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Ghost Canyon

'The House with a Clock in Its Walls: 4K Ultra HD'
(Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / PG / 2018 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Overview: In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett star in 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls'.

The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town's sleepy fašade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches!

4K Ultra HD Verdict: Universal Studios Home Entertainment continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings next month with the release of the hilariously funny 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls' in the 4K home video format on January 1st, 2019.

For my money, this 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy.

Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265; Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p); HDR: HDR10; Aspect ratio: 2.39:1; and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like in most all of the magical experiences that seem to come complete with gold sparkles attached!

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes, much like the scenes where the puppets downstairs all come to life and begin to round up our there heroes!) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Spanish: DTS-HD HR 7.1; and French: DTS-HD HR 7.1.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR10 Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, Horror mastermind Eli Roth attempts to turn away from the dark side and go towards the light but for his newest film 'The House With A Clock In Its Walls.'

The film takes on the story of a young orphan to which his uncle is a wizard or some magic man and goes on this weird and twisted quest to find this hidden clock in their house's walls and stop an evil plot to end humanity. As ridiculous as the story sounds, you could easily find it quite entertaining.

So, yes, the film is about a boy whose parent's recently passed away. He now has to go live with his uncle, who lives in a very strange house. The boy soon realizes that the house and his uncle are stranger than they seem.

The uncle is a warlock, and the house is basically alive. There is a clock hidden within the house placed there by the former inhabitant. Things happen, and the boy resurrects this owner. He soon realizes the mistake he has caused and must then try to stop this evil spirit from accessing this clock within the house.

In truth, apart from the inclusion of Lorenza Izzo (Roth's former wife), you can't really place this as an Eli Roth film. The effects are mixed, they seem bad at times and other times seem passable.

Owen Vaccaro, as Lewis, debuts impressively characterizing his inner pedant and emotional vulnerabilities. It is truly exciting to watch his character struggle and master the magic arts and current social status.

Jack Black, as Jonathan, is my favorite character as he excels with vibrant gestures and comic timing. His struggles and determination to connect with nephew Lewis about his orphanage are touching to watch and strengthened the movie's emotional core.

Cate Blanchett, as Florence, is enthralling with her sharp remarks and magic finesse. Last, but not least, Kyle McLachlan, as Isaac Izard, goes all in with his villainous and determined goals with the help of his equally cunning wife Selena, played by Renee Elise Goldsberry.

My favorite scene is the movie's introduction of the clock's ticking because the ambient sound mixing and design left me craving more. However, my problem with this movie stems from the plot development in general as the movie does not really get going until halfway through by delving full force into Izzard's endeavors.

This leaves the first half feeling dull and repetitive at times as it just feels like an hour-long introduction to the house. That said, the message of the movie is to always believe in hope and people, as that carries Lewis past his family tragedy and elevates him to become a hero.

Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the 4K Ultra HD's special features, with one of them being Warlocks and Witches, witch (see what I did there ... no ... oh well, please yourselves then!) is a wondrous four-part feature that takes a closer look at casting the main roles and the qualities the actors brought to the film. Included are Finding Lewis (2:16), Jack's Magical Journey (2:57), The Great Cate (2:19), and The Terrifying Eddie Izard (2:26).

Then another good one is Movie Magic which is a five-part feature that explores locations, objects, and visual effects. Included are The Ultimate Haunted House (2:26), Automatons Attack (2:18), Pumpkin Puke (2:10), Moving Pieces (1:24), and Baby Jack (1:36).

Lastly, I would give a two thumbs up to Eli Roth: Director's Journals, a rather informative six-part supplement that features Roth discussing locations and making various scenes, including a cameo appearance. Included are Candler Mansion (1:34), Newnan, GA (1:04), The Chair (1:02), Comrade Ivan (1:03), New Zebedee Elementary (1:06), and Wrap Day (1:39).

'The House With a Clock in its Walls' arrives on Digital and via the digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on November 27th, 2018, as well as on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand on December 18th, 2018.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the aforementioned Special Features of:

Includes 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls'
Alternate Opening and Ending
Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel
Feature Commentary with Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black
Warlocks and Witches
Movie Magic
Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life
Eli Roth: Director's Journals
Owen Goes Behind the Scenes
Theme Song Challenge
Do You Know Jack Black?
Jack Black's Greatest Fear
The Mighty Wurlitzer

Official Trailer

Amazon Purchase Link