Posts Tagged ‘where the wild things are

12
Nov
09

Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are

where_the_wild_things_are

 

Substitute “wild” for “mild”…

Starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo and the voices of James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, and Lauren Ambrose. Directed by Spike Jonze. Based on the childrens book by Maurice Sendak

Wow. They kinda sucked the fun out of this one.

It’s been forever since I’ve read Maurice Sendak’s book. My dad read it to me and my brother when we were younger and I vaguely remember enjoying it (as well as the “Reading Rainbow” segment on it). It’s this childhood fondness that drove my want to see Jonze’s movie adaptation of the 1963 classic.

No offense, but I’ll take my “childhood memory” over the movie.

Max is one lonely kid: his older sister Claire is more interested in her friends than paying any attention to him. His mother (Keener) is a stressed-out single mom trying to deal with her job and life as well as the lives of her kids. One night while having a dinner date (with Mark Ruffalo) Max acts up: he screams, climbs the table, stomps on it, fights and eventually bites his mom before running out the door, down the street, and disappearing from sight.

Max finds his way to the water and climbs into a small boat where he heads out into the water and ventures for parts unknown. From the ocean he spots a light in the forest. Might as well check it out…

Scaling up a cliff he wanders into the forest toward the light where he hides, watching the “Things.” One of them, Carol (Gandolfini), is walking around destroying all their huts. Max jumps out into the open and convinces them not to eat him and that he’s a king who conquered vikings. Lacking any real leadership they make him their king. He promises a new world, new adventures, etc., and they take him for his word.

And let me discuss the “Things” for a moment: they’re morose. It would be like a party of severely depressed people trying to “out Eeyore” Eeyore (the melancholic donkey from “Winnie the Pooh”). Yeah, that fun. There’s the headstrong Carol (Gandolfini), the whining Judith (O’Hara), her bore-holes-in-trees partner Ira (Whitaker), low-esteem goat Alexander(Dano), Douglas the chicken (Cooper), and K W (Ambrose) a woman who seeks advice from owls Bob and Terry.

Max proposes an idea to bring everyone together: build a fort that only they can get into. It’ll have a secret underground entrance and a machine that will scoop out the brains of anyone who dares to enter without their consent. Happily they all come together and begin working on fortress.

As a “team-building” exercise, Max declares dirt-clod war, dividing the group into two. They all begin to have fun until someone gets hurt and Max’s position comes into question and his power falters. Max must come to terms and grow up or face the threat of being eaten by Carol.

Maybe in hoping for something great I faulted myself on this one. I wanted something more uplifting, something to remember being a kid and enjoying the book. I didn’t get that from this movie. The
“Things” and Max were stunted in his age-mentality. Maybe that’s what Jonze was going for.

The movie isn’t entirely depressing. There were happy moments but for the most part it’s a depressing movie. Not bittersweet but humbly sad.

If I can say anything good about the film, it’s technically amazing. With CG blending in with animatronics from the Jim Henson company (creators of “The Muppets”), the “Things” are incredible to watch. Jonze went above and beyond in creating characters, nay, a world all to itself. Maybe he gave us all a bit more to chew on then we wanted.

I find this movie tough to suggest. It’s well-made but if you’re looking for sweet, charming, whimsical,
uplifting, and overall warm-fuzziness, it’s not to be had in this one. I’m just sayin’.

My grade: B- (with points for technical achievement)

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30
Sep
09

October Movie Releases

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – Greed. Avarice. Michael Moore. Documentary. Opens October 2, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on October 2, 2009

“A Serious Man” – Coen Bros. movie about a man trying to find clarity in the Sixties. Opens October 2, 2009.

“Whip It” – Ellen Page returns to the screen as a teen who finds her calling by joining a female roller derby team. This is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. Opens October 2, 2009

“Zombieland” – As if we can’t get enough zombie movies, this one has Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as two guys who must escort a band of survivors to safety. Also stars Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray. Opens October 2, 2009

“Couples Retreat” – Couples are on a tropical resort island to work out their marriages. Stars Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, and Jean Reno. Opens October 9, 2009

“Law Abiding Citizen” – Gerard Butler plays a man whose family is murdered. Jamie Foxx is a hotshot lawyer presiding over his case. Butler goes to jail and after 10 years begins plaguing the city by executing carefully-plotted assassination plans from his jail cell. Opens October 16, 2009

“The Stepfather” – A guy returns home from military school to find his mother with a new man. Is he everything he’s cracked up to be? Remake of the 80’s flick with Terry O’Quinn. Opens October 16, 2009

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Spike Jonze adaptation of the classic kids book. I’m there! Opens October 16, 2009

“Amelia” – A look at Amelia Earhart, the aviator who disappeared flying over the Pacific in 1937. Stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Virginia Madsen and Ewan McGregor. The film lands on October 23, 2009

“Saw VI” – Are you tired of playing games? Evidently they’re not. The mayhem ensues on October 23, 2009

“The Vampire’s Assistant: Cirque Du Freak” – A boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man who turns out to be a vampire, then takes him on the long road to becoming one. Stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Fugit. Opens October 23, 2009

“Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’” – The documentary on MJ’s last days. There ya go. Opens October 28, 2009

“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” – Sequel to the 90’s cult classic about two brothers defending their neighborhood from Russians wanting to take over. This time around they’re in seclusion in Ireland when word of the death of a priest brings them out of hiding to solve the case. Stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Billy Connolly. Opens October 30, 2009

“Youth in Revolt” – Michael Cera is a teenager who falls for the girl of his dreams and develops a split personality who creates havoc. Wasn’t this “Fight Club?” Also stars Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, M. Emmet Walsh, Justin Long, and Fred Willard. Opens October 30, 2009

27
Mar
09

Movie News and Views March 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

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“Gigantic” – Paul Dano is single, and a mattress salesman trying to adopt a baby from China. He falls for Zooey Deschanel and in the down time tries to keep from getting killed by a homeless guy. Comedy. Opens April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Merry Gentleman” – A woman moves to Chicago to start life over and meets a guy. Both are trying to escape their past lives and need to become more than they are. Stars Kelly MacDonald and Michael Keaton, who also directs. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Limits of Control” – Isaach De Bankole is a mysterious loner on a job, probing the depths of his soul. Also stars Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Drag Me To Hell” – Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” “Spider-Man” trilogy) horror movie about a loan officer cursed by a mysterious woman who’s loan extension she denies. Stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Away We Go” – Parents-to-be John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph hit the road to find a place to set their roots. Opens June 5, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Hangover” – A guy and his three friends go to Vegas for a Bachelor-party blow-out. The three friends awake and have to retrace their steps to track down the groom. Opens June 5, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Public Enemies” – Michael Mann (“Heat,” “Collateral”) directed John Dillinger biopic. Stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard. Opens July 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“500 Days of Summer” – Zooey Deschanel doesn’t believe in love, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt falls for her anyway. Opens July 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Taking Woodstock” – Ang Lee directed true story of Elliot Tiber, a man who was pivotal in making the 1969 Woodstock Festival happen. Also stars Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber. Opens August 14, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Pandorum” – Sci-fi movie with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster about two men who crash-land on a planet and have no memory of who they were, how they got there, or why. Opens September 4, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – CG animated movie based on the children’s book about a scientist trying to cure world hunger when food starts falling from the sky. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Cann, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T. Opens September 18, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Movie based on the popular children’s book (I loved it at least). Directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”). Opens October 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Sorority Row” – Five sorority sisters murder a fellow sister in a prank gone wrong. After graduation, a killer goes after each one. Opens October 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Astro Boy” – A young robot with incredible powers takes a journey to discover what it means to be human. CG animated with the voices of Nic Cage and Freddie Highmore. Opens October 23, 2009

 

 

 

 

“In the Loop” – Comical look at what might go on behind the scenes between London and Washington, D.C. during a buildup to a not-so-fictional war. Stars Steve Coogan and James Gandolfini. Coming Soon!

 

23
Sep
08

Movie News and Views Sept. 23, 2008 Poster Edition

 

 

To quoth the Staind, “It’s been a while…”

 

         Jon Favreau will be directing the “Iron Man” sequel, after the head of Marvel became upset that he took his “cause” to the Internet.

         Paramount Pictures has created a straight-to-DVD division. Watch for sequels to the films “Road Trip,” “Bad News Bears,” “Mean Girls,” “Grease,” and… wait for it… “The Naked Gun” to come to video store shelves soon. They plan on releasing 5-6 titles a year. Why?!?

         Ah-nold, the Governator, will have something to do with the upcoming “Terminator: Salvation” movie. Just what is not known…

         The joint Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson collaboration, “Tintin,” has been refused funding by Universal Pictures who cite that the film would HAVE to make $425 million, and they don’t feel it would happen.

         “The Strangers” will have a sequel.

         Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter of such films as “A Few Good Men,” and “Charlie Wilson’s War,” will be writing a movie about Facebook. Is MySpace not good enough? What about Hi5?

         Warner Bros. is planning a “Superman re-boot.” Think “Incredible Hulk” vs. “The Incredible Hulk.” Geez…

         Bruce Springsteen has written the theme to the upcoming Darren Aronofsky movie, “The Wrestler.”

         “Ghostbusters 3,” everyone’s favorite rumor, is supposedly in the works.

         “Where the Wild Things Are,” directed by Spike Jonze, has a release date of Oct. 16, 2009.

         “Spider-Man 4 & 5” are currently in the works, with Tobey Maguire reprising his role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

         Spike Lee is moving forward on “Inside Man 2.”

        

Info on the Coen Bros. next project: “A Serious Man” is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous colleagues, Sy Ableman, who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job. While his wife and Sy Ableman blithely make new domestic arrangements, and his brother becomes more and more of a burden, an anonymous hostile letter-writer is trying to sabotage Larry’s chances for tenure at the university. Also, a graduate student seems to be trying to bribe him for a passing grade while at the same time threatening to sue him for defamation. Plus, the beautiful woman next door torments him by sunbathing nude. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person – a mensch – a serious man?Tony Award nominee Michael Stuhlbarg (The Grey Zone) stars as Larry; Fred Melamed (Suspect) plays Sy; Richard Kind (The Visitor) portrays Arthur; and Minnesota actors Aaron Wolf, Sari Wagner, and Jessica McManus are cast as Danny, Judith, and Sarah, respectively. (taken from Worstpreviews.com)
 

 

 

         The makers of “Disturbia” are being sued for ripping-off “Rear Window.”

         “Rambo 5” will be coming to theatres. Maybe if we DIDN’T draw First Blood…

         The makers of Guitar Hero are refusing to let Brett Ratner make a Guitar Hero movie. I got nothin’ to say…

         David Hasselhoff will be in “Beverly Hills Ninja 2.”

         Disney is creating a new movie around their attraction, “Tomorrowland.”

         “Rashomon” is being remade.

         A movie is being based on the PC game, “The Sims.”