The Woman in Black: Straight Outta Hogwarts

by Ethan Alter February 3, 2012 6:10 am
<i>The Woman in Black</i>: Straight Outta Hogwarts

Let's face it, the real reason so many people are curious about the new horror movie The Woman in Black is because they want to know whether the film's star Daniel Radcliffe is going to become the next Harrison Ford or the next Mark Hamill. In case you've somehow managed to avoid both bookstores and multiplexes since 2001, the 22-year-old British actor has spent the past ten years of his life playing boy wizard Harry Potter in the blockbuster film franchise based on J.K. Rowling's gazillion-selling book series. And while he's had other roles in between Potter installments (he appeared in the 2007 Australian drama December Boys, lampooned himself on Extras and played two well-received runs on Broadway), The Woman in Black is being watched extra closely as it's his first solo starring vehicle since the eighth and final film hit theaters last summer. So what's the verdict on the future of young Master Radcliffe?

The Debt: Keep On Playing Those Spy Games

by Ethan Alter August 31, 2011 6:00 am
<i>The Debt</i>: Keep On Playing Those Spy Games

The Debt has one of the worst endings to an otherwise well-crafted thriller in recent memory. It's not just that the final 10-15 minutes are full of illogical contrivances (though they are) -- it's that they fundamentally contradict the movie's intended message. As star Helen Mirren informs us in a voiceover that precedes the closing credits, our takeaway is supposed to be that lies -- even the well-intentioned variety -- will inevitably be uncovered and the guilty may not always be brought to justice. But while she's soberly intoning those words, the events occurring onscreen tell a very different story, one that tries to put a positive, crowd-pleasing spin on what's otherwise a darker, more emotionally complex story. (Don't worry -- as much as I'd like to prepare you for the silliness of the ending, I'll restrain myself from giving it all away.)



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