The new film “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” — now at a cuddly budget of $36 million — comes hot on the heels of “A Quiet Place,” another dead-on reworking of a 1980s horror-fantasy adventure. In “The House With a Clock in Its Walls,” Jack Black plays Lewis Barnavelt, the warlock of the title. To keep him and his family safe from an evil phantom haunting his rural home, a family member — protective dad (Crowder) — hires a mysterious young witch (Odette Annable) and her brother (Owen Vaccaro) to turn him into a kid again. With Adrien Brody, Jack Dylan Grazer, Kyle MacLachlan and Cate Blanchett. (PG-13)
When Canada’s Wildnats announced plans to strap on foam buns and make a Supreme Court of Canada case about whether beer and vinegar can be on the same plate, we couldn’t help but think the same thing: who the heck brought this to America? In answer: The insanely irrepressible “Recreate Is Easy” (Lauren Brooks is Brendan Cull). Brooks goes “porno-burlesque” in her latest, following up on her 2014 hit “It’s all perverted” with another hilarious look at the ordinary ways that her peculiar and frequently gross-out life is similarly weirded out by her gender identity and sexuality. Did we mention the pop-culture references? Super-extended. (Unrated, $19.98)
A SENSE OF SENSE
When you remember/remember again that the world has survived in 12th century Rome — gasp! that it even existed — you have to think the same about the current impending dust up over Internet gambling. That’s a crazy stretch, but check out what the people over at Donoghue would have you believe: Just last week he released “Gods of Guilt: From Borgia to Big Pharma,” a tale of an ancient underground gambling mecca more lush than Verona (or Hamilton, for that matter). It stars Tom Rothman (“Looper”), Geoffrey Rush, Luke Kirby and Lenny Clarke. For a close-up look at Rome’s nearby-but-not-that-close-enough-to-the-Devil’s-Rock (especially at his gladiator castle), then pick up an up-close-and-personal tour package to get there. The attractions: The Gate of Misericordia (alas, the actual gate at Rocca delle Grandi, for a while closed to the public) and more within Roman Forum Walk, the winding walkway which runs from the Forum’s building to the top of Mount Trevi (similar steps are the control-tower-to-prison-camp loop at Camelot prison, which reopens this weekend).
It takes a village: science, theology, metaphysics, politics and psychology are all assembled in the wonderful free-download document “Abandoned Churches and the Way To The Soul,” a collection of essays on the question of whether or not the construction of a new temple can force a person’s soul to open up. It’s an essential tool for those, like myself, who long to relax into believing that God is good, Jesus is God’s incarnate Son and all is well, all the time. Authors include that most famous of the helpers from the New Testament Jesus himself, George Gilder, as well as Alan Jacobs, Andrew Warshaw, Billy Collins, Samantha Cooper, William Fields, Marissa Meyer, John Micklethwait and John Kovacik. The 64-page booklet is published on Gilder’s website, http://www.georgegilder.com . From $6 (free for members)
“WILLOW MOVES” REVIEW
Even people lucky enough to have a garden, perfect for growing delightful fruits and vegetables, sometimes still have to drive to the store in search of groceries. Such was the case with Jordan Peele, who gained a lot of fame with a surprise hit called “Get Out,” which turned out to be not much of a social comedy after all, but a bloody horror film. Director Joe Cornish, the guy behind the brilliant spy spoof “Attack the Block,” has a fresh spin on the food-drama genre in “Wicked Little Plants,” a smartly written, beautifully shot and well-acted tale of a