Robert Rodriguez brings his hypermanic pacing and homegrown special effects to the tale of a nerdy tween named Toe (Jimmy Bennet), who stumbles across a rainbow-colored wishing stone that, well, grants wishes. The magical rock is then passed from one kid to the next, unleashing all sorts of wacky unintended consequences. From castles and aliens to upright crocodiles and a giant dung beetle to the aforementioned booger monster, icky setbacks befall both kids and adults with Tex Avery-style aplomb. The paper-thin concept gets the director's usual energetic treatment, but never gets really funny.
This affectionate, by-the-numbers doc about the most famous celebrity you’ve never heard of is an unabashed valentine to a woman called the Oprah of her generation. Director Aviva Kempner, eschewing traditional narrative voiceovers, lays out the remarkable life story of writer-actor Gertrude Berg (aka Molly Goldberg), who built a 25-year media empire (1929-1955) that bridged radio, television and stage. Using descendents, former cast members and celebrity admirers (including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Norman Lear and Susan Stamberg), along with extensive show footage, Kempner spotlights an inconceivably ambitious woman who exported her Jewish immigrant identity into the living rooms of everyday Americans and achieved unprecedented success. Audiences connected with her Molly Goldberg character; her gentle humor, dedication to family and relentless humanitarianism made her a pop icon. Though stumbling early, Kempner’s doc becomes a fascinating chronicle of American history once it starts charting Berg’s popular rise.