FLICKS: Goosebumps & Crimson Peak

Posted on 29 October 2015 by LeslieM

flicks102915By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Given that Halloween falls on Saturday this year, this will be a big weekend for Trick or Treaters. While this weekend seems devoid of movies featuring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney Jr., AMC is bringing back modern classics from the past four decades, including Halloween, Friday the 13th and Chucky incarnations. Only the Hallmark Channel’s Good Witch movies and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown seem to be geared towards family viewing.

Goosebumps has been successful at the current box office because it works as a family motion picture. Based on author R.L. Stine’s series of children’s books, Goosebumps provides plenty of jump scares mixed with humor and teenage character growth.

Dylan Minnette portrays Zach, a new kid on the block who recently lost his dad. His sidekick is Champ (Ryan Lee), who is often nicknamed “Chump” because he is such a goofball. The two befriend Hannah (Odeya Rush), whose weird father speaks with an accent that sounds like a mixture of Alfred Hitchcock and Basil Rathbone. Hannah’s father harbors a secret; he is R.L. Stine (Jack Black) and he has created an army of monsters through his literary creations.

Goosebumps is fun, much like the film Bud Abbott and Lou Costello meet Frankenstein. While Jack Black is over-the-top (Black also voices “Invisible Boy” & “Slappy,” the mastermind ventriloquist’s dummy), Ryan Lee steals the show as a scaredy cat.

Crimson Peak, a Gothic romance with ghostly overtones, is not family fare. After losing her mother when she was a child, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) believes in ghosts. Ghosts repeatedly warn her to “Beware of Crimson Peak,” but Edith does not comprehend their meaning.

Enter Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleson) and his serious sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), two English aristocrats in need of American finance. When tragedy strikes her father, Edith goes to live in England in the Sharpe’s mansion, which is sinking into the red clay of the land.

Written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro, Crimson Peak is similar to his previous productions, The Devil’s Backbone, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and The Orphanage. Sadly, the narrative of Crimson Peak bogs down with dullness, despite some good performances by the stellar cast and some eye-catching cinematography that will be studied by artists for many years to come.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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