From Time to Time (2010)
Premiered at last year's London Film Festival, but wide released this fall, "From Time to Time" follows Tolly, who while staying at his grandmother's house, is magically transported back in time to appear as a ghost to solve his family’s dramatic and mysterious past. Although this film is labeled as "a haunting ghost story", in fact there's nothing haunting or spooky about it, as it's just too juvenile and too shallow to be called a proper ghost story. It's more pre-teen-oriented, as it uses silly time-travel gimmicks and completely lacks scares and thrills. The story is moderately intriguing, but the film itself suffers from a mediocre execution. In terms of visuals, "From Time to Time" is very atmospheric, as it has a very authentic production design and nice cinematography. Unexplainably, the scenes from the past and the flashbacks are presented in very bright and vivid colors, while for present-day scenes, the cinematographer uses a pallete of bleached pale tones, in order to distinct the two vastly different eras. The cast includes many well-known British actors, who all give terrific performances. Alex Etel, mostly known for his role as Damian in Danny Boyle's "Millions" gives an adequate performance as the main protagonist, Tolly, who grieves for his missing father, and tries to solve the mystery behind his family's past. He's absolutely adorable, yet kinda bland and a bit stiff in front of the camera, and if I have to be honest, he was way more natural and a much better actor when he was younger. Maggie Smith is undoubtedly one the most talented and likable English actresses of all time, and she can do no wrong. She delivers yet another excellent performance as Tolly's "granny", Linnet. However, it's Carice van Houten's performance that outshines everyone else's. She's Dutch, but her English speaking skills are so incredible, you'd never guess she's a foreigner. Carice lightens up the screen in every scene she appears, and while she's not as amazing as she was in Paul Verhoeven's "Black Book", she does a fantastic job. Dominic West plays a hardly likable character, yet he's still very good at what he does. All the supporting actors give great performances as well. While "From Time to Time" has a great cast and some nice visuals, its childish nature makes it too predictable and unexciting experience, that would hardly be entertaining for an older audience.