The house with a clock in its walls (2018)
You can eat cookies till you throw up, for all I care.
You’ll see… things are…quite different here.
Have you seen “Goosebumps” where Jack Black plays the leading role as well? Well, you can expect almost the same thing. A kids-sized horror film. And I had the same feelings about it after a certain amount of time. Namely that it’s all a little bit over the top. Probably it wasn’t the intention to make it too scary. It should all be about magic and mystery. And it sure was the first half. I admit I have a weak spot for such type of movies. “The House with a clock in its walls” reminded me of the wonderful “Harry Potter” movies. Here too it’s about an orphan boy who ends up in a foster family and apparently has magic powers in his DNA. Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) himself looks like Henry from “The book of Henry“. Also an outsider with aviator glasses on. But halfway the movie derailed a bit and felt rather exaggerated, absurd and grotesque.
Shit, there’s that lion again.
As I mentioned earlier, the first part is highly entertaining. Lewis is being introduced. He meets uncle Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black) and his neighbor Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett). And of course, there’s this huge Victorian-looking house with its ghostly contours. As a spectator, you notice there’s something very unusual going on and certain ordinary things come to life (and in normal circumstances they never do). Something that Lewis only discovers afterward. We then see Lewis attending his new school and how he befriends Tarby (Sunny Suljic), the popular boy who briefly raises Lewis’s popularity. All this is brought with the necessary humor and is highly entertaining for young and old. Even the presence of Jack Black was bearable. I’m not really a big fan of Black’s humor. Usually, it’s bland and ridiculously exaggerated. That is why a similar scene with a lion-shaped-bush with stomach problems is being used three times. Bland, trite and exaggerated toilet humor.
Puking pumpkins? Let’s use the umbrella.
But in general, it was still enjoyable. What amused me the most was the constant bickering between Uncle Barnavelt and Mrs. Zimmerman. That never really got boring. And then suddenly those puking pumpkins (and boy this was bad looking CGI) and a bunch of puppets shows up. Also, you’ll witness the resurrection of the evil Warlock Isaac (Kyle MacLachlan) and his illustrious wife Selena (Renée Elise Goldsberry). And finally, everything revolves around a very well hidden clock somewhere in the house of uncle Barnavelt. Although he’s a talented wizard and Mrs. Zimmerman a famous sorceress, finding this clock seems an impossible task. Even uncle Barnavelt is forced to use other tools to look for it. Like a huge pickaxe, for example, with which he starts to demolish walls in the middle of the night. And the way they handled this clock-problem, in the end, was also an easy solution. Apparently, the scriptwriters were exhausted and a little uninspired.
Most positive was Cate Blanchett.
No, I wasn’t really impressed. Visually it looked sophisticated and extremely well-taken care of, but it never was as magical as “Harry Potter“. Cate Blanchett was perhaps the only highlight in this fantasy film for kids. It was as if she tried to be the new Mary Poppins with her behavior. Maybe this movie is perfect to stimulate the fantasy of 8-year-olds. Though they must endure the hyperactive behavior of Jack Black. Is it because of the awkward way in which horror director Eli Roth tackled this project? Or is it due to Jack Black’s lackluster humor? Or was it the laser beam-shooting umbrella of Cate Blanchett used?
No more fantasy-movies for kids.
Anyway, my interest disappeared and made way for annoyance and lots of headshaking. The only thing I was hoping for was that the damn clock that posed a threat to our universe was found as quickly as possible. And that the other books written by John Bellairs aren’t used for a motion picture as well. After “A wrinkle in time” and this movie, I’m going to avoid fantasy films for children. Enough is enough.
My rating 4/10
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‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ Adds Oscar-Nominee William H. Macy
The Planet of the Apes trilogy headlined by Andy Serkis from the 2010s can be argued as one of the best trilogies of all-time. The technological advances made from motion capture helped actors completely transform into the apes with their interactions with human characters making the story rawer and more emotional. Now, 20th Century Studios will jump back into the world of apes with their latest, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Deadline reports that William H. Macy (Shameless, Fargo) will round out the cast for the newest chapter of the franchise.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes takes place many years after the conclusion of War for the Planet of the Apes being led by an entirely new cast that includes Owen Teague, Freya Allan and Peter Macon. Details are currently unknown on whether Macy will be playing a human character or an ape. The film series has grossed almost $2 billion dollars for the studio so it’s no surprise that they’re aiming to make more Apes fims.
Macy is coming off his biggest role ever in Showtime’s series, Shameless for which he played Frank Gallagher and was nominated for 6 Emmy Awards for his performance over 11 seasons. Macy is also a former Oscar-nominee for his lead role in the Coen Brothers classic, Fargo. Since then, he’s amassed tons of parts including most recently in Hulu’s The Dropout and a guest spot on the ABC sitcom, The Conners. Macy will next appear in the film, Maybe I Do with Emma Roberts, Diane Keaton, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.
Rawson Marshall Thurber to Headline ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Series for Paramount+
Dungeons & Dragons seems to be the next major IP finding itself across multiple media formats. The move of bringing the iconic fantasy franchise will start in March on the big screen with the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, however, the TV series which has been in development has found its new streaming home. According to Deadline, the Dungeons & Dragons series will head to Paramount+ with Rawson Marshall Thurber (Red Notice, Skyscraper) writing the pilot and directing the first episode of the eight-episode season order.
The fantasy role-playing game has been ripe for an adaptation for years with many celebrities and actors being fans of the property since its inception. Honor Among Thieves already boasts a starry cast led by Chris Pine, Hugh Grant, Rege-Jean Page and Michelle Rodriguez, but there are no details on whether the streaming series would feature any of their characters crossing over. Dungeons & Dragons is yet another franchise starter over at Paramount in the game of streaming supremacy which will join Halo on their streaming service having done great numbers for Paramount+.
Dungeons & Dragons features multiple creatures, elves, human warriors and other fantastical entities engaging in campaigns, wars and quests to build out their respective armies. The massive Hasbro property was acquired by eOne to develop a media universe across film and television making it a priority due to its popularity and fan base that features over 50 million players.
Rawson Marshall Thurber most recently directed the Netflix action film, Red Notice starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds. He previously teamed with Johnson for Skyscraper and Central Intelligence, but his career began in comedy helming popular films such as Dodgeball and We’re the Millers. Before moving into features, he also directed the very popular online short, Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. The filmmaker has also been attached to Netflix’s video game adaptation of The Division which will star Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain.
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With much of the talk surrounding Henry Cavill regarding his exit from Netflix’s The Witcher along with the shift of mentality from new DC Studios leadership, the actor is in need of a new franchise to jumpstart. It appears that Cavill has done just that with the latest news that comes from The Hot Mic podcast via Above the Line.
It appears that Cavill (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) will steer head an adaptation of Warhammer 40,000 for Amazon Prime Video. Cavill confirmed the news this morning via his Instagram. The property started as a miniature war game akin to Dungeons & Dragons where players control different characters across a battle board, so to speak. The game was a staple in England where Cavill played it much as a kid and his passion for the property has stuck ever since. So much so, that the actor still paints figures to this day for when he engages in play.
The property which is often abbreviated to Warhammer 40K, features a fictional war set 40,000 years into the future between humans and other mystical beings that include orcs, gods, demons, elves, aliens and supernatural entities. The game eventually was brought to the video game space where it amasses tons of players across the sci-fi fantasy gaming landscape. The property also lends itself to novels leaving a lot of room to grow as a franchise in the entertainment space with lore to play with.
Amazon continues to take steps towards building out large franchise plays for their streaming service, Prime Video. In addition to the acquisition of the rights to Warhammer 40,000, the streamer has recently made deals for video game properties like God of War, with creators like Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) and of course, a 2022 that was massive for the streamer with the launches of the pricey Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Thursday Night Football. As they look to compete with Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services, it’s a clear shift from Amazon to take some bigger risks for bigger rewards.
Cavill was most recently seen reprising his role as Sherlock Holmes in Netflix’s Enola Holmes 2 starring Millie Bobby Brown. In 2023, Cavill will star in Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle which aims to kickstart a new spy-based franchise similar to Mission: Impossible which Cavill also appeared in. He will star in Argylle alongside an all-star cast that includes Catherine O’Hara, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cena, Ariana DeBose and Dua Lipa.
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