Reviews in Short: December 2014

 The Babadook



This low-budget chiller from Australia is more effective as a study of the trials and tribulations of single motherhood than as an exercise in horror, mostly because the “babadook” itself – when we finally see it — isn’t especially scary.  Writer-director Jennifer Kent does stage some suspenseful scenes, and star Essie Davis is quite good, but there are too many familiar elements, and that damned babadook, an evil entity haunting Davis and her son, simply isn’t up to snuff.    Release:  2014     Grade:  B




The Lego Movie



Lego certainly got its money’s worth out of this inane commercial for building blocks aimed at children (and childish adults).  What I got was 100 minutes of flashing colors and nonstop noise, punctuated with bad puns and mildly amusing pop-culture jokes.  I also nearly got nausea as the filmmakers compensated for their clichéd, simplistic story — a toy construction worker mans up to defeat the bad guy and win the girl — by bombarding the viewer with frenzied activity.  (I stopped this movie twice, just to take a break from it.)  Sure, the computer animation looks cool.  I imagine it looks cool inside a tornado, as well, but I wouldn’t care to be there.  Release:  2014   Grade:  C-


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