“The House with a Clock in it’s Walls,” the phantasmical film from Universal Studios starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, is full of surprises and not just because of the magical decor that populates the eponymous homestead.
It’s surprising in that director Eli Roth, best known for his graphically violent horror movies, was able to pull off a cute and tender storyline. Surprising in that Black and Blanchett’s characters manage to have some sort of weird sexual chemistry in their awkward yet creepy love-hate relationship. Most surprising, the film gives me a reason to forgive Jack Black for Kung Fu Panda 3.
THWACIIW is like Harry Potter except with more scatological humor. Literally. The topiary animals that poop in the fountains is one of the best running jokes of the film. Also, puking pumpkins. Despite the low brow nature of some of the humor, the film manages to be surprisingly intellectual, thanks in part to Owen Vaccaro’s character and his penchant for sesquipedalian banter.
According to the official synapsis, Lewis Barnavelt (Vaccaro) goes to live with his Uncle Jonathan (Black) in a creaky and creepy mansion with an eerie tick-tocking heart. But when Lewis soon finds out he’s in the presence of magic practiced by his uncle and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Blanchett), his new town’s dreary aura boosts to life in an exciting and dangerous way. Based on the beloved children’s classic book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey. The film also co-stars Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks,” Inside Out), Colleen Camp (Clue), Renée Elise Goldsberry (“One Life to Live”), and Sunny Suljic (Mid90s, The Killing of a Sacred Deer).
Overall, THWACIIW is a welcome family film, filled with clever dialogue and magical special effects. It’s also just weird enought to make it an unforgettable instant classic. Like Blanchett’s Miss Zimmerman said: “What’s wrong with weird? Weird is like the nuts in my cookies. It’s the nuts that make things interesting.”
THWACIIW is available now on digital download and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand on December 18.
BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:
- Warlocks and Witches – Go behind the scenes with the enchanting cast of The House with a Clock in Its Walls
- Finding Lewis – A look at the casting of Owen Vaccaro
- Jack’s Magical Journey – A look at the unique dynamism and magic that Jack Black brings to the character of Jonathan Barnavelt
- The Great Cate – The cast discuss Cate Blanchett’s wonderful performance as Florence Zimmerman
- The Terrifying Isaac Izard – Watch Kyle MacLachlan’s creepy evolution from living icon to undead-warlock
- Movie Magic
- The Ultimate Haunted House – Join filmmakers for a guided tour through the incredible house at the center of the film
- Automatons Attack – A behind-the-scenes look at the mechanical horrors involved in this chilling sequence
- Pumpkin Puke – Behind the scenes with the cast and an army of spooky, snarling, vomiting pumpkins
- Moving Pieces – Filmmakers and cast discuss the amazing clock room set
- Baby Jack – A behind-the-scenes look at the creepy Baby Jack sequence
- Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life – Filmmakers discuss how they adapted the book for the big screen
- Eli Roth: Director’s Journals – Director Eli Roth takes viewers behind the scenes
- Candler Mansion
- Newnan, GA
- The Chair
- Comrade Ivan
- New Zebedee Elementary
- Wrap Day
- Owen Goes Behind the Scenes – Armed with his own camera, Owen guides viewers on his own journey behind-the-scenes of the movie
- Around the Set
- Behind the Camera
- The Big Interview
- Downtime on Set
- Theme Song Challenge – Eli Roth and the cast are challenged to come up with a theme song for the film
- Do You Know Jack Black? – The cast compete with each other to see who knows Jack Black the best
- Abracadabra! – Eli Roth performs a magic trick for Owen Vaccaro
- Jack Black’s Greatest Fear – Eli Roth and Owen Vaccaro play a prank on Jack Black
- The Mighty Wurlitzer – Composer Nathan Barr discusses how he created the film’s unique and distinct score
BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM DVD & DIGITAL:
- Alternate Opening and Ending with Commentary by Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black available
- Alternate Opening
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black available
- More Books, Please
- A Horrible Practical Joke
- Tarby Ditches Lewis
- Eat Up
- Play for Him
- Get Out of the Way
- Time Is of the Essence
- The Clock That Never Breaks
- 12 Minutes to Go
- Gag Reel
- Feature Commentary with Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black
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