Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies checked out three movies. He says two are worth checking out…and the other one isn’t worth the trip.
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALL (theatrical release)
It’s Michigan, 1955 and a young boy named Lewis is sent to live with his Uncle Jonathan after his parents perish in a car accident. He’s a very studious kid unsure of what to make of his new surroundings. Not long after he arrives, he notices something odd about his uncle’s house. It’s not just Uncle Jonathan’s obsession with clocks, artwork, or the copious artifacts that adorn the place, but there’s a mysterious aura about it. His new place is haunted with magic and learns that Uncle Jonathan is a warlock (a boy witch) and his neighbor, Florence, is a witch. Their magical spells are never used for evil but are still to be taken with caution. Lewis cannot contain his excitement as he tries to harness his inner magic to conquer the mysteries contained within the house.
-Stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan, Renee Elise Goldsberry
-Based on the popular kids book by John Bellairs. Goosebumps meets Harry Potter. Fun and entertaining movie for families. Just spooky enough for kids ages 8 and up while making you laugh throughout.
-A majority of the humor comes from Jack Black who has done a variety of family movies and is great at the heightened children’s theater style of acting. He will garner plenty of laughs from kids especially when he gets to goof around with creatures that reside within the house.
-Cate Blanchett is always divine. She always knows exactly what movie she’s in and who she’s playing to whether it’s her heavy dramas or the silly fun of family movies like this or Cinderella.
-Parents should know that there are good messages for kids in that there’s a little magic in all of us and that being weird is okay. I love that the character of Lewis is a nerdy kid with a big vocabulary and uses that in his own attempts at magic.
-A definite crowd-pleaser. Parents shouldn’t get too bored and kids will love the humor and all of the effects and set pieces that go in to creating the film’s magic.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Fun for the whole family to get you into the Halloween spirit.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
LIFE ITSELF (theatrical release)
Will and Abby fell passionately in love in college. She was busy ruminating on her thesis on how life is full of unreliable narrators. He was a budding screenwriter. They would eventually wed and have a young daughter named after her favorite musician, Bob Dylan. Tragedy would strike their family taking Will into a tumultuous state. Life Itself takes the audience on a journey on how life is full of tragedies and death time and time again as we see it effect Will’s family from one generation to the next all the while showing how we all may be connected from one stranger to the next from one continent to the next.
-Starring: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin
-Written and directed by Dan Fogelman, the creator of This is Us. You’ll go into this movie thinking that it will make you sob much like that show. That very well may happen, but I never felt like it earned that emotion through these characters.
-Dan Fogelman must be trying to work through an existential state of mind about life in how we treats the twists and turns with his characters in how they approach life. His dialogue feels so forced to make it sound creative instead of making it flow naturally.
-Every character goes through such heavy trauma over and over again that none of them are in a positive state of mind. You’re yearning for someone to just make a good choice and be happy. That happens but it takes FAR too long to get there.
-I don’t think Fogelman trusts his audience. He gets very repetitive with showing a key moment and having an unreliable narrator over explain the movie’s themes. There’s a Bob Dylan song that gets used multiple times throughout, and he even uses his narrator to explain why that song is important.
-If anything, you get to revisit to the lovely music of Bob Dylan
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? This cast deserves a better script.
RATING: 1 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
A SIMPLE FAVOR (theatrical release)
Anna Kendrick stars as Stephanie, a mommy vlogger who’s balancing life as a single mom while working hard on her You Tube channel devoted to recipes and lifestyle tips. She meets Emily during the afternoon school pick up. She’s posh, sophisticated, and seems to have the perfect life. They become fast friends despite being polar opposites. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie seeks the help of her followers as she sets out to find out what happened to her new friend.
-Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells
-Directed by Paul Feig, best known for broad comedies like Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters. He gets to tap into his twisted and dark sense of humor for this movie.
-Gone Girl meets Lifetime movie of the week. I mean that in a good way! It’s based on the book by Darcey Bell and has that summer vacation beach read tone to it.
-You have to go in with the right expectations and not take it at face value. It’s meant to be over the top and campy.
-Anna Kendrick gets to play into her cheery and bubbly personality playing up the stereotypical mommy vlogger image. Blake Lively returns to her Gossip Girl aura with fantastic pant suits, a gorgeous husband, and drinks martinis all day.
-The movie works best when it becomes this Nancy Drew mystery. Twists and turns a plenty as a way of showing its elevated tone. You have to go in wanting to have a grand time.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? A juicy good time.
RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS