Tag Archives: Jack Black

‘The House With A Clock In Its Walls’: Snapshot Review

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS

2.5 stars (out of 4)               1 hour, 44 minutes

Rated PG for thematic elements including sorcery, some action, scary images, rude humor and language

PLOT: A young orphan boy moves in with his warlock uncle, and begins to learn about the world of magic. Soon, the boy and his newly adopted family, which also includes a friendly witch, find themselves going toe to toe with evil forces.

SCOOP: The film is based on the 1973 novel by John Bellairs, and viewers who enjoyed “Goosebumps” have a reasonably good chance of warming to this project. Jack Black is likable as freewheeling warlock Jonathan Barnavelt, and Cate Blanchett is solid as the friendly witch Florence Zimmerman. Owen Vaccaro has a nice starring turn as Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan coming to terms with the death of his parents and a magical world he never knew existed.

The art direction and special effects for the movie are appealing, and the scary sequences are mild, meaning most children older than five should be OK with the content. There aren’t a lot of live-action films targeted at this audience, and that’s a feather in the cap of director Eli Roth, who is better known for darker projects, including “Hostel,” “Cabin Fever” and “Death Wish” (2018). Alas, “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” isn’t as charming as similarly themed works (think “Harry Potter”), and it’s paced on the slow side. Bottom line: It is a reasonable escape for parents looking to treat their youngsters to Halloween fun, but it won’t be remembered as a classic.

STARRING: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Colleen Camp

DIRECTOR (co-writer): Eli Roth (“Hostel,” “Cabin Fever,” “Death Wish”)

 

 

 

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Video Verdict: ‘Drive,’ ‘The Thing,’ ‘The Big Year,’ ‘In Time,’ ‘Dream House’

Carey Mulligan, left, and Ryan Gosling star in the thriller “Drive.”

This week’s major home video releases include the prequel to a classic horror film, a science-fiction drama starring Justin Timberlake and a gritty thriller featuring Ryan Gosling.

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Video Verdict: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘Fright Night,’ ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’

John Lithgow, left, embraces Caesar the chimp in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Caesar is computer animated, but Andy Serkis – working with motion capture technology – provided the basis for the performance.

There’s not much originality on the home video front this week, as the most noteworthy releases are a sequel, a remake and a reboot.

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Video Verdict: ‘My Life in Ruins,’ ‘Year One,’ more new releases

Nia Vardalos stars in "My Life in Ruins."

Nia Vardalos stars in "My Life in Ruins."

This week’s major DVD releases are both comedies, but they’re as different in tone as films of the same genre can be.

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