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Thriller

Film Review: The Whisperer in Darkness

The Whisperer in Darkness

'The Whisperer in Darkness' tells the tale of folklorist and professor, Albert Wilmarth, who is skeptical of tall tales detailing strange creatures living in the deep hills of rural Vermont. After losing a public debate with Charles Forte (colorful editor of The Fortean Times, a journal devoted to bizarre theories and cryptozoological investigations) Wilmarth decides to investigate the stories by visiting a colleague who lives in the Vermont backcountry.

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy

A continuation of the Rodbert Ludlum-inspired universe first seen in The Bourne Identity; The Bourne Legacy stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another member of the top secret government project known as TREADSTONE. Not a reboot of the original trilogy of films, this film references the events of the earlier films heavily. Flashy and action-packed, Renner carries the film, despite the now-leaden, predictable and boring premise.

Movie Rating: 
6

Film Review: Skyfall

Skyfall

This is Daniel Craig's third outing as Bond and drops the storyline which held his previous two films together, that of the Quantum organisation and its nefarious dealings around the globe. This time we have direct threats to M (Judi Dench, returning for the seventh time) and MI-6's very existence. These come variously from Silva (Javier Bardem), a person from M's past, and from the British Government, wearing the friendly face of Voldemort himself, Ralph Fiennes.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Director Christopher Nolan completes his Batman franchise film trilogy, and we find Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living a recluse in 'stately Wayne Manor' -- where he has remained for the past eight years. He hobbles about on a cane, and guests to the various Wayne Family charity balls snigger that 'Wayne probably has eight-inch long fingernails and is filling jars with his own urine, like Howard Hughes!"

Bruce's faithful butler Alfred (the inimitible Michael Caine, whose accent is still hard to place) is glad Master Bruce has managed to 'stay out of that awful cave.' -- but he's constantly trying to get him back out into the world.

The world forces itself upon Bruce in the form of a terrorist named Bane (biceps provided by Tom Hardy) who wears a scary-looking mouthpiece, kills people, all while sounding like the narrator for 'Masterpiece Theater'. As usual, Batman wildly underestimates his nemesis, and pays the price.

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Gary Oldman Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

 Gary Oldman has been in two of the films that I have seen at the cinema recently. In the first one he played a melodramatic dead wizard with shaggy long hair, a beard and a thousand yard, Order of the Phoenix stare. In Tinker he plays a non-descript, real world spy named George Smiley who dresses down and has NHS style glasses. Oldman only has to wiggle his foot in a certain way before his character uncrosses his legs and stands for you to forget who he really is, or was in another life, and immerse yourself in this murky, cold war thriller.

Movie Rating: 
10

Film Review: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Poster

A young girl is sent to live with her father and his girlfriend in a spooky New England mansion. She discovers that the mansion is host to a colony of supernatural creatures that want something from her. A tight little thriller starring Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and introducing Bailee Madison as the beleaguered little girl. Reminiscent of The Haunting and other classic haunted house films, director Troy Nixey (with a little help from Guillermo del Toro) creates a spooky thriller that delivers the chills.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: Mr. Brooks

Mr. Brooks Poster

Kevin Costner turns in a stellar performance as Mr. Brooks, a successful businessman, philanthropist, husband and doting father. Mr. Brooks has a secret life, however. He's also a serial killer. After being lauded by the larger community for his philanthropy and named 'Man of the Year' he gets in his car with his lovely wife Emma (Marg Helgenberger, largely unused here) and a man appears in the back seat. The man (named Marshall, played perfectly by William Hurt) remarks that what Brooks really wants to do is check out the dancers. Mr. Brooks is addicted to murder, you see, and Marshall is his evil side, and he wants a fix.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: HANNA

A young girl (Saoirse Ronan) who is raised by a survivalist father (Eric Bana) takes her first steps out into an unfamiliar world and is forced to fight for her life against a rogue CIA agent (Cate Blanchett). From the film's beginning we realize that poor Hanna hasn't had a normal childhood. The audience finds her in a snowy wilderness, hunting elk with a handmade bow.

Movie Rating: 
6

Film Review: The Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu

Reviewing any film that attempts to bring H.P. Lovecraft's work to the big screen usually has this reviewer standing inside a protective pentagram and loading up on amulets to protect me from some serious bad movie mojo. For definitive proof, I offer up for sacrifice The Dunwich Horror. May an eldritch demon from out of time and space rend that celluloid nightmare forever and ever. Amen.

Even movies that are not explicit recreations of a Lovecraft story and merely aspire to have 'Lovecraftian' elements (monsters with tentacles, insanity-provoking encounters, etc.) usually fail spectacularly. Some filmmakers have successfully incorporated Lovecraftian elements (In the Mouth of Madness and the Hellboy franchise, in addition to ReAnimator and From Beyond) but they are surprisingly rare and require that the producers take some serious artistic license. In The Call of Cthulhu Lovecraft fans will finally find some relief -- a faithful telling of an HPL story that works.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: Lord of Illusions

Lord of Illusions

Scott Bakula is New York private investigator Harry D'Amour. Harry's problem is that no matter how mundane a case he tackles, they always curve towards the dark side, again and again.

While investigating a routine case in Los Angeles he stumbles upon the members of a dead cult. He finds a palm reader mortally wounded by the cult members, and he sets D'Amour on the trail, which leads to Dorothea (Famke Janssen), the wife of famed stage illusionist Phillip Swann (Kevin J. O'Connor). She  hires Harry to track down the cult members who she believes are trying to kill her husband.

Predictably, Dorothea only tells Harry as much about the cult as she thinks he needs to know, and Harry's investigations lead him to discover that among stage magicians, Dorothea's husband is universally loathed, despite the fame and fortune his incredible shows have generated. It seems the other magicians (no, illusionists) believe that what Swann does on stage is 'tainted' -- by real magic.

Movie Rating: 
8

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