All posts by Ainsley Peace

Content writer, playwright, screenwriter and author, By the Lake and Featured Silence on Amazon.

Netflix Pick of the Week: The Secret Garden

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Childhood Favorite 

A childhood favorite I use as a comfort blanket, The Secret Garden to stream online. Enjoy this today’s Netflix Pick of the Week: The Secret Garden.

Adapted from the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden follows a young girl from a wealthy family who loses her parents during an earthquake in India. Having all the possessions she could desire but she lacked the affection of her parents, Mary has grown into a contrary girl lacking social skills and compassion.

After her parents passing Mary is sent to live with her Uncle who is always away and her cousin who she knows very little about. There is meets and interacts mostly with servants who don’t treat her the same way she is used to being treated in India. As a child, I used to mimic and repeat the lines of both Mary and Martha. Lost in the giant mansion in the English Moores, Mary exits the gothic hallways and ventures out on her own. Outside she comes in contact with Dickon, brother to Martha. They strick up a hostile relationship that soon turns to friendship. Outside, Mary finds her aunts garden, a place her mother and Aunt (they were twins) used to play as young girls. The secret garden soon opens up Mary’s heart and she comes alive with it.

One of the most important films of my childhood, The Secret Garden is a forever favorite that I will revisit with nostalgic wonder. I own two elephants similar to the one Mary has that belonged to her mother. This little piece of trivia still manages to make me happy. If you are looking for a movie that will send you back on childhood adventures, will make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings, head on over to Netflix now.

 

 

Suspense Saturday: It (2017)

 

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Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise

Suspense Saturday: It (2017)

Three times I have sat in a movie theatre, laughing and jumping with each joke and scare. A horror movie fan since a young age I have devoured several of them, old and new, gore and psychological over the course of my young life. Some I have watched for therapeutic reasons, some to be entertained and others for the story. It (2017) manages to fall into all of those categories for me. With a coming of age story at its helm, the deaths of bully’s and the talent it took to make this film, It surpasses many other horror films and as it ages it will be deemed a classic of the genre.

When it comes around to purchasing the film I will probably watch the film several more times before I become bored of it. Only then will I wait to watch it again when the novelty wears off and I will revisit it like returning to an old friend.

As someone who has not read the complete novel but has read about the story and engaged in several conversations about, It, I will say that I believe the film is a worthy adaptation of the source material. However, my opinion is based solely as a viewer.

I saw the original film/miniseries a few times in the past but despite my love of Tim Curry I do prefer Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise and find this adaptation far superior. With a talented cast, a great script and wonderful effects it is no wonder that It has surpassed the half-a-million mark at the box office. It has also surpassed The Exorcist as the highest grossing horror film of all time.

 

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Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley

 

Opening to critical acclaim and making box office records, It, is far more than a horror movie. A coming-of-age tale about a group of outsiders that come together to face their biggest fears and save the town, It turns children into superheroes.

No matter how old you get the children of the story are the ones you will relate to. We all are or have been children and far too often we forgot what it was like to be young. Consistently silenced, talked over and dealing with peoples refusal to listen, children are smart and observant but as we get older we forget to listen. As adults, we deal with many of the same issues. We are silenced, talked over and people refuse to listen to us. No matter how old you get the children of the story are and will remain the most relatable aspect of any story and It, showcases that incredibly well.

You might not expect to laugh your laurels off while watching a movie about a mysterious entity that takes the form of a clown (or maybe you do) but It, brings the laughs. With a young and talented cast, It has many memorable lines and moments that are sure to put a smile on your face. The relationships between these children as they deal with what it means to be a “loser”, as they go on misadventures and face death head-on grows. The kids also show a lot of personal growth as they face Pennywise and their very personal issues at home.

Female sexuality (especially in young girls) is a difficult topic to deal with in a film. It is a difficult topic to bring up in any form mainly due to the continued over-sexualization of young girls and women. It has come to be something dirty and when we face it head on it is considered something even worse. While we have no problem portraying the evolving sexuality of males at any age, sexuality in women seems to be a subject that cultures spanning far and wide have difficulty embracing. In certain corners of the world, we are evolving to show stronger women who are embracing their sexuality and we are unafraid to show it. In It, Beverly Marsh is a young girl afraid of her own sexuality and what it means to be women. Afraid of walking into her own home, Beverly is her daddy’s “girl” and every time we see her with him an uncomfortable feeling washes over you. The victim of her father’s perversion and the cruelty of the kids at school, Beverly has a reputation in the town of Derry, Maine for being a slut. Bev doesn’t just lay there and take it, she is a kind girl who befriends new kid Ben and later helps the boys retrieve supplies to clean and bandage a wound. As she faces Pennywise, Beverly also faces her father and her impending womanhood.

It (2017) is a film that might surprise you. The films greatest strength (and it has many) is the kids that make up the cast. They have great chemistry, play well off each other and it appears that they are having fun. That stands out on screen and the film is made that much more enjoyable because of it. Bill’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown will send shivers down your spine as he salivates at the children’s fear. A well-written cinematic adventure, It, is sure to be on our minds for years to come.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Gerald’s Game

 

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Based on the novel by Stephen King, Gerald’s Game is a Netflix original Directed by Mike Flanagan. Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood

Netflix Pick of the Week: Gerald’s Game is the most recent adaptation from Stephen’s Kings massive body of work. Gerald’s Game comes after critical falure, The Dark Tower, the highest grossing horror film of all time, It, and TV adaptations of The Mist and Mr. Mercedes.

The Stephen King renaissance is among us with several new adaptations and remakes from the Master of Horror. Some have not succeeded in bringing the material to life and not all of them can live up to the recent adaptation of It, but Gerald’s Game is a great film that manages to take tricky subject matter and turn it into 103 min of entertainment.

Spoiler Alert: Gerald’s Game was released on Netflix on Sept 29th. This post doesn’t reveal everything about the film but does dive into much of the story. If you want to watch the film completely spoiler free stop here.

 

Gerald’s Game follows, married couple, Gerald, and Jessie as they head out to their remote lake house in order to spice things up. The fridge is stocked with expensive foods, the gardeners and maids have been at work making the place look as good as new. With no one there to disturb them, Gerald takes his viagra and Jessie slips into a silky nightgown. Soon things take a turn for the worst and it doesn’t stop there. While engaged in foreplay that turns sour from the couple, Gerald has a heart attack leaving Jessie alone and handcuffed to the bedpost. Over the next few days, she suffers hallucinations, comes in contact with a stray dog and a man who may or may not be real. As time passes Jessie faces her past and must figure out to survive.

Trigger Warning: If you have suffered from or if sexual abuse has played a part in your life this film might be triggering to you. It deals with abuse as a child and the psychological effects that the silencing of abuse causes to victims in later life.

Gerald’s Game is psychological horror at its best. The film showcases a complex woman who was the victim of sexual abuse. The abuse she suffered as a child turned her into a prisoner and the handcuffs are used as a metaphor throughout the story. During the run of the film Jessie suffers, unsurprisingly from a breakdown and she must get through her hallucinations to survive. At the end of it all, it is her persistent efforts that save her life.

The film reminds us the importance of “no” and what it means to listen to your partner. Everyone has their comfort zones and they have them for whatever reason. If someone says “no” or tells you to “stop” do it. Just because you are comfortable doesn’t mean they will be or have to be.

I have yet to read the source material but I can imagine that it may have been a challenge to adapt a story that takes place in a person’s mind. It is not however surprising that the script is successful due to Flanagan’s reputation. He is the Writer/Director of Hush and the Director of Ouji: Origin of Evil.

For lovers of Psychological Horror and Suspense, Gerald’s Game is a great opportunity to check out the beauty of simplicity in a film.

If you have read the novel and consider this a worthy adaptation of the source material comment below. Also, comment if you have some qualms about the adaptation or story itself.

Supernatural Sunday: The Conjuring

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

One of the best ghost stories and haunted house thrillers in years, The Conjuring follows the famed Warrens as they investigate the haunting of the Perron family after they move into a farmhouse in Rhode Island.

The Warren’s, by the time of this case were not as well known as they would later become. A year prior to investigating the Perron’s residence they became involved with Possessed doll Annabelle. Their encounter with her is scene in the opening of this film. After this case they would later become one of the teams to investigate the Amityville haunting. While many of their cases have been greatly criticized and debunked, the Perron haunting hasn’t experienced as much backlash. That was until the films release. The current residents are suing Warner Brothers for damages after their home has been targeted several times.

Considered one of the best Supernatural Thrillers in years, The Conjuring doesn’t oversaturate itself with jump scares, relying heavily on its atmospheric tone and the suspense in the silence. James Wan, writers Chad and Carey W. Hayes and the actors all stir the pot and create an excellent ghost story that is soon to be considered a classic in the genre.

Not only is this films success based on the opinions of the relative few, The Conjuring has also experienced financial success. While Annabelle the prequel/spinoff wasn’t as successful The Conjuring 2 was a success and other prequels, sequels and spinoffs are said to be great as well. While The Conjuring carries a lot of weight with it there is no shame and in trying to take its energy and put it into another film. We all know how success works in Hollywood and when you find something that brings in the mula you usually try to milk it for what it is worth and The Conjuring is worth a lot.

One of the best ghost stories and haunted house thrillers in years, The Conjuring follows the famed Warrens as they investigate the haunting of the Perron family after they move into a farmhouse in Rhode Island.

The Warren’s, by the time of this case were not as well known as they would later become. A year prior to investigating the Perron’s residence they became involved with Possessed doll Annabelle. Their encounter with her is scene in the opening of this film. After this case they would later become one of the teams to investigate the Amityville haunting. While many of their cases have been greatly criticized and debunked, the Perron haunting hasn’t experienced as much backlash. That was until the films release. The current residents are suing Warner Brothers for damages after their home has been targeted several times.

Considered one of the best Supernatural Thrillers in years, The Conjuring doesn’t oversaturate itself with jump scares, relying heavily on its atmospheric tone and the suspense in the silence. James Wan, writers Chad and Carey W. Hayes and the actors all stir the pot and create an excellent ghost story that is soon to be considered a classic in the genre.

Not only is this films success based on the opinions of the relative few, The Conjuring has also experienced financial success. While Annabelle the prequel/spinoff wasn’t as successful The Conjuring 2 was a success and other prequels, sequels and spinoffs are said to be great as well. While The Conjuring carries a lot of weight with it there is no shame and in trying to take its energy and put it into another film. We all know how success works in Hollywood and when you find something that brings in the mula you usually try to milk it for what it is worth and The Conjuring is worth a lot.

Suspense Saturday: The Sixth Sense

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

I remember the first time I saw The Sixth Sense. While my surroundings are blurry, I can reach back into my memory and recall exactly how this film made me feel. By nine years old I had already fallen deeply in love with cinema so I could easily tell you that this movie had one of the best twists ever. This may come as a shock to those of you who have experienced more of M. Night Shyamalan’s failures than his successes but The Sixth Sense was one of the best films of the year.
The Sixth Sense follows child psychologist Malcom Crowe after he is confronted by a former patient. Shaken by the encounter, Crowe takes on the task of attempting to cure a young boy who “sees dead people.”
Inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? The Sixth Sense has a depth that many ghost stories and horror films were lacking at the time. The emotional impact far outweighs many horror films with its use of child psychology and very personal fears. Cole, played by Haley Joel Osment, who was best known for playing the titular character’s young son, gave a memorable performance as the young boy plagued by literal ghosts.
There are probably very few people that don’t know the twist of this movie. With the wide variety of content that is constantly being released there is a chance you won’t be as surprised as the audiences that originally saw it. As you go into this movie let go of all the baggage that comes with ghost stories, horror films and movies directed by Shyamalan. Allow yourself to be swept up by the psychological thriller. It’s slow pace and lack of gore make it the perfect horror movie for people who don’t love horror movies.

TV Tuesday: Zoo

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

Loosely based on the novel by James Patterson, Zoo was quite the surprise when I decided to watch it. I am glad that I finally jumped on it as there are many aspects of this show that play into our very real fears. It makes us question our place on the food chain and puts at the very bottom as animals begin to attack humans. The investigations bring’s together five very different individuals, tour guides Abraham Kenyatta and Jackson Oz, French Intelligence Officer Chloe Tousignant, Veterinary Pathologist Mitch Morgan and Journalist Jamie Campbell. Caught up in the investigations the team leads their old lives behind and realize that even when fighting the animals, humans really are the worlds worst predators.

There has been a lot of growth in the series and not all of it has been beneficial. It is normal to lose characters early on and new ones to be added. The changes that occurred in the second season may have changed things up quite a bit the added characters gave the show something more as the story developed and the problem grew larger. Now the show is in its third season complete with time jump and major character development it appears that the story may have take far too many sharp turns. What I loved about the first season with the viability and honesty that came with it. It was an adventure and the characters were relatable but still gave us someone to live through. I was enthralled with the story but as I went into season three I realized that so much about what made seasons one and two enjoyable are missing.

While I wouldn’t be so quick to recommend the series were it is now I would gladly send someone over to Netflix to watch the first two seasons. Two strong, independent female leads who don’t sacrifice their femininity for strength stands out. Friendships and a growing familia bond that is embraced over the course of the first two seasons adds to the heartbreak that comes with fighting the war on humans, a war that many of the audience members probably understand.

Zoo may take the story to extremes but as you watch this show you will probably embrace some of those fears we once thought as irrational while nodding along to the fears that are all too real on a daily basis. We are often told not to be afraid of animals because they are more afraid of us. Now I am beginning to think that is part of the problem.

More Than a Little Black Dress: Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and UNICEF

Audrey Hepburn, UNICEF ambassador in Ethiopia

What do you think of when you hear the name Audrey Hepburn? Most people will picture her in a little black dress with a slender cigarette holder between her fingers but we should see her as so much more. Before she was Holly Golightly, Hepburn appeared in many successful films including her first film and Oscar winning performance in Roman Holiday opposite Gregory Peck. She would appear with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden in Sabrina and dance with Fred Astaire in Funny Face. With a long and successful career, Hepburn can easily be seen as an overrated star considering the fact that it is her image in that black dress with a string of pearls around her neck that stands out. What should stand out is the work she did after her long film career. Audrey Hepburn was an ambassador for UNICEF. That was the work she was most proud of and that is how we should remember her.

Born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1926 in Brussels, Belgium, Audrey Hepburn lived a privileged life during her younger years. Due to her father’s job, the family traveled and relocated several times before finally settling in Brussels. Eventually the family would help raise money for the British Union of Fascists before her father left the family for London where he would become more involved in Fascism. This was a turning point in young Audrey’s life and it began the downfall of the family. As World War II broke out, Audrey’s mother relocated the family to the Netherlands believing that they would stay neutral and no harm would come to them there. Sadly things didn’t go as planned. The Nazi’s invaded, her uncle was killed, one brother went to a work camp and the other went on the run. It’s these horrific happenings in her early life that would later inspire her and influence her work with UNICEF.

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When the war ended in 1945, Hepburn moved with her family to Amsterdam where she began studying Ballet. Her aspirations to be a prima ballerina were lost when she was told that her height and weak constitution made it impossible. Hepburn decided to focus on acting and she moved to London. Here she would find success after work as a chorus girl when she was offered a role in her future Tony Award Winning performance in the Broadway adaptation of the film Gigi.

As 1953 rolled around, Audrey Hepburn’s life was looking better than ever. An appearance in Roman Holiday, the film that would win her the Academy Award, catapulted her to stardom. After her first Hollywood film, Audrey went on to have a successful career in the US. Popular among female audiences, Audrey’s most iconic role came in 1961 when she was cast as Holly Golightly in the adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her Holly is far different the novella’s Holly. The film traded in the book’s Teenage Blonde with a more appropriately aged brunette; and today we can’t imagine anyone else in the role.

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While Hepburn continued to work into the seventies it was her work in the eighties and to her death that should be what we remember her for. Her work with UNICEF has changed lives and spread the word for the wonderful organization. Her work in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Vietnam would lead to being awarded the Presidential Medal for Freedom. After a successful film career and a remarkable resume, the work we should remember is the efforts she put in to making the lives of starving children something we were all forced to see.

There is something that attracts so many young women to Audrey Hepburn. I have a picture of her on my wall. I love her movies and anytime I see her image I automatically take note. In the end, we should look past the surface and see the beautiful soul that lived inside this remarkable woman. If you want to honor her, do what you can to help those who are less fortunate. Remember money isn’t the only thing you can give. Your time is also valuable, as are the clothes in your closet you don’t wear and the books on your shelf you don’t read. I challenge you to look into the work Audrey and to research UNICEF for yourself. When you watch a film, or even think of her, share a link on your social media pages. The list of things we can do to help our fellow humans is long so let’s make Audrey Hepburn proud and participate in making this world a better place.

http://www.audreyhepburn.com, https://www.unicef.org