The Woman in Black
In role set apart from his legendary portrayal of the famed Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe’s return to the big screen was much anticipated and for the most part well received. The Woman in Black is a classical ghost story with lots of shadows, creaking doors, flickering candles and oh so creepy dolls. In this turn of the century tale, Daniel portrays Arthur Kiipps a London lawyer still grieving the loss of his wife during the birth of their son, Joseph. He is sent on assignment by his firm to examine the final documentation of the late Mrs. Alice Drablow.
When Kipps arrives in the small village of Cryphin Gifford he is met will a chilly welcome as the villages do everything they can to scare him away from the Eel Marsh House aka Mrs. Drablow’s residence.
Kipps ignores the warnings and ventures to the house, located miles from the village. Upon arrival the creepiness begins with the over-grown, decrepit looking house. During his research he unveils several family secrets, the first being a mentally disturbed sister to Alice and the woman’s son. He then discovers the sister was locked away from her only son. The child dies in Alice’s care and the sister commits suicide shortly thereafter.
The set up for the haunting is a classic, twisted story and Daniel’s performance was a nice change of pace. He led a very expressive mournful performance that came across as believable. I enjoyed the movie for the most part. The film was unfortunately a little slow, and not as thrilling as I wanted. This was not due to Radcliff, but the story’s translation into film.
If you like classic creepiness, like great films like The Changeling or The Haunting, The Lady in Black will be right up your ally–lots of suspense, little to no gore, and tons of classic chill.
School of Life
Ryan Reynolds (Blade: Trinity, The Amityville Horror, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder) lights up the screen as the charismatic Mr. D, a teacher whose lessons extend far beyond the classroom in this heart-warming tale of learning to appreciate every moment we’re given.
At Fallbrook Middle School, a Warner has won the coveted Student-Elected Teacher of the Year award 43 years in a row. Unfortunately, it was “Stormin” Norman Warner each time, and now that he’s passed away, the burden of maintaining the family legacy falls to Matt Warner (David Paymer – Mr Saturday Night, Quiz Show) who’s always lived in his famous father’s shadow.
Determined to keep the Warner tradition alive, Matt re-focuses all his efforts on winning that award, but once again, there’s someone in his way – his father’s replacement Mr. D’Angelo. Young, funny, and instantly popular with the kids – everything Matt is not – Mr. D quickly wins over the entire student body, and the faculty. Within no time at all, Mr D’s unconventional teaching methods and ability to connect with the children makes him the easy front runner for Teacher of the Year.
Matt meanwhile, becomes so obsessed with discrediting Mr. D and winning the award that he starts forgetting what it means to be an educator. Desperate to find something wrong with the seemingly perfect teacher, Matt follows him around town.
Matt does eventually find out that Mr. D has a secret, but it’s not what he expected… School of life is a touching story about the power of education, but more importantly, the power of the human spirit.
I came across this gem of a film recently on HBO. Okay I admit it, I stopped because I saw Ryan Reynolds name. However, what I came across was much, much more than a 90 minute gawk fest at the cuteness of Ryan (that was Green Lantern bar none). Back to the movie, the School of Life, is inspiring, note-worthy and definitely a tear jerker. You have two men, one trying move out of his father’s shadow and another embracing everything he can and sharing it with the students he adores. The story is about life, death, passion, choices, and friendship. Love, love, love, this movie, definitely give a look see if you can!