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items tagged with Neil Gaiman

Eyes Wide Shut: "Coraline," "Push," and "The Pink Panther 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-02-12 17:53:30

CoralineCORALINE

Employing extraordinarily supple, nearly tactile stop-motion animation and 3D effects, the children's film Coraline is filled with visual magic, and just about corners the market on unsettling imagery. A grinning pair of parental doppelgängers, with buttons sewn into their eye sockets, serve a dinner composed of mango milkshakes and chocolate beetles. Two morbidly obese British dowagers unzip their skins and emerge as lithe trapeze artists. A feral alley cat talks, and a theatre full of mutts attends a vaudeville, and it's all strange and clever and tantalizingly designed. Is it ungrateful, if not downright senseless, to admit that I could hardly wait for this movie to end?


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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