Screening Room: “Sparkle,” “ParaNorman,” “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”

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SPARKLE

RUSS: The 1976 musical drama “Sparkle” has become a cult classic in spite of its reputation as a melodramatic mess. The long-awaited remake preserves some of the original songs by Curtis Mayfield and adds a few new ones by R. Kelly…as well as preserving the first movie’s melodramatic excesses.
SHAWN: Sparkle is the latest mama I want to sing musical drama starring American Idol winner Jordan Sparks and Whitney Houston who died a few weeks after production wrapped. Unfortunately the entire movie is one big wrong note.
 
RUSS: While the music is infectious, the drama is bland and clichéd. And why do we have to wait for the movie’s finale before Sparks, the popular “American Idol” winner, gets to sing a complete song?
SHAWN: That's a great point. and not understood. Also this flat cast is led astray with inept directing and a script apparently written by a 2nd grader. Not one tenth as good as "Dreamgirls." Not half as good as the original. And Whitney Houston, who was never a good actor, is tragically bad. all she does is stand around and scold and scowl and her one musical number is jarring.
 
RUSS:
2 Popcorn BagsSHAWN:
1 Popcorn Bag
PARANORMAN
 
RUSS: A boy who can communicate with the dead has to help save his town from a witch’s curse in the adventure comedy, “ParaNorman."The stop motion animation on display is first rate. Too bad the script is strictly second rate.
SHAWN: "ParaNorman" is a weird and odd animated feature that may be bit scary and complicated for young kids but too silly for adults.
RUSS:
3 Popcorn BagsSHAWN
3 Popcorn Bags
THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN
 
RUSS: Disney offers up this very sweet natured and sentimental flick. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play wannabe parents who are unable to conceive. When they bury a box full of wishes in their backyard garden, the 10-year-old boy of their dreams miraculously springs to life.
SHAWN: This is one awkward movie. Too mopy and glum. Needed to be much more over the top and fun.
RUSS: A solid cast and thoughtful direction nearly make up for the story’s awkwardness. Although it’s a near miss, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is still an enjoyable oddity.
SHAWN: Naw, it's a miss. And really not that enjoyable.
RUSS:
3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN:
2 Popcorn Bags
DOROTHY AND THE WITCHES OF OZ
RUSS: A convoluted storyline undermines the interesting premise of this awkward movie, a feature film that was truncated from a miniseries. Even at it's current length, it seems padded.
SHAWN: A fun spin on the classic tale. The effects are spectacular especially for such a small budget film.
 
RUSS:
2 Popcorn BagsSHAWN:
4 Popcorn Bags

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