Who's ready for the summer movie season? We're getting a variety of new films all summer long and I thought the season had a good start with Annabelle Comes Home and Spider-Man: Far From Home. I enjoyed both movies, but they weren't perfect. Keep reading to find out more info.
Annabelle Comes Home is the most recent installment in The Conjuring franchise. This movie ties the original Conjuring films together with the Annabelle spinoffs. Ed and Lorraine Warren are demonologists who are trying to find a safe way to store a possessed doll named Annabelle. The doll is a conduit to spirits and demons, which could place human beings in harms way. All seems well when a priest blesses the doll and puts it behind a consecrated glass case. The Warrens go out of town on another case, leaving their daughter in the care of a teenage babysitter. Another girl shows up and disturbs everything in the Warrens' occult museum, allowing Annabelle to escape and awaken other malevolent entities.
This film is incredibly fun. It has great entertainment value with a variety of spirits, demons, and cursed objects. I feel like the other Conjuring movies become stale after a while, but this one stays fresh because it showcases various things. It also seems like a nice blend of horror subgenres. Annabelle Comes Home is like a classic haunted house film with elements from the teen slasher genre. Sure, it's a little cheesy sometimes, but that's part of the fun. This movie keeps the audience on their toes.
Believe it or not, the third Annabelle film is really scary. I suppose it won't scare everyone, but it definitely got my attention. The filmmakers use a variety of methods to build dread, tension, and fright. Naturally, this movie has a handful of jumps scares, as expected from the horror genre. It also has creepy entities that are both familiar and new at the same time. Some of these beings come from folklore and mythology while others appear to be original concepts. This film has violence, chase scenes, a creepy atmosphere, and tension between the human characters. You'll never be able to tell what to expect because strange things pop up all the time.
I thought the main characters were pretty decent. Unfortunately, Ed and Lorraine are only supporting characters. The film primarily focuses on the kids, but they were totally fine. McKenna Grace plays Judy Warren, Ed and Lorraine's daughter. She's a medium who can see and communicate with ghosts, like her mother. Judy is a level headed girl who grew up in a family who handles the occult. She has a lot of knowledge about their adversaries and it comes in handy during perilous situations. Judy is also quite spunky, which is an extra perk. Madison Iseman plays Mary Ellen, Judy's babysitter. She's a traditional blonde ingenue and I didn't mind. Mary is both compassionate and brave at the same time while events become increasingly grim. Katie Sarife plays Daniela Ross, Mary's friend and the trouble maker who started this entire situation. Initially, I thought her character was a cliché plot device. But she has a real motivation and her character goes through a lot of development. They were a nifty trio of young ladies in terror.
Annabelle Comes Home has a couple of minor weaknesses. Most importantly, it has some pacing issues. It takes a while for the ambiance to feel like horror. Everything is great when the momentum moves forward, but you'll have to be a little bit patient. For some reason, most or all of The Conjuring movies are somewhat slow. Pacing issues are not unusual for the horror genre, but this entire franchise seems to have a problem.
As expected, this film has horror tropes and clichés. Some of the scenes are predictable and the characters make a lot of mistakes that stir up spectral activity. There are reasons why audiences think teenagers are dumb in horror films. The new Annabelle movie falls into these pitfalls, but I figured it would happen.
Furthermore, don't expect anything masterful from the plot. I certainly hope you didn't expect a complex and artistic story with a lot of innovation because that would be unrealistic. But moviegoers are capable of strange things. The story is very basic, straight forward, and typical of a haunted house setting. It might seem underwhelming for some people, but I felt satisfied with the plot's simplicity. You might also notice some plot holes regarding the creatures. The movie doesn't give a lot of explanations or backstories, so it seems like the filmmakers are making it up along the way.
In general, I thought Annabelle Comes Home was one of the better Conjuring films. It's certainly one of the more frightening installments. I think it would be a really cool summer outing for teenagers and horror fans. Some people could probably wait for streaming, but I definitely recommend it for viewers who enjoy these types of movies. This one is going in my Blu-Ray collection.
I'll bet a lot of you want to hear about Spider-Man: Far From Home. It takes place directly after Avengers: Endgame. Many characters were brought back from the “blip” and they have to adjust in a world where other people moved on with their lives. Peter Parker and his friends go on a school field trip and it seems like the perfect opportunity to escape from his superhero duties. This plan goes sideways when elemental monsters attack Europe. A strange traveler named Quentin Beck says he and these creatures are from an alternate dimension. Should we believe this stranger or is he telling the truth? Either way, Spider-Man is getting a rude awakening on his vacation.
Far From Home has much better action scenes than Homecoming. This is a very exciting movie with wacky action sequences. If you have the opportunity to see this film in theaters, it will literally feel like you're swinging on the web with Spider-Man. The action scenes have a quick pace that build a lot of adrenaline. It's kind of different because we haven't seen Spider-Man fight large elemental creatures in previous media with the exception of Sandman and Hydro-Man. So, it feels like a new invention in the Spider-Man franchise. These characters also chew up scenery all over Europe. Venice, Prague, and London are a mess when this film is done. The choreographer uses too much shaky cam, but the overall effect works very well.
On that note, the VFX are amazing. I love the elementals and their chaos. Huge parts of the background and action are CGI and it's awesome. I've seen the other films in the MCU and this one seems more modern and cleaner. For a while, the MCU started to look like a video game, but Far From Home seems to be making a lot of progress. It also looks like a ridiculously expensive film. I believe the initial budget was one hundred and sixty million dollars, but it looks on par with Endgame. Just so you know, Endgame was a considerably more expensive movie, but you wouldn't be able to tell in terms of VFX. Also, Mysterio is still the master of illusions and he creates several trippy scenes. The CGI Spider-Man suit was a big improvement in this movie as well.
I liked the characters better in this film than Homecoming. Tom Holland is probably the most accurate version of Spider-Man and he's super relatable. He's a good kid who needs to figure out how to be a normal teenager and a superhero at the same time. It's a challenging task and he's a very likeable character. Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic as Mysterio, aka Quentin Beck. He's a dynamic character and one of the more impressive villains in the MCU. Some of you might fall for the bait in the trailers, but Mysterio was always a villain in the comics and animated tv series. It's always great to have Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan in a Marvel film. He's becoming an endearing character. I find Marisa Tomei quite entertaining as Aunt May. She's not a traditional version of the character, but she's funny, compassionate, and kind of eccentric. Zendaya seems to be more comfortable as MJ in this movie. I got a kick of her in Homecoming, but she has much more development and personality in Far From Home. Her relationship with Peter Parker is also blossoming and it's nice to see.
This film is also way more amusing than Homecoming. It's a really decent comedy, kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok. That's good because humor is an important part of the Spider-Man franchise. It's a natural part of his character and personality. Most of the funny scenes flow in and out of the story pretty well. It felt natural without being too silly.
Stay for the mid and post-credits scenes. They're really interesting and potentially significant for the next several movies in the MCU. In the past, many post-credits scenes were throwaways or jokes, but these are important. Far From Home finds meaning in quite a few nooks and crannies.
Despite being pretty decent, this movie has some flaws. Actually, it has similar issues with the Annabelle film. I wouldn't say the plot is incredible. It definitely has several plot holes and you're better off ignoring those details. Otherwise, you'll feel distracted during the movie. Some elements don't add up and quite a few of the science elements just seem like nonsense. Granted, it's a superhero film, and the genre's realm of science is usually fantasy.
This movie also has some slow moments. It's not a boring film at all, but the pacing is inconsistent. Sometimes it's really fun and energetic. Other times, it's funny or heartwarming. Then it drags periodically without warning. I think the film could have been a little bit shorter. A few scenes almost seemed like filler material and it slowed down the pace. But the MCU wants long runtimes for some reason. I guess that's part of the formula.
Should you see Far From Home in theaters? I would definitely say yes! This is a fun installment in the MCU with one of the best representations of Spider-Man. It's a cool action flick and a YA teen drama. I'm not sure if it's still playing on deluxe screens like IMAX, but that would be the best viewing experience.
Well, I liked both of those movies a lot. Hopefully, you'll feel the same. Have you seen either of these films yet? Tell me about your experience in the comment section. Thanks a lot for visiting. I don't know my next blog topic yet, but it will be cool anyway. Take care and enjoy your night at the movies.
Welcome back! Steampunk has a diverse subculture of fans, but many people aren't familiar with it. What if you're an outsider who wants to learn more about steampunk? Good news! Everybody is in your situation at the beginning. All steampunk fans begin their journey as someone who's just curious about it. I'll give you a list of basic resources that can help you get started. Pick and choose whatever seems more appealing to you.
Believe it or not, Wikipedia isn't the worst place to begin. It might not be an expert definition of the genre and subculture, but you'll get a basic understanding. Wikipedia shows a general overview, a brief history, and some examples, including photos. It's a good place to start. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk
You can find almost anything online. I enjoy certain steampunk blogs, such as Airship Ambassador and The Steampunk Explorer. Airship Ambassador is a comprehensive database of interviews, artwork, press releases, photographs, book reviews, and more. If you want to find information about upcoming events and media, Airship Ambassador is the right place to visit. Steampunk Explorer is similar, but it's more like a collection of journal articles. Either way, you'll find plenty of current information on both websites. For those of you who enjoy YouTube videos, take a look at Radio RetroFuture. Bonsart Bokel talks about various steamunk topics, incuding current events, beginner's guides, music, video games, etc. Video blogs are probably the next big thing, so Radio RetroFuture would probably be a good idea as well.
Don't be shy about steampunk events. Just try out a Google search for local steampunk festivals or Comic Cons. Many of them of are inexpensive and fun. Steampunk events are a great way to check out the subculture in person. You'll see a big variety of costumes, props, merchandise, etc. Events showcase informative panels and vendors who sell really cool products. If you're curious about steampunk accessories and books, these events would be terrific. By the way, most steampunk fans are quite open minded and friendly to newcomers. You could probably ask various steampunk fans about their experience in the subculture and it would be quite informative.
For those of you who spend time on Facebook, check out some of the steampunk groups. Steampunk Tendencies and Steampunkorama are a couple of the more active steampunk groups. Normally, people need to join these groups to find out more information, but that's okay. I'm sure they'll be happy to receive open minded newcomers. These groups primarily show photos and artwork. Steampunk is a highly visual genre, so photos of cosplay, crafts, and other things are a useful way to learn more details. Here's what I recommend. Log in to Facebook and type the word steampunk in the search bar. You'll probably find multiple groups and topics about steampunk.
Check out Barnes & Noble if you're an avid reader. I don't have any trouble finding steampunk books on shelves. However, you might not feel like venturing to the bookstore. That's fine too because everything is available on Amazon. Just type in the word steampunk and see what pops up. It's also worth mentioning that several indie authors sell their work on Amazon, including me. Many people don't have the option of selling their work through major publishers, so self-publishing on Amazon is a great option. The quality of many indie books are quite impressive, so give it a chance. Naturally, the major steampunk books are terrific as well. Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series are nice Victorian fantasies. The same is true about the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. If you prefer dystopian settings, the Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest and Mortal Engines quartet by Philip Reeve would be a good place to start. Additional steampunk works include Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris. Even comic books have decent steampunk representation. I'm a fan of Lady Mechanika and Gotham by Gaslight. You can also go back to the authors who inspired modern steampunk scribes. I would recommend anything from H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and H.P. Lovecraft. The Sherlock Holmes books are fabulous if you enjoy mysteries. Also, The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer is a nice introduction to steampunk for beginners.
There's also a small collection of steampunk films. I would recommend The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Victor Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Crimson Peak, The Golden Compass, Mortal Engines, and The Prestige. There are also a couple of anime gems, such as Howl's Moving Castle and Steamboy.
I haven't forgotten about the gamers. There are several video games with steampunk influences. Some of my favorites are BioShock: Infinite, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, the Dishonored series, and The Order: 1886. I'll throw in the other BioShock games as well, even though they're actually dieselpunk.
Truthfully, it's hard to understand steampunk if your knowledge about the Victorian period is limited. You don't need to make the experience long and excruciating. Check out the Victorian era on Wikipedia for some light reading. I would also recommend some exploration on The Victorian Web. It's an interesting database about Victorian culture, literature, technology, politics, music, etc. Just flip through anything that looks appealing.
Don't forget to check through Google Images for steampunk costumes and photos. I already said steampunk is highly visual. Therefore, photos of steampunk cosplayers, models, artwork, and merchandise is a good way to understand the basic aesthetic.
I can't think of many steampunk television shows, but there are many Victorian period pieces and fantasies, such as Ripper Street, Victoria, The Alienist, Murdoch Mysteries, Penny Dreadful, and Dracula. I'm not completely sure about the upcoming series of His Dark Materials on HBO. It's another adaptation of The Golden Compass, but it might be more of a dieselpunk version.
Last but not least, here's a link to my author page on Amazon. It's an easy hub if you want to purchase my steampunk books. The Post-Apocalyptic Society is available in three volumes and it's a lot different than some of today's steampunk work.
This post should give you plenty of options to learn about steampunk. Check out information at your leisure and have fun. Ironically, steampunk is everywhere and you've probably seen it many times. I hope this post was helpful. Leave any thoughts and suggestions in the comment section. Thanks a lot for visiting and I'll see you next week.
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