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Quite the Peculiar and Fun Film
Though it suffers from a long and difficult to pronounce title, it should not be overlooked. 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' stars Asa Butterfield (Ender's Game/Hugo) as Jake, a young man who gets caught up in a peculiar world of misfits. Now, it should be stated that this movie is certainly not for everyone. Those who don't like the 'peculiar', sometimes creepy, style of Tim Burton's films should probably steer clear of this one. Also, it should be noted that there are some very disturbing scenes that might frighten children, so parents should take their kids to this movie with caution. But, the terrifying aspects of this film are what keep it engaging and interesting throughout. From the start, the viewers are introduced to some unsavory characters and those characters continue to be solid antagonists throughout the movie. Samuel L. Jackson does a fantastic job in a villain role that he seemed to enjoy a little too much. Whenever he is on screen, one can't help but be reminded of the traumatizing Bilbo Baggins scene from The Fellowship of the Ring (you know what I'm talking about). And if the demonic face of this character isn't enough to send chills down your spine, then just look to the faceless, eyeball slurping creatures known as 'hollows' for some real nightmares. If Tim Burton knows how to do anything, it's how to make people's nightmares come to life. To fight against such antagonists, Jake must team up with a group of children, each with their own unique abilities. One of the film's greatest strengths is it's many unique characters. It was fun to see the 'peculiarities' of each child and how they use their abilities to serve the greater purpose. The powers include, but are not limited to, fire, air, extreme strength, puppetry, biting, and bees. That's right. Bees. Yet, this is a curse and a blessing as it's hard to juggle such an extensive cast. But, Tim Burton did a fine job of giving a fair amount of screen-time to the group as a whole rather than focusing on Jake the entire time. One of the other lead characters is Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell), a girl who has a hard time staying grounded (litereally). She had one of the stronger performances in the film and never once did anything to annoy me. Eva Green who portrays the head of the household, Miss Peregrine, also is fun to watch as she speeds through intricate dialogue without stumbling and always seems to be on top of her character. It was refreshing to see famous actors and actresses playing whimsical roles without 'phoning in' their performances. I felt like most of the cast committed to the roles and put their own spin on the characters. The film boasts strong visuals, a lot of great cast members, and a fairly engaging story, but it is not without faults. Not all of the actors in this film gave it their best. Asa Butterfield, for example, was probably not the best choice of actor for the lead role in this movie as he stumbles around with painfully forced dialogue and shows the emotional range of Kristen Stewart. (I personally think it works for her, but it certainly did not work for Asa in this movie). Another aspect that the movie fails to excel on is its pacing and plot development; it jumps around to much and feels like you're watching a movie from the mind of a child hopped up on sugar. This is awfully noticeable towards the end as all reason and logic are thrown out of the window. The biggest flaw is that it feels like the director didn't know how to resolve the plot, so he just through together a torrent of two second scenes to try to tie everything up. These are very blatant and take away from some of the enjoyment of this film, but they don't completely destroy it. 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' is imaginative, beautiful, and enjoyable despite it's flaws and is definitely worth going to see at least at matinée prices.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
A True Superhero Movie
This movie is not without flaws. So, why did I give it a perfect score? Because no movie is without flaws and this one surpassed my expectations and took me on a journey that I had never been on before. Now, this movie is not to be watched as a standalone film. If you are thinking about watching this movie, watch First Class and Days of Future Past back to back. The reason for this is because Apocalypse has so much emotion packed into it that it would be lost if you haven't recently watched the previous two. That being said, this movie was incredibly balanced on the emotional scale. I found myself feeling anger, sadness, happiness, and suspense at different, perfectly timed points throughout the film. There was never a dull moment or a scene I could cut out. Everything just worked. That being said, there were a couple of minor flaws, all of which can be overlooked by the full scale of the movie. I also must applaud director Bryan Singer, as he managed to take over 10 super-powered mutants, put them all in one movie, and give them all equal standing throughout the film. I didn't see too much of one character or too little of another (though I would've liked to see more of all of them). Every character had their strengths and weaknesses that fit together with their own individual stories. And my biggest praise for this film is that it did something that no other superhero movie has really done for me: every character pushed the limits of their powers. It wasn't like the Avengers where every time they throw their hammer or punch a bad guy they don't even show a sign of struggle. I could feel the characters giving it their all as they fought off a truly formidable foe. Everything in this movie worked: the humor, the action, the story; all of it. I could nitpick here and there, but I won't, because it seems like the rest of the critics have done enough of that already. If you go into this movie with the last two under your belt and an open mind, you will come out feeling like you can take on the world.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War is Slightly Better Than a Real Civil War
For a movie that got such outstanding reviews from most critics, it was quite the disappointment. This is not to say that it was a terrible film. I did enjoy the movie, but I enjoy plenty of movies. Going into this, I expected to watch a Marvel movie with epic action sequences, lots of humor, and a big finale. The action sequences were OK, the humor was misplaced, and there was no finale whatsoever. The airport scene that was raved about was certainly the most enjoyable part of the film, but the tone was unidentifiable. There were jokes, missiles, webs, and threats all being launched at the same time. I will say that there were some fantastically choreographed action scenes, but there were not enough to keep this movie engaging over a 2 hr and 27 min running time. The most disappointing part about this movie was the ending. SPOILERS FOLLOW. In the last act of the film, Cap, Tony, and Bucky team up to stop a mastermind villain. Though, in the end the villain did practically nothing. He literally just pressed play on a video to pit Tony against Bucky. Then he went up on a mountain to shoot himself while the dynamic threesome had a little grudge match. So, that pretty much sums up the film. It was disjointed, bloated, and anti-climactic. Not a great combo. At least there was decent acting, a few funny jokes, and some good fights, but that in no way constitutes a ten start film.
The Shannara Chronicles: Reaper (2016)
This show has gotten a lot of negative comments so far, and I would just like to say that it deserves far better praise than what it has received. It is not completely without flaws, but such a television show does not exist. There are multiple reasons why this show excels above and beyond standard TV expectations, but the main purpose of this review is to point out how incredible Episode 5 was. "Reaper" is by far the most satisfyingly sinister episode yet, which is saying a lot in regards to its predecessor. It showcases all of the characters exactly how they should be and does a fantastic job of setting the tone for the future of the series. If you haven't jumped on this show yet, don't wait another day. This episode proved that The Shannara Chronicles was a force to be reckoned with in the land of television, and what happens in it is satisfyingly painful.