Movie and Book Reviews

The House with a Clock in Its Walls Movie Review

By Leah T.

Jack Black delivers his signature style of comedy in the recent release, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, managing to stand out among the movie’s actors such as Cate Blanchett and Owen Vaccaro.

The film adaptation, based off John Bellairs’ novel of the same title, tells the story of young newly orphaned Lewis Barnevelt (Owen Vaccaro) as he starts off anew living with his uncle, Jonathan Barnevelt (Jack Black) and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett).

The tale takes a turn as Jonathan confesses to Lewis that he is a warlock and that Mrs. Zimmerman is a witch. Jonathan then agrees to help teach Lewis to become a warlock and assist him on learning about the world of magic. However, events unfortunately unfold when Lewis “accidentally” raises infamous magician, Isaac Izard, back from the grave; Jonathan’s choice leads audiences to learn more about the histories of the characters and magic on its own behalf.

The film’s making had suspicion surrounding it as the director, Eli Roth, has previously directed a multitude of darker, grotesque films: This raised the eyebrows of moviegoers as they discovered his rendition of a film mainly for children.

On the contrary, The House with a Clock in Its Walls gives watchers an entertaining story as Roth delves straight into the story and its contents. The film can be rendered as a “just for kids” classic that was produced in the 1980s and 1990s while it gives off its own special magical touch.

Given that the adaptation does indeed lack complete creativity and concrete textual details of the world, this film provides a light into the genre of children’s movies. It offers many laughs and jokes alongside the positivity and humanity of the characters. Additionally, it bestows upon onlookers a certain Autumn and Halloween vibe as the magic and narrative is performed.

The biggest question is this: was the film a big hit in the box office? Making only $26.8 million in the first three days of release, as ScreenRant calculated, the figure on its own doesn’t produce the most impressive results. However, the high-minded message strongly stands out against all other odds and confusions.

With a score of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a “family-friendly blend of humor and horror with an infectious sense of fun.” (Critics Consensus)

Tomb Raider Movie Review

By Madison L.

On March 16, 2018, the Tomb Raider movie was released in theaters all around the world. Tomb Raider is a video game first released on October 25th in 1996. The main character, Lara Croft, is a young adventurous archaeologist following in her late father’s footsteps to discover the lost and forbidden secrets hidden in the world. Of course, this is not the first Tomb Raider movie, two other movies were made in the early 2000’s, but the 2018 version follows the reboot of the game released in 2013, although sadly, in many fans’ eyes, the reboot failed to capture the video game’s prestige. To many long time Tomb Raider fans, actress Alicia Vikander was the perfect choice for Lara Croft, and many fans still believe she is, even with the flaws of the movie. Some felt the movie focused too much on the beginning of Lara herself and less on her struggle to become the tomb raider. Her legendary quests, her family’s honor,  and her will to fight and survive at any cost, is what, to many fans, makes Lara such an interesting character.

Reviews by Rotten Tomatoes, Empire Online, Meta Critic and numerous other review sites believe the movie completely ignored the development and drive of Lara Croft as one reviewer on IMDB stated, “It’s a good movie, but it’s not quite Tomb Raider. They cut many essential characters to Lara’s journey and even changed somethings about Lara herself. I believe Alicia is an amazing actress and could even bring a generation of Tomb Raider films, but I felt the story just lacked the emotional investment it so desperately needed. I suggest going and seeing the movie, it’s definitely worth the time, but just as I said before: It’s not quite Tomb Raider.” Finally, of course the movie has it flaws and fans will definitely notice it, but truly overall, the movie is an opening to a much larger story. One reviewer  from Empire Online believes it to be “a seed to a much larger tree to grow in the future.”  The movie interweaves a tale of adventure, friendship, thrilling action, and jaw dropping moments that makes the movie worth the watch.