Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book,” Directed by Wrong Howard?

Dear Neil Gaiman,Speaking as a fellow fantasy novelist, I envy you the experiences you've had... seeing your stories brought to life on the big screen with vivid imagination in brilliant adaptations.I'm a huge fan of the film version of MirrorMask, one of the Henson Company's most original and daring works. I discover new rewards in that movie every time I watch it.I've also come to love Henry Selick's version of Coraline very much. But that's no surprise. Selick's The Nightmare … [Read more...]

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

[July 2012 Update: In the buzz of recent Hollywood news, we've learned that Jennifer Connelly will reunite with Russell Crowe for Darren Aronofsky's epic retelling (reinvention?) of the story of Noah, the Ark, and the Deluge. That inspires me to look back at Crowe and Connelly's last collaboration, the Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard. Here's my original review—perhaps "rant" is a more appropriate word—with some minor revisions. It's almost ten years old now, bu … [Read more...]

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Some stories are short for a reason.Dr. Seuss's children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas tells a simple tale about a mean old grouch who learns that love conquers all. The Grinch hates the Whos, it's as simple as that. But no matter how much adversity he throws down on the town of Whoville, he's never able to spoil Christmas. Animator Chuck Jones made a beloved animated cartoon of the story that stuck to the script, provided perfect voices for the characters, and added a memorable, … [Read more...]

Prequel to Boring: Yawn Howard and Dan Brown, Together Again

You probably remember how, after all of the hype, The Da Vinci Code opened to enthusiastic cries of "Underwhelming!" and "Boring!"Yes, after all of the fright and hubbub amongst Christians who thought the movie might lay waste to the Christian church internationally, it turned out that all moviegoers needed to do was read the reviews to learn that the movie was a jumbo-sized, deep-fried turkey."So, heck," say the brilliant minds at Columbia Pictures, "why not round up the same team for a … [Read more...]

Mark Shea is saving Ireland…

Mark Shea is saving Ireland... from The Da Vinci Code.From Day 4 of his Ireland journal: More TV and radio interviews yesterday. One sympathetic and a couple more asking the tired question, "Isn't it just fiction?" I proposed a fictional film in which all the homosexuals in the world were engaged in a vast conspiracy to destroy Western Civilization."That would be offensive."No duh.The *only* time people fall for this notion that a fictional story which goes out of its way to … [Read more...]

So Dull the Con of Moviegoers.

Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune: How can a film contain so many clues yet remain utterly clueless? The screen adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code" treats the Dan Brown novel with a reverence it does not deserve and from which it does not benefit. The film was directed by Ron Howard in a style to be named later, and the screenplay by Akiva Goldsman can't get three sentences out without resorting to expositional set-ups such as "Ah, the Grand Gallery ..." or "Opus Dei. What is that?" "A … [Read more...]

“It’s just a movie” Except that 60% believe its lies.

Calm down.You Christians are just paranoid.It's fiction.It's just a movie.And yet... today, on ABC News: "The Da Vinci Code” has undermined faith in the Roman Catholic Church and badly damaged its credibility, a survey of British readers revealed Tuesday as tensions over — and hype for — the forthcoming film reached a fever pitch....The British survey, released by a group of prominent Catholics, revealed that readers of Dan Brown's blockbuster novel are twice as likely to … [Read more...]

Today’s specials: U2, Ron Howard, The Simpsons’ movie, and… "16 Candles 2"?

Today's specials:U2 HEARTS ARCADE FIRE In the new issue of Mojo, you'll find a disc featuring songs that Bono and the boys think you should hear. And I hate to say "I told ya so" but there's an Arcade Fire track on there. (Thanks, Opus, for the heads' up.ASTONISHING!! JESUS WASN'T REAL! Peter T. Chattaway interviews Brian Flemming.D'OH! Nancy Cartwright confirms it... A feature film of The Simpsons is in production.AN ANSWER TO SO MANY PRAYERS [insert Homer's … [Read more...]

The gladiator returns to the coliseum…

Paul Giamatti stars in "Gladiator 2: Cinderella Man"I haven't seen Cinderella Man yet, but man, the hype around this movie is building, and the momentum it's gaining looks likely to guarantee it a spot as an Oscar favorite.Think about it: It's the Oscar-winning team of the vastly overrated A Beautiful Mind--Russell Crowe and Ron Howard, together again. But THIS time, Crowe is reprising his role as the Gladiator:a thoughtful family man working hard for a living during tough … [Read more...]