Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Director: Gary Dauberman

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay) James Wan (Story)

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee

 

Plot: While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.


Tagline – The Next Chapter In The Conjuring Universe

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Relentless Scares

 

Story: Annabelle Comes Home starts one year after the Warren’s Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) bring the Annabelle doll home, knowing its power to control the other items inside their blessed room. With Ed and Lorraine going on a business trip, it leaves their daughter Judy (Grace) with girl next door babysitter Mary Ellen (Iseman), who has planned a little birthday surprise.

When Mary Ellen’s best friend Daniela (Sarife) decides to visit, with questions about the house, getting a moment alone, she sneaks into the blessed room, only to unleash a host of evil upon the three for a night of terror, all thanks to the dreaded Annabelle doll.

 

Thoughts on Annabelle Comes Home

 

Characters – Judy Warren is the daughter of the famous paranormal investigators, she is treated differently at school because of this, with some students being scared, while others just bully her, she does see spirits too and is a shy little girl, she just wants to make friends like any young girl and is struggling with the fact nobody will be her friend except her babysitter Mary Ellen. She does know how to handle herself when hauntings start happening around her house though. Mary Ellen is the girl next door babysitter, she might well be worried about who will take her to homecoming, but she is a friend that Judy needs. Daniela Rios is the best friend of Mary Ellen, she invites herself over to look around, in hopes that she could find a way to connect with her deceased father, whose death was an accident, but she believes was her fault, she unleashes all the evil items on the household, which would make her truly horrible, until you add in the reason why she is trying to find forgiveness. Ed and Lorraine are the familiar faces, only they are basically extended cameos in the film. Bob is the love interest of Mary Ellen and he does through the generic awkward moments of trying to ask her out, he is good for a laugh too.

PerformancesMcKenna Grace takes over the role of the daughter, she does make us believe that her character has become distant from the world around her, makes us believe she is feeling lonely and isolated too. Madison Iseman makes for an easy pick for the babysitter, she comes off friendly and gives the scream level required to show the fear. Katie Sarife is strong as friend who unleashes everything, somehow making a character we could hate feel sympathy towards. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson do seem to be here as a draw, only they are barely even in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a babysitter’s friend visiting the Warren’s house who unleashes all the evil from the safety, only for the three girls needing to put a halt to this before they can become the latest victims of the curses they have. This story does have a few positives and negatives, the first positive being see how the daughter of the Warren’s is struggling with making connections in life because of their work, we could have easily dived deeper with this, but it was nice to see a change in why somebody is isolated. The pure number of different evil figures we meet through the film is brilliant to see because this opens the doors to seemingly endless amounts of spin off movies now, which could be seen as a negative because, while this is an Annabelle movie, it does tend to focus on the other evil, instead of the main one attached to Annabelle. We could get into character decisions, which aren’t the smartest especially when it comes to knowing who the character of Judy is meant to be.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film, is an endless amounts of jump scares, this does work because each does have its own way of being effective, even if a lot if music goes silent and either a boom or something charging the screen. The mystery comes from each new evil that we get to see, we get glimpses into a few leading us to only want to know more.

SettingsThe film is set in one singular location, the Warren house, this has all the evil set up within it, which means once it comes out and traps them, they don’t know what will come next.

Special EffectsThe effect in the film are strong throughout, with each creation look different, with a couple of tricks for the Ferryman coming off nicely.


Scene of the Movie –
The circular shot, I am a fan of this shot even if it was the same as the Nun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I can’t help but think one of the rules for babysitting at the Warren’s, would be, anything slightly strange happens, get out until we come home.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice jump scare filled horror, it has plenty of references to the previous films and does leave us wanting more from this universe.

 

Overall: Jump scares for everyone.

Rating

 

 

I, Tonya (2017)

Director: Craig Gillespie

Writer: Steven Rogers (Screenplay)

Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, Caitlin Carver, McKenna Grace, Julianna Nicholson

 

Plot: Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.


Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Uniquely Told Biopic

 

Story: I, Tonya starts as we have the interview set up so we can learn from Tonya Harding (Robbie), her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Stan), her mother LaVona Golden (Janney) and other people that were involved in the incident.

We flashback to learn how Tonya came from an abusive mother that pushed her to the limits in figure skating, her abusive relationship with her husband Jeff and how her dreams of ever being a gold medallist get thrown into turmoil after what happened with fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan (Carver).

 

Thoughts on I, Tonya

 

Characters – Tonya Harding was a natural born figure skater, she had talent from a young age, but came from a redneck family. Even after making it to national competitions she still gets looked down upon. It is her relationships with show her resilient side from her abusive mother to her husband and her involvement with the Nancy Kerrigan incident that could ruin her reputation. Jeff Gillooly is the man that Tonya married, they have a good spark, but his violent nature kept pushing her away and his charming nature could bring her back too. LaVona Golden is Tonya’s mother that sacrificed to make her daughter the best figure skater in the world, she does push her to the limits while not being afraid to physical harm Tonya to get the best out of her.

PerformancesMargot Robbie is fantastic in the leading role even as we follow her through mid-teens to early 40s and never not looking the part for the age. Sebastian Stan is great in the supporting role showing how quickly men like his character can change in the blink of an eye. Allison Janney one again comes into a supporting role and shows just how she can step into any role without looking out of place.

StoryThe story follows how Tonya Harding came from a redneck family to being involved in one of the most controversial moments in figure skating history. It shows how sports can become too much for certain people to handle, be it the pressure to perform or the friends and family going too far to help one succeed. The story is told in an interview format, which while is different to other films, it does take away from certain moments in the film.

Biopic/SportsSeeing the rise and fall of Tonya Harding a figure skater that’s career is one that never got ruined by injury, but by controversy. The skating sequences do all look great through the film though, as we see how it was a sport about where you came from not your talent.

SettingsThe settings show us the different times that our story takes place in, how the lesser known sports will rely on work to go with their talent.


Scene of the Movie –
Triple Axel.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sometimes the interview style does become too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how Tonya Harding’s career was a rollercoaster for anyone that followed her and even if they didn’t, they would have known where her career went.

 

Overall: Biopic for the fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

Gifted (2017)

Director: Marc Webb

Writer: Tom Flynn (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Michael Kendall Kaplan, John M Jackson

 

Plot: Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Charming Engaging Drama

 

Story: Gifted starts as we meet single boat repair man Frank Adler (Evans) who has been home teaching his child prodigy niece Mary (Grace), he wants her to experience more of the world trying to push her into attending school against their supportive neighbour Roberta’s (Spencer) ideas.

When Mary finds herself stuck in a class she is clearly too smart to be a part of, it is up to her teacher Bonnie (Slate) to challenge her in class as Mary must learn social skills with other students. When Frank’s mother Evelyn (Duncan) returns to the scene, she wants the custody of Mary and get her into all of the gifted schools forcing her to follow in her mother’s footsteps, the very thing Frank wants to stop happening. We are left to follow the court case unfold leaving us with the questions on what we think would be best for a child with Mary’s gifts.

 

Thoughts on Gifted

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the single uncle of Mary, he has given up his life to raise his niece to make sure she doesn’t get forced into the same routines her mother had to go through and be a normal kid. He always wants to do the right thing for Mary. Mary is the niece that has an exceptional gift when it comes to numbers, raised by her Uncle who has kept her grounded she finds herself in the middle of the court case. Evelyn is the Frank’s mother and Mary’s Grandmother who wants to take Mary into her own custody to make sure she gets the best education to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Bonnie is the teacher that challenges Mary but ends up being a love interest for Frank, with Roberta being the good neighbour that is the only other adult Mary has befriended.

Performance wise, Chris Evans is fantastic in the leading role playing each scene perfectly, Lindsay Duncan is also great throughout the film as is Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer is the always reliable supporting actress. Mckenna Grace bursts onto the scene in the film where she is brilliant throughout the film.

StoryWhen you look into the story you must understand this is all about what would be right for Mary. We see both lives she could end up living, one with her Uncle and one with her grandmother. Watching how the court case unfolds shows us just how difficult the discussion could be as both have the positives. I think the story is paced perfectly to tell the story without creating a true villain and is just about two people who want the best for Mary.

SettingsThe settings show the different worlds Mary could live in, the regular person or the higher class, I do think this is important to everything that goes on.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best feel good movies of the year, it shows human issues without making anything aggressive towards each other just people wanting the best for a gifted little girl.

 

Overall: In a summer filled with mega budget films, this film shines brighter than any so far.

Rating