It's 1630 and William, his wife Katherine and their children have been forced to move from their settlement to a farm in New England situated on the edge of a mysterious, but terrifying forest. They are God-fearing Puritans, who just wish to lead a simple life and spend their hours harvesting crops. However, it isn't long before their crops begin to weaken and the farm animals develop disturbing and unnatural behaviours. Things take a horrific turn when the couple's young baby disappears without a trace while daughter Thomasin was playing with him. She's accused of dabbling in witchcraft by her own family, though she takes it upon herself to uncover the dark magic that surrounds them and retrieve her sibling. Meanwhile, her brother is suffering under demonic possession. Can this family unite to fight against this plague of evil? Or will it ultimately draw them apart?
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As he did in Amelie, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet tells a simple fable with witty visuals, colourful characters and a warm heart. It's an utterly winning story of tenacity that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in their own family. Which is pretty much everyone. So even if it feels a bit light and goofy, it has a strong emotional kick.
On a sprawling Montana ranch, 10-year-old TS (Kyle Catlett) couldn't be much different from his twin brother Layton (Jakob Davis). While TS questions the laws of nature, Layton is a boyish cowboy like their dad (Callum Keith Rennie). And their teen sister Gracie (Niamh Wilson) and insect-obsessed mother (Helena Bonham Carter) are just as individualistic. So no one notices when TS enters his perpetual-motion machine into a competition and wins a top accolade from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. But the competition official (Judy Davis) hasn't a clue that TS is only 10, or that he has run away from home to hitchhike cross-country to accept his award.
Based on the Reif Larsen novel, the story has a whiff of the fantastical about it, only occasionally reflecting the real dangers the young and prodigious TS would face on his epic journey. But that's not the point: told through TS's limited perspective, this is a story about discovery. TS may think he's capable of anything a grown-up can do, but there are some very hard truths waiting both on the road and back home. And he's also about to learn that there might actually be some benefits to being a little boy.
Continue reading: T.S. Spivet Review
T.S. Spivet is a child prodigy fascinated with the world of cartography and invention and only 10-years-old. He lives in an isolated part of Montana on a ranch with his cowboy-obsessed father and his entomologist mother, as well as his teenage sister Gracie and his twin brother Layton. One day, he receives a telephone call from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. who wish to offer him the prestigious Baird Prize for his latest invention. He wants to accept the award, despite the institute thinking he is an adult scientist, and so he sets out on a journey by himself, intending to catch the next freight train. Meanwhile, however, he is haunted by a dark secret involving Layton, and he must learn to come to terms with past events.
Tarantino's face is the largest one on the cover of the film, his name is bigger than the title of the movie... and frankly, he had nothing to do with it.
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It's clear from the almost corporeal sense of time and place achieved in "The Claim," a tightly-wound melodrama set during the twilight of the Gold Rush, that director Michael Winterbottom made a very great effort to bring a broad vision to the screen.
The beautifully photographed High Sierra township of Kingdom Come, where the film is set, stirs with a sense of hardship and rugged lives. It feels entrenched against the harsh wintry elements that besiege it. It feels civilized but dangerous. It's a place for people who sold their souls to thrive, or maybe just to survive.
Daniel Dillon (Peter Mullan) runs this town -- scratch that, he owns it. But it came at a greedy price that has haunted him for 18 years. Trekking west as a young '49er, Dillon swapped his wife and baby daughter to a miner in exchange for his claim -- a claim that made him the rich and powerful baron.
Continue reading: The Claim Review
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