Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Is the Pick of the Week

My wife and I bought a house a few months back. We are first-time home buyers. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but we got a good deal on it. I’ve enjoyed making improvements on it. There really is something special about owning your own home. Even mowing the yard isn’t so bad because it’s my yard I’m mowing.

We live in what I’d call a lower middle-class neighborhood. It’s filled with renters, those who have moved up a notch from renting, and first time buyers like us. The neighbors are nice, if a little more redneck than I’m used to, and we are really enjoying living here.

Driving home from lunch yesterday, we immediately saw police cars blocking one entrance to our street. Turning the other way, we then noticed more cop cars and several fire trucks sitting right near our house. A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach overcame me as I prayed our house was okay. This was followed by, I hate to admit, a sense of elation as I saw the fumes of smoke coming from our neighbor’s house. Followed immediately by a saddened sense of empathy as I couldn’t imagine what they must be going through.

By the time we arrived, the fire had been put out, only having consumed most of the kitchen. The smoke and the water will have ruined much of everything else but at least the structure remains sound. We chatted briefly with the home owners, ensuring they had a place to rest their heads for the night and letting them know we want to help. The whole neighborhood gathered around offering their helps as well.

Then we went inside, hugged each other and felt both the fear of “what if that had happened to us?” and the great relief that it hadn’t.

That’s a really heavy intro to what appears to be a rather lighthearted and idiosyncratic film, but Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has the word “home” in its title and when I’ve spent an evening being every so thankful for my own home, this is what you get.

Based upon Ransom Riggs novel by the same name, the film was adapted by Tim Burton and stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Dame Judi Dench, Terence Stamp, and Samuel L. Jackson. That’s a great cast and the plot, centering on a group of peculiar children who have various strange powers and physical oddities and are also stuck in a time loop from 1943, is a cool premise. But Tim Burton hasn’t done anything interesting in a long time and the reviews for this one have not been great either.

Still, I’m intrigued enough (and perhaps remain hopeful in Burton’s career though he has let me down so) to be excited about this. If nothing else, my daughter will love it and it let me think a little more about my own home (and peculiar child) and how lucky I am to have them.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Suicide Squad: The only film in DC’s recent theatrical output that I’ve seen did look interesting, but turned out to be terrible. What a squalid, festering mess this movie is. The Blu-ray comes with an extended cut but I can’t imagine any extra scene could shine this turd into gold.

The Asphalt Jungle (Criterion Collection): John Huston’s classic heist flick gets the Criterion treatment.

Florence Foster Jenkins: Stephen Frears directs Meryl Streep as the titular character – an heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer despite having a terrible voice. Also stars Rebecca Ferguson and Hugh Grant. I like Frears a good deal and one can never go wrong with Streep.

Ben-Hur: Why does modern Hollywood seem bent on remaking every classic (and not so classic) film in their vaults? It must make them some nice profits because it sure does not seem to be about trying to make something good. Why anyone thought Ben-Hur needed to be redone is beyond me, but here we have it.

Bridget Jones’ Baby: And of course if they aren’t remaking a classic they are giving us sequels nobody was asking for. The first Bridget Jones was cute, but not so cute that I cared to watch the sequel. Some 15 years later, I surely don’t care enough to watch this half-baked effort.

Roma (Criterion Collection): Federico Fellini’s love letter to the Italian capital. I’ve not seen it – I’ve not seen much Fellini to tell the truth and I doubt this is the place to start, but for those who love it, you can never go wrong with Criterion.

Star Trek: The Original Series – The Roddenberry Vault: Throughout the original series production Gene Roddenberry kept all of the shot footage that was edited out of what actually made it to air. This set restores the outtake footage to 12 episodes. Plus, it’s got new commentaries, documentaries, and interviews.

Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season: I gave up on The Walking Dead somewhere in season 3. Haven’t given this one a shot. Yet.

Morgan: Ridley Scott’s son Luke direct’s this sci-fi thriller about Kate Mara deciding whether or not a humanoid robot that’s gone rogue should be destroyed or not.

Creepshow 2 (Arrow Video): I had completely forgotten there was a sequel to Creepshow. Leave it to Arrow to remind me of bad movies I ought to learn to love. This one was directed by Michael Gomick and features three short films based on Stephen King stories.

Mat Brewster

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