Alan Dee’s guide to new film releases: The Woman In Black, The Muppets, The Vow

editorial image

SO, Daniel Radcliffe, you’ve got millions in the bank thanks to that lengthy stint as H. Potter, boy sorcerer of this parish, but you yearn to be taken seriously as an actor.

You’ve paid you dues on the stage, and now you want to start putting Hogwarts behind you.

But maybe starring in The Woman In Black, a period ghost story which features elegant costumes and the supernatural isn’t a huge leap.

Our fresh-faced hero is a young lawyer who has to head north to a remote house where affairs need putting in order.

After a series of terrifying apparitions he uncovers the village’s dark and tragic history and finds out that children are dying under mysterious circumstances.

Top screenwriter Jane Goldman has adapted Susan Hill’s timeless ghost story – also a long-running West End hit – and Eden Lake director James Watkins calls the shots. It wants to be creepy, but the memory of Harry does get in the way a bit.

> There are dependable laughs to be had in The Muppets, in which the TV puppet back return for their first big screen outing in a dozen years.

Kermit’s living in a mansion, Fozzie is scratching out a living as leader of a tribute troupe and Miss Piggy is working for Vogue in Paris.

But when evil oil tycoon Chris Cooper plans to demolish their old theatre, the gang gets back together for a telethon.

It’s reassuring that in these days of super-realistic computer animation and 3D effects a cast which relies on blokes sticking their arms up fun-fur creatures can still tickle the funnybone. A new generation of fans is about to be charmed by, and chuckle at, Jim Henson’s creations.

> Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so we obviously need a love story.

The Vow finds Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams as a lovely dovey couple whose lives are turned upside down by a car crash. She loses her memory and can’t remember him at all – she thinls she’s still engaged to her ex. Eeek!

That means Channing has to patiently make her fall in love with him again.

Inspired by a true story, apparently, and shameless reaching out to tweak your tear ducts.

> So what’s so big about Big Miracle? It’s another true story, this time in Free Willy territory.

At the back end of nowwhere in Alaska a family of grey whales find themselves surrounded by rapidly forming ice.

Tree-hugging Drew Barrymore springs into action, but the rescue plan needs the help of those pesky Russkie just across the Bering Strait and the US government doesn’t want to play ball.

The feelgood tale aims to show just what can be achieved when people set aside their differences – it’s just a good job they didn’t ask the Japanese to join in as well, or else the air could have been thick with harpoons.