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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 (7535 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.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
2019 | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Annabelle's Horror Doesn't Live Up To The Hype In Her Homecoming
Annabelle is a 2019 supernatural/horror movie written and directed by Gary Dauberman and from screenplay co-written by James Wan. The film was alos produced by James Wan and Peter Safran and by New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster Productions and The Safran Company and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The movie stars Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, and Vera Farmiga.

Four years after Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmigia) brought the Annabelle doll into their home, they leave Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), a babysitter, in charge of their daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace) while they investigate a case overnight. Mary Ellen's friend Daniela (Katie Sarife), sneaks into the artifact when she comes over uninvited and accidentally leaves Annabelle's glass case unlocked causing the terror that ensues.

This movie was pretty good. I liked it and thought that it was genuinely scary in certain parts for a PG-13 movie, but then afterwards I looked it up and saw that it was rated R. I don't feel that this movie lived up to its potential, it being rated R and also being in The Conjuring franchise. The plot felt very loose and not very put together and instead of being about the couple, it centered on their daughter. This I felt definitely made it feel a little scarier since she has none of the experience and knowledge of her parents when it comes to fighting these evil forces but I felt the audience was robbed of a better story the franchise could have told with the parents not really being involved at all. Also I felt that they tried to add too many ghosts/characters for one movie, which was kind of cool in certain ways but also seemed less because of it. All in all, if you like The Conjuring franchise you'll like this movie and I give it a 6/10.

JT (276 KP) rated Annabelle Comes Home (2019) in Movies

Mar 2, 2020 (Updated Mar 10, 2020)  
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
2019 | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
The Conjuring Universe has grown steadily over the years. The introduction of Annabelle was a sinister spin-off for a genre that was kicked started in terrifying style by James Wan. Since then it’s been up and down. The Conjuring spawned a sequel, with one more scheduled for next year. The Nun was introduced (poorly in my opinion) and with this, Annabelle has her trilogy.

Paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are back again. The opening events serve as a continuation of the first film. When they leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace), in the hands of babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) and her friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) the inquizitive trio release the unwanted entity into the house.

These films are a mine field of jump scares and elongated tension. But that seems to be lacking as it takes time to really get going. When it does it is nothing that we haven’t experienced before. There are a few effective moments. Ghosts with coins on their eyes and a woman in a wedding dress provide some spine chilling scenes – but that is as far as it goes.
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
God help me I don't know why I went to see this.

The Warrens have contained Annabelle, her influence is safely blocked by a box crafted from sacred glass and they've locked her up in their artefact room. A year goes by without incident, but when their babysitter's friend visits unannounced, curious and looking for answers, the relative peace of the house is shattered.

Daniela unwittingly unleashes Annabelle's power onto the house and the three of them inside. The spirits in the Warren's basement are gradually escaping and coming out to play.

While me and horror don't mix, I do occasionally like the idea behind some of them. A story about objects with power like Annabelle Comes Home really appealed to me as I'm a fan of this sort of supernatural malarkey. As such, I decided to suck it up and be brave. I'm mainly glad I gave it a go... mainly.

This is the first horror film I have ever seen that has had any effect on me after seeing it. Most I just forget about and move on to the next, Annabelle Comes Home really messed with me though. I got up in the night and when I got back to bed I thought about it for the briefest moment and spent the next hour with the light on scrolling through Pinterest. Even when watching it at the cinema there were genuine moments where I was scared, not just the jumping out of my seat kind. Actually, I was impressed that it didn't just rely on the jump scare as a way of getting to its audience. More movies are doing that these days and it just feels like a very cheap way of trying for horror.

The scares here were much more... subtle... but subtle is absolutely not the right words. What I mean is that they were crafted in a much better and natural way than something popping out and screaming in your face. There is a moment with the bride where the shot genuinely moves so swiftly that it's almost inducing panic in you because you can't quite work out what's happening.

All of the spirits in the house are incredibly well done visually. The Ferryman in particular is very effective, it's amazing how something as simple as the sound of coins can add to the tension. When I said "all" at the beginning of this paragraph I did overstate slightly, there's one exception. Sadly Bob (our bit part love interest) is stuck outside trying to fend off a werewolf. I feel like the chances are high that he was designed for a Scooby Doo movie that was never produced. It's got a slightly cartoonish quality to it and when you add in the excess of rolling fog it becomes the least believable of all the unbelievable things.

Speaking of Bob, as a character, while adorable, does feel out of place as well. But the addition of this lighter storyline probably saved me from having a complete breakdown right in the cinema.

Daniela, the girl who can't read warning labels, left me annoyed. She's curious and looking for answers but it also feels like she's not convinced that the Warrens are for real. Either way, why would you play with the thing that is not only inside a locked room, but inside a locked box inside the locked room and has a very clear sign saying not to open it? Surely the only thing that's inside the box apart from a creepy doll and a chair is eternal damnation.

I thought that Madison Iseman as the babysitter Mary Ellen was a really good call in this. She's incredibly believable throughout and managed not to overact. Let's face it, there's always a strong chance of that in horror.

Finding out that Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson were barely in it was extremely disappointing. They're both good actors with a host of top roles under their belts and I'd been looking forward to seeing them on screen together. Once the set up is done though it's over to the younger cast members as Ed and Lorraine Warren go off on a trip. They do appear later in the film, but only after the action's conclusion to participate in the bizarrely conceived ending.

Mckenna Grace managed to deal with some of the creepy moments really well but I didn't feel like there was really much for her to do. Everything was very much guided by Mary Ellen and Daniela, and when she did get a moment on the screen it was swiftly snatched away by something else. Potentially by design I guess, but there wasn't much chance to make the role come alive.

I've not seen any of the other films in this franchise, and honestly, probably won't now. If someone who has could tell me if the others are as formulaic as this one I would appreciate it. I'm not saying formulaic is bad, sometimes knowing what's coming is easier to deal with, I'm sure it really helped me with this film. Near the beginning we have a sequence that gives you a checklist of things to wait for. Would I have stuck it out if I hadn't known what to look out for? Would some of those things scared me enough to leave? We'll never know.

I'm glad I managed to stick with it, the idea had been what really intrigued me and I feel like that came through well. Despite other issues with predictability and characters I actually enjoyed this film.

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