Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Movie Crush - Kris from "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are - They're All Up in Here WOOP WOOP

Growing up, Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are was one of those books that was so epic to me. It was like a masculine take on the Oz and Alice stories I loved so much, but instead of words, it told it's story mostly in pictures. The Oz and Alice stories might've had more pages than Where the Wild Things Are, but to me, what was left to the imagination was more epic than even Baum or Carrol could conjure up, and that was the beauty of the book. It was so open up for interpretation than it was any child's story.

The movie version is probably how directior Spike Jonze saw the book in his head when he first read it too. For this film, the text is obviously expanded to include more background on Max before he went all "wild" and his monster friends, who now have names and are voiced by celebrities; namely James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose, Forest Whitaker and Catherine O'Hara to name a few. Our lead character, Max, is played to childhood tantrum perfection by Max Records.

Watching the movie was so surreal. I grew up in the 80's and the movie reminded me of the many obscure children's films I used to watch as a child in the local public library. I notice that it had the same feeling of childhood seclusion that dominated the swedish Pippi Longstocking films. So since the movie looks like it was made in the 80's, I think it's safe to say that movie has a timeless quality.

Spike Jonze has always been a visionary and he really puts his own unique vision to Where the Wild Things Are, but the cinematic look is undeniably inspired by Maurice Sendak's original illustrations. The story itself is far from self-explanatory. Like the book, the beauty of this movie is what the audience brings to it. There are many visuals and situations in the movie that are up for interpetation and discussion, so you know I was loving it while in the theater. This is not a movie you watch just once. This is a movie you watch several times to fully enjoy it. Where the Wild Things Are is going right up there on my shelf next to MGM's The Wizard of Oz and CBS' Alice in Wonderland.

If you enjoyed this article, you should read these:

The Wizard of Oz - A Parody Review - A different take on the classic MGM film. Everyone's reading it, you should too.

Toy Story 3 - Brave Little Toys - The conclusion to the Toy Story series... or is it?

CBS' Alice in Wonderland - Carol Channing, John Stamos and Pat Morita all in one Wonderland movie. HOLLA!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse - Introducing Kara Zo-Rel

Let me begin by saying that first and foremost, I am totally biased for this movie. The Supergirl character has been a favorite character of mine for as long as I can remember and the graphic novel this movie is based off of has been a favorite read of mine. One of those favorite reads that never fails to bring me to tears. Another one would be Supergirl: Many Happy Returns. Maybe that should be DC's next animated film project?

You can't judge a book by it's cover, and the same goes for Blu Ray discs. You would never guess that this misleadingly titled film focuses on the introduction of Kara Zo-Rel, or Supergirl, Superman's cousin from Krypyton. Instead there's a focus on the world of Apocalypse and it's mighty ruler Darkseid. Fact: the heart of this movie, is Kara Zo-Rel. Don't let the fact that it's about a girl fool you though, this is not a fluffy movie. There's major deaths, blood, cussing. I was shocked, and I've read the friggin' book inside out.

The new girl in town seems to be of concern to everyone: Superman loves her unconditionally; Batman doesn't trust her; Wonder Woman wants to make sure she's using her powers responsibly; and Darkseid, the scarier than scary ruler of Apocalypse, just wants to exploit her powers. All of this unfolds in a grand explosion of adventure, action and some well written and acted drama.

Sometimes some of the action sequences felt a bit like over-kill, but I figured that the story was so epic, that maybe the action sequences needed to be that grand, especially when our headliners include Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The emotional resonance behind every action sequence made sure that this movie wasn't just mindless fights.

Instead of hiring celebrity voice actors for this film, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg and Kevin Conroy reprise their roles as Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman from the Bruce Timm DC animated series. Casting these familiar voices gave the film a sense of coming back home for fans of the Justice League, Batman and Superman Animated Series.

Summer Glau (Firefly, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) voices Kara, in what is easily one of the best acting roles I've seen her in ever.

The film itself looks so rich. There's this thing nowadays in really good Disney Blu Rays where animated films look like you're looking at the actual artwork. Now this disc is not Disney, it's Warner, it looks that good. I felt several times that I was watching an actual animation cel in movement.

Special features include 4 episodes from the Superman Animated Series that feature Supergirl and Darkseid.
Aside from those awesome 4 episodes, the rest is a mixed bag.

An animated short about Green Arrow is included. I hope this is a pilot, and I hope it gets picked up because it's really good.

There's some featurettes on some other DC animated movies that prove to be very informative. I am most excited about upcoming release of All Star Superman.

Three featurettes about the New Gods of DC are also included and expand on Darkseid's origin.

A featurette that was orignally found on the Smallville Season 7 DVDs about Supergirl is also included. While very informative and important to this disc, I was saddened that a production featurette on the film itself was not included. So here's one I found on Youtube.

Now why couldn't that be on the disc? Oh well.

This disc is a must have. Not only does it feature my favorite hero, Kara Zo-Rel, it also features Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in a battle so epic that it couldn't be contained in the pages of a comic book.