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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

IMDB: [R]Β Circa 1969, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors – before everything goes to hell.
***
Rating: [9] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ–€

Now, I HIGHLY recommend that you just…watch the movie. It’s one that I wish I hadn’t seen a trailer for because I think the overall story would have been more impactful. This one gave me just about everything for a top review. It was beautiful, acting was great, and it surprised me. The cinematography and writing are fantastic.Β  …

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.
***
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!

Colette (2018)

IMDB: [R] Colette is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, she fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms.
***

Rating: [9] πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ–€

Set in the 1890s to early 1900s we see a story based on the true life of Colette, a French novelist. There’s dazzling costumes, rich emotions, quick and deep romances, and the perseverance of a prolific artist’s mind.Β  Β The setting is stunning and it’s a story begging to be told.Β  Much like real life, characters are complicated and none are purely virtuous or villainous.Β  …