“The Woman in Black”—((Goosebumps!))

“The Woman in Black” is creepy good. With a tension-building musical score and clever lighting, the movie keeps the tingle going from scare to scare.

With an “all growed up” Daniel Radcliffe as the centerpiece of the movie, TWIB brings some old-fashioned fright. As opposed to many recent films that scare with outrageous CGI creatures and unbelievable settings, “Woman” takes us places we’ve all been. Darkened hallways, strange house noises, shadows in windows, late night door knocks, nervous dog barks, odd looks from strangers, sudden weird behavior from seemingly normal people—these occurrences in the movie help root the story in real life.

Radcliffe is Arthur Kibbs, an early 1900’s London attorney who is sent to a rural England town to go through a recently deceased woman’s papers. His job is to ascertain that the will his firm has is the correct one. Many of the townspeople give him dirty looks. Some discourage him from going to the woman’s home, a classic haunted house. Its location, on a hill, at the end of a long causeway, surrounded by a coastal marsh, adds to the mystique of the house.

When he arrives at the house, the spooky stuff begins. A favorite scene has Arthur exploring the upstairs of this haunted mansion. The creepy soundtrack music goes silent, allowing us to hear the creaks, pops and other vague noises that the house (and whoever else may be there) produces.

Arthur finds two useful allies in Mr. and Mrs. Daily, played by Ciaran Hinds and recent Oscar nominee Janet McTeer. They are rich enough to own the only car in town, but they share a particular sorrow with many others in the town.

Radcliffe, now 22, demonstrates that he is now old enough to grow whiskers and successfully portray a young adult. He’ll always be Harry, but he has a big future ahead that may someday equal his success of the past decade at Hogwarts.

If you’re a parent who allows kids younger than 13 to attend PG-13 movies like this one, take note. There are some scary elements that may engender nightmares and/or late night interruptions of your sleep by your troubled offspring.

 

 

 

 

“Albert Nobbs” ~Glenn Not Even Close~

The best cross-dressing movies are comedies. For a cross-dressing drama to work, we have to believe—at least a little bit—that the character really could pass for the gender she/he has chosen.

Glenn Close has, to my mind, a masculine shape to her face. However, she does not look at all like a man in “Albert Nobbs.” Janet McTeer, another woman who passes as a man in this movie, also looks like a woman dressed as a man. McTeer comes closer than Close because of her 6’1” stature.

If you can convince yourself that these two women could actually pass for males, you might be able to enjoy the story. Both women are talented actors. The Academy just gave Oscar nominations to both. Apparently somebody in Hollywood thinks these women make good men.

I do not. The reality, believability and overall quality of this movie is compromised by these two portrayals.

If you are a person who tries to see all of the major Oscar nominated performances, “Albert Nobbs” offers two for the price of one. If you want to see a movie with a story that could have been taken from real life, choose again.