Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the pictures for the "I'd Rather See Goosebumps" double-bill of Crimson Peak and Bridge of Spies.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you haven't seen in the trailers.
First on the agenda: Crimson Peak.
A young American would-be author (Mia Wasikowska) marries a titled Englishman (Tom Hiddleston), and accompanies him to his creepy mansion in less-than-merry old England.
Dear reader(s), imagine if you will: You stop by the local bakery and select the best-looking cupcake from their display. It's big and fluffy, with an inch of chocolate icing and lots of colorful sprinkles. You get it home, take a bite, and...it's made of sand.
That's Crimson Peak, a thing of unparalleled beauty--from its preternaturally gorgeous (and top-notch) cast to its striking Gothic architecture to its frilly Victorian finery--that's a grave disappointment underneath.
Crimson Peak does a fine job of looking creepy, and jump-scares are cheap and plentiful, but it never builds any genuine tension. If you haven't figured out exactly where it's going and exactly how it's getting there within the first 15 minutes, you probably aren't paying attention. Jessica Chastain couldn't be more blatantly sinister if she had a moustache to twirl, and, far from being frightened, half of my theatre laughed out loud at the ghouls.
On the plus side, if you love the art of making movies or just enjoy something that's wonderful to look at, Crimson Peak is worth the price of admission on its visual merits alone. In shallower news, Charlie Hunnam is adorable, and there are even a few brief seconds of Hiddlesbutt for those of us who swoon for Tom!
Crimson Peak clocks in at 119 minutes and is rated R for "bloody violence, some sexual content, and brief strong language."
Beneath its gorgeous exterior, Crimson Peak unfortunately has nothing to offer.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Crimson Peak gets two.
Next up, Bridge of Spies.
An American insurance attorney is reluctantly dragged into the business of international espionage.
If there were an award for "Trailer I'm Most Tired Of Seeing," Bridge of Spies would be the hands-down winner. It feels like this one's previewed before every single film I've seen since March, and, since that very first trailer, one thing's been abundantly clear: Bridge of Spies is throwing its hat into the awards ring.
To that end: Tom Hanks is fantastic, as always, in the lead. The Academy owes him as much as its ever owed anybody for snubbing his magnificent work in Captain Phillips, so, even though the Best Actor races look pretty tight this year, it'd be hard to be mad at Hanks if he bumps someone else out (unless said "someone else" is Johnny Depp...then Yours Truly shall be good and damn mad!). Mark Rylance more than holds his own opposite Hanks--could earn some well-deserved hardware of his own--and the supporting cast is uniformly solid, if unremarkable.
Bridge of Spies does a nice job of holding the attention with its nerve-wracking tale, and offers a still-timely message about the perils of unchecked jingoism masquerading as patriotism. Clearing two hours by a good 20 minutes, it could have done with a trim, but the film keeps moving and never feels as long as it is.
Bridge of Spies runs 141 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some violence and brief, strong language."
It's a fascinating yarn with some great performances, but, despite its obvious intentions, Bridge of Spies doesn't look like Best Picture material to me.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Bridge of Spies gets six.
Until next time...