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Review: ‘The Conjuring 2’ Has Ghosts Worth The Boasts

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Conjuring 2 MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ames Wan returns to his world of hauntings with more inspiration than you’d expect for a sequel to 2013’s surprise hit The Conjuring. He has an eye for the setting of 1970s England with period dressing and a rustic motif. He has an uncanny sense of atmosphere the way he’s able to captivate the viewer with frightening new tricks in the horror genre.

The Conjuring 2 MovieSpoon.com

This is the normal amount of crosses to have on a wall–if your home is possessed.

It also helps that he has a stellar cast backing him up. Wan knows the type of movie he wants to make and doesn’t let himself become pinned down with trying to one-up his previous movie. That creepy Annabelle doll, though popular enough to warrant her own movie, is reduced to a mere cameo as Wan clearly has more ideas than just rehashing the same old thing.

The movie picks up with ghost hunters Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) continuing their investigations of the paranormal. Opening the picture is a prologue to reintroduce us to the ghost busting couple as they confirm the demonic intent of the Amityville Horror. Lorraine shows off her unique ability to make contact with spirits and witnesses the slew of shotgun murders that took place throughout the cursed house. While having these visions, she is also haunted by a demonic nun, which brings forth much foreshadowing of a grim future for the couple.

The Conjuring 2 MovieSpoon.com

I suppose a simple ‘go away’ won’t work?

Their primary mission for The Conjuring 2 takes place across the pond in Enfield, England, complete with UK stock footage of the 1970s and a soundtrack of “London Calling” to make the era and location clear as day. Single mother Peggy Hodgson has her hands full with too many kids and not enough money. Despite the multitude of issues her kids have, from speech impediments to smoking, Peggy still loves them enough to offer both praise and discipline.

Related: ‘The Conjuring 2’ Tops Week’s Revenue Charts With $40M

She’s a great mom, but doesn’t quite have the determination to punish the haunting spirit out of her possessed daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe). The poor schoolgirl has been taken over by the ghost of Bill Wilkens (Bob Adrian), an angry old spirit that speaks through Janet with his bitter voice. He gives her the possessed girl special with levitation, moving of beds, turning of crosses and bringing demonic figures to life in the house.

Okay, so it may not be the most original of horror pictures being another haunted house where kids are put in peril. It’s been done before in countless modern horror pictures, including Wan’s own Insidious series. And, admittedly, The Conjuring 2 doesn’t exactly trump the first movie by employing the same scenario. Thankfully, however, Wan still has the creative juices flowing to give this horror template a fresh coat of paint and offer up some surprising scares.

The Conjuring 2 MovieSpoon.com

Patrick Wilson tries to scare away the spirits in ‘The Conjuring 2.’

I was rather impressed at how the movie finds just the right pitch to play with the audience’s anticipation of fear. When a character enters a dark room with a terrifying painting of a demon on the wall, you expect something to happen with that painting. The lights go off around the painting, shrouding it in darkness. I expected a jump-scare (as there are a few), but Wan drags out the scene just long enough to milk as much tension as possible. And when the climactic fright of the scene finally creeps onto the screen, there’s enough technique and creepiness to make it one of the best scares of the year.

Most of the scares are genuinely creepy with some impressive special effects and solid cinematography. The images of demonic beings don’t appear the least bit cheap or shoddy the way they lurk in the shadows and roar with intensity. There are several amazing shots throughout including a flooded basement with spooks hiding under the water and a terrifying angle of Ed dangling out the window on a curtain.

Read more to watch the trailer:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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