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A disappointing failure for Tim
Tim Burton changed SO MUCH of the original story and left out even more that outside of the characters involved the film version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is hardly recognizable with the book, and even the personalities and the abilities of the characters have been changed! I can't even begin to list all of the changes that have been made (and none of them for the better). The fight scenes that Tim invented are absolutely comical and the acting of Asa Butterfield, who plays the lead character Jacob, is so bad it brings back memories of Channing Tatum at his worst. I love the works of Tim Burton and wanted to come out of this film saying that it's the best film that I've seen so far in 2016 but instead I have to call it an utterly disappointing failure. Even Johnny Depp could not have saved this mess of a film.
American Ultra (2015)
A fun film!
If you like to watch movies that give you an opportunity to think I would recommend The Imitation Game and Ex-Machina; if you go to the movies strictly to be entertained might I suggest American Ultra. This is a highly entertaining film with plenty of action (albeit most of it is very violent) and a fair amount of humor. Topher Grace and Jesse Eisenberg are both fun to watch throughout the story and even Kristen Stewart gives a decent performance. I have to add that this is only the second film that I have ever seen her in that her acting was not well below par, the other being The Runaways when she did an admirable job of playing Joan Jett. Bottom line: it's not the best film that you will see in 2015 but it is fun!
I'm not as impressed with Brooklyn as I had hoped to be. Despite the talented actors involved, the fact that the title of the film removes any doubt as to the outcome and the less than exceptional writing and directing leaves me indifferent. There is little to no character development for anyone involved in the story other than the lead and it seems as if the vast majority of the film is purely background and lead up to a conflict which is over almost before it began.
Brooklyn is okay to watch on a lazy day when one has nothing else to do but there are several better options available at the theatre at this time.
A story worthy of the original three films
Finally, a film in the Star Wars saga that lives up to the standard set by the original three! Star Wars: The Force Awakens is basically a retelling of Episode IV. The story lines, the characters and their development, even specific scenes and moments parallel it throughout.
The opening scene, in which Poe Dameron places information that is vital to the success of the rebels into BB-8 before he is captured by Kylo Ren, mirrors the same opening scene in Star Wars with Princess Leia, R2-D2 and Darth Vader. The similarities continue with Rey, an adolescent unaware of the Force within her and abandoned on a desert planet until a chance meeting with BB-8 sparks her destiny. Sound like anyone we know in Star Wars? Finn, a character with a dubious background, only gets involved in helping the rebel cause for self-centered reasons to start with but grows more altruistic and closer to the cause as the story continues, much like Han Solo in the original tale. Even Han Solo, a character that we are already familiar with, takes on the Obi-Wan Kenobi role in many ways in the new film. I could go on and on but you get the point.
New director J.J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan have re-packaged Episode IV and sold it as Episode VII but they've done it in a way that doesn't leave us feeling cheated, even those of us who were there when the whole Star Wars phenomenon started. The franchise is back on track and is true to the sense and style of the original three films. Can't wait for the next film in 2017!
Final note: I just want to say that before seeing this film I correctly predicted that Kylo Ren would be the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Feeling pretty proud of myself for getting that right. With that in mind I would just like to go on record with a few more predictions for the upcoming episodes.
In Episode VII Luke Skywalker will take on the role that Yoda played in The Empire Strikes Back. Rey will be revealed to be Luke Skywalker's daughter. I still have no idea who the mother is, possibly a character that we have yet to be introduced to. Rey and Poe will turn out to be sister and brother. Not totally confident in this prediction but I have a feeling. At some point Finn will end up as captain of the Millennium Falcon. In Episode IX Luke Skywalker dies.