Weekend Movies: Middling reviews for “Clock,” passable ones for “Fahrenheit,””Life Itself” is trashed

house2I found Eli Roth’s direction of the lifeless “House with a Clock in Its Walls” to be inept, “House with a Clock in Its Walls” to be inept, showing him to be out of his depth on a kiddie horror movie/fantasy.

The jokes are thing and disappear about 30 minutes in, the kid is dull and the menace “meh.”

And I wasn’t alone. Reviews overall aren’t setting the world on fire. The metacritic rating reflects a certain deference for Roth (The New York Times included there) that is head-scratching. The proof is on the screen. He lacks the light touch.

Why on Earth would you hire Jack Black, who has a certain currency with kids, and give him so little to play with?

Still, it’s the only wide release with any prayer of clearing $20 million on its opening weekend. Box Office Guru figures it’ll be lucky to even manage that.

Dropping by my favorite multi-plex Thursday I was one of like five people at the first showing “Fahrenheit 11/9.” Michael Moore’s Briarcliffe/State Run films release didn’t preview in much of the country, a start-up many of us couldn’t make contact with to get screenings of. Reviews have been good,Reviews have been good, not as dazzling as Moore’s cultural watershed pictures.

Its most audacious moment might be an epic Obama takedown, and while it is good, I was not dazzled or as moved by it as I have been by Moore’s earlier films. The novelty has worn off, and while pathos is there, it’s more a good film than one of his best. Will it open big in a Year of Trump Backlash? The Box Office Guru, The Box Office Guru, who has been late posting and seriously off his game in recent months, thinks it’ll manage $9 million this weekend. I don’t see it. An unproven distributor, middling awareness and Trump fatigue should suppress turnout to something closer to Box Office Mojo’s $6 million prediction.

I was an audience of one at the showing of “Life Itself” I attended. Amazon, very much a miss miss or “Manchester by the Sea” operation, previewed this thing all over the country in some misguided marketing effort to get word of mouth help.

Amusingly, I was banned from local screenings – several — as Amazon is one of the Three Blind Mice — Bleecker St. and Roadside Attractions being the others — who share marketing/PR from the same firm which has had a beef with me going back years.

They show the film, in a top 20 market, for free to more people than will end up buying tickets for it, and don’t let the local critic with a WWW audience in.

Even their good movies underperform, largely because of these petty idiots. Shocking that Jeff Bezos et al haven’t figured it out. Email me, Jeffy, I’ll give you a couple of names.

“Life Itself?” It’s a disaster.  Everybody says so. Classic Hollywood taking candy from a “New Money in Town” baby — Amazon. Giving that kind of cash to a TV writer/producer for a movie is almost always a bad idea.

Will it make $5 million? Box Office Mojo thinks so. Seven Million? No way in hell, Box Office Guru.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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