This week, at a theatre near you: vampires invade Alaska during the long month of night; a hit-and-run leaves a community hunting for answers, and the killer; a man is taken into custody by the U.S. over fears of being a terrorist; a woman comes to terms with the death of her husband with the help of his best friend; and enjoy a Nightmare in 3-D.
30 Days of Night
Nothing says Halloween like a dark, gritty, horror film and 30 Days of Night looks like the best one headed to theatres this month. Set in Alaska, as the sun sets for a month, a group of people find themselves trying to survive an infestation of vampires. Townspeople start dropping like flies, and all they can do is try to survive until daylight comes again. The film is based on a popular graphic novel, and stars Josh Hartnett and Melissa George as a separated couple who are pushed back together again during the bloody madness. The film looks great, but it doesn’t hurt to mention that it was produced by Sam Raimi, of Spider-Man and Evil Dead fame. Read the film review over here.
From horror, to a compelling drama. Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino, and Mark Ruffalo star in a story of a young boy who is killed in a hit-and-run. The accident happens quickly, and Dwight (Ruffalo) doesn’t even stop to see what he’s done, but Ethan (Phoenix) will do anything that it takes to make sure the killer is caught. While the film is based on a well-liked novel, the film has so far failed to capture positive vibes from critics, and has been called both “tedious” (Variety) and a “revenge melodrama” (Hollywood Reporter).
The topic of how America has dealt with suspected terrorists has been hot for years now. Rendition, a thriller from Tsotsi director Gavin Hood, has Reese Witherspoon playing the wife of a man who suddenly disappears when he is scheduled to arrive back in America. After some digging, and a side-story that involves Jake Gyllenhaal as a CIA agent interrogating the man, it’s revealed that he has been detained by the U.S. government in what’s known as a “extraordinary rendition”. Critics have been fairly split on the film, with a number of sources calling it heavy-handed, but Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail called it “a political film that delivers its timely message with a cinematic punch and no undue speechifying.”
Things We Lost in the Fire
In yet another grieving-family member plot, Halle Berry plays a woman who must move on after the violent death of her husband. Benicio Del Toro plays the role of the troubled friend of said husband, who is drawn to Berry’s character when he moves in to help her and the family. While there are certainly a lot of elements that seem familiar in the story, the film seems genuine and honest, and was brought to screen by the emotionally-driven Danish director who made After The Wedding.
The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D
Tim Burton’s amazing, claymation classic returns to cinemas this week in all its 3-D glory. For those who don’t know the story, it’s a musical about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, who gets the crazy idea to take over Christmas after he gets bored with Halloween. While it will only appear in select IMAX theatres, this is an incredibly endearing film that is worth the drive to your nearest cinema. With music by Danny Elfman, and amazing, hand-crafted characters brought to life, Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunning film for the eyes and ears, and the story is great for kids and adults alike.