arthur Kipps), Ciarán Hinds (Sam Daily), Janet McTeer (Mrs. Daily), Liz White (Jennet), Sophie Stuckey (Stella Kipps), Misha Handley (Joseph Kipps), Jessica Raine (Nanny)

Standard-issue spook fare that never amounts to much but is still promisingly atmospheric in spots, distinguished by its unusual, turn of the century setting. Many horror movies are set in old dark houses, few on the other hand are set in the old, dark superstitious past itself which is odd since, for all our Amityville Horrors, I imagine most people still tend to psychologically associate ghosts and haunted houses with the Victorian past. The primary distinction of The Woman in Black lies in its being placed in that transitory time-frame when the horse and buggy era was making way for the mechanized age of the automobile. Continue reading

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Wrath of the Titans

Warner Bros. (2012) 99 min. PG-13

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Screenplay: Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson; Story: Greg Berlanti, David Leslie Johnson and Dan Mazeau; based on Clash of the Titans (1981) by Beverley Cross 

Cinematography: Ben Davis; Editing: Martin Walsh

Production Design: Charles Wood; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

Costumes: Jany Temime; Score: Javier Navarrete

Stars: Sam Worthington (Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Rosamund Pike (Andromeda), Toby Kebell (Agenor), Édgar Ramírez (Ares), Bill Nighy (Hephaestus), Danny Huston (Poseidon)

This redundantly titled sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans opens with the narration of Zeus as he recaps events forgetful viewers need to be apprised of from the first film as if priming them for the latest installment of a chapter serial (Part 3 is currently in the works). For some reason all this is played out against images of cave paintings instead of the more age appropriate black silhouette figures that decorated Grecian urns and earthenware, and the confusing artistic choice associates the tale with an even earlier, Paleolithic time period than needs be.

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