Hear me chat about these movies with Anthony Del Valle of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in this week's Josh Bell Hates Everything podcast. And check out my latest video segment, on Monsters vs. Aliens (this one is a bit wacky; we are still trying different stuff to make these distinctive).
The Haunting in Connecticut (Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner, Elias Koteas, dir. Peter Cornwell)
A generic movie to go with its generic title, with absolutely nothing new to add to the haunted-house genre. It does skirt some interesting ideas, including positing that terminal illness can put people closer to the spirit world, but none of the characters are developed enough for their specific traits (the family patriarch has a drinking problem that only shows up when it's convenient for the plot) to have any bearing on the story. Also loses points for featuring another "bad things are happening, I think I will take a shower" moment, which should be banned from horror movies forever. Wide release
Monsters vs. Aliens (Voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, dir. Rob Letterman & Conrad Vernon)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
My podcast guest this week brought up an interesting point this week that we often are more forgiving of unambitious movies that hit their mark than we are of ambitious failures, but I think there's room to praise both. To be clear, this is a movie with modest ambitions that mostly succeeds, and while I wouldn't urge adults to rush out to see it, if you end up having to go with kids, I think you'll be entertained and engaged at least most of the time. That's a big step up from a lot of animated kids' movies (including a number also from DreamWorks). Wide release