Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children: Movie Review

I just got back from this film. Definitely a walk on the darker side for me, I don’t typically go for darker fantasy.

Still, I cannot escape my fascination with Asa Butterfield (Jake), and if he is in a film that fits my moral standards, I am going to be there. I love watching him, not only because his eyes are mesmerizing, but there is this quality in his acting that he brings out every single time, in any character. This level of curiosity, concern, and protectiveness. He’s one of a kind.

So is this movie. It was, unique, to say the least. I would not recommend this film to younger viewers (under 13) as it is very dark and violent. Children are in mortal danger and other children have been brutally murdered.

Still, in terms of a creepy movie that won’t ruin your soul and will give you an engaging story, endearing characters, and a comfortable ending, Miss Peregrine will fit the bill.

It’s no great masterpiece of tight plot, but your interest in the characters and their fate will keep you watching this film. All of the children actors were incredible. Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), was fascinating. She was almost musical in her mannerisms, confident in her actions, and vibrant in her style. I enjoyed her thoroughly and wouldn’t mind cosplaying as her.

The scenery was beautiful or horrifying by turns. Every mood was captured appropriately.

The villain was not exactly what I could term terrifying, he was actually on the casual, almost nonchalant side. He was not the most horrifying of the evil things, so, his lightness was okay. It was almost relaxing to have a nonchalant villain who just did his thing and seemed amused with those people in his way.

Some parts of this movie were just plain bizarre, but if you relax and anticipate weirdness, you should enjoy this film.

Here are some more specifics if you want to know whether or not this movie is appropriate for your family. *warning, some spoilers, I will keep my terms as general as possible

Sex/Nudity- One child’s peculiarity is invisibility, whenever they need him to be completely invisible he has to become naked. Naked and invisible, chilly, but not really an issue.

One female character removes her outer clothing, a male character glances away as if unsure, but she is only going down to an undergarment layer the equivalent of a tank top and shorts. The scene is non-sexual and purely practical.

2 sweet and brief kisses between older teenagers.

Violence/Gore- Prepare yourself, this is a long section.

Multiple characters are shown lying dead with their eye sockets empty. The evil creatures need to feed upon the eyeballs of other “peculiars” in order to accomplish something.

A character picks up a bloody object. Another character is found holding an even bloodier object.

Characters are shown dead.

Characters go through something like an electric shock, which leads to a disturbing body transformation.

Monsters are shot with crossbows, or stabbed with objects.

A dead child is kept in a room, his eye sockets empty.

A child has a knife held to their neck to be used as leverage. The child is fine.

One character does lose their eyeballs on screen, this is not a beloved character.

A villain tries to drown a child, the child is shown underneath ice. The child makes it.

A villain tries to freeze another child. That child appears to be dead, but is revived.

A character is grabbed violently through a window and never seen again.

A character who’s “peculiarity” is to animate things to life creates disturbing little toys, toys that then fight each other and “die”. This character does end up using their power to accomplish good and is better by the end of the film.

A large battle between skeletons and monsters takes place.

Language/Profanity- One oh my g**, maybe 2 at the most

crap

Frightening Scenes- It starts out frightening, it is frightening throughout, it is weird, but the ending is comfortably peaceful and happy.

Heroes/Role Models- There are many heroes in this film. Miss Peregrine’s role in life is to protect “her” children. She puts their safety above her own.

Jake is not a heroic figure to begin with, but he grows into an intelligent and strong protector, embracing his destiny. He also enables the other Peculiars to become braver and use their gifts to defeat evil.

Abe has been protector of the Peculiars his whole life.

Talking Points

  • How can we be brave?
  • What does bravery mean?
  • How can we use our gifts and talents to help those around us?

I enjoyed this movie, despite it being outside of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t be opposed to a sequel, but we shall see what happens.

Happy October!

 

 

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7 Ways to Enjoy More Movies

What do I watch now?

Ever been in a show-hole? Ever had a really good movie run that ended before film studios could come out with the sequels, three-quels, and spinoff titles?

Our ability to consume movies is much faster-paced than the ability for film companies to produce new films. This can leave you feeling hungry for more movies, with no immediate way to solve the problem.

I decided to share a few ideas today about how you might open up your movie world to include more films; giving yourself a longer runway before you run out of stories to watch. These are tricks of the trade that have proved very enjoyable for me and my family, and hopefully they can open up your world a little bit more as well.

1. Watch Old Movies

The African Queen (Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn), Going My Way (Bing Crosby), Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Ingrid Bergman), Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck), Gentleman’s Agreement (Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Jimmy Stewart), Holiday Inn (Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire), The Inspector General (Danny Kaye) Bedtime for Bonzo (Ronald Reagan), The Magnificent Seven (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson), The Great Escape (Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson) Desperate Journey (Ronald Reagan, Errol Flynn) Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), Foreign Correspondent (Joel McCrea, Laraine Day), Never a Dull Moment (Dick Van Dyke)

These are just a few little nuggets of gold in the goldmine that is old movies. A movie being made decades before your birth in no way diminishes its value. Watching old movies can be a delightful way to experience the evolution of films earlier on. You can also get a taste for normal life and cultural mindsets in previous decades. There are endless possibilities and literally hundreds upon hundreds of films available.

I have discovered amazing stories, endearing characters, and a heartbeat in some old films that I could have just passed over. Human beings have not changed in who we are at our core, only our technology has changed. There were compelling stories being told long before the days of green screen, CGI, and high definition.

Don’t limit yourself, try something “new” for a change.  After all, in this day when retro is cool, old is the new new.

Retro

2. Expand Your Genres

Picky eaters and picky viewers have this in common, they have very few options available.

Opening yourself up to new genres can open up hundreds of new movies titles for you to browse and enjoy. Even if the new genres you try are not as dear to you as your favorite genre, you still may find that you actually enjoy a lot more than you thought possible. Keeping an open and non-cynical mind about movies can do wonders for your viewing soul.

3. Enjoy Each Story For It’s Own Value, Not Another Story’s Value

This trick has been incredibly useful in my own family where we have many different ages. It can be hard to find a film that’s safe and enjoyable for everyone. My mom worked really hard to teach us the perspective of enjoying each story for its own value.

This means I can enjoy Cars, The Avengersand the Indian-made film LagaanThey are all across the board in purpose, message, and storytelling. Cars is a sweet and humorous story that is a mix of speed and taking its time. The Avengers is flashy and showy with superheroes, alien invasions, and explosions. Lagaan is hot, dusty, and not even in English-you have to read the subtitles-but it is a compelling story nonetheless.

I have enjoyed each one of these films, because I enjoyed them for their own, individual value. If I used the same criteria for evaluating Lagaan as I did The Avengers, I would be disappointed. Why? Because Lagaan was never intended to be The Avengers, therefore, it will only fail to meet my Avengers standards.

This way of looking at things is actually really useful in life, especially when looking at people. If I judge one person based on the criteria used for another, completely separate individual, I will be disappointed. The same principal applies to movies.

Enjoy each story for its own merits, gifts, and yes, even its flaws. This will open up many more movies for you as you set your expectations accordingly.

 

 

4. Watch Movies You’ve Seen Before

If you are like me, then you already love to watch some of the same movies over, and over, and over again. Not everyone enjoys this, and once they’ve seen a film they may not care to see it again.

Let me encourage you to revisit movies you’ve seen before. It is possible to enjoy a movie the second time through, sometimes it is just about the amount of effort you are willing to put into it. There are multiple ways to enjoy movies again.

Look for details in the backgrounds, costumes, or electronics of the film. Pick a topic and pay attention to it.

Research for a few minutes online for trivia involving the film. Then look for the moments mentioned. I have done this at movie marathons with friends and it gives you an entirely new perspective on the film.

Invite friends over who have also seen the film and keep a running commentary going with them. I love watching movies I’ve seen a million times with friends because you feel the freedom to talk all that you want. This is a really fun way to enjoy a film and relational time with other people. You will have a good time and create memories.

*Who cares if you’ve seen it 11 times, there is always a fresh way to enjoy something. Don’t box yourself in!

5. Just For Kids, I Don’t Think So

So what, you’re 35, 46, 73? I don’t care, try a “kids” movie. The mistake many adults are making nowadays is believing that movies geared toward children are only for children. WRONG! I dare you to watch any Pixar film and have your mind blown.

Children’s films often have soft, approachable layers of storytelling and clear truths that adult movies don’t have. What is simple and understood in a children’s film is often lost in the chaos and complications of an adult film.

Many children’s films are often quite profound and touching. There is a special sense of wonder about them that adult films rarely seem to grasp. There is a reason we remember our favorite films from childhood, because they touched our hearts in a way that changed us. Who knows, you may actually need to hear a simple truth from a children’s film more now than you ever did when you were 7.

Open up your heart, you can still enjoy some Bourne movies while also diving into the delightful world of “children’s” films. After all, adults are just kids a bit older and bigger, right?

 

6. Don’t Be A Critic

Yeah, I know this one sounds a little hypocritical coming from the woman who is running a blog where she analyzes movies. But there is a difference between analyzing in order to understand and engage a story, vs critiquing a story and only looking for the faults.

One can enrich your mind and help you understand stories and people better, the other can make you cynical and jaded. Why? Because there is no perfect movie, and the ones that make the cut as being “good enough” in professional critic’s minds are far and few in-between, even if regular audiences loved the films.

I often think that professional critics must have a hard time enjoying movies anymore. When you are paid to go see a movie with a critical eye, that will soon become the lens that you view everything with. How many caustic and sarcastic critic reviews have you read from professionals? I’ve gotten to the point where I read what normal, everyday viewers thought of the movie before I would read a critic’s take on it. I trust a fan’s perspective more than I do a professional’s.

Granted, I do critique movies sometimes. I find fault with them, and I point those things out. I will even do so many times on this website. But, critiquing is not my top priority here. My top priority is to engage in movies and discuss them through the eyes of a storyteller and a fan.

I never want to lose my joy in movies, be they perfect or largely imperfect. And I don’t want you to lose that either by being overly-critical.

So, did that car chase seem a bit far-fetched? Sure. Were the special FX in that film from 1965 kinda hokey? Yeah, so, what? Put down the critic’s chart and just watch the movie. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable.

7. Chill Out, Lighten Up

This one is really a compilation of all of my previous suggestions. The best way to limit your viewing options is to have a very narrow set of standards and criteria when it comes to what you will view.

Now, please don’t hear me telling you to violate your conscience. I would never, ever do that. When I say “standards”, I am speaking artistically. Here are a few phrases that might explain what I am saying.

The graphics are terrible on that, this was pre-CGI. Forget it!

That would never happen in real life. (This one is so ridiculous it makes me laugh. Dude, what do you think movies are, reality caught on camera after make-up and  costuming?)

I’m too old for that.

No, none of us are going to enjoy everything in every genre. We are each going to develop our own set of likes and dislikes that will exclude some films. But you can open yourself up to many, many more films if you will relax and give them a chance. Will you still dislike certain films after watching them? Of course, but at least you gave it a shot.

We can get too “sophisticated” for our own good, and it is limiting our viewing options and making our movie diet too strict. Having variety is good and healthy for our perspective and for our movie-watching list.

Explore, step out of your comfort zone, make the old new again, lay down the critic clipboard and watch the dang movie! Life is too short to be uptight when you don’t have to be.

Chill out meme

*****

I hope that these ideas will can help breath a little fresh life into your movie-watching experience. They have worked wonders for me, and I hope that you can also benefit from them. Movies are an amazing and unnecessary gift that we often take for granted. Here’s to the hope that we can all appreciate them more!

So, do you have any ideas on how to enjoy more movies? Have you tried any of these options before? What was a movie experience where you tried something new and loved it? I would love to hear from you.

Like and share! Let’s open up our movie cabinets and our minds together!

 

 

 

 

 

7 Movies That Defined My Childhood

Wonderful movies and childhood go hand in hand. There is a sense of wonder and awe we experience as children that finds a fertile ground in movies. This is why so many people who now spend most of their time watching PG-13 and above movies still have a soft spot for their favorite childhood films. Seeing those familiar films is like revisiting an old friend and reliving a taste of that wonder from childhood.

I have loved movies my entire life. Even as a baby, my mother could sit me down in front of a TV screen and I would be transfixed. I was raised on stories and have grown up appreciating them.

Today, I thought I would take a little trip down memory lane and share the movies that defined my childhood. I have chosen these movies as the ones that not only awed and inspired me, but also helped to shape some part of who I am today. That is the power of a good movie, a fake (or historical) reality and set of characters can touch and shape our real lives in the real world.

Now, onto the movies!

7. Fievel Goes West

Fievel Goes West

I loved a good Western tale growing up! My siblings and I played Old West exclusively for a certain phase in our life. I was also utterly fascinated by pioneers. The idea of brave souls forging into an untamed world to carve out a new life was so romantic. Of course, I was too young to grasp the harsh realities and sorrows, all I saw was the glamour.

Fievel Goes West had just the right amount of boisterous adventure and shoot-em-up fun that a girl fascinated by the Old West needed. I loved Fievel’s thirst for adventure and fearlessness against much larger foes. I craved those things for myself, and I loved watching this little mouse live them out. I found this “tail” more exciting than it’s predecessor An American Tailanother good film, but not nearly as much fun.

6. The Swiss Family Robinson

The Swiss Family Robinson

For a time, this was the only movie that my family owned. You can imagine my delight when watching this film full of adventure, danger, and colorful creativity. One of the books I learned to read on was Robinson Crusoe, so I already had an appreciation for survival stories.

The Swiss Family Robinson took the idea of a “survival” story to a bouncier, more Disneyfied level. These people didn’t just survive, they thrived! They built a beautiful home in the trees for them and their menagerie of exotic animals. Even when faced with the impending danger of pirates, their spirits never lagged and they stepped up to the plate.

So many scenes from this movie are imprinted deeply in my mind. The tree house reveal is one of my favorites, that place was purely magical. Perhaps that is why I now dream of getting to stay in a tree house. I loved the scene with the boys swimming in the waterhole and sliding down the waterfall. Can you say dreamy? Or the Christmas dance when Ernst and Fritz’s jealousy over Roberta comes to a high point. The race day when everyone is on the back of exotic animals and wearing handmade hats? Love, LOVE it!

But the best scene by far is when the family is fending off the pirates. Coconut bombs, giant piles of rolling logs, a tiger pit, and trails of gunpowder! MacGyver woulda been proud. The ingenuity of this family knew no bounds.

I could probably quote this movie fairly accurately all the way through. That would be because my older brother and I watched it every weekend until Mom made us stop.

I have since seen another version of this story that is a very realistic and deep take on the concept. Strandedit’s more emotionally difficult, but also very rewarding. I highly recommend it. Still, Disney’s live-action Swiss Family Robinson will always have a place in my personal movie hall of fame.

5. Roy Rogers and the Bells of San Angelo

RR Bells of San Angelo

The Bells of San Angelo was my first Western film, and my first Roy Rogers film. I watched it at my great-grandmother’s farmhouse. I love this movie for the memories it holds, but also because of the door it opened for me. When I was about ten my family got a collection of Roy Rogers movies and our movie world was forever changed.

Roy Rogers is practically a member of my family. I have seen so many of his movies, I could tell you titles, lines, costars, and sing some of the songs. Roy Rogers was handsome, charming, brave, could sing like a bird, and had the coolest horse on screen.

But even more than that, his heart was bigger than his fame. My family got to know about this incredible man, his wife Dale Evans, and their family when we visited the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum before it closed. We learned about the personal side of these famous celebrities. They were real people who loved each other and their children (they lost 3) deeply. Their heart for children was beautiful, they were heroes onscreen and off.

We even had the joy of meeting Roy Roger’s son, Roy Roger’s “Dusty” Jr. My mama often says that when she gets to heaven, one of the first people she is going to meet is Roy Rogers.

4. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Spirit Stallion OTC

 

There is so much to be said about this incredible movie. It is one of Dreamworks finest and completely unique. A story of the Old West, about a horse, as told by a horse. You see this movie through Spirit’s eyes and his mind. It’s absolutely mesmerizing on every level.

Spirit touched a very wild part of my soul and brought a lump to my throat. There is a deep, spiritual level of life that is driven home into the fabric of your soul. Spirit displays passion, perseverance, the choice to fight and never give up,  and the struggle to remain unbroken in a very earthy way.  I don’t have the time to describe everything I feel or think about this movie right now, but I assure you, this movie WILL be revisited on this site, you have my word.

I watched this movie over and over and over again. I watched it recently again as an adult and it still took my breath away and sent chills down my spine.

3. Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch

Air Bud

I saw Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch first. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s out of order, but it’s still my favorite one. I have always adored dogs, but dogs who can wear clothes and do things like people, or even better than people? Oh my goodness!

These movies posses a very special place in my heart. I fell in love with this beautiful dog who regularly saved the Little League team while helping his people through their own difficulties. I may have also had a little crush on Kevin Zegers (Josh), but that was secondary.

I used to spend hours daydreaming about having a sweet dog named “Buddy” who was my best friend. It would be so cool, we would have lots of fun together and he would be super smart. This dog wagged his way into my soul and has stayed there. He made many boring or sad moments in my childhood feel brighter.

You can imagine my dismay at the Buddies movies when the puppies were talking! WHAT?!? The coolest thing about Buddy was that he was smart and resourceful as a DOG, he didn’t need to use words to communicate. He communicated with his actions. I have many more little fan-girl feelings to express on this subject, but time grows short.

I still dream of having a golden retriever one day. Can you blame me?

2. The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Everyone remembers their first Disney movie. This was mine. No, I didn’t start out on Disney princess movies. In fact, I didn’t see a princess movie until I was 16. Guess what? I survived and I’m actually normal.

The Jungle Book was such a cute story with a cast of unique characters. My favorite was always Bagheera, who got the cold shoulder from Mowgli for being the “stuffy parent”. I always felt bad for Bagheera, he only ever wanted the best for Mowgli and fought to protect this little man-cub. Baloo got all of the fun points, but we all knew it was Bagheera who kept that child alive.

My brother and I watched this many times growing up. We would run around the house singing “The Bare Necessities”. To this day, he and I get excited about watching our old, childhood favorite.

I was utterly delighted with the new, live action remake of this beloved film. The filmmakers took all of the best parts of the movie I grew up with, removed the annoying bits, and then filled out the story. I was utterly delighted with every aspect of that movie, I can’t wait for it to come out on Blueray!

1. The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt

Now we have arrived to the 1st movie in my life. The movie that has probably done more than any other movie to shape who I am today.

I saw The Prince of Egypt in theaters. It was my first movie ever, and my first movie in theaters. I was 2 years old, and I was completely drawn in.

The colors, the movement, the story, the music, I drank it up like a thirsty little flower. I couldn’t identify or comprehend everything that this movie taught me, rather, I felt it. I knew that I felt something when I saw the treatment of the slaves and I heard their desperate cries in the music. I felt Moses’s agony and the fear of the Egyptians. I felt the struggle of the Plagues. I felt the fear of the Hebrews as they were crowded against the Red Sea with an army of murderous Egyptians at their backs. And I felt the power when the Red Sea parted and God brought His people through.

We owned some of the soundtrack to this movie. My brother and I used to spend hours dancing to it in the living room. My favorite song happened in the Midianite camp “Through Heaven’s Eyes”. I dare you to listen to this song and not dance. It has such a rhythm of life and a heartbeat to it.

I can remember listening to one of the choral pieces one time, a bit of music describing the Hebrew people’s despair and torment. For the first time in my life, I made the connection between music and emotion. I understood that the song was telling me something from the depths of a person’s heart. I was only 3 years old, and that moment still influences me today.

I love Ancient Egyptian history. I love the story of Moses and the rescue of the Hebrew people. I am a storyteller. I find ways to communicate messages and emotions to others. I am learning and hoping to make movies that speak to people the way this movie spoke to me. The older I get, the more things about myself I find I can trace back to what was awakened in my heart and mind when I watched this film.

I have much, much more I could say on this subject. Stories awaken our hearts and imaginations like nothing else, that is why our first stories are so dear to us. Our childhood movies aren’t just cute memories, they are a part of who we were, and who we are today. They touched us in very personal ways and continue to touch us. I have so enjoyed sharing my favorite childhood movies with you and I hope this has brought back some sweet memories in your own heart.

What movies defined your childhood? Why did you like those movies? Do you still enjoy them today? What did those films make you feel? What did they make you believe in?

Join in the discussion today on Facebook and Twitter!