HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

CAST

Eva Green (Sin City 2)
Asa Butterfield (Hugo)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent)
Terence Stamp (Big Eyes)
Ella Purnell (Kick-Ass 2)
Finlay MacMillan (Waterloo Road)
Lauren McCrostie (The Falling)
Kim Dickens (Hollow Man)

For years Abe Portman (Terence Stamp) tells stories to his Floridian grandson Jake (Asa Butterfield) about his childhood battling monsters and spending World War II living at “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” at Cairnholm, Wales. The home’s children and their headmistress, Miss Alma Peregrine (Eva Green), possess paranormal abilities and are known as “Peculiars”. After 16-year-old Jake receives a phone call from his grandfather, he goes to his house with his drugstore supervisor Shelly (O-Lan Jones) and finds his grandfather with his eyes missing. Abe tells Jake to go to “the Cairnholm loop of September 3, 1943”, and that the “bird” will tell him everything. Abe then dies mysteriously. As Shelly joins Jake with her gun, he sees one of the monsters from Abe’s stories appear behind her. But when he tells her to shoot behind, the monster disappears.
Convinced by his psychiatrist, Dr. Golan (Allison Janney) and by a letter from Miss Peregrine to Abe that he finds in one of his birthday presents from Abe, Jake and his father Frank (Chris O’Dowd) travel to Cairnholm, where Jake finds that the children’s home was destroyed during a Luftwaffe raid on “September 3, 1943”. At the house, Jake is startled when some of the Peculiar children, surprisingly, come out to greet him. They are sent by Miss Peregrine after she (in “bird” form) saw Jake and Frank arrive on the island. They take him through a cave and he finds himself in 1943, when their house was still intact. Miss Peregrine greets him and explains that she belongs to a class of female Peculiars named “Ymbrynes”, who can transform into birds (in Miss Peregrine’s case, a peregrine falcon) and manipulate time. To avoid persecution for being Peculiars, she and her children hide from the outside world in a time loop she created, set to September 3, 1943, meaning that they all live the same day over and over again and in the meantime, avoid aging. Time loops can only be entered by Peculiars.
Jake is introduced to the rest of the children, including aerokinetic Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell), to whom he is attracted (like she was to his grandfather before). He also learns about “Hollowgasts” (or “Hollows”) – the monsters from Abe’s stories that are invisible to everyone. However, Jake learns he himself is a Peculiar; like his grandfather, he has the ability to see the Hollows. Hollows are Peculiars who were transformed by a failed experiment that used an Ymbryne’s powers to became immortals, killing the Ymbryne in the process. Led by shapeshifter Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson), they hunt Peculiars to consume their eyeballs. When enough eyes are consumed, the Hollows transform into milky-white eyed visible Peculiars known as “Wights”.
A wounded Ymbryne avocet named Miss Avocet (Judi Dench), comes and reveals (also in another letter from Abe to Miss Peregrine) that Barron raided her January 2016 time loop at Blackpool, England, killed her children, and is trying to repeat his failed experiment by using more Ymbrynes. Worried, Miss Peregrine decides to move out with her children and Miss Avocet. While back in 2016, Jake realizes earlier that a Hollow might be nearby and goes back to the cave to warn his friends. He is followed by another visitor on the island, ornithologist John Lamont (Rupert Everett) who is revealed to be Mr. Barron. Barron had tried to find out about Miss Peregrine’s loop from Abe, but his Hollow companion, Mr. Malthus (whose past self is in the island) killed Abe before he could. Barron then posed as Dr. Golan, encouraging him to go to the island so Jake could guide him to the loop. Using Jake as a hostage at the children’s home, Barron forces Miss Peregrine to come with him to Blackpool in her bird form and leave Jake, her children, and Miss Avocet for their own safety.
Malthus arrives and kills Miss Avocet, but Jake and the children escape just as the Luftwaffe raid destroys the house and kills Malthus. Without Miss Peregrine to reset it, the loop closes, leaving them permanently in 1943. They travel on a sunken ocean liner to the Blackpool loop and use their abilities to fight Barron’s Hollow and Wight minions and rescue Miss Peregrine and other captive Ymbrynes. As a last resort, Barron poses as Jake to confuse the children. When the last Hollow arrives, Jake, who can see the monster, is able to avoid him. The Hollow kills Barron and Jake kills the Hollow.
Jake says goodbye to the children and returns to the present world in Florida, relating his adventures to Abe, who is alive and well: Malthus’ death in 1943 erased himself and his murder of Abe from the future (2016). Abe gives Jake a map of time loops, allowing Jake (for months in his own time) to reunite with his friends and Emma. The two kiss as Miss Peregrine (in her peregrine form) follows them and all of her children in their own ship, looking for another time loop.Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a delightful original adventure directed by Tim Burton. The fantasy iis highly entertaining with lovely characters.

REVIEW: CYBERBULLY

CAST

Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)
Ella Purnell (Kick-Ass 2)
Haruka Abe (About Time)

The film takes place entirely in the bedroom of Casey Jacobs and happens in real time. One evening, Casey is Skyping with her best friend, Megan, when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Nathan, has posted a cruel comment on Twitter about Casey’s use of anti-depressants. Megan confides in their friend, Alex, and suggests that he hack Nathan’s account as revenge, but he declines. After Casey and Megan end their chat, Casey suddenly receives an instant message, ostensibly from Alex, who provides her with a hacked link to Nathan’s Twitter account, and, overjoyed, Casey posts an embarrassing tweet about his erectile dysfunction. However, after she deduces that the type of language the messenger is using is not the sort the real Alex would use, she realises that the messenger is an anonymous hacker. The hacker describes themselves as a “fan”, and shows Casey a series of videos of her previous activity across the internet, most of it under her online pseudonym “Chronic Youth”, before pointing out that Megan hasn’t included a photo of Casey on her Instagram account for a long time. Finally they reveal that they are a vigilante who helps “victims of cyberbullying”.Suddenly frightened, Casey excuses herself from the chat, but after seemingly complying, the hacker activates a screamer on her computer, catching her off guard, and menacingly orders her to take a seat, takes control of the webcam, and starts to communicate to Casey in a computer-generated voice. They then reveal a series of nude photographs that Casey took of herself, and threatens to post them online if either she leaves the room, her father (who repeatedly calls up to her and knocks on her door) enters, or she answers any phone calls, effectively leaving her trapped and isolated. To Casey’s horror, the hacker then uploads a video that she and Megan filmed revealing the homosexuality of their friend, Tamara, on Casey’s Twitter account, effectively outing her, and provoking a series of angry texts from Tamara. When Casey demands to know how the hacker’s actions are helping her, the hacker scoffs and reveals that it is Casey who is the cyber bully.The hacker then shows Casey all of her previous activity under the screen name “Chronic Youth” again, and explains to her how her actions constitute cyber-bullying, while also revealing that they had posted the cruel comment about her from Nathan’s account in order to bait her. She attempts to justify herself by saying that her actions are completely normal for a teenager, but the hacker dismisses these as mere excuses, and that they do not make it okay. Through a series of videos and screen-grabs, they tell Casey the story of Jennifer Li, a singer whose Vine had suffered a deluge of abuse and trolling as a result of a single, cruel comment that Casey had made about her singing. Jennifer eventually posted a video in which she told the story of her abuse with flash cards, and, shortly afterwards, committed suicide. Believing that the hacker is Jennifer’s father or mother, Casey tearfully expresses remorse for what has happened, but the hacker denies being in any way related to Jennifer, and instead demands that Casey meets their demands, to admit to being a cyber bully, confess to her role in Jennifer’s death, and to apologise. She does so, but the hacker believes she is being insincere, and announces that they will upload Casey’s nude photos regardless, as well as some nude photographs of Megan’s, and that she will have to choose either death by overdosing on her anti-depressants or living with the shame that would inevitably follow the exposure of her photos, and the loss of her best friend.Defeated, Casey prepares to take her overdose when she notices that the hacker expresses amusement by typing “har har har”, and realises that the writing style matches that of another of Jennifer Li’s more aggressive trolls, “Steerpike_84”, and that they have goaded several others into committing suicide. At that moment, Casey’s father turns up at her door with a message from Megan, who has deduced that Casey’s recent activity is not really her. Casey vomits up the pills she has already taken, and when the hacker tries to threaten to post her photos again, they make several typos, revealing that they are beginning to falter. Casey tells the hacker to go ahead and post the photos if they wish because they can do nothing to control the actions or emotions of her family, her friends or her real life, before heading to the door to call Megan back. Defeated, the hacker pleads with her to stay, offering to reveal their true identity. Casey simply returns to the computer, looks right into the webcam and tells the hacker that their identity doesn’t matter to her, because when she stops talking to them, they become nothing. She closes the computer, cutting the hacker off. Overwhelmed by the hour-long ordeal she has just been through, Casey opens her door, collapses in the doorway, and tearfully calls to her father, who rushes to her.Maisie’s portrayal in the movie is extraordinary. This movie is a great, a great look at the dangers of bullying via the net.