The horror world has no shortage of evil dolls whose stories have been told, from Annabelle to Chucky to Talky Tina and beyond. Recently, M3GAN joined that club, and I have a feeling she won’t be going away anytime soon.
Released last weekend, “M3GAN” follows the eponymous artificially intelligent doll who develops self-awareness and becomes hostile to anyone who comes between her and her human companion. She is brought to life by Funki roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams) as a companion for her niece, Cady (Violet McGraw) when she comes to live with her after her parents’ fatal car accident.
To start off, the movie definitely has quite a bit of creativity behind it, starting with the opening scene, which is a commercial for a new toy from Gemma’s company. The nostalgia factor was high and definitely reminded me of basically every toy commercial I ever saw growing up, and it also kind of reminded me of some of the “it” toys that were around when I was younger. It’s a very clever way to open the movie and definitely took me back, and I’m sure other viewers have memories of particular toy commercials from when they were growing up. Since Christmas has just come and gone, I also couldn’t help but think “Is this what EVERY toy company goes through when it comes to the holiday season?”
The week of Christmas saw several releases on Netflix and other streaming services and with last weekend being free for me due to being the New Year’s holiday, I decided to take in a few of them, including the movie adaptation of “Matilda: The Musical,” which officially dropped Christmas day.
For those who are unaware, the musical is based on the Roald Dahl 1988 novel and follows Matilda Wormwood, a young girl with the gift of telekinesis who loves reading, overcomes obstacles caused by her family and school’s bullying headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and helps her teacher, Miss Honey, reclaim her life. Having never seen the musical (though I am aware of its existence), I went into this adaptation rather blind, which ultimately ended up being beneficial.
To start off, the talent they got for this musical adaptation was chosen VERY well. Alisha Weir leads the cast as the titular young heroine and even at her age, she’s got talent in spades and I foresee a very bright future for her. She’s able to showcase all of Matilda’s emotions so very well and her big blue eyes can turn from soft to bordering on angry/passionate almost instantly, and she showcases that particularly when she’s telling her side story of the Escapologist and the Acrobat. Weir’s singing is also very good and I think she would do very well in the musical theatre world if she keeps with it, with my favorite song of her’s being Matilda’s signature tune, “Naughty.” Emma Thompson also did a fantastic job as Matilda’s ruthless (and quite frankly, rather sadistic) headmistress, Miss Trunchbull and there were multiple times throughout the movie when even I was scared of what she was going to do next, and not without good reason. Thompson strikes a good balance and is able to keep Miss Trunchbull a villain without necessarily making the character a caricature, and she brings that energy toward her musical numbers as well. I also have to applaud whoever was in charge of Thompson’s makeup because they did an AMAZING job and if I hadn’t already known she was in the movie, I legitimately might not have initially recognized her.
What happens when a group of friends meets up for a weekend of murder mystery fun that turns more realistic than anticipated? Well, if you’re film director Rian Johnson, you turn that into a movie for Netflix.
Last week, Johnson’s anticipated “Knives Out” sequel, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” was released on Netflix and it’s a movie I’ve actually been looking forward to for quite a while. The movie follows detective Benoit Blanc (reprised by Daniel Craig) as he joins a rather disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) for their annual reunion. Like any good mystery, everyone harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. But when one of the guests actually turns up dead the first night of the festivities, everyone suddenly becomes a suspect.
I first have to give praise to the movie’s Greek setting, because it is absolutely gorgeous. From shots of the Aegean Sea to other parts of the island where the bulk of the movie takes place, everything is so pretty and everyone involved should count themselves lucky to have been part of the project purely because they got to visit Greece. Every outdoor scene is basically a perfect vista and there were multiple times throughout the movie when I couldn’t help but let out a “WOW.” Keeping with the movie’s design, I was also rather stunned by the indoor scenes. Just about everything in the main mansion (including the Glass Onion of the title) strikes that balance of elegant yet gaudy and the overall effect is very well done.