The house with a clock in its walls (film)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a 2018 children’s film, based on the book of the same name that was written way back in the 1970s by John Bellairs. It is a beautiful blend of mystery, fantasy and thriller and although not overtly a Halloween story, it is one I can see myself habitually watching each October.

The film stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Owen Vaccaro.

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Set in 1955, a 10 year old braniac is sent to live with his estranged uncle after a terrible car accident kills his parents. Unbeknownst to him, Uncle Jonathan is infact a warlock, lives in a magical house and is best friends with his next door neighbour, an extremely powerful witch. The banter between Jack Black and Cate Blanchett made the movie in my opinion.

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The house contains a terrible secret. It is a ticking heart hidden within it, put in place by the evil warlock who used to own it, and which is rumoured to bring about the apocalypse in the very near future. Together, the three must teach young Lewis to do magic, uncover the magical clock, and unravel its secrets to save the universe.

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This movie drew a surprising number of adult viewers to the theatre, at least for the showing I attended, and was generally well received. I am not a huge purveyor of children’s films, but I enjoyed it and so did my Mum, who had invited me.

The special effects are well done and there is enough humour in the plot and acting that we were laughing throughout.

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The Rundown (2003)

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A tough aspiring chef is hired to bring home a mobster’s son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure.

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I haven’t written any film reviews in a while and I have been curled up watching some lately, so I thought I would share a few of my favourites.

The Rundown is an action film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Christopher Walken, Seann William Scott, and Rosario Dawson. Hard to believe that this film is already 15 years old!

The plot is pretty simple and pretty well spelled out from the above summary provided by IMDB.

I love action films – as long as they have a credible plot – and The Rundown is funny as well which makes it that much better! Definitely one I recommend.

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Bon Cop Bad Cop

Bon Cop, Bad Cop (the first and the sequel) are comedic Canadian bilingual movies. Yeah you heard me, bilingual movies. They feature an Ontario officer and a Quebec officer who have to work together to solve a series of murders.

There are English subtitles if you don’t speak French, and French subtitles for the English sections as well. Or if you’re real fancy, you could enjoy the movies sans subtitles if you speak both languages. Warning: they speak fast.

“Ontario” is a by the book, up-tight hardass who has trouble communicating with those be loves. “Quebec” is a rough and tumble, charming, good ol’ boy who pays little observance to the rules. Anyone who knows anything about Canadian politics knows that Ontario and Quebec don’t usually play too well with each other and this is personified in Colm Feore and Patrick Huard’s performances.

The first film is one of my favourite comedies and I would highly recommend it for anyone to watch. The sequel won’t really make sense unless you have seen the first one, but I guess it might be ok on it’s own. I thought that #2 was just as funny as the first, but there were a lot of plot holes in it which I felt brought down the entertainment value. This leads me to rate the first film five stars and the second film three stars.

At the end of the day, these movies are not meant to be taken too seriously. They provide funny caricatures of Ontarians and Quebeckers in the first film, and Canadians and Americans in the second.

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Deepwater Horizon (2016)

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Synopsis from IMDB:

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, igniting a massive fireball that kills several crew members. Chief electronics technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and his colleagues find themselves fighting for survival as the heat and the flames become stifling and overwhelming. Banding together, the co-workers must use their wits to make it out alive amid all the chaos.

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I was expecting Deepwater Horizon to be an intense movie. The events happened not that long ago and I remember seeing the trailer in the movie theatre and turning to my friend and saying “it’s too soon”. Well, it was definitely intense! More so than I expected, that’s for sure.

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I don’t know if it’s ever been mentioned on this blog but I am a huge environmentalist. I studied it at University and got my undergraduate degree in that field. So when this tragedy happened most of my focus was on the pollution and the devastation to the ecological systems that were affected in the Gulf of Mexico and up the coast line of the United States.

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The movie didn’t actually touch upon this at all though. It starts with the crew arriving on Deepwater Horizon and takes place all on the same day. The plot of the movie takes you through the different key players who were on the scene and the things that failed. A large part of the movie was the surviving crew trying to stabilize the rig by cutting off the oil that was fuelling the fires, and then getting the hell off and into rescue boats.

As intense as I expected the movie to be, it was so much more so. I can’t stress enough how well portrayed the events were of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It is a high-action movie with a lot of big name stars, including Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, and Mark Wahlberg.

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Overboard (1987)

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From IMDB

Snobbish and wealthy Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) is living a life of leisure with her husband, Grant (Edward Herrmann), when she falls off their yacht and suffers amnesia. Grant takes the opportunity to rid himself of the demanding Joanna — but Dean (Kurt Russell), a widowed carpenter with four kids who once worked for Joanna, arrives and claims she’s his wife. Joanna can’t remember her past identity, but has trouble believing that she was ever meant to be a working-class mother of four.

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Overboard is a movie that stands the test of time. I watched it with my family as a child and recently watched it with a friend who had never seen it before. We were both laughing uproariously throughout the film, turning a lacklustre night into a great girl’s night. After all, who doesn’t want to see Edward Herrmann (who also played Richard Gilmore, of Gilmore Girls) shake it like it’s hot, with a couple of hot babes in each arm!

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Goldie Hawn portrays snobby Joanna so perfectly that we couldn’t stop imitating her and throwing popcorn at the tv. Add in a younger Kurt Russel flexing in his 1980s muscle shirt, and the movie should be pure cheese, except that it’s totally not!

There is good acting through the emotional scenes, and a real connection between all the characters on screen.

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This is the scene that Joanna walks into after leaving the hospital, learning that she is a mother to four wild boys and their equally wild father. She cannot believe that this is her life, as she morosely tells anyone who will listen. And while she is technically right, Joanna learns a few good lessons that stay with her longer than the amnesia.

One of the most remarkable things about watching this film modern-day, is how closely Kate Hudson resembles her mother (Goldie) back in the day.

There is a surprise little feminist twist at the end of the film that I didn’t remember and it was a great ending to the story. I have heard that they are remaking Overboard with a new cast in the next couple of years, but I highly doubt it will be able to match the entertainment value in the 1987 version.

Overboard is a fun family-friendly movie that would be great to watch for your next family movie night!

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a very late review

Guess who finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy II?! Yup, this girl. I’m sure there are a million and one reviews out there already breaking it down, but I want to talk about it so here is one more.

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Also, spoilers abound.

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Guardians II is FUNNY. Quite possibly even funnier than the first one which is saying something. Rocket and Baby Groot are hilarious and kinda steal the show in my opinion. There was one point where I seriously considered whether I would have to leave the theatre for a few minutes to calm down I was laughing so hard.

There are very few action movies that are also comedy but Guardians has that shit nailed down. It is also family-friendly and thoroughly entertaining for adults so its no wonder they rake in a billion + before the DVD is released.

Baby Groot is adorable and I loved that the animators took the opportunity to make him so much more expressive in personality and facial expressions. At times, this little guy almost broke my heart but he is the core of the film and my favourite character.

The only part of this movie that I didn’t like, was the part that I was looking most forward to. The big reveal of Peter’s lineage, aka The Celestial, Ego.

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Ego started out great and I think Kurt Russell did a pretty great job of it, but the idea of Ego is somewhat existential and I didn’t feel like that came across very clearly. I also hate how he was supposed to be so powerful and yet was defeated relatively easily. Certainly more easily than Ronin in the previous movie!

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Additionally, I was disappointed that Peter finally finds his dad, who is a super cool being, just for Ego to immediately portray his complete lunacy and evil intentions, and then be killed off. It was too “easy” and would have loved to see Peter have a contentious struggle with his father all his life … which is apparently a very long time … and develop his super-power.

It finally looked like we had met a human supe without any (obvious) physical enhancements, “just” the ability to manipulate energy and energy balls. Most of the Marvel cast are superhuman in a physical way, from Thor, to the Hulk and Spiderman and Captain America. Now Peter is a run-of-the-mill human.

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I detest that Marvel made Ego so evil. It doesn’t fit with my idea of a Celestial and made the character so pathetically one-dimensional when he could have been the most interesting new development in the MCU. I would have preferred him to go forward mostly impartial to the plight of humans, and all our “petty” concerns, and have an ongoing relationship with Peter and his family. Ultimately, this plot line dropped a star from my review of an otherwise fantastic movie.

I did love the plot development that went into this movie. Everyone involved brought more into the universe from the intricacies of ravager society, and the gold people to information about the creation of the universe itself.

I saw this movie with my Mum who isn’t a marvel fan and doesn’t like superhero movies in general. She hadn’t even seen the first movie which I didn’t quite realize before we arrived, but she was a good sport to go with me for my birthday and even she admitted it was great. I’m glad she enjoyed it and even ventured that the trailer for Spider-man (2017) looked good so maybe I can return the favour and take her to that for her birthday!

Trailer for this movie

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Fifty Shades Darker

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Well I went to see the new Fifty Shades today! I went to the “Stars and Strollers” matinee edition with three friends and two sweet little babes … that will be some story to tell them when they are older, that their first movie was Fifty Shades Darker!

I was surprised and very happy to discover that the movie was SO much better than the first! All four of us adults agreed. It still isn’t something that the actors will win an Oscar for, but the acting and pacing of the film were both better. Jamie Dornan, was much sexier in this movie, without that goofy haircut from the first film, and the actors seemed more comfortable with each other and the inherent sexuality unfolding on-screen.

It helped that I went with the girls I did, and that we were expecting a light-hearted movie that wasn’t too deep. We were there to bond, snuggle babies, and share some laughs.

And that is exactly what we did.

The actress who played Leila, Bella Heathcote, did a fantastic job entering the series. And I have always loved Max Martini as Taylor. I seriously hope that his role is expanded in the final film.

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Fifty Shades is the type of movie that you can’t take too seriously. It isn’t about abuse or the subjugation of women. It isn’t a high-class movie, with witty commentary, high stakes car chases or deep meaning. It is what it is and I am happy to report that we all had a great afternoon out.

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If you liked the books, you will probably enjoy this movie. If you hated the books and all they “stood for” then you will hate the movie equally.

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