Film Review: Jack Black in ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’

  • Variety
Film Review: Jack Black in ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’
“Movie magic.” That expression used to mean something quite different back when filmmakers relied on practical effects to make the impossible seem possible, and not every Ya protagonist had dormant supernatural powers just waiting to be discovered. Yet another in a pipeline of vaguely Harry Potter-esque wish-fulfillment fantasies, Universal’s clunky, but not entirely un-charming “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” makes enchantment so easy — and so ubiquitous — as to feel almost ordinary, being the all-too-familiar story of an orphan who picks up some nifty tricks when he goes to live in a house that ticks.

Looking back, Amblin Entertainment — that Steven Spielberg-hatched shingle responsible for such films as “Gremlins” and “The Goonies” — may as well have defined the concept of movie magic for a generation, only to see it watered down by all the computer-generated juvenile thrill rides that followed. The Amblin-produced “House” may as well
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