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Daily Archives: October 15, 2009
“We tell ourselves childhood is a time of joy, of play, of wonder. We tell ourselves that because, if we didn’t, the pain of childhood, in our memory, would be unendurable. We spend childhood at the mercy of large, distant adults who define a world we don’t understand, unable to speak to the feelings that swell in us and come and go with the intensity of summer storms. Childhood can be a wonder, but it can also be a wound. And great children’s literature, great children’s film making, understands that simple fact and speaks to it. “Where the Wild Things Are” is a great film because, for all of its wonder and magic and delight, it also knows about confusion and reality and sadness.
Based on Maurice Sendak’s 10-sentence 1963 children’s book, director Spike Jonze‘s movie manages to build a slim, slight thing of grace into a feature-length film by burrowing into the book, not by blowing it up until it breaks. With a script by Jonze and author Dave Eggers (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”), “Where the Wild Things Are” does not add to or expand on the plot of Sendak’s book but instead creates a series of moments — conversations, adventures, silences — that fit within the story Sendak created. Max (Max Records) lives with his single mom and his sister, and after acting out one night runs into the streets, finds a boat and sails away to a land full of giant creatures that not only take him in, but also make him their king.”
– From my MSN Movies Review
“Combining classic retro showmanship and thoroughly modern high-tech storytelling and promotion, “Paranormal Activity” works as a great test case in how marketing, moviemaking and movie-going can still deliver shrieks and scares in the 21st century while wringing goose bumps out of ancient ears. Pushed, prodded and promoted by Paramount with a series of word-of-mouth late-night screenings in a handful of cities, people were encouraged via the Web, Twitter and Facebook to request that the film play their town, which they did to the tune of a million requests. With that milestone reached through the magic of the Internet, Paramount’s opening the film wide this weekend. The sizzle of the marketing is impressive; the steak of the actual movie, served bloody and rare and juicy, is even more so.
Shot by writer-director Oren Peli for a rumored $10,000, “Paranormal Activity” is at heart a haunted house tale, in which San Diego couple Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) have a perfectly average life in a beautiful home. He’s a high-tech day trader; she’s a student. All very normal, except for the noises in the night, the mysterious events, the things happening when they shouldn’t. Micah, a swaggering, every-problem-has-a-solution technocrat, gets a video camera to chronicle the house’s strange phenomena; Katie, who’s more freaked out than curious, is less interested than Micah in proof of what’s going on. She just wants it to stop. …”