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: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

CAST

Joseph Fiennes (Flashforward)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron man)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin)
Simon Callow (Amadeus)
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake)
Colin Firth (Love Actually)
Mark Williams (Harry Potter)
Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)
Jim Carter (Downtown Abbey)

In 1593 London, William Shakespeare is a sometime player in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and poor playwright for Philip Henslowe, owner of The Rose Theatre. Shakespeare is working on a new comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Suffering from writer’s block, he has barely begun the play, but starts auditioning players. Viola de Lesseps, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who has seen Shakespeare’s plays at court, disguises herself as “Thomas Kent” to audition, then runs away. Shakespeare pursues Kent to Viola’s house and leaves a note with the nurse, asking Thomas Kent to begin rehearsals at the Rose. He sneaks into the house with the minstrels playing that night at the ball, where her parents are arranging her betrothal to Lord Wessex, an impoverished aristocrat. While dancing with Viola, Shakespeare is struck speechless, and after being forcibly ejected by Wessex, uses Thomas Kent as a go-between to woo her. Wessex also asks Will’s name, to which he replies that he is Christopher Marlowe.When he discovers her true identity, they begin a secret affair. Inspired by her, Shakespeare writes quickly, with help from his friend and rival playwright Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, completely transforming the play into what will become Romeo and Juliet. Then, Viola is summoned to court to receive approval for her proposed marriage to Lord Wessex. Shakespeare accompanies her, disguised as her female cousin. There, he persuades Wessex to wager £50 that a play can capture the true nature of love, the exact amount Shakespeare requires to buy a share in the Chamberlain’s Men. Queen Elizabeth I declares that she will judge the matter when the occasion arises.

When Richard Burbage, owner of the Curtain, finds out that Shakespeare has cheated him out of both money and the play, he goes to the Rose Theatre with his Curtain Theatre Company and starts a brawl. The Rose Theatre company drives Burbage and his company out and then celebrate at the local pub.

Viola is appalled when she learns Shakespeare is married, albeit separated from his wife, and she realises she cannot escape her duty to marry Wessex. Will discovers that Marlowe is dead, and thinks he is to blame. Lord Wessex suspects an affair between Shakespeare and his bride-to-be. Because Wessex thinks that Will is Kit Marlowe, he approves of Kit’s death, and tells Viola the news. It is later learned that Marlowe had been killed in an accident. Viola finds out that Will is still alive, and declares her love for him.

When Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels, is informed there is a woman player at The Rose, he closes the theatre for breaking the ban on women. Viola’s identity is exposed, leaving them without a stage or lead actor, until Richard Burbage offers them his theatre. Shakespeare takes the role of Romeo, with a boy actor as Juliet. Following her wedding, Viola learns that the play will be performed that day, and runs away to the Curtain. Planning to watch with the crowd, Viola overhears that the boy playing Juliet cannot perform, and offers to replace him. While she plays Juliet to Shakespeare’s Romeo, the audience is enthralled, despite the tragic ending, until Master Tilney arrives to arrest everyone for indecency due to Viola’s presence.

But the Queen is in attendance and restrains Tilney, instead asserting that Kent’s resemblance to a woman is, indeed, remarkable. However, even a queen is powerless to end a lawful marriage, and she orders Kent to “fetch” Viola because she must sail with Wessex to the Colony of Virginia. The Queen also tells Wessex, who followed Viola to the theatre, that Romeo and Juliet has won the bet for Shakespeare, and has Kent deliver his £50 with instructions to write something “a little more cheerful next time, for Twelfth Night”.

Viola and Shakespeare say their goodbyes, and he vows to immortalise her, as he imagines the beginnings of Twelfth Night, imagining her as a castaway disguised as a man after a voyage to a strange land.

Stoppard certainly knows what he’s about: The plot is delightful and the references elegant, clever parodies if you spot them or inconspicuous parts of the plot if you don’t. And the references are on all levels: to Shakespeares plays, his unknown life and the many theories that have been made about it, and his writer and actor collegues Will’s muse is Violet, played wonderfully by Gwyneth Paltrow, who shows off in this film her finest acting to date and credibly pulls off the tricky task of being both an object of poetic inspiration and a genuine, down-to-earth human being.

REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK

91j0nJHtEcL._SL1500_

CAST

Vin Diesel (XXX)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Thandie Newton (Crash)
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Alexa Davalos (Clash of The Titans)
Linus Roache (Batman Begins)
Keith David (The Cape)
Nick Chinlund (Training Day)
Mark Gibbon (Robin Hood Beyond Sherwood)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Christina Cox (Stargate SG.1)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Roger Cross (Continuum)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
John Mann (Dark Angel)
Kim Hawthorne (Greenleaf)
Lorena Gale (Halloween: Resurrection)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Kristin Lehman (The Loft)

Vin Diesel and Alexa Davalos in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)The film opens years after the first film, once again introducing us to Riddick (Vin Diesel), who is once again on the run from bounty hunters. After escaping from his latest pursuers, he finds his way back to Inam (Keith David), who – with an air elemental (Judi Dench) – convince Riddick that he is the only one that can save their planet (and others) from the Necromongers, a race of war-happy individuals who are laying waste to one planet after another and claiming them as their own, assimilating whoever accepts and destroying who doesn’t. Lead by the Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), they are seeking out the utopian Underverse.Vin Diesel and Alexa Davalos in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)Riddick is there as the planet is assaulted, but isn’t able to do much, as he’s quickly outnumbered and outgunned. However, when he’s captured by the Necromongers, he figures a way to escape in the middle of a process that scans his thoughts. He then flies off to the prison planet Crematoria to seek out Jack, a girl from the original, who now goes by Kyra (Alexa Davalos). Once the two meet up again, they have to escape from Crematoria, which manages a toasty 700 degrees in the daylight. Meanwhile, Lady Vaako (Thandie Newton) and Lord Vaako (Karl Urban) are dispatched to persue Riddick, as the Lord Marshal has other plans for him.Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)While flawed, Riddick is certainly ambitious. The production design is nothing short of spectacular, and the visual style is an explosion of what the first film offered – I especially liked the opening, where Riddick seems to be running across the tops of a maze that stretches out to the horizon. Costume design is superb, while the film’s visual effects are not seamless, but still very strong. Overall, the creation of this universe”the film exists in is first-rate.Vin Diesel, Thandie Newton, and Linus Roache in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)Chronicles of Riddick offers some pretty good performances. Few growl out one-liners better than Diesel; while there’s not a lot of depth to the performance, it’s an interesting character that I don’t think any other actor would be as right for as Diesel is. Supporting performances by Newton, Dench, Fiore and others are also enjoyable. Overall, the film is a fine attempt to take the character into an epic that operates on a much grander scale than the first film.