Tag Archives: Richard Armitage

Winter Wonderland

The Lodge

by Hope Madden

It’s Christmas, and regardless of a profound, almost insurmountable family tragedy, one irredeemably oblivious father (Richard Armitage) decides his kids (Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh) should get to know the woman (Riley Keough) he left their mother for. A week in an isolated mountain cabin during a blizzard should do it.

Dad stays just long enough to make things really uncomfortable, then heads back to town for a few days to work. Surely everybody will be caroling and toasting marshmallows by the time he returns.

Though everything about The Lodge brings to mind A24 horror—for a number of reasons, Hereditary in particular—the film is actually a Hammer effort. No longer the corset-and-bloodletting studio, Hammer’s millennial output has been sparse but often quite good.

Choosing to back filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz making their follow up to the supremely creepy Goodnight Mommy should be a solid risk to take. Here the pair does not shy away from the body of “white death” horror that came before The Lodge, with eerie and sometimes humorous nods to The Thing and The Shining, among others, haunting the piece.

The film also brings to mind A24’s It Comes at Night, another quiet film that saw Riley Keough trapped in an isolated abode with unsettling family dynamics. Keough is riding an impressive run of performances and her work here is slippery and wonderful. As the unwanted new member in the family, she’s sympathetic but also brittle.

Jaeden Martell, a kid who has yet to deliver a less than impressive turn, is the human heartbeat at the center of the mystery in the cabin. His tenderness gives the film a quiet, pleading tragedy. Whether he’s comforting his grieving little sister or begging Grace (Keough) to come in from the snow, his performance aches and you ache with him.

A healthy ability to suspend disbelief will aid in the experience The Lodge has to offer, but there’s no denying the mounting dread the filmmakers create, and the three central performances are uniquely effective. Thanks to the actors’ commitment and the filmmakers’ skill in atmospheric horror, the movie grips you, makes you cold and uncomfortable, and ends with a memorable slap.

Bingeable: Robin Hood

Robin Hood (the 2006 BBC One Series)

Seasons: 3

Status: Ended

Watch it on: Hulu

Well first of all Richard Armitage is in this Robin Hood rendition as the baddie, which should be reason enough to suffer through three seasons. But despite having headlined the Hobbit Travesty Trilogy as Thorin Oakenshield, and recently played the douchebag arm candy of Ocean’s 8, he has not gained the recognition he deserves. So I’m here to tell you that I saw Richard Armitage play John Proctor in an incredible production of The Crucible at The Old Vic in London, summer 2014, and he was fucking incredible. So catch up.

But this isn’t about Richard Armitage (yes it is). This is about the wonderfully horrible Robin Hood of BBC One. The first episode features Robin Hood making out with a buxom babe (with incredibly modern blue eyeshadow up to her eyebrows) and then backflipping off of a barn for…some reason.

If you get through the first season, you have absolutely no excuse not to get through the next two. You won’t want to miss when the gang makes it to the Holy Land or when they lose the one female main character, so they replace her with a new, singular female character.

Featuring: Coked Out Thorin Oakenshield and The Pit of Snakes from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Watch it because: Every time Robin makes a good shot, they show the arrow shooting from five different angles JUST LIKE when two characters accidentally kiss in an anime.


Into the Storm

by Hope Madden

You have to kind of feel for a film about tornados that comes out right now. How could they have known when they began the years long trek toward a final product that SciFi Channel would launch a flick about a tropical storm that rains great whites on actors who stopped being famous in the Nineties? And even if they did know, who could have predicted its insane success? Or a sequel?

So, no, poor Into the Storm just marched along unaware, casting grade B heroic types, developing a mediocre script, and spending some cash on special effects. For what?

To bore us to tears, that’s what.

What is essentially a rehashing of 1998’s Twister with a little Jackass side plot, Into the Storm follows a two-van storm chasing team out to document the eye of a tornado – just film right up inside that bad boy, kind of a Dorothy’s eye view. With them, we chase some crazy cloud patterns to a wholesome small town where the high school graduation ceremony is about to take place – RIGHT IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST!

But wait? Where’s Donny, the assistant principal’s troubled son? He snuck off to film an environmental video with the girl of his dreams at that old abandoned warehouse – RIGHT IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST!

When there are this many tornadoes, there are lots of bellies.

Director Steven Quale’s storm scenes do look great. It’s just his relentless attempts to find a reason to put his characters in harm’s way that get a bit tedious.

He hasn’t exactly drawn on a cast that elevates the material. You’ve got that kid from iCarly (Nathan Kress), the dead (and not walking) wife from Walking Dead (Sarah Wayne Callies), and a full sized Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage, heroic as ever), none of whom particularly impresses.

Matt Walsh does, though, and not in a good way. Here’s a guy with a lifetime of excellent comedic character work under his belt, but a dramatic character arc – even a painfully obvious one – is still pretty far out of his reach.

But Into the Storm is not about weakly written characters or underperforming actors. It’s about living life for today. It’s about trusting your kids and appreciating what you have. It’s about the resilience of the human spirit. It’s about sharkin’!


You know what? At least Sharknado wasn’t boring.