Owing to the high mortality of the First World War, Britain was overrun with spiritualist charlatans preying on mourners desperate to make contact with the dead.
In Nick Murphy’s thrilling ghost story, Rebecca Hall plays Florence Cathcart, a ghost hunter, alias fraud hunter, who makes a living exposing fake séances. Florence is mourning her dead fiancé, a soldier in the war, to whom she sent a letter weeks before he died, saying that she no longer loved him. Her repeated efforts to prove that the afterlife is make-believe are in atonement for her cruelty.
When Robert Mallory (Dominic West) requests her services at Rookwood boarding school, Florence insists that the case will be as clear-cut as its predecessors, but on visiting the school, she realises that there is more to this case than meets the mortal eye… Continue Reading
The mind is a complex place, especially the subconscious mind. Making a film about it is complex enough, and it’s complex to watch. Inception is challenging and self-consciously outstanding. I was hooked from beginning to the end.
Dom Cobb (Leonardo di Caprio) is not your average thief. He enters people’s dreams and steals secrets for a living. On meeting Saito (Ken Watanabe), a Japanese businessman, he is faced with a new challenge. Can he enter someone’s dream and plant an idea? And not just someone – Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the son of a dying business magnate. Saito wants Fischer to break up his father’s corporate empire, and thus leave the way clear for his own energy conglomerate to take the top deals.
Cobb insists it’s possible, and his payment for completing the task will be freedom to return to the United States where he can be reunited with his children. If he returns, he faces life imprisonment, but to tell you why would spoil a good story. Continue Reading
The Orphanage: Age of Innocence
The Orphanage is a dramatically engaging thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. If you liked Pan’s Labyrinth, you’ll enjoy this. The Orphanage mirrors its predecessor with an intense, imaginative script, an eerie set and fairy tale theme, and an ambivalently happy ending.
Laura, Carlos and their adopted son, Simon, have moved into the sinister old orphanage where Laura grew up. They plan to open it as a home for disabled children.
A few days after the move, Simon begins to talk about some invisible friends he has made. These ‘friends’ lay down clues for Simon to find, which lead to ‘treasure’ at the end of the trail. The treasure turns out to be information about Simon (he is seriously ill) which Laura and Carlos have striven to hide. After more mysterious occurrences, Laura realises that Simon’s new friends not only exist but that their intentions are less than amicable. Simon disappears and Laura and Carlos are left with a gaping mystery. What has happened to their son? The answer lies in the dark history of the house. Continue Reading
Scared or Sceptical?
The Woman in Black tries very hard to be scary. And it ought to be. It has the ingredients of a good story – a ghost bent on revenge, dense fog, chilling graveyards, preternatural children, and a creaky old house set on an island from which, when the tide is in, there is no escape. These cheap frissons, instead of making you shiver, play out like a trip on a ghost train. However spooky the apparitions, you know nothing will hurt you, so you sit through the experience with a sceptical sigh. Continue Reading
Parents, if you’re looking for a crash course in Greek gods for youths, this is the film to choose. For children, Percy Jackson makes classics cool. It may not have created a surge of wannabe Latin and Greek speakers, but at least you know that, by the end of the film, your kids will finish more educated than when they started.
There’s not much to keep adults occupied, but for youths there’s a bit of everything – sword-fighting, archery, heroism, a dash of light comedy, fantastical beasts and a fast-paced plot. Continue Reading
It’s a good thing Edward’s a vampire. If he wasn’t, he’d be creepy. He climbs through Bella’s window uninvited and watches her sleep; he stalks her; he’s prepared to die for her. In a human relationship, Bella would be fed up with this needy obsessive within a week.
As it is, for the target demographic of the Twilight Saga, Edward is the perfect hero. Handsome, strong, protective, caring and, in true Austen style, mega-rich. His restrained bloodlust creates sexual tension by the simple fact that he puts Bella at risk every time he goes near her. For a fantasy romance, it’s perfect… Continue Reading
The Prince of Persia would have been great for me with the sound muted. This might sound harsh, but I spent most of the film marvelling at why it had been made. We all know why, of course – money, and it proved lucrative deal, with thousands of gaming punters swarming to the cinema to see it. Watching it, however, was like viewing a computer demo without the controls. I wanted to turn it off near the beginning and finish it myself. Continue Reading
A curious case, but nothing more.
Optimistic pensioners insist that life begins at eighty. Anyone watching this film will be glad it doesn’t.
Benjamin Button, played skilfully by Brad Pitt, is born a baby with a wrinkly, aged face. Rejected by his father (his mother dies in childbirth), he is left on the doorstep of an old people’s home. He soon grows into an old man, and this 190-minute fictitious biopic drags through a human ageing process in reverse. Continue Reading
Go, team, go! Just go…
Nobody expects a sequel to be up to much, especially a sequel to a cheerleading chick flick. Bring It On Again lived up to that expectation. The first film overrides the myth that cheerleading is just for pansies and blondes and gives us a genuinely funny teen romance. Its sequel deals us unrealistic characters (yes, mostly blondes) in a tongue-in-cheek reflection of life as a cheerleader, with some tasteless toilet humour.
It is worth watching for the jazzy routines though – they are the only things that don’t disappoint. Apparently, there are two more sequels, but I’ll be giving them a miss. VP
Bring it On 2 Poster copyright Universal Pictures