Like: This Patton Oswalt Quote

September 10, 2009

“Man. Having babies. God. You smell bad when you don’t sleep. You know? You get that weird BO? You smell like cake mix and violence.”

I don’t have babies or anything, but I still find that hilarious.

This was on a recent Sports Guy podcast.


Like: Coraline

February 9, 2009

It is wholly pointless to review Coraline.

I could deftly mention the pacing problems in the third act, or something of that ilk. But doing so is not only nitpicky, but so completely unimportant when it comes to labeling a film like this “good” or “bad.” The reason being, Coraline’s very existence more than validates its worth; better yet, Coraline is the reason we go to the movies.

Some people will see it on pedigree alone. It’s directed by Henry Selick, the genius behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of the most beloved movies of the 90s. Coraline is of the same blood as that film, there is no doubting it. But in some ways it’s also more brave, more original, more flawed, and more affecting.

Sadly, I forget movies could be this imaginative. In the wake of the Harry Potter books(1), it seems like all kid’s movies and fantasy films have fallen victim to a kind of “plug and play” formula. Most original stories have been anything but, and gone for non stop barrage of pop-culturism, referencing, or a spinning on a classic stories; which is what makes Coraline so refreshing. It’s very much its own world and its own tone… and coming from Neil Gaiman I would expect nothing less.

As for seeing Coraline, the set pieces of the film act as their own reward. It’s somewhat cliche to say the first garden sequence is “worth the price of admission” but there we go; it is definitely worth the price of admission, as are most of the sequences. The atmosphere changes, mutates, and breathes. So much so I feel like the less said the better. But if people are looking for something of a comparison, the film has many similarities to Pan’s Labryinth, only with less blood, gore, and scares (2). Surely what would have been against most studio head’s wishes, Coraline unfolds slowly, but more accurately I’d say deliberately. The film takes its time with every detail, making the details themselves the focus of story or scene. Working as “pure cinema,” it always managing to creek a little smile across your face, with it’s almost inhuman attention to those very details. It’s one of the very things that makes stop-animation so special, the very care needed to do it will reward you with beauty in every frame.

Still, Coraline at its heart, is a fable and one with a surprisingly important lessons, both for children and adults who may forgot; lessons about how we see the world and the people around us for better and for worse. Often we cannot take our own perspective for granted in the quest for things we desire or think we need.  Relegating the tale to something as sophomoric as “appreciate what you have” would be a disservice to the layers of the film. Even kids who will see Coraline will instinctively understand its depth because it plays out so organically and true to their own lives. I know it certainly brought me back to my fiddling childhood, where I would have thought long and hard about getting my button eyes.(3)

The film is just wonderful. And see it in 3D if you can. That’s what it was meant for and it avoids any gimmicks. I loved it.

Endotes:

(1) – Which is not to say the Harry Potter Books are bad, they’re actually great. So great that everyone seems to be copying them and weakening their originality and merit.

(2) – Which is not to say Coraline is without teeth

(3) – This will make sense later.


Don’t Like: Non-Vigilante Based Murder

July 17, 2008

Wikipedia defines murder as: “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human person with malice aforethought, as defined in Common Law countries. Murder is generally distinguished from other forms of homicide by the elements of malice aforethought and the lack of lawful justification. All jurisdictions, ancient and modern, consider it a most serious crime and therefore impose severe penalty on its commission.”

It’s the internet so there could easily be some factual errors in there but I think you get the gist.

Non-vigilante based murder is bad. No one appreciates being murdered or having their friends/loved ones/mild associates being done in as such. Murderers belong in jail where they can be free to do drugs and murder other murders as a way of passing time.

Vigilante based murder? That’s cool though. Unless movies and tv have lied to me there’s always a good reason to do it and you’re wholly justified. Plus there’s always a happy ending. Vengeance is by no means self-consuming. Though I never saw the end of those movies so I can’t really tell if that’s true. Anyways, it’s like Death Wish, where you can take out your personal grief on scores of minorities with no apparent consequences. If there’s anything Americans appreciate it’s frontier justice. Wait, what was I talking about again?

Why am I holding a gun?


Like: That My Dad Likes Hellboy Just As Much As I Do, Which Was A Total Surprise

July 15, 2008

Our conversation on the phone the other night:

Me: So I saw Hellboy 2, I don’t know if you know it but-

Dad: Really? Was it good!?

Me: You like Hellboy?!

Dad: Yeah I saw the first one on TV. Such a great character.

Me: Well yeah, the second was a much better movie too.

Dad: Great!