Friday, February 10, 2006

Mirrormask on DVD

Mirrormask is a great movie, from the minds of Neil Gaiman
and Dave McKean--it's too bad so few people went to see it in
the theater.

When the DVD arrives on February 14th, go rent (or buy) it!
It represents a creative approach to telling a story--versus
rehashing a previous effort--that needs to be encouraged in
the 21st century.

Some things I was reminded of when viewing it:
-Early Henry Selick animation (pre-Nightmare Before
Christmas) on MTV in the early 90's
-The CG series Reboot--especially Hexadecimal, a villainess of
many masks and powers
-The movie The City Of Lost Children
-The computer game Myst
-The movie Return To Oz

A contrasting film would be "Zathura," spawned by a similarly
talented artist, with effects wizardry from The Henson Group as well.
The problem I have with Zathura is: the two kids involved take such
a long time to warm-up to the idea of their home floating around in space.
That's a cool concept! Go with it! But there are the usual scenes of
"freaking out" and lots of "arrrgghhs" as limbs flail. The only female
character in the movie is frozen in place for the whole second reel.

Helena, the heroine in Mirrormask, instantly groks to her situation
and begins putting the pieces of her puzzling dreamworld together.
Is this realistic? Probably not to many short-attention span hellions,
but it's better than waiting for squabbling siblings to finally work
together an hour into a work of fiction (I've had enough of that in

Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have collaborated on many
projects before, but I think Mirrormask is a bold step for them
in a great new direction. They present family values without the
annoying Disney aftertaste, and offer problem-solving without
guns or explosions. Parent groups should uphold good movies
like this versus dissing the obvious targets--insert shoddily crafted
movie's title here.

Be sure to watch the extras too, including interviews with Neil and
Dave at a comic convention. The filming process is revealed to be
similar to that of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sin City
and Star Wars Episode III but with such a different and unique result.
See for yourself on February 14th!

Oh yeah, there's also some cool juggling.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Movies 2006

Get ready for these cinematic gems in 2006:

*Ultraviolet--release date February 24, 2006 (according to
Update (2-15-06)--saw a commercial saying March 3rd is the real date--sorry
Director: Kurt Wimmer Rated: PG-13
Kurt made an interesting movie in 2002 called "Equilibrium."
I saw the trailer for "Ultraviolet" before viewing "Underworld:
Evolution." It looks like another attempt to take us back to the
Spring of 1999, when "The Matrix" stunned many filmgoers.
This movie could be The One, or perhaps just "The Fifth Element 2."

*V For Vendetta--release date March 17, 2006
Director: James McTeigue
Another movie that hopes to lure the Matrices crowd (The
Wachowski Brothers are behind this Alan Moore graphic novel
adaptation). But a lot of the original source material reads like a
Sergio Aragones' strip--what's going on? The Brothers will fill in the
blanks, no doubt. Maybe a return to "The Professional" form for
Natalie Portman?

*Ice Age 2:The Meltdown--release date March 31, 2006
Director: Carlos Saldanha
I liked the original. I liked "Robots." Neither were perfect products
from the 20th Century Fox Computer Animation appendage, but they
were good. This will probably be just 'good' as well. (Have you ever
looked at the word good--it's a strange word)

*edoC icniV aD ehT--I mean The Da Vinci Code--
Release date May 19, 2006
Director: Ron Howard
I accidentally typed "The Da Vinci Coed" and thought, "Well, that
could be a movie of an entirely different nature!"
Tom Hanks stars in this novel-to-film version, probably done in a
Monster Maker(remember that toy?) fashion--add ingredients
and shake well until the resulting product resembles the
"action/thriller" mold it is trapped in.

*X-Men 3--release date May 28, 2006
Director: Brett Ratner
With Jackie Chan as Sunfire--I keed, I keed!
Maybe they'll include the Danger Room this time around?

*Cars--release date June 9, 2006
Director: John Lasseter
Will any of the characters fly end-over-end into a crowd of onlookers?
Who did Disney write their $7.4 billion check to? Could you deposit
said check at an ATM?

*Superman Returns--release date June 30, 2006
Director: Bryan Singer
Kal-El Soze (misspelled I'm sure)

Some others I couldn't find the release dates for--

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest; director: Gore Verbinski

Red Nails (see Joe's site)--on DVD
A Conan movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger?
It should be good then, right?

Arthur and the Minimoys; director: Luc Besson