Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Woman in Black ★ ★ ★★

Hammer Horror: Haunting once again

Release Dates
in cinemas17th May
, 2012
Other Countries Release Dates

DVD release date:  USA  22nd May, 2012  UK  18th June 2012

               As a kid in the sixties, my favourite films were horror with a majority coming from the Hammer Horror Films stable.  Give me a Dracula, Mummy or Frankenstein any day over Lassie and Bambi. I would cut deals with my Mother that if I napped in the afternoon, I could then stay up past my bedtime to watch the horror flick.  Despite my viewing taste, I didn’t grow up to be a serial killer; I just grew up to be a horror writer.
               When I heard that the new revamped Hammer Horror Studios were releasing their first ghost story, The Woman in Black, I was first in line, dragging my children along with me.  They jumped, laughing nervously, at the spook bits and the eleven-year-old spent some of the film with his hands over his eyes, cringing in his chair.  Now before you start nominating me for ‘Bad Mother of the Year’, remember the fun you had being scared witless when you were a kid?
               That thrill is rarely there in horror films these days.  Either we are more sophisticated or they just don’t make them like they used to anymore.  After The Woman in Black, my verdict is the latter.   So, a huge ‘thank you’ to Hammer Horror for rectifying this with a great adaption of Susan Hill’s 1982 novel.
               Originally founded in 1934, legendary British film studio, Hammer delivered, in the sixties and seventies, a hugely successful run of films including Dracula, Frankenstein Created Woman, One Million Years B.C. and The Vampire Lovers. Not in production since the 1980s, Hammer marked their return to features in 2010 with the release of the critically acclaimed Let Me In, an adaptation of the highly praised Swedish vampire film.
               For Simon Oakes (producer and president and CEO of Hammer), The Woman in Black was one of the first properties of interest to the recently reborn genre label. “One of the things we talked about, as a team, when we first put this new incarnation of Hammer together was that horror is made of many different genres and subgenres but in recent years the tendency has been for body count horror,” he explains. “We wanted to explore different kinds of horror, and while there’d been a TV movie and a stage play, we recognised a great opportunity in The Woman in Black to combine Susan Hill’s gothic ghost story with a modern sensibility to turn it into a feature film.”

               For his part, Daniel Radcliffe recognised the need to strike out from the role of the Harry Potter that made him famous. “I’m very, very proud of Potter,” Radcliffe says. “But I now have to prove to people that I’m serious about acting, and I think the way to do that is to start selecting some interesting material.”
               The particular challenge of playing Arthur, for Radcliffe,  was in the character’s peculiar stillness. “There are moments when you shouldn’t be sure what Arthur’s thinking,” he says. “You know it’s probably not happy thoughts, but you’re not sure exactly why, or what he’s going through at particular moments. That just leaves a little bit more room for the audience to relate, because they can just insert any emotion that they assume he might be feeling.”
               Radcliffe plays a young bereaved London solicitor Arthur Kipps who must leave his three-year-old son and travel to the remote and unwelcoming village of Crythin Gifford to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased female owner of Eel Marsh House.  He must go through her prolific paper work to ensure her will is the only true will.
               We already know there is something wrong in the village.  In the opening scenes three young sisters climb, trancelike, out their attic window to fall to their deaths.  When Arthur crosses the moors to visit the house, it is clear that once there the tide will cut him off from the mainland, trapping him in the dishevelled and dusty house longer than he wants.
               The haunted house delivers the horrors of upstairs noises and banging, glimpses of shadowy figures and one or two adrenaline filled jump-in-your-seat scares. The reveal of the real truth of Eel Marsh House is skilfully handled and whilst you always wonder why characters stay in these haunted houses, the story provides thoughtful answers to Arthur’s motivations.  The suspense is skilfully built with a solid supporting cast and artful sets and costumes. A twist at the end, should give any horror aficionado a satisfying feeling that this is a class act all the way. 
               Hammer horror is back and that is a great thing for the genre and its fans.  With The Woman in Black, Hammer has proved horror can be stylish and thoughtful and we horror fans may enjoy some disturbed sleep in the future but that is how we like it.  Thankfully, I now don’t have to nap in the afternoons to indulge my passion.


Enjoy this trailer of the 1959 movie, The Mummy.  For years, this gave me nightmares anytime I was in a small room with only one door for escape.

Hammer Films classic film trailer from 1958, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in Horror of Dracula.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Men in Black 3 ★ ★ ★★


Release Dates
24th May
, 2012 UK 25th May, 2012 USA 25th May, 2012
Other Countries Release Dates

                As the song goes, ‘Here Comes the Men in Black…’ I wondered before the preview why they went back again, when they had pretty much done everything they could do with one and two. Yet, as I proudly wore my ‘Men in Black 3’ T-shirt on a Grade Six school excursion the next day, it all became clear to me as all the kids asked, “What is ‘Men in Black’”?
               It’s been fifteen years folks since the first one—yep, fifteen years, and ten since the second. So, there is a whole generation just waiting to be charmed by the idea that aliens live amongst us and the Men in Black (MIB) organization are Earth’s secret protectors. So why would they go back? Because there was one secret never revealed: Who really is Agent K?
                 “The Men in Black movies are about the relationship between Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones)?”says Will Smith. “This movie brings that home – it’s about the power and origin of their relationship. It’s actually an idea we’ve had for years – we had the concept before the second movie – but it needed time to mature. What we had to do was elevate the story, and the only way to do that is to go deeper, deeper into the characters, deeper into the revelations that the movie would reveal.
               In Men In Black™ 3, Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are still together but ten years on J is still puzzling over his partner’s irascible and secretive personality. Suddenly after the death of MIB commander, replaced by O (Emma Thompson), K disappears and nobody at MIB remembers him. Time has been altered and K now murdered in 1969 by Boris The Animal. K and J deduce that Boris must have time jumped back and killed K, before Boris loses his arm in a fight with K, and then installs an Earth protection system to stop Boris’s race, the Boglodites from invading.
               J time jumps back to 1969, where he meets a younger version of K (Josh Brolin) and thus begins the fun and games of rediscovering a very different K to the 2012 version. Although, he is still an unruffled character, gone is the cranky, worn exterior revealing a more open and sanguine K. “What happened to you?”asks young J constantly.
               But 1969 is not about reunions or solving personal secrets, as J announces to a stony faced K, “We’re running out of time, we’re running out of clues and there’s an invasion coming. So, we need to go right now.” And go they do, following a trail of murders hoping they will lead to Boris. Along the way, there is much alien and secret-uncovering fun and you will spend this part of the movie, wondering how Josh Brolin pulled off the young K character so convincingly.
                “I’ve seen the first film 45 or 50 times – I’m not exaggerating,” says Brolin. “I’m a huge fan of the chemistry between Tommy and Will. Tommy’s voice has a cadence to it that’s very specific to Men In Black – it’s very different from the way he speaks in life. I just listened to it and listened to it until I started dreaming about it. My friends would tell me that I sounded like him. I’d go out to dinner, and I’d hear, ‘You’re ordering like Tommy.’”
               Comments Director of all three MIB’s, Barry Sonnenfeld, “We shot the acts sequentially – we had Tommy playing K in the first act, then Josh came in playing K for the second act and almost all of the third act, and then in the last week of shooting we got Tommy back,” “What I found amazing was that I kept thinking I was directing one actor; the performances were so consistent that it was hard for me to tell where Tommy Lee Jones ended and Josh Brolin began. For me, it’s not about Tommy playing K or Josh playing K. It’s just K.”
               The 1969 story line answers all questions and in the closing scenes is a satisfying reveal of the real secret of the black suited partners’ relationship. Along the way, there is much sliming, much slick banter, a fabulous scene with Andy Warhol, and a truly fascinating, sweet alien, Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) who sees all timeline possibilities (and could be, in fact, a 1969 version of Robin Williams).
               There is sincere homage paid here to the MIB franchise and fans will not be disappointed with what truly feels like a fitting final chapter to a very cool idea. So many times when studios mine an empty franchise, filmgoers walk away knowing they’ve just been had for a quick buck. Even though some of the jokes are repeats from the previous two, and we miss Frank the Pug, do take the kids and prepare for some fun, because this time “They do make this look good”.


Here are the trailers for the first two Men in Black films.  Will Smith has not aged. Perhaps he is an alien?


Monday, May 14, 2012

New Trailer & Images for Disney Pixar's BRAVE

Only at the Movies in Australia JUNE 21
Other countries Release Dates

We will be running a competition, commencing 31st May, for Australian members of Myshoppinglist to win a double  In-Season pass to see Disney Pixar's BRAVE. So hop over to and become a member for this great opportunity.

Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Disney-Pixar’s “Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson).

Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane), unleashing chaos in the kingdom.

When she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters), she is granted an ill-fated wish and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources—including her mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humour.

Winners of our Competition will also win a character sticker sheet, thanks to our wonderful friends at Disney Pixar.  How cool is that?