Salisbury Press

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Review: ‘Wrinkle’

Friday, March 23, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“A Wrinkle In Time” is a terrible film.

It’s so bad that I felt ripped off after I spent my $10.49 to see it the other evening.

It might be worth seeing at a $5 all-day special or second-run price. Its content might merit a 30-minute short, but not a feature-length movie.

“A Wrinkle In Time” has extensive special effects sequences that are not particularly special nor very effective.

While the film is ostensibly aimed at a youth or pre-teen audience, the plot-line of a father suddenly and inexplicably disappearing from sight might be traumatic for some youngsters.

“A Wrinkle In Time” seems unsure of what genre of film it wants to be.

Scenes between the young cast are effective, as are those between the family. But then there are those scenes of zoomng through other worlds, traveling to other places, or dropping in and out of a black hole, the latter, which the late Stephen Hawking told us could not happen.

Storm Reid (“12 Years A Slave,” 2013) has a compelling screen presence and is excellent as Meg, the daughter. Deric McCabe (‘Stephanie,” 2017), as younger brother, Charles Wallace, also has an impressionable turn, as does Levi Miller, Meg’s friend, Calvin.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle,” 2013), as Mrs. Murry, and Chris Pine (“Star Trek,” 2009, 2013, 2016), as Mr. Murry, are engaging.

The casting, costuming and makeup, and filming of the three spirit guides is ludicrous: Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, and Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which. The trio of beings never seems to be integrated into scenes with the youngsters.

Plus, the makeup on Winfrey, especially those sequinned eyebrows, makes her look like a contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” TV show. And why, among the three beings, she’s gigantically-tall, seems inexplicable. It’s “The Attack Of The 50-Foot Oprah.”

Zach Galifianakis has a small role as Happy Medium, as does Michael Peña as Red.

Frankly, I couldn’t make sense of the screenplay by Jennifer Lee (Oscar, Animated Film, “Frozen,” 2013) Jeff Stockwell (screenplay, “Bridge to Terabithia,” 2007) based on the 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007). A television adaptation of the novel was made in 2003 and distributed by Disney.

Ava DuVernay, who directed the memorable “Selma” (2014), seems lost in space as director of “A Wrinkle In Time.” She doesn’t seem to have a handle on the material nor a clear direction of the storyline. Boasting DuVernay as the first African-American female director of a big-budget science fiction film doesn’t cut it. She doesn’t get a pass.

There’s a good movie in “A Wrinkle In Time” still waiting to be released.

“A Wrinkle In Time,” MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.) for thematic elements and some peril; Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy; Run tiime: 1 hr., 49 mins.; Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: “A Wrinkle In Time” was filmed in New Zealand and California.

Box Office, March 16: “Black Panther” continued defeating all challengers, No. 1 five weeks-straight, the first to do so in nearly a decade (the last movie to stay at No. 1 five weeks in a row was “Avatar” in 2009 and before that, “The Sixth Sense,” in 1999), with a still impressive $27 million, $605.4 million, closing the door on the “Tomb Raider” remake, opening at No. 2 with an underperforming $23.5 million, as the faith-based movie, “I Can Only Imagine,” opening stronger than expected at No. 3 with $17 million. 4. “A Wrinkle In Time” folded two places, $16.5 million, $61.1 million, two weeks. 5, “Love, Simon,” $11.5 million, opening. 6. “Game Night” again moved down one space, $5.5 million, $54.1 million, four weeks. 7. “Peter Rabbit” again hopped down one spot, $5.2 million, $102.4 million, six weeks. 8. “The Strangers: Prey At Night” lurked down five paces, $4.8 million, $18.6 million, two weeks. 9. “Red Sparrow” flitted down five spots, $4.4 million, $39.5 million, three weeks. 10. “Death Wish” shot down three places, $3.3 million, $29.9 million, three weeks.

Unreel, Among the 17 movies scheduled to open March 23:

“Getting Grace,” PG-13: The Lehigh Valley’s Daniel Roebuck directs himself and Madelyn Dundon, Marsha Dietlein, and Dana Ashbrook in the drama about a teen girl dying of cancer who befriends a funeral home director.

“Paul, Apostle of Christ,” PG-13: Andrew Hyatt directs James Faulkner, Jim Caviezel, Joanne Whalley, and John Lynch in the drama. Paul, a persecutor of Christians, converts to become Jesus Christ’s apostle.

“Pacific Rim Uprising,” PG-13: Steven S. DeKnight directs Scott Eastwood, Adria Arjona, Tian Jing, and John Boyega in the Action, Adventure, Science-Fiction film. Jake Pentecost, a son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots to oppose a Kaiju threat.

“Isle of Dogs,” PG-13: Wes Anderson directs the voice talents of Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johansson, Courtney B. Vance, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Yoko Ono, Fisher Stevens, Ken Watanabe, and Kara Hayward in the Stop-Motion Animation Adventure film. The Isle of Dogs takes place in Japan and is about a boy’s search for his dog.

“Unsane,” R: Steven Soderbergh directs Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, and Sarah Stiles in the Horror film. A young woman in a mental institution can’t tell whether her fears are imagined or real.

“Sherlock Gnomes,” PG: John Stevenson directs the voice talents of Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, James McAvoy, and Mary J. Blige in the Animated Feature Film Comedy. Garden gnomes, Gnomeo & Juliet, recruit Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the disappearance of garden ornaments.

One Popcorn Box out of Five Popcorn Boxes