Film Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a wonderfully whimsical film. There is a darker edge to the film that balances perfectly with the more fanciful elements.

Growing up in Florida, Jake’s grandfather told him stories of the magical children’s home he lived in as a boy. Jake decides to visit the home, on an island off the coast of Wales, hoping to find the mysterious inhabitants…

Director Tim Burton’s quiet renaissance seems to be gathering steam with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. The director’s last film, Big Eyes, was refreshing in that it felt like a departure from the formulaic productions it succeeded. Here, Burton returns to fantasy; a genre that has served him well. Whilst there are definite Burtonesque touches, particularly in the visual elements, Miss Peregrine feels much more original than some of the director’s output in the last decade.

Based on the novel by Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine is a fantasy adventure. The film has sufficient whimsy in its characters and narrative to satisfy a family audience. Yet there is a definite dark undertone to the film, which becomes more prevalent as it continues. The horror is mild for the most part, although some sequences may be frightening for the very young or squeamish. The tone of the film excels; there is a good balance between wonder and terror. Moreover, the film never becomes mawkish.

The narrative of Miss Peregrine moves along at a suitable pace. The main characters are introduced well, and are given enough depth for the audience to feel invested. Jane Goldman’s screenplay is peppered with her trademark style of humour. Art direction and costumes are fantastic, with the imagery capturing the style of the book’s photographs. The score is a great accompaniment. Asa Butterfield makes a decent protagonist as Jake, whilst Eva Green is well cast as the title character. Samuel L. Jackson seems to be having fun in his role.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children harks back to a golden era of Tim Burton films. Those looking for this brand of fantasy adventure will not be disappointed.

Film Review: Big Eyes

Big Eyes

Tim Burton’s long-awaited return to form Big Eyes is an engaging story which offers strong performances from its leads.

Margaret is an artist and a single mother in the 1950s. She paints portraits, giving her subjects strikingly large eyes. When a fellow artist enters her life, she finds success at a price…

Tim Burton offers something viewers have not seen from him in the last decade. Big Eyes focuses heavily on character and story, and features a cast that the director has not previously worked with. The result is a film holds the attention, and feels refreshing in the scope of the filmmaker’s recent work.

Big Eyes‘ narrative is constructed effectively; the film never seems overlong. It is a character driven piece, with focus given to the two central characters and the way in which their relationship develops. Both the characters and the changing relationship are believable.

Big Eyes is a drama, but it is not without moments of comedy. Burton does well to maintain a sober air in the moments that matter. Despite some passionate scenes, the Big Eyes never becomes melodramatic, and is a better film for this. The script is well crafted to illustrate the highs and lows of the central relationship, and it does this with drama, humour and sincerity.

Cinematography in Big Eyes makes the most of the film’s locations. Art direction also works well, with the period setting rendered seemingly authentic. Colleen Atwood’s costumes are as delicious as ever. Big Eyes‘ score is also great, exhibiting the range of composer Danny Elfman even when working with his most recognised collaborator. Amy Adams is expressive in a way that mirrors Margaret Keane’s work. Her performance is solid throughout. Christoph Waltz delivers another powerhouse performance, believable in his character’s charm and menace.

Big Eyes tells the story behind the well-known images. Hopefully the director’s next projects will run in a similar vein.

Stuff To Look At

This week, a look at the most eagerly-anticpated movies coming out in the next few months or next year, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Birdman, and Into The Woods

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The week’s most talked about trailer sees a first look at the highly-anticpated Avengers: Age of Ultron. From this initial footage, the film appears less humorous than its wildly successful predecessor Avengers Assemble. We will find out whether this is the case or not when Avengers: Age of Ultron is released in April 2015.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Here is one of the new TV spots for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Things are heating up in the franchise, with Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss fights to save a nation and her friends. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will hit the big screen on 20th November 2014.

Birdman

I cannot wait for this one. Black comedy Birdman features a stellar cast, headed by the wonderful Michael Keaton starring as a washed-up Hollywood actor who once played a superhero. Birdman, which is receiving an abundance of praise so far, is released in UK cinemas on 2nd January 2014.

The Drop

The Drop features the final performance from the late James Gandolfini. It also features Tom Hardy and a puppy, as illustrated above. No word on how integral a role the adorable puppy plays in the rest of the film. The Drop will be released in cinemas on 14th November 2014.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit 3 poster

What’s happened to Gandalf?! Here is one of the latest images from the upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The final part of The Hobbit series, I am really hoping the film features Gollum. Everything needs more Gollum. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will open on 12th December 2014.

Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice features an amazing cast and a fantastic trailer. Adapted from Thomas Pynchon’s novel, the film’s cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Owen Wilson. Inherent Vice is set for release on 30th January 2015.

Interstellar

The more I see of Interstellar, the more interesting it looks. Christopher Nolan directs Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway in his stab at space exploration. Interstellar lands in cinemas on 7th November 2014.

Into The WoodsINTO THE WOODS image

Disney and fairy tales are like… two things that go very well together. Leading on from a new look at Into The Woods earlier this week, here is an image from the film. Starring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt, musical Into The Woods is set for release on 9th January 2015.

Big Eyes

Tim Burton’s latest effort appears to mark a departure from his more recent films. For one, Johnny Depp is nowhere to be seen. Big Eyes seems more reminiscent of Big Fish than more recent films, and that is definitely a good thing. Starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes is set for release in the UK on 26th December 2014.

The Theory of Everything

Here is a clip from upcoming Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. Starring Eddie Redmayne as the young physicist and Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde, the arts student he feel in love with at Cambridge, The Theory of Everything is released in UK cinemas on 1st January 2014.