Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A MONSTER CALLS (2016)

Maybe a film can be too imaginative? How else to explain the disappointing commercial response to this wondrous terror-of-childhood dreamscape pic? Or was it doomed by an undeserved/ misguided PG-13 rating? Or simply lost in a tide of similar stories of young kids coping in unique ways with a terminal illness in the family? Whatever the case, the film is too good to miss, even with a couple of miscues that leave the film with an unexpected emotional reserve. (Maybe not a bad thing, that.) Young Lewis MacDougall is outstanding as the inward-looking, artistically talented 9-yr-old, acting out at home & bullied at school as he deals with his increasingly sick mom. Raging against the inevitable, he’s equally hurt by his divorced dad’s wayward attention (living in the States with a new family) and fighting tooth-and-nail against moving in with Grandma Sigourney Weaver (treading warily on a light British accent). Into this emotional mess, the boy, thru dreams & drawings, conjures up a living tree-monster (voiced by Liam Neeson), an alternating messenger of terror, comfort & confounding teaching-fables. Three fables, to be exact, appearing with the inevitability of the Dickensian spirits Marley told Scrooge of, but shown as enticingly beautiful animation. (A digital process with the look of a living watercolor, a marvel to behold.) This leads up to a fourth fable, told not by the imaginary tree-beast, but by the boy; a tale of uncompromising (and devastating) honesty, topped by a final revelation that both closes and expands the circle of life. It leaves you not in tears, but in dry-eyed wonder.

DOUBLE-BILL: Director J. A. Bayona is Spanish, though he’s been working internationally for a few years, now. This may explain why the film brings Guillermo del Toro (with an English accent) to mind. Less the hyperventilating fantasy world of PAN’S LABYRINTH/’06, than the under-appreciated youthful terrors of THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE/’01.

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: Listen up during the second tale when Fernando Velázquez’s fine score tips its hat with a brief allusion to Mussorgsky’s NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN in honor of its debt toward FANTASIA’s satanic mountain monster.

No comments: