Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death has more in common with its predecessor, the 2012 chiller Woman in Black, than just a title and source material.
The first film starred Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself, in the lead role. The spooky new movie about the strange goings-on at a haunted house during World War II co-stars Potter alum Helen McCrory and Adrian Rawlins.
McCrory, who plays Angel of Death’s uptight schoolmarm, was pregnant when Potter producers offered her the role of pure-blood witch Bellatrix Lestrange in Order of the Phoenix. She passed and the part went to Helena Bonham Carter but two years later she jumped at the chance to play Narcissa, Bellatrix’s sister and the mother of Draco Malfoy, in The Half-Blood Prince.
Co-star Rawlins is the shadowy Dr. Rhodes in Angel of Death, but is best known as the father of Harry in seven Potter movies. Years before playing James Potter the actor starred in the original Woman in Black TV adaptation as Arthur, the role Radcliffe played in the recent remake.
Over the ten years they were in production it seems like the Potter films employed almost all of the British Actors’ Equity Association. Everyone from Ralph Fiennes, Richard Harris and Gary Oldman to Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton and Emma Thompson appeared in the series. When Bill Nighy was cast in The Deathly Hallows he said. “I am no longer the only English actor not to be in Harry Potter and I am very pleased.”
Less well known than the British superstars that peppered the Potter cast are some of the supporting players, many of which have gone on to breakout success without Harry.
Tom Felton will likely always be associated with cowardly bully Draco Malfoy, so it’s not surprising he played the spineless bad guy utters the famous “damn dirty ape” line,” in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Before he starred opposite Rachel McAdams in the time travel romance About Time Domhnall Gleeson was Curse-Breaker Bill Weasley in The Deathly Hallows. The son of actor Brendan Gleeson is on his way to household name status with a role as an Imperial officer who defects to the Republic in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The biggest breakout Potter alum has to be Robert Pattinson. He’s best known as sparkling vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise but he first appeared as Cedric Diggory in The Goblet of Fire. “The day before [the movie came out] I was just sitting in Leicester Square,” he said, “happily being ignored by everyone. Then suddenly strangers are screaming your name. Amazing.”
Richard: Mark, this is the kind of movie critics will call sappy and sentimental. They’ll bash it because it wears its heart on its sleeve, which is exactly the reason I liked it.
After The Time Traveller’s Wife it’s time Rachel McAdams got a time travel romance right. It’s a silly premise but for me the idea wasn’t about the time travel, but the lessons Tim learns from the time travel about life and happiness. What did you think?
Mark Breslin: Richard, as you know, I am no fun. No fun at all. So I spent most of the movie looking for paradoxes in the physics of the time travel conceit. Like all time travel movies, it sets up arbitrary rules, and then breaks them all over the place.
The movie features two of the worst haircuts in the history of cinema, and a romance I didn’t really care about. But there’s another deeper movie in there, which is a movie about fathers and sons, and I liked that part very much. Sentimental? Yes, but I felt that part of the movie worked better than its rom-com components. Of course, it could have been the haircuts.
RC: I didn’t actually care much about the romance angle or the time travel. I was drawn to the film because of Domhnall Gleeson’s charming and slightly goofy performance.
If John Hughes had made British films he would have loved this guy. He does have a bad haircut, but I thought he was a charming, if unlikely, leading man. He has a way with a line and I felt there was a real arc to his character. He literally grows up and becomes a man on screen, which is something you don’t see in rom-coms very often.
MB: True enough, although I always thought there should be a law barring gingers from appearing in television and film.
I liked a lot of the scenes in the movie, especially one set in one of those noir restaurants, where you eat in total darkness. It’s a literal blind date, and a nice twist on “meeting cute.” Bill Nighy is wonderful in the movie, as he always is, and Rachel McAdams does a good version of cute, although she looked about five years too old for the part.
But then Gleeson would go into a closet and ball his fists and … some of the goodwill was lost for me.
RC: Richard E. Grant’s three-minute cameo is almost worth the price of admission. He has one of the best reaction shots I’ve seen this year.
The time travel in “About Time,” a new rom com starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams, is what Alfred Hitchcock would have called the McGuffin. It’s the thing that drives the movie’s plot but ultimately isn’t that important to the story.
When Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turned 21 his father (Bill Nighy) lets him in on a family secret—he comes from a long line of time travellers. “We can go back and kill Hitler,” or shag Helen of Troy,” explains dad, they can simply go back to the recent history and make minor changes.
With visions of inter-dimensional travel in his head he does what any twenty-one year might do. Use his unique ability to get a girlfriend. The object of his affections is Mary (Rachel McAdams), but to win her over he’ll have to use his special gift to hone his Casanova skills.
As they live their lives together, however, he comes to discover that not everything can be solved with a quick trip back in time.
“About Time” is the kind of movie critics will call sappy and sentimental. They’ll bash it because it wears its heart on its sleeve, which is exactly the reason I liked it.
After “The Time Traveller’s Wife” it’s time Rachel McAdams got a time travel romance right!
It’s a silly premise but for me the idea wasn’t about the time travel but the lessons Tim learns while jumping dimensions about life and happiness. It is sweetly romantic, but it plays better as a comedy about family than a rom com or sci fi farce mainly because of its unlikely and charming leading man.
If John Hughes had made British films he would have loved this guy. He does have a bad haircut, but I thought he was a charming, if unlikely, leading man. He has a way with a line and I felt there was a real arc to his character. He literally grows up and becomes a man on screen, which is something you don’t see in rom coms very often.
“About Time” is a bit labored at times, but McAdams is an engaging presence, Nighy is warm and odd and Richard E. Grant, who is only on screen for three minutes manages to steal the show with a beautifully timed slow burn.
When British author H.G. Wells created the term “time machine” way back in 1895, he could never have imagined the lasting impact his ideas of fourth dimension travel would have on the career of Rachel McAdams.
His book, The Time Machine, has been filmed twice for the big screen, but the ideas of shifting ripples of time have also inspired three very different movies starring the London, Ont., born actress.
This weekend she co-stars with Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy in About Time as the present day girlfriend of a 21-year-old who uses his ability to switch time zones to learn information to woo her.
“I know I have a little bit of time travel in my past but this is different,” McAdams says. “The element of time travel thrown in was unique and quirky and dealt with lightly.”
Previously the Mean Girls star appeared as Clare Abshire in The Time Traveler’s Wife, starring opposite Eric Bana playing a Chicago librarian with a genetic disorder known as Chrono-Displacement that causes him to involuntarily travel through time.
From the outset their relationship is a strange one. When they first meet she has known him since she was six years old, but because his syndrome flips him to random times in his life on an ever shifting timeline he is always meeting her for the first time. Confused? Not as confused as Clare, who tries to build a life with Henry even though his ailment keeps them apart.
Based on a best-selling novel, it’s a three-hankie story about love with no boundaries and how romance can transcend everything, even death.
In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris it’s Owen Wilson who jumps through time — finding himself transported back to 1920s Paris and hanging with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill), seeing Cole Porter sing at a party, drinking with Hemmingway — while McAdams stays put, bringing him back to reality, as his irritating present-day fiancée Inez.
But what about actual time travel? When she was asked by AOL if there was anything she would go back in time and change in real life, McAdams said, “I was a figure skater, so I would take back a lot of fashion choices on the ice. A lot of sequins. I would pull back on the sequins a little bit and maybe less blue eye shadow.”