Let Me In

Overture/Hammer (2010) 116 min. R

Director: Matt Reeves

Screenplay: Matt Reeves; based on screenplay & novel Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Cinematography: Greig Fraser; Editing: Stan Salfas

Production Design: Ford Wheeler; Set Decoration: Wendy Barnes

Costumes: Melissa Bruning; Score: Michael Giacchino

Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee (Owen), Chloё Grace Moretz (Abby), Richard Jenkins (The Father), Elias Koteas (The Policeman), Dylan Minnette (Kenny), Ritchie Coster (Mr. Zoric), Cara Buono (Owen’s Mother)

Just when you think every last twist has been teased out of the vampire theme along comes an unexpected little sleeper like Let Me In, one of the most haunting horror films Hollywood has given us since The Ring. Only a derivative studio film could seem this original, so it’s no surprise to learn that like that movie, Let Me In is also a remake of a foreign film, Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In of 2008, based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s bestselling Swedish novel of the same name. Continue reading

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The Brothers Grimm

Dimension Films/MGM (2005) 118 min. PG-13

Director: Terry Gilliam

Screenplay: Ehren Kruger

Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel; Editing: Lesley Walker

Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Judy Farr

Costumes: Gabriella Pescucci & Carlo Poggioli

Score: Dario Marianelli

Stars: Matt Damon (Wilhelm Grimm), Heath Ledger (Jacob Grimm), Lena Headey (Angelika), Peter Stormare (Cavaldi), Jonathan Pryce (Delatombe), Monica Bellucci (Mirror Queen), Tomás Hanák (Woodsman), Martin Kavan (Delatombe’s Valet)

There’s a haze of droll waggishness floating about Terry Gilliam’s phantasmagoric fantasy that never quite materializes into definite physical form. The Brothers Grimm remains a leering, overspilling, grotesque gargoyle of a movie yet, unlike most films of similar caliber, the dim light of what was in theory a bright idea almost manages to shine through the muck and mire shoveled atop it. It’s not all bad.

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Prometheus

20th Century Fox (2012) 124 min. R

Director: Ridley Scott

Screenplay: Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof

Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski; Editing: Pietro Scalia

Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Sonja Klaus

Costumes: Janty Yates

Score: Marc Streitenfeld

Stars: Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw), Michael Fassbender (David), Charlize Theron (Meredith Vickers), Logan Marshall-Green (Charlie Holloway), Guy Pearce (Peter Weyland), Idris Elba (Janek), Patrick Wilson (Shaw’s father), Sean Harris (Fifield), Ian Whyte (Last Engineer)

Director Ridley Scott has given sci-fi cinema some of the classics of the genre, and while his latest, Prometheus, is impressively expansive and uncharacteristically philosophic, thanks to some slipshod editing, meandering continuity and inexplicable character motivation it just misses the mark of greatness. Still, there’s much in the movie to commend. The premise of Prometheus, in which a manned space mission sets out in search of the alien species who engineered the human race millennia ago, was inspired by theories advanced in Erich von Däniken’s 1968 book Chariots of the Gods?, which hypothesized that human progress could be traced to ancient aliens who interceded at some early point in our evolution. Continue reading

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