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PCR # 192  (Vol. 4, No. 48)  This edition is for the week of November 24--30, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Haunted Mansion"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The History of Aviation in Florida Part Two: 1920-1941 - The First World War Gives Way to the Roaring Twenties
 by Will Moriaty
"The Cat In The Hat"
"The Haunted Mansion"
 by Mike Smith
"Bubba-Ho-Tep"  by ED Tucker
Another List....Give This Man A Prize....Remembering The Past....Movie Notes....Moving On
 by Mike Smith
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Walt Disney Pictures     
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Marsha Thomas, and Terrance Stamp
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 25 mins

The first question to ask is if the third film inspired by a ride at Disney World another "Pirates of the Caribbean" (good) or "The Country Bears" (bad). And, like they say on "Jeopardy," the answer is:

Real estate couple Jim and Sarah Evers (Murphy and Thomas) are asked to visit an old mansion as the current owner is interested in listing it on the market. Having already planned a weekend getaway with the kids, they decide to stop by on their way out of town for "just 20 minutes." They are greeted by the house manservant (Stamp) and before they know it are sitting down to a sumptuous feast. A "sudden" rainstorm strands the family in the old house much to their chagrin. A series of encounters with the former occupants of the house, including the ghostly master, teaches everyone an important lesson about family.

I must say that I found this film to be quite enjoyable. I went in fearing the worse and was very much surprised at how good the story was. And credit, I think, belongs to two people. Director Minkoff certainly knows how to craft a well told, family oriented story. As the director of such films as "The Lion King" and the two "Stuart Little" films, he certainly is no stranger to the subject. And leading man Murphy has finally followed his idol, Bill Cosby, as a man who excels in family films. It's hard to believe that Murphy has been a star for more then 20 years. He has slowly toned down the motor mouthed comic and become, like Cosby before him, everyone's favorite movie dad. Additional credit to the usually dramatic Stamp, who rivals the late John Gielgud in "Arthur" as the mansions' gentlemen's gentlemen. With appearances by various ghostly figures (Wallace Shawn and Jennifer Tilly among them) and a set of busts that becomes a barbershop quintet at the drop of a hat, the film continuously entertains. If I may answer my question above: the answer is YES, it's a good one. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Haunted Mansion" Three stars

This week's movie review of "The Haunted Mansion" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.