Saturday, December 31, 2016
Friday, December 30, 2016
Film Review by Kam Williams
Beleaguered Boy Befriended by Tree in Bittersweet Escapist Fantasy
Conor O'Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is understandably miserable. First of all, the 12 year-old divorced mom (Felicity Jones) is terminally ill. Second, they're both estranged from his father (Toby Kebbell) who has long since started another family over in America.
Third, Conor is tired of being mistreated by his cold-hearted grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) who cares more about her prized possessions than his welfare. And finally, he's routinely teased at school by a bully (James Melville) about always being off in his own dream world.
So, it's no surprise when Conor starts being plagued by nightmares on a daily basis. A few minutes after midnight, the giant yew tree (Liam Neeson) standing in the graveyard outside his bedroom window turns into an intimidating, anthropomorphic monster.
Despite its imposing presence, the beast gradually gains the kid's confidence, agreeing to tell a trio of insightful allegories on the condition that Conor reciprocate with one of his own. The idea, ostensibly, is that there will be a meaningful lesson to be learned from each of the parables.
That is the point of departure of A Monster Calls, a bittersweet escapist fantasy directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible). The movie is based on the illustrated children's novel of the same name by Patrick Ness who also adapted it to the big screen. Ness' award-winning book was inspired by the late Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before she could tackle the semi-autobiographical project herself.
The film is less a feel-good flick than a picture about making the best of a bad situation. For, the monster's stories paint a sobering picture of life that's anything but rosy. However, they do ultimately enable Conor to own up about his deepest fear, when it's his turn to share.
Given the mature themes and the dire plot developments, it's hard to recommend A Monster Calls for vulnerable youngsters. Nevertheless, it is unique in its approach to preparing a tweener to processing an impending tragedy.
A visually-enchanting, if fateful, fairy tale.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and scary images
Running time: 108 minutes
Distributor: Focus Features
Posted by Kam at 10:41 AM
Thursday, December 29, 2016
OPENING THIS WEEK
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Posted by Kam at 9:10 AM
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Posted by Kam at 6:11 PM
Monday, December 26, 2016
Posted by Kam at 9:11 AM
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Citizenfour won the 2016 Academy Award in the Best Documentary category. But given how the movie made less than $4 million worldwide, one might reasonably conclude that the details of Edward Snowden's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dump of National Security Agency documents remains substantially unknown.
Upon landing in Russia, Edward was awarded temporary asylum and he has languished there ever since. Lucky for him, this movie has revived interest in his case, inspiring him to recently make a public appeal for clemency.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexuality and nudity
Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; "Finding the Truth" featurette; and a Q&A with Edward Snowden. .
To see a trailer for Snowden, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlSAiI3xMh4
Posted by Kam at 8:21 AM
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Posted by Kam at 4:17 PM