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Annabelle: Creation

Detroit

Augstu 10, 2017

Annabelle: Creation (** ½) R

Annabelle: Creation, the latest in Warner Brothers/New Line’s Conjuring franchise, is about as good as you could hope in the second film outing featuring the demonic doll of the film’s title. The character was first introduced in the pre credits sequence of the first Conjuring film and it had all the ear marks of what looked like a can’t miss idea for an interesting horror film concept. Truth be told, the sequence involving Annabelle was actually scarier than anything in The Conjuring and so it came as no surprise when a separate Annabelle film made its way into multiplexes in late 2014. What was a surprise was how lackluster that film turned out be considering the potential.

Since the original Annabelle film managed to turn a hefty profit, the Conjuring team have opted to give audiences a second Annabelle chapter, one promising to give us the origin story of the doll from hell. On that premise it does deliver.

Anthony LaPaglia in Annabelle: Creation

Here we learn everything we always wanted to know-or didn’t care to know- about where the doll came from, how it came to be possessed etc. and so forth. Unfortunately, what we don’t get are enough genuine scares to make it worth the nearly two hour running time of the film, which is at least about twenty minutes too long.

A doll maker named Sam (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife (Miranda Otto) lose their daughter in a tragic accident. As a result, Sam vows never to make another doll, not knowing that the doll he made for his daughter will take on a life of its own. This is due to a pact the couple made with the forces of evil in order to communicate with their daughter from beyond the grave. Go figure!

The action then moves forward twelve years later with Sam now making the unfortunate decision to allow a group of displaced orphans to live in the house he shares with his now strangely bedridden wife. The kids move in and are told not to look in a certain room where a certain little girl and a certain little doll made a bond years ago. Of course curiosity eventually will kill a cat as savvy movie audiences most certainly know by now.

There are roughly half a dozen good scares in Annabelle: Creation. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to sustain the film’s longish running time. There are far too many stretches in between scares when I had to stifle my yawns. This chapter in the Annabelle saga may be a bit of an improvement over the last but that certainly isn’t saying much. 

Annabelle: Creation opens today, Thursday August 10, in Hickory at the AMC theater and all around the area.

Detroit (***) R   

Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) is back with her latest film based on historical events, Detroit, and it’s a welcome return to form. After a five-year layoff since her last film Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow has lost none of her directorial prowess. Her latest effort proves to be as topical as Zero Dark Thirty was at the time of its release in spite of the fact that Detroit is based on events that transpired half a century ago. Unfortunately, the events that inspired the film are all the more troubling in light of how little things seemed to have changed when one stops to think about it. With the constant news headlines blasting on a regular basis the social injustices perpetrated on minorities in the name of the law, Detroit leaves us with a sickening feeling of déjà vu if nothing else.  

The film is structured in a mostly straightforward fashion and I think that was a wise choice by Bigelow and returning screenwriter, Mark Boal.

Anthony Mackie in Detroit

There is a series of title cards in the beginning serving to enlighten the audience as to why minorities flocked to Detroit in the first half of the twentieth century. The film then depicts the reasons for the riots in July 1967 in a clear and concise way before zeroing in on a more conventional aspect of the event wherein members of the doo wop group The Dramatics were victimized by the Detroit police force along with several women they chanced to meet earlier in the evening at the Algiers hotel.   

The racists in the film are personified by the character of an officer named Krauss (Will Poulter) who is convinced that he heard a shot coming from the Algiers and won’t rest until he figures out whom the perpetrator might be. Krauss, along with several like minded officers, repeatedly carry out unspeakable acts of violence in an effort to gain the info they seek. It’s this section of the film that proves to be a little problematic in that it somewhat oversimplifies things. The fact that there is no central character with whom we can relate also proves to be a bit troublesome from a storytelling standpoint although Anthony Mackie somewhat stands out as one of the singers caught in the crossfire, so to speak.  

Bigelow and her returning collaborator, Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker) get all the details right and the viewer feels as if they’re right in the action. As far as technical achievements go Bigelow proves once again that she certainly knows what she’s doing and can go toe to toe with the best of them. Unfortunately Detroit loses a bit of steam towards the end and goes on for at least 20 minutes longer than it should. Still, this is the kind of film that demands to be seen. Especially for anyone unfamiliar with such a shameful moment in our nation’s all too recent history.

Detroit is playing at AMC in Hickory and all around the area.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

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