* The fake-out opening is as clever as advertised. (The happy chirping songbird is farting out stars. Nice touch.) I've watched that on its own five times so far, and, damnit, I've even been humming that blasted song. Perhaps my own favorite fake-out opening for a film is still Man on the Moon -- with Andy Kaufman as Foreign Man angrily announcing he's "cut out all the baloney" from the flick, "so now it's much shorter. In fact, this is the end...This is it, it's over, goodbye..." -- but this one's up there. I love how The Littlest Elf TM stands there, smile frozen in place, just blinking, as Lemony Snicket tells you sorry, this isn't what you're going to be watching...
* Wow, Liam Aiken could be Young Neil Gaiman.
* Could I live in Montgomery Montgomery's home, please? The house and the grounds and the reptiles therein were beautiful! (And I just got reminded that I wasn't the only one to think so.) And I loved seeing seeing Sunny playing with the Incredibly Deadly Viper like he was a big puppy.
* That was one hell of a difficult tone to convey in this movie, and the filmmakers nailed it. One of the things I love about Daniel Handler, whether he's writing as himself or as Lemony Snicket, is that he can show you horrible situations -- murder in A Series of Unfortunate Events, incest in his adult novel Watch Your Mouth, for just two examples -- and keep them horrific, while finding funny things happening around the characters. I laugh out loud and go "Oh my God, that's awful" multiple times, often in close proximity, while reading his books. That a movie costing approximately the same as the ginormous production Spider-Man 2 could still be that gothic and harsh and uncompromising and funny -- and non-watered-down -- makes me smile.