Simulacion | Đài Loan | Strategic planning
Universal Pictures | Release Date: September 21, 2018
6.1
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 45 Ratings
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21
Mixed:
17
Negative:
7
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5
BrianMcCriticSep 29, 2018
A film that never really catches on under that Amblin umbrella. It's not all bad and Jack Black and Cate Blanchett are giving it all they got, but poor scene structure and a plot that bored me for much of the first half makes this filmA film that never really catches on under that Amblin umbrella. It's not all bad and Jack Black and Cate Blanchett are giving it all they got, but poor scene structure and a plot that bored me for much of the first half makes this film unremarkable. Still probably Eli Roth's best movie though that's not saying much. Overall a middle to low 5 a C. Expand
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6
clarkaddisonSep 24, 2018
This film had two kids crying in my showing. It has the kid humor with some adult jokes for parents to get but at its core this film is just another kids book adapted into a mold for cinematic goers. Necromancy, demons, and holocaustThis film had two kids crying in my showing. It has the kid humor with some adult jokes for parents to get but at its core this film is just another kids book adapted into a mold for cinematic goers. Necromancy, demons, and holocaust references are a little too much for kids. Expand
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6
JPKSep 22, 2018
Just A Typical But Kinda Fun Fantasy Film
This Film Really Doesn't Do Anything New, But It's Fun I Guess.
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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6
TVJerrySep 27, 2018
A recently-orphaned boy goes to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in an enchanted mansion, where he learns about enchantments that lead to the inevitable threatening showdown. This adaptation of the children's book is a hybrid of many magicalA recently-orphaned boy goes to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in an enchanted mansion, where he learns about enchantments that lead to the inevitable threatening showdown. This adaptation of the children's book is a hybrid of many magical fantasies, so there must be something more than the plot to make it appealing. Director Eli Roth (best known for his violent horror films) is bringing his skills to the PG-genre and manages to create a few creepy moments. Even with all the fantastical effects (and Cate Blanchett's charms) there's a certain blandness that keeps it from ever being original or exciting. Still, for the youngsters it'll provide plenty of visual pop and mild thrills. Expand
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6
DavidWasHereSep 29, 2018
So I had no real interest in watching this film really. There wasn't much out and my mom wanted to see this movie, and I begrudgingly went because it looked like the best option out, plus it has Kyle MacLachlan in it (Twin Peaks forever!!!).So I had no real interest in watching this film really. There wasn't much out and my mom wanted to see this movie, and I begrudgingly went because it looked like the best option out, plus it has Kyle MacLachlan in it (Twin Peaks forever!!!). So I went and I honestly got to say it was surprisingly decent. I won't say this movie is good, given that I rated it as an average film in my books, but it was better than what I expected.

Owen Vaccaro is okay as the lead role. I won't say it's amazing, but for child acting he's passable. There are a few bad deliveries from him, but for the most part he didn't annoy me. Most of the child acting here is alright too. The adult acting is far better, and no one foamed in a performance as they all really cared about making the film, which is a huge plus! Jack Black is probably the weak link of the bunch as his usual Jack Black shtick sticks out in the 1950s setting, but for the most part he was pretty good. Cate Blanchett is great as usual, and her and Jack Black do have great banter and funny quips at each other. Kyle MacLachlan doesn't get a ton to do, but he's good as usual, plus his role as the big bad is actually rather menacing than what we usually get from family films.

The biggest surprise for me was that Eli Roth of all people did a decent job directing. And I am not saying that because he diverted from his usual extreme horror and gorefest films, I actually do not like him as a director honestly. He usually relies more on cheap thrills than on actually making interesting or fun movies to watch, which is very clear given the terrible remake to Death Wish earlier this year. And while I still don't think he's all that great of a director, the shot composition is basic and uninspired, the movie does come to life whenever the film gets to the magical, weirder, and darker moments of the film, which are the highlights of the film. The more creepy and strange the movie gets, the more alive it feels. There's a lot of charm and a reminder of earlier Tim Burton films like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, which is always a plus. Roth did make a ton of effort in making the film and it does show. There's a ton of energy and enthusiasm that comes from the film with the cast and terrific production design. The costumes, makeup, and prop design do a great job creating a strange looking film, and more than makes up for the by-the-number film-making.

However I cannot really say this movie would make up for how generic the film is. And I don't mean the premise is generic, it certainly is unique of a premise. However when it comes with the structure, you've seen this before in a lot of children's films, right down to the cliched conflicts and character traits. It's a very safe film even with the scary elements that do manage to spice up the average structure of the film. The charm of the film does make up for it, but if the movie does not have any interest in this film, you don't have to watch it. Families and kids will enjoy it, but for the most part you can just rent it or watch it on TV or Netflix as background noise. Again not bad, just kind of pleasantly average.
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4
TrevorsViewSep 27, 2018
In just one month, it will be time to hand candy out to kids at your door wearing cheap costumes. It will be time to pull out the Halloween classics: Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, just to name a few. Those seasonal favoritesIn just one month, it will be time to hand candy out to kids at your door wearing cheap costumes. It will be time to pull out the Halloween classics: Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, just to name a few. Those seasonal favorites are admittedly low in artistic quality, and The House with a Clock in Its Walls is no exception as it takes a similar tone to the numerous quirks of Halloween-ish children’s entertainment. Yet despite this completely ridiculous plot reliant on gags over sensical situations, a decade or two from now a cult following could very well be picked up amongst a full generation!

I was ready to hate this goofy family entertainment much like I did A Wrinkle in Time, but for some outlandish reason, I found a soft spot for this flawed motion picture despite the MANY unmotivated performances that lowered the quality. I somehow don’t mind the bad acting and dialogue, because the twistedly magical artistic scale so strongly amplifies the size of the orphan protagonist, Lewis’s new teeny tiny house. In his new home, he along with his uncle (Jack Black) and neighbor (Cate Blanchett) must embrace a common concept of being the family’s black swan, since they each share a weirdness outside their front porch adorned with jack-o-lanterns. With trusty goggles, Lewis takes on an indominable insect virtue, his little ant size made smaller by the mundane brown hues of his school. But that’s still quite tame compared to a climactic lunar eclipse that eventually casts a giant blood red tint across the screen to tear down all life.

It’s certainly a wicked sense of cinematic appeal, but this glamorous fantasy also beautifies witchcraft, even giving a tutorial of blood payment that shows young minds how cultic practices works. At a more personal level, some of the more tasteless jokes include lingering on one slow boy on crutches in gym class, who gets lightly mocked, “good hustle” by the coach. Thus, viewer discretion is advised.

But hey, at least it’s funny as expected, once Jack Black pulls out a saxophone solo, dogs start howling while his live griffin bush covers its ears. Then that griffin bush, as if it were the family cat, poops into the backyard pond against its master’s orders, which sounds gross, but personally got a decent laugh out of me. But this mock Addams Family also stays grounded into reality with the appropriate 1950s tunes, until the heartbeats behind the moonlit walls tick-tock to set off the inner adrenaline. It’s a nice balance between funny filler guaranteed to entertain kids, and fun unsettlement from the perspective of a poor little orphan.

Yet despite the frightening imagery, it’s very unlikely that kids will relate to this style over substance experience. The boys have Lewis to connect with, who doesn’t have that much of a personality anyway, but the girls have no characters to relate to except one pointless girl from Lewis’ school who is around for approximately three scenes. She’s also one of the worst actors in the film, almost like they brought out a crew member’s daughter last minute. The adults are not out of the clear in being easily relatable either, as none of the veteran actors receive proper direction to be anything but doofuses. Case in point: there is a montage that forces Jack Black to levitate, which is admittedly a funny scene, but the wires he dangles on are obvious to notice, much like Winona Ryder “levitating” at the very end of Beetlejuice.

The cast members simply can’t enlighten the awful screenplay, since when the writing doesn’t abuse plot driven exposition through film reels, it implants bothersome name-calling between Jack and Cate that concludes its arc with a tossed around sense of heart. Now Cate, I particularly detested in this feature, she is supposedly written to be a “new” mother figure to Lewis but can’t generate sincere drama with a voice of reason. However, Cate still doesn’t annoy as much as Owen Vaccaro as Lewis, who overacts to force everyone’s attention on him, screaming loud enough to crack cement. He doesn’t even give a hint of emotion to hearing that this new uncle he’s living with has complete freedom of house rules. These visions he has at night of his dead mother are particularly hard to watch, as the actress playing her just stares at what seems like a total stranger, not who is supposedly her own son. Yeah, unfortunately, aside from Jack Black (who even then is mediocre at best), I have virtually nothing nice to say about any of the actors or actresses in this entire feature.

Despite the fun I had while watching this, understand that it’s still my job to discuss the negative qualities of every film I review. So odds are, you aren’t missing anything with The House with a Clock in Its Walls, but if you’re willing to take a chance, it could very well be the perfect jumpstart to your Halloween!
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