Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)
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Well, this is based on a series of books I haven't read. I guess it incorporates the first three books in the series. It's all very Victorian Gothic in style, and yet there are modern touches, like cars with remote controlled locks, and mention of fax machines, and contemporary cultural references. But on the whole, very Victorian. There are these three children, the Baudelaires. The eldest is the lovely and clever Violet (Emily Browning), who invents things with whatever is at hand. Her brother Klaus reads a great deal, and remembers everything he reads. Their baby sister Sunny... likes to bite things. Also she speaks in baby talk, but there are subtitles for what she means, and it's always quite amusing. The books' actual author, Lemony Snicket, narrates the movie (though he also appears in the movie as a character, played by Jude Law).
Anyway, the children's parents are killed in a fire which destroys their home, and the children are sent to stay with Count Olaf, a bad actor (played amusingly by Jim Carrey), who wants to kill them and inherit their fortune. They keep escaping him, to be handed over to a series of other guardians, but Olaf keeps pursuing them and causing trouble. The adults (including guardians as well as a bank agent named Poe and some police detective) are all clueless and not particularly helpful, especially as they never recognize Olaf in his disguises (though the children try to tell them who he is). Meanwhile, Klaus is investigating his parents' deaths, with little to go on, aside from a recurring theme of a spyglass and a sort of eye-shaped design.
Despite the movie's constant claims that it's an unpleasant story and you can't count on happy endings, the ending is relatively happy... but of course, with many more books in the series, I suppose there are yet many unfortunate events to come for the Baudelaire children. I very much hope to see them made into future movies.... And perhaps someday I'll even get around to reading the books. Oh yeah, and the credits were pretty cool. Wish I could think of more to say...