This edition of Movie Recon looks at three very different films, including a one blockbuster sequel that's been on the horizon for quite a while.
Story: In the small, working class community of Angels Crest, nestled in a valley deep in the Rocky Mountains, Ethan, a young father of a three-year-old boy faces an unexpected tragedy and is then pursued by a prosecutor facing his own demons.
Filmmakers: Directed by Gaby Dellal, written by newcomer Catherine Trieschmann (based on the novel by Leslie Schwartz), and starring Thomas Decker, Elizabeth McGovern, Jeremy Piven, and Mina Sorvino.
Status: On the Radar. I can't help but think this is a cashing in on Winter's Bone what with the smalltown mountain feel and the lone character whose had a tough life and now must face an oncoming crisis. Still Winter's Bone was excellent, and the trailer looks interesting so I'm willing to give it a chance.
Angels Crest opens December 30.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Story: When the crown prince of Austria is found dead, it is ruled a suicide until Sherlock Holmes takes a look and realizes it was actually an elaborate murder staged by his archnemesis Moriarity. Holmes and Dr. Watson chase Moriarity across Europe but the master criminal always stays one step ahead.
Filmakers: Once again directed by Guy Richie and starring Robert Downey, Jr, Jude Law, with Jared Harris as Moriarity and Stephen Fry as his brother Sherlock's brother Mycroft.
Status: On the Radar. Frankly, I've enjoyed the recent BBC television adaptation of Sherlock Holmes better than I did the Richie directed film which I felt was too action oriented with not enough smarts for a Holmes story, but I'm quite sure I'll wind up seeing it sooner or later.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opens December 16.
The Woman In Black
Story: A young lawyer travels to a remote town where he finds a the ghost of a scorned woman terrorizing the locals.
Filmakers: Directed by James Watkins, written by Jane Goldman (based on the novel by Susan Hill) and starring Daniel Radcliff, Ciaran Hinds, and Janet McTeer.
Status: Locked on Target. I'm very much interested in Radcliff's post-Potter career. He could easily fall into the same trap as so many young stars do and wind up playing in crap b-movie fantasies, but so far he seems to be crafting out a nice little career. He famously did a stint at a London theatre and more recently he starred as Rudyard Kipling's son in the PBS movie My Boy Jack. Both turns indicate to me that he's looking for interesting roles rather than quick cash-ins. The Woman in Black does contain supernatural elements like the Potter films, but Radcliff is but a regular Muggle in it. The trailer looks significantly spooky with an excellent gothic mood to it, and I'm anxious to see how it plays out.
A Woman in Black opens February 3, 2012.