Monday, December 17, 2018

New on Blu-Ray & DVD December 18, 2018

House with a Clock in Its Walls
Starring: Jack Black and Cate Blanchett
Rated PG   

A young orphan aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.

Did you ever see a film that you instantly wanted to see again and again? “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is the opposite of that kind of movie. I wish I hadn't seen it to begin with.

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is one of the worst movies of the year. The film is severely under written allowing plot holes so big, you can drive semi trucks through them.

“The House with a Clock” offers no real character backgrounds, no reason why the audience would care about any of the characters in the film and simply is throwing contrived plots and subplots onto the screen, seeing if anything sticks all the while misusing Jack Black's talent for comedy and underuses Cate Blanchett so much the actress is nearly nonexistent.

But the biggest problem with the movie is it far exceeds the PG rating it received. Some of the imagery includes a summoned demon licking the blood off of one of the character's wounds, a painful transformation scene where one character becomes another and several scenes involving terrifyingly possessed pumpkins.

What is missing in “House with a Clock” is a feeling of safety that other kid's 'Halloween' films have. This is due to director Eli Roth taking the 'Kid's Scare Films' just too far. Roth is known for his adult horror films and maybe didn't understand the line that is drawn between the two genres.

In the end, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” doesn't deserve your time at all as it's too scary for young viewers and too dumb for older kids.

It gets an F and is rated PG.

A Simple Favor
Starring: Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively
Rated R   

“A Simple Favor,” directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie, a mommy blogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend's sudden disappearance from their small town.

Although this film spotlights two of my favorite actresses, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, the story itself is a very unusual blend of comedy and thriller which didn't sit well with the audience, as none of the characters were particularly likable or invoked empathy from the viewer.

Both Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively turn in dutiful performances, with Kendrick playing manic to Lively's detached femme fatale. But both women are oddly out of place as neither really compliment each other's performances in this cat and mouse movie.

“A Simple Favor” ends up a frustrating mystery movie with a slightly bitter after taste.

It gets a C and is rated R.

Starring: Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams
Rated PG-13  

Eddie Brock is an investigative reporter who unwillingly becomes the host of a very powerful alien symbiote. Whenever Eddie is in trouble the alien creature called “Venom emerges to save the day.

“Venom” is a run-of-the-mill superhero movie that is suffering from a few flaws. The first being the film doesn't take off right away. The movie spends way too much time on a slow build and, unfortunately, loses the audience in the first half hour.

This is similar to the problem when Marvel launched the “Hulk” in 2003. Director Ang Lee decided to reveal the Hulk about 45 minutes into the film, by then the audience was lost.

The other problems with the film include lackluster performances from the film's stars Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams and an incoherent plot with confusing characters. 

In essence, what should have been a high-octane 'buddy' picture with some laughs took itself too way seriously and never relaxed to let the audience in.

In the end, “Venom” simply had no energy, empathy or humor to sustain it's momentum.

It gets a D and is rated PG-13

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