Richard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the bombastic “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s” souvlaki slapstick and the terrific tension of thriller “Eye in the Sky.”
Helen Mirren trades in Queen Elizabeth’s tiara for army fatigues in “Eye in the Sky,” a drone drama that examines the legal, military, moral and political ramifications of an unmanned aerial vehicle bombing on some high value targets in the war on terror.
Mirren is Colonel Powell, an English military intelligence officer charged with tracking down and dispatching British national-turned-terrorist in Nairobi, Kenya. When the mark is located in a house in a residential area Powell weighs the value of eliminating the threat against the possibility of collateral damage—the unintended death of civilians. When it’s discovered the target is planning a suicide-bombing run, endangering the lives of dozens of people, she makes the decision to “prosecute” the target. Before she can engage, however, she needs the approval of a London-based panel—Attorney General Matherson (Richard McCabe), Foreign Secretary Willett (Iain Glen), Lieutenant General Benson (Alan Rickman) and politician Angela North (Monica Dolan)—and the Las Vegas based drone pilots Watts (Aaron Paul) and Gershon (Phoebe Fox). When an innocent nine-year-old girl sets ups a stand to sell bread just inside the kill zone questions are raised as to whether to pull the trigger or not.
“Eye in the Sky” is talky but also terrifically tense as life and death decisions are boiled down to public relations and political tactics. Wordy and pedantic, it asks the viewer to choose sides and then explore the reasoning behind their decisions. What is worth more, the life of an innocent young girl or the potential loss of life if the suicide bombers make it to a mall? It’s a complicated and morality tinged look at the kinds of choices that are made on an almost daily basis, decisions so common they barely rate a mention in the news anymore.
It’s as if set decorators for “The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death” raided the legendary Hammer Films warehouse to achieve the movie’s creepy look. Pre-tied nooses? Check. Self-rocking chairs? Check. Taxidermied animals with weird eyes? Check. Creepy mechanical toys and dolls? Check. No stone (no doubt with something really icky underneath it) has been left unturned to create a suitably spooky atmosphere, which is great, because the movie is all atmosphere and little else.
The follow-up to Daniel Radcliffe’s 2012 chiller “The Woman in Black” takes place forty years later during World War II. Teacher Eve (Phoebe Fox), school mistress Jean (Helen McCrory) and students are shipped off to Eel Marsh House, a remote house-turned-school to keep them safe during the Blitz. The building has a history. A haunted history.
As nightmares plague young Edward (Oaklee Pendergast) strange things start happening in the house; doors unlock themselves and tragedy ensues. Eve is very sensitive to the needs of the children and the chill that seems to have enveloped the house. Is she losing her mind? Not sleeping well and seeing things? Or is there someone or something out to hurt her and the kids?
Like its predecessor “The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death” is a slow, moody story with jump scares—birds suddenly flying into windows, etc—built in but without any of the ick that makes up so many modern horror films. It also doesn’t come with the scares that most horror film deliver. Dark and disturbing, it’s an old school slow burn that offers up uneasiness rather than cover-your-eyes terror.