Home Away From Home

This latest book adaption is great fun and a classic Tim Burton piece. I had wanted to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children  by Ransom Riggs since I hear of it. I read the first two chapters and then promptly lost it; I was so sad! So I am unable to tell you how close it is to the book. But that’s fine because I love this whimsical film in its own right.

After Jake’s grandfather dies, he discovers clues to a mystery that spans space and time. Following an address from a post card sent to his grandfather, Jake finds Miss Peregrine and her Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, he also learns about the dark side of being peculiar. His friends are trapped in a time loop to keep them safe from the Hallows, a malicious enemy who kills peculiars for everlasting humanity. Jake is the key to their survival but can he make the sacrifices required of him?1280_miss_peregrines_home_for_peculiar_children_eva_green

The story follows the children with the titular Peregrine taking a back seat to their story. This is a coming of age tale about a group of children who never age. Asa Butterfield manages to make Jake a real person (so much more than he ever did for Ender but that’s another thing entirely). Ella Purnell with gorgeous Targaryen hair leads the group with love and respect as best an older sister good. But this doesn’t mean the adults don’t make their mark. Eva Green, Samuel Jackson, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench, Allison Janey and Terence Stamp all add to the world with character with characters as varied and unusual as the children. In fact, I have decided that Jackson does his best work as a villain.

The film is classic Burton. Dark but funny. Serious but sweet. HIs as his signature style wraps around the peculiar children and their world. His visual palate is perfect partner for the world based on trick and creepy photography. The films deliver exactly what I had imagined from reading the two chapters of the book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is classic Burton and deserves a spot in your DVD collection. It’s a fantastical story that will be fun to relive over and over.

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Summer Movie Swing Part 1

Now You See Me 2

The trailer wasn’t strong for this second installment causing the movie to seem more spectacle than heist, but the film itself it’s actually a pretty good follow-up to its predecessor.

10NOWYOUSEE-master768A year after the original heist, The Horsemen are stalling for time, waiting for the right time to reappear after their original heist (sans one member who they just write off). Atlas is anxious to get back into the world even going behind Dylan’s back to talk to The Eye on his own. He is ecstatic when he receives a new mission: take down Owen Case and his all-seeing technology. But all does not go along their well thought out plan so they must out to trick the men who first tricked them.

The trailer captured some the biggest showy moments but the movie is more than just spectacle. There is character growth as each character shows them to be human and not just show men. The plot delves into the back story of Dylan, the almost mythical character that helps the team in the first film. The audience learns why magic is so important to him and his involvement with The Eye

The humor adds a great layer keeping things from becoming melodramatic. These moments are some of the best as tension is relieved through this humor for a great balance in mood. It’s a fun movie and worth the ticket price.

The Conjuring 2

Movies like The Conjuring intrigue me. I like things that are based on actual events but they often disappoint because the movies embellish. I have found that real life if often more scary than the clichés used in horror films. While the first movie was enjoyable, the second movie tries to up the ante but really just makes a spectacle of it.

In England, a girl is possessed by a ghost of a man that died at their home. Levitationhttps-%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fstory%2Fthumbnail%2F12071%2FThe-Conjuring-2, teleportation and telekinetic events terrorize the poor family. The Warrens are called in to investigate before the church will perform an exorcism. But Lorraine brings personal baggage into the case keeping answers veiled.

The Conjuring isn’t scary unless you are awake at two in the clock in the morning and are envisioning the nun’s face next to yours. The movie depends on clichés of scary faces, creepy voices, and standard horror fare. While it is not gory (a plus), there isn’t much to distinguish this movie from the many that have come before it. While the first one kept afloat by great casting, this installment does not; it feels like a B movie peddled by Hollywood.

The one thing I did enjoy was the way the writers spun the Amityville Horror and the Enfield Poltergeist. T used hey used Lorraine to explain the portion of the cases that were documented hoaxes .The movie uses Lorraine’s personal issues with a spirit to explain why she feels the spirit is at both places. This allows the Warrens to have some credibility after backing the mockery that was Amityville. (While I know Amityville was faked as a publicity stunt, there is still a picture that was taken in that house that haunts me. I’m sure there are emotions from the family murder that hang in the air at that house.) But otherwise this movie is a dud.

X-Men Apocalypse

The third in the story of the younger X-men turns out to be a lot better than was anticipated. Overshadowing and making fun of X-Men 3, this story follows ten years after the events portrayed in Days of Future Past. Mystique is now a hero, Magneto has a family and Xavier’s school is full of students. But when the First Mutant is revived, the world changes for all whether on the side of good or evil.

x-men-apocalypseThe movie does have some problems. The love story of Scott and Jean is shoved down our throats from the beginning. Its makes the love story artificial and staged. The movie also depends too much on the two starlets who producers consider hot right now. Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress but her character has evolved from the comics to make her a central character only because Lawrence won an Oscar and draws in crowds. The tale of her and Erick is repeated over and over, and it’s boring. The addition of Sophie Turner does nothing for the movie. High off her role as an annoying (but now fan loved) Sansa Stark, she is cast as Jean Grey but brings nothing to the characters and gives the same stilted performance she gives in Game of Thrones. The movie finally remembers that it the relationship between Erik and Xavier that truly propel these line of stories and that’s where the best acting and most interesting arcs lie.

But there are a lot of things the film gets right including the relationship between Xavier and Moira, and Erik’s desire to be a normal person. The two best scenes feature appearance by some of the best characters of the X-Men world. Wolverine makes a cameo and the writers did well explaining his intense love for Jean. The second features Quicksilver and the Eurhythmics. Sweet dreams ARE made of this.

Fun, exciting and often meta, Apocalypse is one of the better of the X-Men movies. Not as good as the first film or First Class, it never the less stands on its own.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Tim Burton does not return for this installment but his vision of the world is alive and well. The writing, on the other hand, needs a coffin.

Through the Looking Glass creates its own story instead of taking from the source material. The Mad Hatter is dying and the only way to save him is to find his family; heAlice_Through_Looking_Glass_tea_240516_620_347_100 believes they did not die like he had originally believed. So Alice, fresh off a sea voyage and looking at disaster in her personal life, descends deep into imagination and time to save him. She must steal the Chrono Sphere from Time to find out what really happened to the Hatter’s family.

My first thought was this was supposed to be a movie about Hatter and would let Johnny Depp shine. But The Hatter is not Jack Sparrow, and his entire performance is subpar. As the movie unfolds it seems to be more about the Queens than about Hatter and his family drama. While it was interesting to see how the Queen of Hearts got such big head, the story drags.

The best sequences are those featuring Time. Sacha Baren Cohen is hilarious and great at character acting and he outshines Depp like a supernova. A semi-villain, Time is given only moderate screen time and not enough chances to break up the monotony of the film.

The only other thing that stands out is the Alan Rickman; but don’t get too excited. His butter fly gets two lines at the beginning of the movie. It’s rather sad that this was all there was. I still have not completely mourned for this great and Alice did nothing to help me.

My Halloween Favorites

It’s Halloween again! If you’re like me, a movie marathon is in order. So grab some popcorn, candy, and soda and check out my list below.

Rockula

This little known comedy is the king of camp. Rockula is a satire about a vampire who is forced to live his life over and over again always loosing the woman he loves. This generation he vows not to loose her and creates a band to woe her. This ‘80s film features vampires who always have fangs and musical numbers culminating in a performance by Toni Basil. Hilarious and not your average vampire movie, this movie has me quoting it all year. So watch out I will threatening you with a ham bone soon. Available on Netflix Instant Streaming.

 

 

Nightmare Before Christmas

This movie plays in my house from the beginning of October all the way to New Years. This stop motion classic of holiday mixing gone awry is the thing my father and most bond over. I still remember going too see it with him after the Iron Bowl, and it still holds a dear place in our hearts. As a child I often wondered what it would be like if my two favorite holidays were switched, and then magically it come out of Tim Burrton’s mind. With a wonderful story, unique characters and fabulous musical numbers by Danny Elfman, this movie that Disney originally didn’t wanted to be associated with is now one of its staples.

 

Hocus Pocus

 

I didn’t like horror movies as a child; they were something I had to grow into. But when I was young I loved this movie, and it became a gateway to scary movies. Packed with zombies and witches, this hilarious kid-aimed movie delighted parents as well. In fact we saw this movie many times at the dollar theater. As an adult, I still quote the movie (“Amok? Amok, amok, amok, umph!”) and look back on it with sweet nostalgia.

 

 

The Omen

This movie frightened me the first time I saw it, and it still scares me to this day. This familial tale of the devil’s spawn is more compelling than Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen packs more of an emotional punch because you actually see the child. Tackling other radical sociological ideas of the time (motherly apathy towards her child, the affects of a father who is rarely home), The Omen goes beyond physical scares to psychologically creep up on you. When Thorn goes to kill his own child, it’s one of the most heart breaking scenes you’ll ever see. But the creepiest part? Evil wins.

 

Dracula 2000

This is personally my favorite retelling of the Dracula story. Taking few plot points from the original story, it really goes in its own direction and becomes a fascinating story all its own. The explanation of where Dracula came from is a brilliant piece of story telling. The movie finds a good balance between gore, story, and casting. Introducing me both to Jonny Lee Miller and Gerard Butler, this film helped the career of many of the up-and-coming actors. This updated spin on an old classic is always on my favorites list.

 

 

Psycho

This is the best horror movie ever. Forget the Exorcist; this psychological thriller proves that you can scare the pants off of someone without nudity, cussing, or gore. We all know the tale. Woman steals money and runs away. The cute but awkward motel keeper’s mother kills her in the shower. Her sister comes to look for her, and it turns out it’s been the innkeeper all along. Zone of Hitchcock’s best, the score, directing and sets give the perfect atmosphere for this Bates tale. The genesis for all multiple personality or schizophrenic killer tales, Psycho and Anthony Perkins’s creepy smile stays with you forever.