Daily Archives: November 9, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

This imaginative fantasy family film is adapted from five books from the Spiderwick series, so you’ll be forgiven for thinking that it packs a lot of storylines at a brisk pace. This 97-minute film should appeal to all members of the family because, while derivative, it has plenty of action, interesting fantasy characters, and even some palpable thrills. The movie has a better handle over interspersing psychological real-world drama with the monsters. Freddie Highmore is the best special effect in the film as he plays two twins who are vastly different in personality and temperament. Director Mark Waters (Mean Girls) deals with the fantastic but also makes the film feel grounded, never letting the otherworldly elements to take over. The movie is a modestly entertaining escapade.

Nate’s Grade: B

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Then She Found Me (2008)

Actress Helen Hunt’s directorial debut is an altogether pleasant film experience without achieving anything memorable or truly accomplished. It’s a simple story of a 40-something grade school teacher (Hunt) torn between her man-boy husband (Matthew Broderick) and a student’s hot father (Colin Firth, who seems to be a middle-aged woman’s dream come true). The extra plotline where Hunt discovers the identity of her biological mother (Bette Midler) never truly seems to coalesce with the romantic foibles. Then She Found Me has a noticeably wry tone, like that of a world-weary adult that’s been-there-done-that. That specific and welcomed tone helps keep the viewer alert and mostly satisfied from beginning to end. It isn’t a warm or sappy movie despite some sitcom-level plot complications. The acting is fairly amusing, though somewhat one-note (the foursome of actors rarely break from the one-sentence descriptions of their characters). The most shocking aspect of the flick is how weathered and gaunt Hunt looks, which is a refreshing and realistic turn for the actress. Hunt is competent behind the camera but doesn’t prove much else when it comes to directorial skills. Then She Found Me is a mildly affecting movie that passes the time well. Stick around to catch acclaimed author Salman Rushdie as Hunt’s OB-GYN.

Nate’s Grade: B

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