A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)
I have never read the books by “Lemony Snicket” because I did not hear about them until well after they were released. I think I might have liked them if I had had the chance but instead, my introduction to the franchise (because it is a franchise now) was the 2004 movie. When I was growing up, I was a huge Jim Carrey fan. The 2004 movie was something I watched in 2006, while in the wilds of New Jersey and affirmed that Jim Carrey had grown up a little bit. I thought it was a good movie. This series is so much better. They replaced Carrey with Neil Patrick Harris who knows when to ham it up and when to play it darkly serious. As a result, the whole production shifts into something darker and more disorienting. Even knowing the rough plots of the first three books, I felt like I might not know what was happening next. On top of that, the kids playing the Baudelaire Orphans are awesome. The character actor’s playing Count Olaf’s acting troupe/henchpeople are really brilliant. There are a ton of great actors swooping in and making great cameos or two episode runs. Patrick Warburton (as Lemony Snicket) is the best I have ever heard or seen from him and that includes The Tick. There is a weird rhythm to the show which is both funny and unsettling and they lean into the gimmick hard. I definitely recommend this one.
When I first saw the posters for this movie, I thought it was a cheap kids movie with some bland yet whimsical premise and moved on. However, I have discovered a regularly updated list called 1001 Movies to See Before You Die and this movie made the list in 2011. When I found out that it was on Netflix, I decided to check it out. The Netflix description is horribly bland and would have confirmed my suspicions but thankfully I pressed on. This movie is actually a bit of historical fiction based on a book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is set in the early 1930s in Paris, France. Like most parts of Europe, many adults were still rattled by the Great War but were enjoying a period of relative peace. The movie actually took a while to get into but after a bit, the movie grabbed me and never let go. The movie concerns itself with the early film industry (predating movie stars and the glitz and glamor of Hollywood) and specifically Georges Melies who directed silent films and worked with Houdini’s mentor Robert Houdin. The movie is directed by Martin Scorsese and it shows. The thing is put together in such a way that it builds and builds into an emotional crescendo at the end. I have to give all the credit in the world to Ben Kingsley and the legendary Christopher Lee. Sascha Baron Cohen appears and actually delivers a pretty subtle performance that I did not think he was capable of. I recommend this as it surprised me although be warned that it is a bit long.
I believe I have spoken here about my love for Guillermo Del Toro and the intricate worlds he crafts. He is one of the best writer/creators at building worlds simply by including a lot of background detail and creating beautiful/horrifying imagery. I was surprised when I found out that he had teamed up with Dreamworks to create an all ages show. When I found out what the show was, it made more sense. If you take the Troll Market scenes out of Hellboy 2 and extrapolate that into an animated television show then you can see where Trollhunters comes from. Of course, that is not the whole story. Del Toro is also good at creating relatable characters who talk to each other like human beings. We get a lot of story about the main character’s life as a middle schooler (I assume) who is living with his single mom. His story is actually kind of touching. The other aspect of the show is what made me jump at watching this show this week. The main character’s story is basically the same as a magical girl story (from anime) but he is male. The main character uses magic to transform into fighting form and has to deal with self-doubt, fear and a whole list of swirling emotions so that he can stay in fighting form. I am interested to see where this one goes as I have not watched the entire first part yet but I will. If you like Del Toro and you like stuff similar to How to Train Your Dragon then I recommend this one.
Music of the Week:
– This week’s theme is “Kid Power”
– I am onto Season 6 of The Office
– I am into Season 4 of Parks and Rec
– I am halfway through Season 4 of Arrested Development
– I am still watching Season 2 of Dusk Till Dawn
– I want to see Hidden Figures so bad
– I’m looking forward to pulling from the 1001 list more and more
Tags: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Alfre Woodard, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Hugo, I Fear Tomorrow, Kid Power, Lemony Snicket, Media Update, NPH, Patrick Warburton, Trollhunters