Goodbye Christopher Robin is a story that on a first look, that meaning the trailers, appears to be a feel good, charismatic film about imagination and the beloved character a lot of us grew up with. And though the film is charming in its characterisation and storytelling, it is far darker than one might expect when going to watch a film about the woodland creature we all hugged at night and listened to stories about. Rather than being a happy go lucky film that explores a loving family, it highlights the shadows that plagued Christopher Robin’s real life after his father, A.A. Milne and Dorothy de Sѐlincourt, known as Daphne, published When We Were Very Young.
I hate clowns. Anyone who knows me, knows that I cannot stand clowns. They are creepy looking, strange people and I can’t tell what they actually look like. So, you can imagine my horror when my friend wanted to see Stephen King’s It, in the cinema. Lights down low, no escape, just me and my friend with the clown on the screen. I was terrified.
However, I was surprised to know that I wasn’t actually that afraid of It. I was more afraid of the adults in the film, particularly Bev’s father. Of all the characters in the film, It included, her father terrified me the worst. He was disgusting and I was so happy when Bev killed him. He deserved all the pain in the world, for the way he treated his daughter. Disgusting, disgusting human being.
In all the story line for It was immersive and frightening, not to the point where I had to close my eyes, as I did with Annabelle: Creation. In fact, I came away disliking the film altogether. I was disappointed with how little I was scared by the clown, but I suppose that’s a good thing – I’ve faced It, in a way. However once I watched a review on YouTube, I discovered that perhaps I had been a little too harsh with my judgement of the film.
The Loser’s Club were a group of misfit boys and girl who band together against the bullies at school and their collective group of awful parents. Each loser, as it were, had their own backstory and managed to grab the viewers favour. However, I didn’t like that Mike’s investigative qualities were taken and given to Ben. As much as Ben was a great character, I couldn’t help but wonder why the lines of the only black teenager in the film were given to a white character.
Representation is incredibly important in film and TV, but often the representation of black people (and other ethnic minorities) becomes convoluted with stereotypes. The gangster, the troublemaker, the thug, do you see a trend? With Asian characters, it is always the nerd, the restricted teenager who knows nothing of the western world, or wait for it, the one character with an accent that everyone makes fun out of. It’s incredibly insulting when the only representation you find in TV or film, is someone that is being mocked or demeaned purply because they do not share the same skin colour.
And once again, Mike’s character was stripped down to the ‘one with the gun’, while each of the other characters had other qualities that gave them importance. I do hope that this is rectified for the sequel. And I suppose, I’ll be forced into seeing that one too.
Alas, I never will be free of those blasted clowns.
Last week Friday, I watched Annabelle: Creation with a friend of mine.
Now, my friend and I watch a lot of horror films and I can say hands down, this was the scariest one we’ve seen to date in the cinema. The film opens with the creation of an Annabelle doll. A family man is seen arriving home, receiving little notes from his daughter, Annabelle, who tells him to find her. Samuel Mullins is a loving husband and if not for the brooding and foreboding soundtrack playing in the background, one could think this would be an entirely different film.
But it’s not. Sadly.
After visiting the church on what I assumed was a Sunday, Annabelle is killed by a speeding car. The impact was so forceful that her doll, that she had been holding, was shattered and the poor, little girl’s body disappeared. Esther’s scream is heard by the audience and the suspenseful music intensifies. Twelve years later, the camera focusses on a grave, one that we can assume is Annabelle’s. A group of young girls, along with their nun, Charlotte, are then seen arriving at the Mullins home.
However, the girls’ first night at their new Orphanage with the secretive but kind Esther and Samuel Mullins, is riddled with creepiness. Janice, one of the young girls with Polio is targeted by an unknown entity that has taken up residence in Annabelle’s doll. Hence, the doll’s name is Annabelle. Janice is tormented by the spirit and drawn to Annabelle’s (the little girl’s) old room. From the record player, a song begins playing, You Are My Sunshine, which was the Mullins’ daughter’s favourite song. I also love this song and most probably will not be able to listen to it for a while without my mother in the room with me, but that is beside the point.
On the first night, Janice discovers the Annabelle doll who frightens her to bits. She unknowingly follows the notes that come to her, thinking that it is one of the other girls staying with her. We, at first, believe that it is the ghost of Annabelle, the Mullins’ daughter playing with her, but it turns out to be the demon that has taken over the Mullins’ house.
On the second night, the demon continues to torment Janice, flinging her from the chair lift she uses to get upstairs, which leaves her severely injured. The next day, Janice – who is now stuck in a wheelchair – is dragged into a shed, by the demon who has taken Annabelle’s or Bee’s (as her parents called her) form. It is then that we get an inkling of the nun, who pushes Janice into the shed. She is possessed by the doll and her friend, Linda, notices a change in Janice’s behaviour.
Over a series of nights, the demon starts to torment the other girls and finally, Sister Charlotte asks a disfigured Esther what happened. Esther never leaves her bedroom and it is revealed that she wears a mask on the left side of her face. She tells Sister Charlotte what really happened after her daughter was killed. At first, as grieving parents, they believed that the entity that begins haunting their house is actually their daughter – because it plays the same music, looks like their daughter and sounds like her too. However, it turns bad really quick. The demon asks to be put into the Annabelle doll and they soon realise that it is not their daughter, one night, the doll attacks Esther and when she reveals to Sister Charlotte her face, her left eye has been taken out.
Though they tried to cleanse the house of the demon, it did not go. It comes back, murders the Mullins and the demon begins to attack the girls in the same way. In a tense and face paced twenty-five minutes, each girl is tormented, hurt and terrified by the demon. When I tell you that for the last part of the film my eyes were half closed, I’m not joking. It was so stressful and loud and frightening, that there was no relief, no break in the horror, no daytime.
Finally, the girls all apart from Janice escape the house and the police are called. Janice disappears and once the girls’ move on, it is revealed that the doll is no longer holding the spirit of the demon. However, Annabelle, as Janice is later known as, is taken in by another family, having somehow escaped from the house.
Following the same pattern of twelve years later, Annabelle has set up a satanic cult and one-night murders her adoptive parents. This then links to the first Annabelle film, along with the mid-credits scene, showing the doll again and a post-credits scene, set in Romania where the demon nun is shown.
This film was so horrifyingly good that I had to sleep with my cat, my darling, little cat, in her bed right next to mine, when she usually sleeps on my chair. I couldn’t fall asleep for hours and every time I closed my eyes, I kept thinking that something would be in front of me. This film definitely exceeds the last and does everything a horror film should do.
Just be warned, you probably won’t sleep well for a couple of nights after.
Dunkirk. It’s 1940. World War Two.
You’re surrounded by German soldiers, your only hope of escape is to sea. But there aren’t enough boats. Your comrades have been gunned down, killed or captured. Everyone is an enemy. Even the men that are supposed to be on your side, are suspicious. War has warped your mind. You’ve become distrustful, you’re terrified the next moment your eyes open will be the last time you see the sky.
You’re 18. Maybe younger, maybe older. You’ve barely lived and you’ve seen the worst of humanity. If you run, the world will see you as a coward. If you stay you’re brave. You don’t feel like either. You’re battered and bruised, hungry and thirsty. Dirt and blood cover your body. When you return home, if you return home, the operation will be called a “military disaster”.
Who comes to save you?
The film isn’t about winning. It isn’t about us vs them. It’s not about patriotic soldiers. No. It showcases, without having to show the bodies, the brutality of war. In comparison to other war epics, like Saving Private Ryan which is very close to the vein in its telling of war, we are not protected from the ghastly horrors of war, Dunkirk may not show the deaths in such graphic sequences, but the impact is just as powerful. Bodies drop. People are blown up. People disappear.
War is brutal. Death does not discriminate. It’s quick. The men standing next to you may be the last you ever see. You may never see the sun again. You may never eat again. Your best friend is shot or worse within seconds. The fast-paced nature of characters dropping and disappearing from the screen shows just how awful war is, without needing to see the bodies.
One minute they’re there and the next they’re not.
They don’t have time to mourn. They don’t have time to stop. As much as their hearts scream, their minds beg to help, they have to keep moving.
English soldiers turn on French soldiers. Survival is brutal. For Harry Styles’ character, Alex, who shows anger, fear, remorse, desperation, gratitude, survival is not fair. It’s not fair to sacrifice the few for the many to live. But that is what happens in the film. Many are lost, many are swept away in fire, water or gunfire. Some commit suicide. Some runaway.
For Fionn Wihtehead’s character, Tommy, survival is not about sacrificing those who help him. He was willing to side with a soldier who wouldn’t speak, revealed later to be French, Gibson, Aneurin Barnard’s character.
Each soldier has a different outlook, for Tom Hardy’s character, his main purpose was to take out enemy planes that attacked the soldiers on the ground, while his comrade, Officer Collins, played by Jack Lowden, has more of an emotional storyline, rescued by a father and son who take their civilian boat out, along with many others to rescue the soldiers at Dunkirk.
And for George, who dies at sea, is a young man, stuck in a place that he shouldn’t be in. Like many of these soldiers, for example Cillian Murphy’s character, war has shaken them to the bone. It is not what has been droned into their minds through propaganda. It’s horrible.
Then, home comes for them. When all other attempts failed, the people rallied and pushed themselves into a dangerous situation.
Disclaimer: This review is in no way sending hate towards those who took part in the film. This is purely my reaction to the film itself and what happens.
It Comes At Night was one of those thriller/horror films that I had been waiting for. I thought based off the trailer that it would be frightening and entertaining, dark and strange. And while it was all of those things, I didn’t like it. At first, it started off with an interesting, yet not unseen premise.
Spider-Man: Homecoming recently swung its way onto our screens and while there have been many, many versions of the familiar tale, this was by far the best.
Wonder Woman was an action packed, emotive, empowering and wonderfully plotted film.
As the first superhero film to be directed by a woman in the DC universe, along with it being a superhero film focussed on a female lead, it swept its way to the tops of peoples to watch list. It proved to be a highly anticipated film that pleased and wowed audiences. I was incredibly excited to watch this film, Wonder Woman is not only a strong, intelligent, emotive, fierce, loving and self-sacrificing woman, she is also grounded in human feelings, despite not being one of the race she defends.