What Oscar Nominees Do to Pass the Time: ‘Seventh Son’ Stars Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Kit Harington

February 6, 2015

Every year, in between the big heave known as the fall awards season and that folly we call the Academy Awards, the major movie companies turn into a cinematic slag heap of the bad, the risible and the inexplicable. Even on paper, the latest February throwaway, “Seventh Son,” sounds like a bad idea, even if it does feature the wasted talent of the veteran production designer Dante Ferretti and was directed by Sergei Bodrov, who has a few fine credits to his name. As it turns out, there are those, including this reviewer, who can be seduced into seeing just about anything if it comes with name actors like Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, a herd of digital dragons and the cute guy who plays that incurably know-nothing Jon Snow in the HBO show “Game of Thrones.”

For the uninitiated, that guy is Kit Harington, who pops up early working the same moist earnestness and manicured scruff that he deploys so fetchingly in “Thrones.” Smartly, he also leaves quickly, having probably intuited that there’s not much room onscreen for anyone else when Mr. Bridges has decided to go big with one of his paycheck performances. And big and then bigger Mr. Bridges goes, shouting and mugging and all but winking at the camera. Given the nonsensical story — he plays Master Gregory, a professional witch-catcher known, in the movie’s lingo, as a spook — you can hardly blame him. If nothing else, it’s amusing to imagine what he and Ms. Moore chatted about between takes and how each managed to keep from cracking up, more or less.

Screenshot 2015-02-06 10.56.21

Crerectort Kimberly French/ Universal Pictures

 

Ms. Moore plays her role fairly straight, a vaguely interesting choice considering that her character is a glamorous witch, Mother Malkin, who coos about the blood moon and fumes about the evil that men do, all while dolled up like a Victorian dominatrix. She spends most of her time either scheming in her fabulous mountaintop lair (very Yves Saint Laurent Moroccan) or mowing down the local Renaissance fair, sometimes in the company of her army of baddies, many of whom, in a curious old-school twist, are played by black and Asian performers. Gregory, meanwhile, chases after her, now in the company of Tom (Ben Barnes), a new lackey and the titular seventh son. He’s a bore, as is the Juliet type, Alice (Alicia Vikander), who pops by now and again to lock lips with him.

“Seventh Son” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). There be dragons.

June Noel

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