REVIEW: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [2004]

“Esteban was eaten!” It’s ambitious, hilarious, visually complex, and kind of … boring. I hoped that last adjective was merely the distant memory of a twenty-two year old expecting more out of Wes Anderson‘s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou when first released in theaters due to his infinite love for The Royal Tenenbaums two years previous. I thought perhaps that its failure—a relative term since it being my least favorite of the auteur’s films doesn’t mean it’s not still a three-star entry within a brilliantly quirky oeuvre—was courtesy of…

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REVIEW: ParaNorman [2012]

“He’s probably up there fiddling with his Wee-Jah or his orbs …” LAIKA, Inc., the little studio with big dreams in Oregon is officially more than a flash in the pan success story that brought to life a critically acclaimed feature film before scaling back to commercials and music videos. Using a beacon in the stop-motion animation world like Henry Selick to adapt and direct Coraline showed the vision to take chances on darker material than most may want to expose their children to and they were rewarded for the…

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REVIEW: The Nightmare Before Christmas [1993]

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know” Born from a poem written in the early 80s while Tim Burton was still working as a Disney animator, The Nightmare Before Christmas was a project the auteur wasn’t going to let lay dormant anymore. After finding success with his signature style in the likes of Beetlejuice and Batman, Burton and Disney were able to agree to a deal that would let another Mouse House alum—Henry Selick—direct it as his first feature film. Bringing in Danny Elfman to write the music and eventually sing…

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REVIEW: Coraline [2009]

“Great, the village stalker” OK America, before you go blindly into an animated film with your young children, why don’t you do a little research on what they are about to witness. A PG rating and stop-motion animated aesthetic do not always make a child-friendly adventure. Based upon the horror novella by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, Henry Selick’s Coraline is chockfull of heavy material, dark story threads, and bleak possibilities. For a guy like me, those things equal undivided success; for a child aged ten, those things equal nightmare filled…

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REVIEW: The Darjeeling Limited [2007]

“We haven’t located us yet” The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is not my favorite Wes Anderson movie by any means. I had such high hopes for it after viewing his previous three films as a crescendo of precision and quality. Zissou ended up being more pretension and aimless drivel then something worth writing home about. Now, I didn’t hate the film, there is a lot to applaud him for, however, it slightly tarnished his do-no-wrong clout with me. In the years between then and now, though, we were given…

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