Thursday, March 29, 2012

Now-a-Dollar March 30

Posted By on March 29, 2012, 11:07 AM

Wasatch Front bargain theaters get a quadruple dose of the unreal in films that include flaming skulls, fairy tales, mysterious powers and vengeful ghosts. ---

The best of the bunch is also the best-known: the 3-D re-release of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. It's still a thing of beauty, and a reminder that even before you had to wear the glasses, it was a visual experience of uncommon depth.

The pleasant surprise among the other new entries was Chronicle, a faux-found-footage thriller about three high school students who develop strange abilities after an encounter with something in a subterranean cavern. The gimmick actually provides a unique context for how people might actually respond to becoming superheroes, while it also turns into a potent allegory for bullied teens taking advantage of the moment when they finally feel they have power. Unsettling, and effective.

Less effective in its attempt to be unsettling is The Woman in Black, with Daniel Radcliffe as a 19th-century British solicitor whose latest assignment is sorting out the papers at a rural house that comes with a curse. It's really nothing more than an extended batch of booga-booga -- some of which works, and too much of which doesn't. And it's no help that Radcliffe doesn't seem to know how to convey mounting fear, walking around with the same wide-eyed expression for 80 minutes.

And speaking of "the same wide-eyed expression," Nicolas Cage is back as the leather-clad, motorcycle-riding, flaming skull demon hunter in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. From the directors of Crank. Knock yourselves out, folks.

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