Archive for Coraline

Open Airing

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on June 9, 2014 by dcairns


TOP HAT, screened outdoors in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket as part of a day of dance-themed screenings, a preliminary to Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The vid-screen held up pretty well in the bright sunshine, and the audience held up pretty well in the rain — we had both. I don’t THINK I’ve watched a movie outside in the rain since a programme of Laurel & Hardy shorts at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens when I was probably nineteen. One thing about that experience that sticks in my mind was that L&H hadn’t been on TV for years at that point — a copyright dispute? — and so it had the effect of an astonishing rediscovery — not of the comedians, who were ingrained upon my memory, but of the sensation of laughing until one was in physical distress.


TOP HAT seemed well-suited to this rather unconventional environment. It wasn’t remotely like a cinema — people drifted in and out (it was free), chatted away, and kids danced in front of the screen. The last item I approve of — I have fond memories of kids doing this at CORALINE, jigging about with the flying terriers in the end credits sequence. (Fiona and I joined them and experienced what 3D is like when you’re inside it. Recommended.) Not every film would be improved by kids dancing about. LET US PREY, the horror film Fiona & I had a hand in, will screen later in the Fest and I don’t think cavorting bairns would really suit that one. But anything less explicit that DAWN OF THE DEAD would probably be OK.

TOP HAT is delightful, of course — it has precisely one clever plot twist (just like THE GAY DIVORCEE) and otherwise milks a single corny situation for its entire runtime (just like THE GAY DIVORCEE) and is none the worse for it. By some quirk of the video presentation, I was unable to see the loose feathers detaching from Ginger’s gown during the Cheek to Cheek routine, but that meant I became all the more aware of how beautifully the dress moves.


The Third Dimension

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on May 26, 2009 by dcairns


CORALINE is really good. I mean, really. The puppets overact, and the climax is not as exciting as the sub-climax, but these are quibbles. Henry Selick’s visuals and Bruno Coulais’ music are so consistently inventive and charming. (The music, the best I’ve heard in a recent film, doesn’t sound too much like anything else in movies, except maybe VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS a little. It was recorded in about four different countries. a ridiculous rigmarole that turns out to be well worthwhile.) It’s finally a film that makes good use of Neil Gaiman’s writing.

But LISTEN, here’s what you have to do. When the movie ends, there will be a small group of kids dancing around in front of the screen. Join them. If there aren’t any, be the first — start a fashion!

When you get so close to the screen that you can’t see the edges, well, alright, everything does go a bit smeary and out of focus. BUT, you are now in the frame, so close to the 3D figures which swoop out of the screen (flying terriers! Terrierdactyls, if you will) that you have to duck and swipe as they come at you, and then you realise, those kids weren’t dacing, they were dodging and weaving, trying to stay out of the path of the fast-moving winged canines, and so are you.


“That was the most enchanting experience I’ve had in a cinema in ages!” exclaimed Fiona.