Saturday, March 23, 2019

Way Down In Oaklyn

Kicked off a sunny and gale-force windy morning with breakfast and an episode of The Backyardigans. "Pablor and the Acorns" is one of the show's more bizarre spoofs. Pablo is a galactic warlord who follows the Crystal of Power to Earth, where it lands on top of Buttercup Mountain. He's helped to the mountain by Tyrone, Austin, and Tasha, three Scout-like Acorns. It's this cheerful trio who end up teaching Pablor and his rival Uniquor the value of learning and helping others.

I left early, just as Charlie was coming upstairs to start work. I wanted to check out the Audubon Town-Wide Yard Sale before work...but when I got into Audubon, I saw no yard sales. Checking my phone revealed that it had been canceled, due to the high winds. Rats. I ended up at a very busy Goodwill. Picked up The Dark Knight and the Don Bluth Thumbelina, the latter for review next month.

After all that, work was no problem whatsoever. We were steady on and off, but never that busy. I spent most of the late morning and early afternoon rounding up carts and doing the outside trash and recycling. When two college-age guys arrived later and took over the carts, I gathered baskets and shelved candy and returns. Yes, it was windy and cold, but it was also sunny when you weren't getting blown down the street.

Charlie was just winding down when I got home. He's covered most of the wall around the new windows with plaster, installed a new light switch box that will eventually control the porch light as well as the one in the kitchen, tore out the also insulation-free walls in the kitchen, and moved some exposed wires that used to lay right in front of the door as you enter the house.

His complaints about the apartment's desperate need for upgrading confirmed something I've suspected for years. Everything that was ever done to this apartment was done on the cheap. That new carpet Miss Ellie supposedly had laid before I moved in is thin, easily stained, and has been raveling since it was put down. The wardrobes and dresser that came with the house are likely from Wal-Mart and have been falling apart for years.

Did some writing after he left. Continued to re-write Luke driving Charlie and Rudy to his uncle's shop. Luke protests when Charlie and Rudy sit on his prized Jedi Knights comics books. The original artist stopped making them years ago. Rudy comments on his having known both the Knights and Luke's late father, Anthony Skylander. Charlie notes the college textbooks on the floor of the van and asks Luke if he's studying flight and physics in college, which he is. Luke wants to be a pilot, but his uncle would rather he took over his hardware store.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching the Disney animated film The Princess  and the Frog. I go into more detail on this New Orleans fairy tale at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The Princess and the Frog

Finished the night with The House With a Clock In Its Walls. After the death of his parents in a car crash, ten-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) goes to live with his Uncle Johnathan (Jack Black), a freewheeling man child who owns a chair that acts like a dog and clocks all over the house and insists that he has no rules at all. He's constantly sniping with his neighbor Florence (Cate Blanchett), but they're old friends and really mean nothing by it. Lewis is surprised to discover that his odd uncle is a warlock, and Florence is a witch. They're trying to find a clock in the walls of the house that was created by the house's previous owner, and evil warlock named Issac (Kyle MacLachlan). In an attempt to impress a boy at school, Lewis opens a spell book his uncle told him not to touch and performs a spell that can bring people back from the dead. He does too well and brings back Issac. Now he, Johnathan, and Florence have to discover the house's secrets, before Issac finds a way to bring an end to humanity as we know it.

Atmospheric kids' horror-mystery reminds me a lot of many similar 90's family fantasy films, including Hocus Pocus and the first three Harry Potter movies. The director, Eli Roth, normally specializes in gory horror. That explains some of the more adult scares early in the movie and some of the spookier special effects, including the clock itself. If you're a fan of Blanchett or Black or those kid fantasy tales, you'll want to give this short but interesting movie a look.

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