Monster House | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Leave it to the nakedly cunning executive producers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis to fashion a digitally animated scare show for kids predicated on what may be the most blatant evocation of vagina dentata in movie history: a spiteful, devouring haunted house driven by the angry spirit of a circus fat lady. The three neighborhood kids who venture inside this toothy trap are wittily conceived (as are other characters, like a goth babysitter), but though the overall conception suggests Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, the frenetic pacing seems as American as an apple pie in your face. Gil Kenan directed; among the voices are those of Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Kathleen Turner. PG, 87 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, City North 14, Crown Village 18, Ford City, Gardens 1-6, Lake, Lawndale, Lincoln Village, Norridge, Pickwick, River East 21, 62nd & Western.


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