Author Topic: Movie review: Season Of The Witch (2011)  (Read 996 times)

Devious Viper
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Movie review: Season Of The Witch (2011)
« on: January 08, 2011, 01:52:24 PM »
Directed: Dominic Sena
Produced:  Alex Gartner, Charles Roven
Screenplay:  Bragi F. Schut
Starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman

Plot summary
A  “supernatural action thriller” concerning medieval knights who transport a girl, accused of being a witch and spreading the Plague, to an abbey, where they must face a powerful force.

There’s something about Nicolas Cage…  He’s been on the screens for 30 years now, and has starred in going on for 70 or so movies. I guess he’s classed as “A-list” in Hollywood, and Forbes reliably informs us that he’s still one of the highest paid male leads in the business. But, let’s be honest, of those 70 movies, only a handful are actually worth owning as part of one’s personal dvd collection: Raising Arizona,  Red Rock West, Leaving Las Vegas, Bringing Out The Dead – and the rest oscillate variously between mediocre,  forgettable and turkey on the ratings swingometer.

The problem – as I see it – isn’t entirely that Cage is not exactly skilled at his craft, it is rather that he has acted in some badly written films or taken badly-written roles in average-to-good films. One critic has said: “He always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience. He is committed to the character with every atom …” And I think to a large extent that Cage’s enduring appeal is down to that earnestness: he always seems to be doing his frikking best and so we forgive him some mighty sins (I’m looking at you, The Wicker Man…)

Ah, The Wicker Man. Now, here’s the rub. I was thinking about this earlier and I came to the conclusion that Cage really has an interest in this genre and wants to make good supernatural/horror movies. However, as sure as G-d made little green apples he can’t help signing up to act in s**t supernatural/horror movies. This proved to be close to the mark when I found a recent interview in which Cage admits:  "I think at some point I wanted to make movies that celebrated actors like Christopher Lee and Vincent Price, and the great Roger Corman classics that are unafraid to explore the paranormal and the supernatural. These are the kind of movies that I personally watch, so it's a very honest expression for me." The difference is, of course, that Lee and Price were acting in movies based on the classic Gothic horror novels of Europe and the American-Gothic of Edgar Alan Poe… Cage, on the other hand, is acting in comic-book adaptations and derivative, comic-book quality, screenplays. And that’s the level at which Season Of The Witch pitches.

I’m not going to go into the story here, partly to avoid spoilers for those that are going to see this, but mostly because there isn’t much of it. Look, if you want a "supernatural action thriller", watch Solomon Kane (2009), which Total Film described thus: "A brutal fusion of angst and action, this mini-epic gives the sword-and-sorcery genre a bleak, brusque new life. Watch it for some terrific limbchopping and a mighty turn by James Purefoy.”

Purefoy has nowhere near the celebrity status or salary demands of Cage, but he’s a classically trained actor out of the Royal Shakespeare Company and it shows. At the risk of sounding snobbish, Cage could do worse than polish his craft treading the boards for a while – it’s not for nothing that Spielberg described another RSC actor, Pete Postlethwaite OBE, as "the best actor in the world." Cage, by comparison, "seems to be sleepwalking through" much of this movie (LA Times). That is an understatement. If you want your supernatural action thriller to be a bit more moody and melodramatic (that’s the long-winded way of saying “Gothic”) then, I implore you, watch Black Death (2010) (Frightfest review: [the] masterfully chilling Black Death blew me away because it was so not what I was expecting:  it’s a superior interpretation of medieval history and superstition as thought-provoking and compelling horror.”):

Meantime, Season of the Witch is a badly written, wooden acted, ill-conceived movie which, if there were any justice, should cause Cage to lock himself in a darkened room to completely re-evaluate his career path. Any discerning fan of horror/supernatural movies will be sorely disappointed and besides, it will be along as a low-budget dvd in next to no time. But ultimately one man's meat is another man's poison, and this will appeal to some. If you enjoy pulp fiction Sword & Sorcery paperbacks, this might well be right up your street. It isn't up mine, however  :-(

The final verdict has to go to Marshall Fine at hollywoodandfine who said: “[this] is genre garbage, served up with a straight face as though it means something. But all it means is that P.T. Barnum… remains inarguably correct in [his] assessment of the public's gullibility and appetite.” If you've seen it and disagree, please feel free to add your own review/comments.

Rating 3/10
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 01:57:19 PM by Devious Viper »

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Re: Movie review: Season Of The Witch (2011)
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 05:25:52 AM »
This movie was actually taken in my country, on lands of last noted vampire Jure Grando, Istria :-D

I gotta watch this one, witches and crusaders.... something so dear in that  :-D
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 05:28:52 AM by Nina »