SciFi & Fantasy

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

IMDB: [PG]Β A young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.
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Rating: [9] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ–€

Set in 1955 comes a story about a boy, his uncle, and their neighbor. We’ve got hilarious banter, great acting, and an absolutely awe inspiring set design to place it all onto. Overall it’s a fun, creepy, and magical story that makes me want more!

What I Loved:
First of all, if I were just rating it on set design, world creation, and wardrobe it would get a 20. It’s absolutely stunning. Damian and I both were gasping at how gorgeous the Victorian house (set in the 50’s) is. Sets and rooms are also based on themes and the personalities of the owners. The visuals surrounding the story feel rich, luxe, and unique.

Nextly, Jack Black is fantastic in kid’s movies. Sure, he’s being Jack Black, but he’s such a JOY in roles like this. (See also the recent Goosebumps movie.) There’s some fantastically funny back-and-forth humor backed with some perfect acting. It got some good chuckles out of us both over here!

The setup of the interactions of the kids in school and with the adults felt extremely relatable. There’s bullies and awkwardness and just wishing that you fit in.

Lastly, THE MAGIC! Now… I hope I don’t get sent any hate mail – but it felt more magical than a lot of the Harry Potter movies. I felt pure elation in the way magic was shown. Plus, they also used practical magic gags such as a never-ending-scarf and I will always laugh at that. They throw in a lot of retro-magician vibes as characters used that as a career. As a bonus, there’s some creepy imagery and themes as well so it’s great for young adult and families with slightly older kids!

On that final topic, they animated a chair with magic and made it feel like an adorable dog that we all cared about. I cared about a CHAIR, you guys. There are so many simple and extremely effective magical touches that make it feel very tangible.

Bonus: Some retro style opening credit graphics to set the stage.

What I Didn’t Love:
There are a few scenes as the action gets going where things come to a bit of a lull. During those moments we really miss some of that banter and light heartedness to break some of the monotony.

Now, iTunes rates this one at ages 11+, therefore the number of poop/pee jokes (over 5Β  I think) is pretty low brow. There was one that got a giggle but the rest seemed out of place with the level of the humor.

Quote:
“Sorry about the stain on the letter. That’s chocolate.”

Trope:
Dead. Parents.

Spoilers: Click to Reveal

Not much to spoil in terms of what’s relevant to my review. There’s some fun twists and great action! So go watch it!

Venom (2018)

IMDB: [R]Β When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom” to save his life.
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Rating: [7] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

At first I was really on the fence about this. I wanted a fun, silly romp with some jokes and fun fight sets. It starts extremely slowly with some tropes built on top of tropes that had my patience running thin. But then, it gave me what I wanted! Some fantastic CGI, fights, and banter! If you can stick it out through the unnecessary setup then you’re in for a joyful time.Β  …

Lake Placid Legacy (2018)

IMDB: [R]Β Legacy finds the team of young explorers out to reveal the secrets of an area removed from modern day maps and hidden behind electric fences. However, once they reach the center of the lake, they discover an island that harbors an abandoned facility with a horrific legacy: the island is home to a deadly predator eager to feast on those dumb enough to ignore the warnings. But before they can turn back, our hapless heroes get dragged into a battle for their lives — and will need to work together if they hope to survive.
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Rating: [5] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

Obviously we know what we’re getting into with a creature feature with such a long legacy. (See what I did there?) Honestly, you could have called it Facility by Lake Placid because that’s where the bulk of it takes place.Β Anyway, as I’ve said, I rate things within their genre and what the movie is going for or what I expected. I don’t compare to all movies of all time. But for me, this was pretty meh.Β  …

Jonathan (2018)

IMDB: [UR] This sci-fi-tinged drama follows two brothers living very separate lives – inside the same body. Content to live life in shifts with one another, their delicate balance is ruined when they become emotionally involved with the same woman.
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The description above is one that actually tells the plot the way the trailer does. And while I’m all for avoiding spoilers, I don’t think I can talk about the concept of this film without at least getting this info.

Rating: [6] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

This is a pretty good, slow sci-fi drama with some great acting. However I somewhat struggled to rate it. I flip flopped between a 6 and a 7 for various reasons. If you’re into a slower drama with some sci-fi touches similar to Black MirrorΒ then I think you’ll like this one. And I have to give it a kudos for some unique storytelling. However, I found myself almost re-editing or re-writing it as I watched it. Perhaps that’s because I watch… well… a lot of movies. I’m no expert but I know enough about stories to get a little bored when the endings are too obvious. Overall, I enjoyed it and there was some good emotion and character portrayal. …

Next Gen (2018)

IMDB: [TV-PG]Β A friendship with a top-secret robot turns a lonely girl’s life into a thrilling adventure as they take on bullies, evil bots and a scheming madman.
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Rating: [10] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

What a GEM of a feature!! If you’re someone that likes a good, family movie that is heartfelt and funny then WATCH THIS! While I feel that Netflix originals can be hit or miss, it’s definitely a hit. Now, when I love a movie I have no problem – in fact a desire – to watch it again soon. I watched this late at night and the next night I put it on again to show my husband. It was such a joy to share it with him and talk about it. It feels inspired by both The Iron Giant and some comedic timing and expressions similar toΒ Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or Paranorman. …