REVIEW: The Dark Crystal [1982]

“The great conjunction is the end of the world! … Or the beginning.” I’ll say right now that a little fright never harmed my adolescence so kudos to Jim Henson for sticking to his guns in bringing “family film” and potential nightmare inducing adventure The Dark Crystal to life. Anyone who spied upon Brian Froud’s creature design should have been aware of how dark the proceedings would turn out, but you can’t blame surprise either considering the Henson name in 1982 was only synonymous with those cute characters known as…

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REVIEW: The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

“Heeeeyyy. You’re not Charles Dickens.” Not having seen The Muppet Christmas Carol in over a decade made me forget how effective an adaptation it is of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. It helps that I’ve seen other iterations in the meantime, especially the one from 1951 starring Alastair Sim which Brian Henson‘s version works hard to closely mimic. There are obvious excisions such as Ebenezer Scrooge’s sister and additions like manufacturing Jacob Marley a brother named Robert so Statler and Waldorf can both get in on the fun, but for the…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: 2013 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 A far cry from the documentary short Joda—a visual letter to Jafar Panahi—that was included in the TIFF Short Cuts Canada Programme last year, graphic designer turned filmmaker Theodore Ushev’s Gloria Victoria is all about the visceral and aural capabilities of film without something as unnecessary as words. Full of sumptuous textured layers formed by sketch drawings, Russian Constructivist elements, what I believe were faces from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, and more, the rising crescendo of Shostakovich’s “Invasion” from Symphony No. 7 helps spur on an emotive war in…

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REVIEW: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey [2011]

“Kevin comes alive through Elmo” I was a Jim Henson kid growing up in the 80s. The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and “The Jim Henson Hour” were staples in my household and I even made my parents take me to see The Witches theatrically at eight. But where I enjoyed the stories and fantastical places his characters took me, Kevin Clash took a shine to the full theatricality of this genius. As a high school kid in Baltimore he hand-sewed his own puppets after watching Henson explain how on TV, performed…

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