3 items from 2008
By R. Emmet Sweeney
A pratfall can be a work of art, a study in disruptive motion, a klutz's ballet. This choreography of humiliation is perhaps the least garlanded act in contemporary film, as no Oscars will ever be won for kicks to the groin or tumbles down the stairs, regardless of their originality. Only in retrospect have the golden slapstick silents gained credibility and the brilliant purveyors of today's guffaws are suffering the same critical fate (although the hurt, it must be said, is not felt in their checkbooks). So here is my list of the top five pratfalls of 2008, some of the strongest and strangest feats from an otherwise lackluster year. Some are from masters of the form (Will Ferrell, Anna Faris), while others seamlessly blend the side-splitting spill into their respective and respectable narratives (Robert Downey Jr., Mathieu Amalric, Pixar). All show a clumsy physical grace (as »
- R. Emmet Sweeney
No doubt about it, I love me some kid-friendly Takashi Miike. Yes, I love the adult version, too, but when Miike’s in kid mode he just somehow taps into this sense of lunacy that reminds me of nothing so much of those crazy, physics-defying Tex Avery Road Runner cartoons and I love every minute.
Which brings us to Yatterman, Miike’s big budget adaptation of the popular manga and anime series. It’s big, goofy, birghtly colored and, until now, Miike has released only two trailers that contain basically a single shot each. But no more! It’s still technically a teaser but there’s a brand new one out there and this one runs a full minute and shows off characters, mecha and environments. Fun? You betcha. Check out all three teasers below the break.
- Todd Brown
It's hard to believe that a movie as defiantly odd as the horror-comedy Beetlejuice even got made by a Hollywood studio in the '80s, let alone that it became a substantial hit and a sleepover staple. The title character—a pasty-faced, hollow-eyed, green-teethed, bug-chomping corpse played by Michael Keaton—doesn't make his first full appearance until halfway through the movie, and then comes roaring across the screen like a pop-eyed beast from a Tex Avery cartoon, belching and swearing and boasting. Chief among those boasts: that he can help recently deceased couple Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis scare away the hideous New York yuppies now inhabiting their charming country house. (Yes, Beetlejuice is pro-ghost.) Dry in tone, packed with grotesque sight gags, and surprisingly sweet at times, Beetlejuice never seems concerned with straightforward storytelling. First and foremost, it's a funhouse ride. Beetlejuice was the perfect showcase for director Tim Burton, »
- Noel Murray
3 items from 2008
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