LEMONY  SNICKET'S     -          A  Narada Film Review

   EMILY BROWNING   
   as Violet Baudelaire, and
   KARA & SHELBY HOFFMAN   
   as baby Sunny
      
   JIM CARREY   
   as Count Olaf
             
  BILLY CONNOLLY   
  as Uncle Monty Montgomery
LEMONY SNICKET'S - 2004   -Brad Silberling-Director   &  Scott Aversano -- Producer
   LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (hereinafter just LEMONY SNICKET'S) is one of those rare, and getting rarer, films that has a feel, a fabric to it.   Excellence in casting, care in costuming, shining cinematography and special effects (Industrial Light & Magic again), and a story --with a sense of humor to boot.   
         Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf does --not so much what he does best-- but rather what he always does.   Four parts fine acting, six parts gooney Jerry Lewis imitations - certainly the talent is there, but just when is he going to stop sending mixed signals?   Frankly, we're tired of waiting - no longer is Carrey the 'big draw' - the films must have something, or someone else which at least gives the film some promise.   In the case of LEMONY SNICKET'S, however, there were plenty of other major talents - Meryl Streep has never (ever) been better.   Even the three Baudelaire kids were great - including baby Baudelaire (who, if we are to believe the scrolling credits at the end of the film, was managed by a "baby wrangler" -- the first we've seen anywhere).   Don't forget Katherine O'Hara as Justice Strauss - all great performances.
         But much as Carrey spoils his Count Olaf role with mixed signals, the film LEMONY SNICKET'S itself sends similarly mixed signals.   At times the three Baudelaire orphans seem to be Dorothy-and-troupe in a dreamlike Oz adventure, while at other times it seems they are on a Spy Kids romp, while yet at other times they seem to fall back to earth - an earth of harsh and rather cruel realities.   All this is just occasionally pushing itself up into our consciousness as we watch an otherwise engrossing "for-kids-of-all-ages" film.
         However, it is really only afterward, when leaving the theater, that it dawns on us that we have seen a fine film - in spite of its shortcomings.   It's capturing of a surreal world and mixing it in with the real world has a certain fascination all it's own -akin to a child's half-real perception of the world.   And while Director Brad Silberling did a fine job, what LEMONY SNICKET'S indeed really needed to get where it was going was the magic hand of Timothy Burton.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "Have you noticed we aren't related to any of our relatives?"

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