Thursday, August 31, 2017

Two Paragraph Review: Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Dolls are creepy and Annabelle: Creation is weirdly a film about a creepy doll that (very commendably) doesn’t use the same object too much. This was a great move by its director, who fought off the impulse to make the doll front and center, which would do the story no favors. Instead, the film switches its focus between the girls of a Christian orphanage who get to travel to the middle of nowhere with their guardian nun and start living in the home of a good Samaritan dollmaker and his wife.

As the horror action begins to unravel, the director follows a single girl on her quest of moving from a victim to the main monster, switching perspectives smoothly and effortlessly. At the same time, frights are abundant and striking, but they also lead to a somewhat ineffective finish. While the ending and the last third are not bad, they do feel like a missed opportunity to score some bigger and more dramatic horror points. In this regard, Annabelle: Creation works much like its previous part, ending up a decent modern horror but still feeling very forgettable.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Two Paragraph Review: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
Like its predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, this film works well inside of its own micro-genre - ape-based war drama (not counting humans in this ape category here). As a direct continuation of the second part in the series, War of the Planet of the Apes uses the expectations of the audience to its advantage, always staying a step ahead of them when it comes to the way the plot unravels. This time around, like Koba some years before, Caesar is also on the war footing, but this time his target is a deranged human colonel bent on their destruction, along with other maniacal plans.

The action in the film is impressive, but what I found most interesting is the use of close-up shots of both ape and human character and their emotional expressions. I think this was used for the purpose of blurring lines between the two species, forcing the audience to become emphatic to both in one way or another. While this prolonged exposition definitely added to the films somewhat too long run-time of almost two and a half hours, it completed its purpose perfectly. Because of this, War of the Planet of the Apes is first and foremost a touching film and this is an impressive feat for the entire cast and crew.