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Gifted (2017)
Gifted (2017)
2017 | Drama
There's an unexpected depth to it (3 more)
McKenna Grace is a star of the future
Captivating and brilliant
The relationship between Frank and Mary
It could have gone even deeper (1 more)
Would have liked to know more about Mary's mother
Surprisingly good

CBorden (66 KP) rated Gifted (2017) in Movies

Feb 10, 2018  
Gifted (2017)
Gifted (2017)
2017 | Drama
Chris Evans and McKenna Grace are superb! They elaborately maneuver the labyrinth of raising a gifted child, and being the gifted child trying to be a kid but also embrace the things that make her unique. This movie very clearly shows the struggles from all sides - the guardian, the extended family, the teaching professionals, and the gifted themselves.

Sarah (5253 KP) rated Gifted (2017) in Movies

Feb 8, 2019  
Gifted (2017)
Gifted (2017)
2017 | Drama
A great surprise
I hadn't really expected very much from this film, but it was actually a brilliant and heartwarming surprise. It has a great cast and is wonderfully acted - McKenna Grace is exceptional for a child actor and I was even impressed with Chris Evans, it's been so long since I've seen him in something that isn't Marvel related and it's nice to see.

The film itself is a mixture of humour and a sometimes heartwrenching and emotional story about a gifted child. It has a fairly short runtime which is also refreshing, but I actually think it could have been a little longer. It's well shot and scripted and was just an all round delight to watch. And seeing Chris Evans with cats? Kinda hard to resist.
Gifted (2017)
Gifted (2017)
2017 | Drama
Good Stuff
After the death of his sister, Frank (Chris Evans) opts to take in his extremely intelligent niece Mary (McKenna Grace) and raise her like he thought his sister would have wanted. His hope is to protect her from growing up too fast, particularly from ending up in the clutches of his mom Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who would prefer to hole Mary up in a private institution.

Acting: 10

Beginning: 10

Characters: 10
When I look at characters and how they impact a movie, it’s not just about how intriguing they are, but also about how real they are. I love characters that are flawed and you get that with Frank. He’s just trying to do the right thing by his sister and his niece while still trying to live his own life as well. There are oftentimes where he’s wondering if he’s making the right decision and you’re wondering right along with him. I really appreciate the relationship between him and Mary as it wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops. They’ve clearly had some disagreements, but they love each other through it.

The supporting characters helped to hold the movie up as well. Bonnie (Jenny Slate) was probably my personal favorite as the warm caring teacher who genuinely wants the best for Mary. Both encouraging and sweet, she is another character whose story you get to unpack more and more as the movie progresses.

Cinematography/Visuals: 7
Great imagery and shots of a sleepy town in coastal Florida. There isn’t much to blow you away in the way of cinematography, but I appreciate the consistency at the very least. They keep the scenery fresh throughout which was good enough for me.

Conflict: 8

Genre: 7

Memorability: 8

Pace: 10

Plot: 10

Resolution: 8

Overall: 88
I’ve seen Gifted quite a few times, whether all the way through or in bits and pieces. Everytime I watch it, I find someting different to appreciate it. Solid surprise of a movie.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
2019 | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Gary Dauberman
Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay) James Wan (Story)
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee
Plot: While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.

Tagline – The Next Chapter In The Conjuring Universe
Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Relentless Scares
Story: Annabelle Comes Home starts one year after the Warren’s Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) bring the Annabelle doll home, knowing its power to control the other items inside their blessed room. With Ed and Lorraine going on a business trip, it leaves their daughter Judy (Grace) with girl next door babysitter Mary Ellen (Iseman), who has planned a little birthday surprise.
When Mary Ellen’s best friend Daniela (Sarife) decides to visit, with questions about the house, getting a moment alone, she sneaks into the blessed room, only to unleash a host of evil upon the three for a night of terror, all thanks to the dreaded Annabelle doll.
Thoughts on Annabelle Comes Home
Characters – Judy Warren is the daughter of the famous paranormal investigators, she is treated differently at school because of this, with some students being scared, while others just bully her, she does see spirits too and is a shy little girl, she just wants to make friends like any young girl and is struggling with the fact nobody will be her friend except her babysitter Mary Ellen. She does know how to handle herself when hauntings start happening around her house though. Mary Ellen is the girl next door babysitter, she might well be worried about who will take her to homecoming, but she is a friend that Judy needs. Daniela Rios is the best friend of Mary Ellen, she invites herself over to look around, in hopes that she could find a way to connect with her deceased father, whose death was an accident, but she believes was her fault, she unleashes all the evil items on the household, which would make her truly horrible, until you add in the reason why she is trying to find forgiveness. Ed and Lorraine are the familiar faces, only they are basically extended cameos in the film. Bob is the love interest of Mary Ellen and he does through the generic awkward moments of trying to ask her out, he is good for a laugh too.
Performances – McKenna Grace takes over the role of the daughter, she does make us believe that her character has become distant from the world around her, makes us believe she is feeling lonely and isolated too. Madison Iseman makes for an easy pick for the babysitter, she comes off friendly and gives the scream level required to show the fear. Katie Sarife is strong as friend who unleashes everything, somehow making a character we could hate feel sympathy towards. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson do seem to be here as a draw, only they are barely even in the film.
Story – The story here follows a babysitter’s friend visiting the Warren’s house who unleashes all the evil from the safety, only for the three girls needing to put a halt to this before they can become the latest victims of the curses they have. This story does have a few positives and negatives, the first positive being see how the daughter of the Warren’s is struggling with making connections in life because of their work, we could have easily dived deeper with this, but it was nice to see a change in why somebody is isolated. The pure number of different evil figures we meet through the film is brilliant to see because this opens the doors to seemingly endless amounts of spin off movies now, which could be seen as a negative because, while this is an Annabelle movie, it does tend to focus on the other evil, instead of the main one attached to Annabelle. We could get into character decisions, which aren’t the smartest especially when it comes to knowing who the character of Judy is meant to be.
Horror/Mystery – The horror in the film, is an endless amounts of jump scares, this does work because each does have its own way of being effective, even if a lot if music goes silent and either a boom or something charging the screen. The mystery comes from each new evil that we get to see, we get glimpses into a few leading us to only want to know more.
Settings – The film is set in one singular location, the Warren house, this has all the evil set up within it, which means once it comes out and traps them, they don’t know what will come next.
Special Effects – The effect in the film are strong throughout, with each creation look different, with a couple of tricks for the Ferryman coming off nicely.

Scene of the Movie – The circular shot, I am a fan of this shot even if it was the same as the Nun.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – I can’t help but think one of the rules for babysitting at the Warren’s, would be, anything slightly strange happens, get out until we come home.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice jump scare filled horror, it has plenty of references to the previous films and does leave us wanting more from this universe.
Overall: Jump scares for everyone.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
2019 | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
The third instalment of the Annabelle franchise as Annabelle Comes Home delivers where the previous two did not.

Demonologists Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) return back to their home with the cursed Annabelle doll. Safely locked away in their occult museum of the paranormal they leave for another case and leave their babysitter Mary (Madison Iseman) and her best friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) in charge of looking after their daughter Judy (McKenna Grace). One curious friend breaks into the paranormal museum situated in the Warren’s basement and all hell breaks loose.

Annabelle Comes Home is a well-rounded horror. It has a completely different feel than the films previous to it. It has a very goosebumps style goofiness about it with a more sinister tone. The Annabelle doll acts as a beacon for spirits. So when she is unleashed within the museum the other entities contained within that room escape. It really is a Goosebumps style injection of horror as various creatures and entities roam the house.

Whilst these horror movies have cut and paste jump scares and quite predictable outcomes Annabelle Comes Home just about keeps it somewhat fresh. The film is heavily held up high from strong performances by our three lead girls. The film has a lovely dark tone and the detail within the museum is incredible. If you’re a paranormal/haunted object junkie like me just seeing the attention to detail in the set dressing was impressive indeed.

Director Gary Dauberman takes Annabelle out of the one trick pony setting and allows this freedom of entities to run amok without convoluting the plot in any way shape or form. Each item is linked to a spirit and they’re carefully injected at spaced intervals through the story.

There’s nothing really new on display here. Horror movies just aren’t scary anymore. They rely on jump scares to provide a ‘scare’ which is actually a fabricated effect. A jump scare will never make a movie scary. I wish filmmakers wouldn’t over-saturated jumps every 10 minutes to make something ‘scary’. This movie isn’t bad whatsoever but my god is the horror genre becoming a little repetitive and boring in some aspects. It’s time to spice things up without pushing agendas! Yes, I’m talking to you Jordan Peele.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
2019 | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Enjoyable, not as good as Annabelle Creation
Annabelle Comes Home is the third standalone movie for the creepy looking doll since her introduction during the original Conjuring movie. It's also the seventh feature movie from the ever expanding 'Conjuring Universe', a series of movies that have seen wildly varying degrees of quality and success thus far. I tend to start my reviews for this series of movies by declaring my love for the first Conjuring, before wishing that the latest release I'm reviewing might actually match that. But so far the only other movie in the series to come anywhere close to doing that for me was the last Annabelle movie - Annabelle Creation. So, I had very high hopes for this next Annabelle installment.

After venturing into the past with the previous Annabelle movies, Annabelle Comes Home begins by expanding on the events of The Conjuring. The Warrens take the Annabelle doll into their care in order to keep it safe in their home, under lock and key in their famous artefact room. The car journey home is an eventful one though and it is a real joy to be back in the company of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga and their portrayal of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Their characters, and their performances, have been the most enjoyable aspect of these movies for me and this opening chapter with them gets things off to a great start. With Annabelle in the artefact room, blessed by the local priest and contained in a cabinet made out of chapel glass, the evil is contained. And Annabelle is now home.

From there we shift forward a year, where the focus of the movie turns to the Warren's 10 year old daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace). Her parents occupation and reputation is clearly having an effect on her life, with other children at school poking fun at her and refusing to come to her birthday party at the creepy Warren house. That uncomfortable, uneasy feeling of having a room in your house where unspeakable evil is being contained probably doesn't help things either! When her parents have to go away one night, friendly babysitter Mary Ellen comes over to take care of Judy, stepping in to the role of much needed friend. Mary Ellen's friend Daniela arrives to join them a little bit later, uninvited and proving to be a little less straight-laced than Mary Ellen is.

Daniela is currently grieving from the recent loss of her father and is suffering with strong feelings of guilt surrounding the circumstances of his death. She is clearly fascinated and intrigued by the work of the Warrens, so while Mary Ellen and Judy are outside rollerskating, she wastes no time in hunting down the keys to the artefact room so that she can take a poke around inside. As Daniela slowly and carefully examines the room and its many contents for us, it's clear that we're getting a pretty good introduction to the variety of horrors set to be unleashed on the girls in some form later on in the movie. It's a slow buildup though, and on top of the babysitter buildup we've had so far, it's probably a good 45 minutes into the movie before anything substantial happens. I read my review of Annabelle Creation before seeing this movie, and I'd noted that following a similar pattern, with very good results, so I wasn't overly concerned by all of that if the payoff was worth it.

The thing is though, when things do start going a little crazy, the results aren't entirely successful. To be fair, there are some genuinely creepy and very well executed scares. But there are also plenty that don't work so well too. Some new spirits are introduced too, no doubt destined to have their own spin-off movie at some point - 'The Ferryman', who guides souls into the afterlife and requires payment of two coins placed on the eyes of the dead, and the 'Hellhound of Essex'. One of those works considerably well, the other just being distracting and silly.

Despite it's slow-burn start, and it's generic baby-sitter horror setting, I definitely enjoyed Annabelle Comes Home. It's certainly not as good as either of The Conjuring movies, or Annabelle Creation, but it's definitely much better than The Nun or The Curse of La Llorona.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
2019 | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Not The Best In The Series But Entertains
One of the most intriguing yet often exaggerated lines in movie history is “based on actual events”. I’ve always had a fascination with supernatural thrillers that came with this tag line, whether it’s a movie like Amityville Horror or The Exorcism of Emily Rose. None of these are more popular than The Conjuring series, based on two real life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Whether you believe in ghosts and haunted houses or not, these films always played on the notion that the events “could” possibly happen…even if they were exaggerated for Hollywood audiences. Annabelle Comes Home breaks the trend of previous Conjuring movies by not bothering to pretend that it’s based on any of the “actual” events from the previous films. So how does it stack up to its predecessors?

The movie begins with Ed and Lorraine Warren retrieving Annabelle and taking the scary doll home to lock her away in the now infamous artifact room. The dolls presence is so evil, that it takes not only blessings by a priest but being locked away in a case made up of glass from an old church to keep it’s evil at bay. Not only is the display case locked, but a sign is placed upon it, warning any who may enter not to release the doll within. Several pad locks later the Warrens feel comfortable that the evil within is contained.

A year passes and both Ed and Lorraine are called away on business, entrusting the care of their young daughter Judy (McKenna Grace) to her responsible babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) blackmails Mary Ellen into allowing her to come over and stay with her and Judy in the Warren’s household. Using an opportunity when both Judy and Mary Ellen are out of the house, Daniela finds the artifact room (and the keys necessary to open it), and what at first appears to be idle curiosity, quickly turns into an attempt to utilize the artifacts in the room to reach out to her recently deceased father. It is in this attempt that Daniela unknowingly releases the evil in the room when she opens the case that Annabelle is in (it’s not like there was a BIG sign warning her not to do so).

Annabelle in her search for a soul, releases the full power and evil of all the artifacts in the room. Everything from an empty suit of Samurai armor to a wedding dress the drives the wearer insane is on display. Even a werewolf is released upon the world hunting an unwary suitor of Mary Ellen’s who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s up to this band of babysitters and children to restore order to the house and find a way to contain the evil that has been brought upon the world.

Annabelle Comes Home starts out fairly slow and takes awhile to build the tension. The first hour of the movie is mainly the interaction between the family and friends, and introductions to the various artifacts that are in the room. It’s not until the second half of the film when things really begin to take off. When the movie finally hits its creepy stride, it has plenty of genuine scares and intense moments, but focuses on several of the iconic artifacts and their affect on the individuals in the house.

While each of the artifacts has its own unique and interesting characteristics, we are hit with a barrage of items that are each going after one of the guests in the house. Whether it’s the television that can predict the future, or the locket that allows communication with the dead, it’s a lot to keep track of and tends to lose focus on the main plot. The movie attempts to cram every noticeable item from its previous films and give it some main purpose in the plot. In fact, the creepiest of all the artifacts Annabelle, takes on the role of evil puppet master controlling the artifacts which means less screen time and scares for her. Personally, Annabelle is scary enough to carry her own film (she has in previous installments), but in this film she is relegated to a side character, where the haunted artifacts take center stage.
The area I feel the movie loses the most is in the “believability” state. Remember that the Conjuring universe is based on real people, and on their actual encounters. Unfortunately, at no point in this film does one believe that any of these supernatural events could be mistaken for reality. It’s what I feel is the difference between a supernatural thriller and simply a monster movie. Much like other supernatural films, it’s about what you don’t see, rather than what you do, and Annabelle Comes Home unfortunately relies too much on its visuals leaving little to the viewers imagination. Imagining what a demon could look like is scarier than what Hollywood can dream up and show on the screen.

Ultimately Annabelle Comes home is a good movie which should have been great. It forgoes much of what made the series popular and replaces it with some goofy scenes and special effects. The artifacts are interesting, which makes the movie enjoyable, but not scary. I went in with hopes that I’d leave at least a little unnerved, looking under my covers, or turning the numerous dolls around that adorn my wife’s doll room. Unfortunately, I left feeling as though I’d simply been given a tour of the artifact room, with one night of scares that would disappear the next morning, as if from a bad dream. If you are looking to be scared, this movie likely won’t do that. If you are looking for an interesting movie with deeper background into the artifacts that have adorned the Warrens room for the past films, then this is the film for you.

3 out of 5 stars