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Ponies and Snowmen

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I might have scared my kid with the trailer for the new It, because he's been on a family film streak of late. Which isn't ideal, but watching the 1998 Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap has me wondering... Maybe Lohan didn't play both twin roles, maybe she actually is a twin and somewhere, almost 20 years later, there's another Lindsay Lohan out there living on a tropical island somewhere absolutely killing it...

These are the thoughts that can creep up on a person on a marathon movie run that includes Hocus Pocus and Are We There Yet? Parent movie watching can be a lot of fun, but I'm drawing the line at My Little Pony: The Movie, playing this week at the Whistler Village 8.

And it's not because I'm not down with impeccably groomed ponies spreading messages of acceptance and friendship. I got no problems with the Pony TV show (and not just because Whistler local Ali Milner voices the dragon), but this movie looks like too much pony — what works as a 22-minute story doesn't just instantly translate to a 90-minute format, and this looks like a miniature horse shitshow.

Certainly, the voice cast here is top shelf. Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the equine gang somehow managed to wrangle Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Sicario), Liev Schreiber (Goon), Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and Michael Peña (Crash). But don't be fooled, it's a trap! Early reports are that My Little Pony: The Movie is so discombobulated and poorly everything'd that it's less fun than eating Skittles until you puke, then eating the puke 'til you puke again.

More fun than the ponies, but certainly not for children, The Snowman is an 18A-rated thriller based on the popular novel by Norwegian Jo Nesbø. Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Prometheus) stars as a detective tracking an elusive serial killer with the help of new-recruit Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train). Directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) this one really wants to be Se7en meets Silence of the Lambs in the wintery landscape of Norway, but unfortunately it all plays more like a Dumb and Dumber sequel, with Fassbender as a more buff Lloyd Christmas. This one is all scrambled plot points, stupid thriller clichés from decades ago (wait, she's a twin!?) and Val Kilmer, post throat cancer, with all his lines overdubbed by another actor. Oh yeah, instead of heads in boxes, or creepy Hannibal Lecter philosophizing, the bad guy in this one builds little snowmen. And then it gets bad...

Also opening this week, Only the Brave is a natural disaster, man vs. nature flick starring Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, Goonies) and Miles Teller (Whiplash) as the main dudes in a forest fire-fighting unit. With actual wildfires ravaging California right now and B.C. finally getting rain after a terrible summer of flames, this one might have a hard time luring audiences in, but it's worth checking out. Based on a real wildfire squad in Arizona called the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Only the Brave is an old-fashioned hero flick that's quite well executed and beautifully shot, and always-awesome Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind) co-stars in a stronger version of the wife role than you'd expect from a Hollywood flick. Only the Brave is old-fashioned fun, better than a movie about the latest bombing or oil spill, that's for sure.

There's also a sci-fi flick called Geostorm starring Gerard Butler as an unlikely hero/satellite designer who has to save the Earth after climate control satellites begin malfunctioning. No one really knows much about this one except that it likely won't be as good as Only the Brave. Who even knew satellite designers were in such good shape?

Over at the Maury Young Arts Centre (a.k.a Millennium Place), they are gearing up for a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday, Oct. 28. We'll dig more into this next week but let the record show the event info includes this line: "Your own props are also welcome, but please — whatever you do — NO RICE OR WEINERS!"

Don't say you weren't warned.

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