In 2006, Mexican-born filmmaker Guillermo del Toro presented a nearly perfect blend of fantasy horror and political history. Titled "Pan's Labyrinth," it included many of del Toro's previous themes — fantastic creatures and other-worldly scenarios — along with a terrifying storyline set during Spain's Civil War.
Before and since, del Toro has been content to keep politics out of his films. And that practice likely will continue with this week's opening, "Crimson Peak," which my brother describes as a cross between Edgar Allan Poe and Charlotte Bronte.
Friday's openings are as follows:
"Crimson Peak" (IMAX): A young woman (Mia Wasikowska) marries a mysterious man (Tom Hiddleston) and finds herself living in a creepy mansion that harbors murderous secrets. That's what happens when you marry Loki.
"Goosebumps" (3D and standard): Jack Black stars as writer R.L. Stine who must team up with children to save the day when his character come alive and threaten their town. Think "School of Rock" without the music.
"Bridge of Spies": Steven Spielberg's latest features Tom Hanks playing a lawyer in this "inspired-by-real-life" drama involving a Cold War spy swap. And everyone comes in from the cold.
"Woodlawn": From IMDB: "A gifted high school football player must learn to embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field." Another "based-on-a-true-story" feature, this one dating back to 1973 and set in newly segregated Woodlawn, Ala.
And at the Magic Lantern:
"Pawn Sacrifice": Still another story taken from real life, the 1972 showdown between American chess master Bobby Fischer and Russian champion Boris Spassky.
"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution": Documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson explores the rise, fall and legacy of the African-American activist group Black Panthers.
That's it. You know the drill by now. Go. See a movie. And enjoy.