‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe’ is too black-and-white, even for kids

[rating=2]Starring: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Mosley, Anna Popplewell
Director(s): Andrew Adamson
Writer(s): Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Anna Popplewell (left), William Moseley and Georgie Henley are siblings who become rulers of a mystical land in 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'
Anna Popplewell (left), William Moseley and Georgie Henley are siblings who become rulers of a mystical land in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’

The Chronicles of Narnia starts off well enough. The four engaging Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and the irrepressible young Lucy, huddle in their living room while Hitler’s bombers strafe London. As the explosions near, their panicked mum herds them into the cellar. Next thing they know, they’re boarding a train for the safety of the English countryside. As their mother tearfully sends them off in the crush of the station, their anguish is palpable. Unfortunately, it is just about the most moving scene in the film. Because it is human.

So, too, is the interplay between the siblings as they try to keep a stiff upper lip while making themselves at home in the huge country estate of the mysterious Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent in a role better suited to Christopher Lloyd.) While these scenes are slow, there is definite life to them, and the sets are rich, varied, and intriguing. And so we are hopeful when Lucy, having found the perfect place to secret herself during a game of hide and seek, discovers that the wardrobe she’s climbed into is actually the door to a snow covered forest. Our sense of wonder grows as she meets a friendly faun (a.k.a., satyr) who introduces himself as Mr. Tumnus. Vividly played by James McAvoy, we feel a thrilling pinprick of magic, and are both delighted, and a little fearful, when Lucy happily agrees to go to his house for tea. His home turns out to be a hobbit like cave in the side of a rock hill with an arched door, and as she enters the look in his eyes tells us that all is not as benign as it seems. While we know that she can’t actually be in the kind of danger this intimates, it is still riveting.

Read more‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe’ is too black-and-white, even for kids

‘Fun with Dick and Jane’ tries to update 1977 comedy, but fails

Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni are a husband and wife on a crime spree in 'Fun with Dick and Jane'
Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni are a husband and wife on a crime spree in ‘Fun with Dick and Jane’

Fun with Dick and Jane screenwriter Judd Apatow, fresh off of his big screen debut with The 40 Year Old Virgin runs into the sophomore jinx in this outing, and the efforts of noted director Dean Parisot (Home FriesGalaxy Quest) can’t help the film overcome a horribly weak script. That’s the simple explanation, but there is more. This is a remake of a wonderful film from 1977 that starred Jane Fonda (imagine, choosing Jane to play Jane, how original) and the underrated George Segal and the remake suffers by comparison.

Read more‘Fun with Dick and Jane’ tries to update 1977 comedy, but fails

‘Munich’ is worth a visit

“Deuteronomy 19:21 – Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” In Steven Spielberg’s brilliant film Munich, one cannot help but  wonder if Israel’s Prime Minister Golda … Read more

Don’t wait to see ‘Waiting’

“Waiter, what’s this fly doing in my soup?” “Looks like the backstroke to me, sir.” That old saw is worthy of a chuckle at best, but it pales in comparison to some of the choice humor that writer/director Rob McKittrick … Read more