By Anne Bransford
The Woman in Black
“The Woman in Black” features Daniel Radcliffe in a classic horror movie. As a Victorian lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) heads to Eel Marsh House, a foggy and mysterious manor where evil things have been happening. With faces in the window and wind-up toys that start themselves, the atmosphere of the entire movie looks to be creepy enough to keep you on edge the entire time. The center of the ghost story is the belligerent Woman in Black, the late owner of Eel Marsh House. Providing an alternative to more cuddly Valentine’s flicks, the movie is now playing.
“Big Miracle,” based on a true story, is a feel-good family flick on one level and yet an engaging gem of storytelling on another. In 1988, an Alaskan reporter (John Krasinski) desperate to break into the lower 48 discovers a family of three whales trapped in the ice. The reporter, his Greenpeace ex-girlfriend (Drew Barrymore), the town, the national news, the Reagan administration, oil executives and the Soviets all get involved in the rescue attempt. The characters are original and human, the comedy light and the situation poignant in many ways. “Big Miracle” is now playing.
Ryan Reynolds, a frustrated CIA operative aspiring to be taken seriously as an agent, is responsible for holding an extremely dangerous fugitive (Denzel Washington) at a backwater safe house. In a classic action sequence, the safe house is attacked by mercenaries. Reynolds and Washington must team up to escape and find out whether the attackers were sent by terrorists or by the CIA itself in a clean-up attempt. “Safe House” is now playing.
Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams star in “The Vow” as couple Leo and Paige. In this romance, a woman loses her memory after a spectacularly choreographed car wreck. It becomes Leo’s job to “make his wife fall in love with him again,” a task that is complicated by the fact that Paige can only remember her ex-fiance. “The Vow” is sure to be an emotional roller-coaster with plenty of romance and heartbreak, out just in time for Valentine’s Day.
This Means War
“This Means War” is 2012’s Valentine’s Day romantic comedy. Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play CIA partners who must compete for Reese Witherspoon thanks to an online dating mishap. Full of explosive action scenes and touching romance, the comedy itself has been reviewed as genuinely funny, with the two agents whipping out their absurd high-tech devices and even some quick quips. Give “This Means War” a chance as a belated Valentines date.
Act of Valor
A wartime movie with a plot reminiscent of previous films such as “Saving Private Ryan” “Act of Valor” introduces a unique twist: Most of the footage used in the film shows active duty Navy Seals in action. This makes the film a must-see event, in addition to making it, in this reviewer’s opinion, one of the coolest war-inspired films ever. This movie has a sense of realism that will thrill and amaze. “Act of Valor” premieres February 24.