Sunday, June 29, 2008

Movie Night (The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Bucket List)

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" stars Freddie Highmore in a dual role as twins, Jared and Simon Grace. In the movie, the Grace family, including the mom (played by Mary-Louise Parker), Jared, his twin Simon and his sister Mallory move into a creepy and deserted old house that mom inherited from an old aunt who'd been institutionalized. The house used to belong to Arthur Spiderwick, their great great uncle, who mysteriously disappeared over 80 years ago. Spiderwick's daughter, old aunt Lucinda whom they inherited the house from, said that faeries carried her father away to protect him which explains why she was institutionalized. During the move, Jared is mean and resentful to his mother whom he blames for his parents divorce, so when personal items belonging to the others start to go missing, Jared of course is the one blamed. Upon investigation, Jared finds a hidden room where he ends up finding his uncle's book, 'Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You' along with a warning note not to read the book, which he of course ignores. In the guide, Arthur Spiderwick details a magical world full of fairies and hobglobins that lives all around us and how he was able to see them and communicate with them. Jared also learns that there's an ogre, Mulgarath, who is king of the goblins, that wants to use the field guide to destroy all the fairies and rule the world. Having read the field guide, Jared with the help of his sibling, must now protect the book and its secrets from falling into Mulgarath hands.

Supposedly the movie is based on a series of best-selling books. The movie was cute and entertaining. My only warning would be that while the movie is rated PG, there were a couple scenes which I think might prove a little too scary for really young kids.

* * *

"The Bucket List" stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two very different men facing the same grim and uncertain future. Edward Cole (Nicholson) is a billionaire, Carter Chamber (Freeman) is a mechanic. Edward is all alone, except for his assistant Thomas (Sean Hayes), Carter has a loving wife and children. They're each leading very different lives, when they find themselves sharing a hospital room during their battle with cancer. They are there for each other through surgery, chemotherapy, and finally the grim prognosis--they each have only months to live-- and through this they develop a wonderful friendship. Edward convinces Carter to use this opportunity to make good on his 'bucket list', a list of things to do before you kick the bucket, and tells him that money is no object. Edwards also decides to amend Carter's too dull list which included seeing something majestic and doing something good for a stranger, to include skydiving and getting a tattoo. Edward and Carter, despite protests from his wife, embark on a trek around the globe filled with a myriad of adventures, including skydiving, climbing the pyramids in Egypt, seeing the Taj Mahal and even riding a motorcycle along the Great Wall of China amongst other things. Through their time together each touches the other's life in different ways, and they both help each other face the scary and unknown future with faith and love.

Both Nicholson and Freeman give great performances in this movie. The movie has some tear-jerker moments which is expected given the subject manner, but it doesn't dwell in sadness or grief throughout the whole movie. In addition to being very entertaining it also gives you plenty food for thought on your own life and death through some insightful moments. In the movie, Freeman's character, Carter, tells the story that the ancient Egyptians had a belief about death that when their souls got to the entrance to heaven the gods asked them two questions, and their answers determined whether they were admitted or not. The two questions were, Have you found joy in your life? and Has your life brought joy to others? Interesting huh. Do you know what your answers would be? Deep thoughts from a thoroughly enjoyable and touching movie.