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In Theaters: ‘The Woman in Black’ Will Hope To ‘Chronicle’ A ‘Big Miracle’

In Theaters: 'The Woman in Black' Will Hope To 'Chronicle' A 'Big Miracle'

Happy Friday all, and welcome to February. It finally feels like a normal release weekend, now that we are out of the January no-mans-land. Funny how that self-fulfilling prophecy works out. Or, how studios strictly adhere to the “January movie” policy. Anyway, onwards and upwards my pets. We’ve got to get to the teen found footage movies, and the heartwarming whale tales, and the haunted house flicks, and the lone awards-contender dregs. Go go gadget In Theaters! 

If you’re anything like me, the “Chronicle” ad has been tormenting you night and day (bah bling bah bling). But, we can report it’s NOT some obnoxious piece of teen tomfoolery trash and the filmmakers actually pulled a good movie out of the found footage genre. Written by Max Landis and directed by Josh Trank, this low-budget teen tale is actually rather clever. Our review says, the film is “helmed with some real verve and energy by Trank,” and “the stakes aren’t on some far-fetched villain who has a plan to destroy the world, but are based on character-driven issues. It’s not about a hero who is running out of time to save humanity, but a human who is running out of options.” Alright then. Book, cover, you know the drill. RT: 85% MC: 69

Listen, I know that saying John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore star in a 1980s period piece about saving whales called “Big Miracle” just sounds like a practical joke. Like the trailer should be running before “Tropic Thunder 2.” But, no, apparently this is a real movie happening here. So there are some whales trapped under ice in Alaska, and Krasinski, Barrymore, sloth-lover Kristen Bell, Rob Riggle, Vinessa Shaw, Stephen Root and others come together to save the things. Our review says, “the story remains fairly engaging even when its lack of drama has your mind drifting,” and is “fearlessly political,” but ultimately, it “doesn’t add up to much.” RT: 69% MC: 63

Daniel Radcliffe takes on his first leading film role since ‘Potter’ in “The Woman in Black,” playing a grieving young father in a ghost story written by Jane Goldman and directed by James Watkins, with Ciarán Hinds and Janet McTeerOur review says the Hammer Film “is a satisfyingly old-school horror movie in nearly every aspect of the production from script to screen.” RT: 64% MC: 62

Indie horror auteur Ti West returns with his latest effort, the haunted hotel horror “The Innkeepers,” starring Sara Paxton and and Pat Healy. Our review from last year’s SXSW says it’s, “a film that registers minimal laughs and only perfunctory scares,” and “the first and second acts feel like a more grown-up ‘Scooby Doo‘ episode.” RT: 76% MC: 64

Fresh talent Ben Wheatley‘s shocking and violent “The Kill List” hits theaters this weekend. Our review from SXSW says, “this is simply tremendously pointed filmmaking and makes for an increasingly intense experience that starts to sweat with dread. The rising anxiety of the picture is masterful, the alarmingly portentous qualities of the film seem to be built into its DNA far before things go brutally wrong. It’s less about the shock and more about the impact. Completely unsettling and wired throughout with a a subconscious anxiety, ‘Kill List’ will leave your bones rattling.” RT: 74% MC: 66

Madonna‘s Oscar nommed film “W.E.” makes its appearance in theaters this weekend. They should have named this movie “The King’s Speech 2: The Sexy Parts.” No one even knows what “W.E.” even means! And everyone wanted to see more of the sexy parts of “King’s Speech,” right? Less stuttering and more royal fraternization with a divorcee! Is what I always say. Always. But The Playlist, you say, didn’t this movie get terrible reviews? Apparently, the film has been edited since we saw it in Venice —  where our review said Madonna’s “visual approach could best be described as ‘throw it at the wall and see what sticks.’ The camera barely sits still, stock changes from shot to shot, people walk down corridors in slow motion, all without rhyme or reason… it doesn’t help that the editing is virtually nonsensical, and never misses an opportunity for a half-assed match cut,” and that “despite a couple of solid performances, the film can’t be redeemed.” It still has a pitiful 17% RT score, so whatever they did to “fix it” didn’t really matter much. RT: 17% MC: 34

Surfing doc “Splinters” tells the story of surfing in Papua New Guinea on the island of Vanimo, and the rivalry there to send a surfer to an international competition in Australia. Our review says “Viewers going into this film expecting a straight-up surfing documentary in the style of Step Into Liquid’ or Riding Giants‘ will be disappointed, but the politics and social elements of ‘Splinters’ are worth sticking around for,” and “the film’s enduring appeal, though, is as a fascinating sociological study of life away from the trappings of our technological modern culture.” RT: RT: 75% MC: 66

Low budget indie filmmaker Dustin Guy Defa‘s sophomore effort “Bad Fever” hits theaters this weekend with the story of a young comedian struggling to get his start and find a human connection in his life. Our review says  the film is “frequently amusing,” and Defa “manages to keep it truthful, with the movie thankfully free of any forced, pleading emotion hoping to garner audience sympathy.” RT: 60%

Also in theaters, Eva Green and Ewan MacGregor star in “Perfect Sense,” as lovers seeking a connection in the face of an apocalyptic virus causing sensory loss. How very 2012! Check out our interview with Eva Green about her role in David MacKenzie‘s film. RT: 50% MC: 51

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