Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto Del Fauno)

Director – Guillermo del Toro – 2006 – Mexico – Cert. 15 – 119m

*****

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a young girl must complete three tasks for a mysterious faun in an underground kingdom – in UK cinemas from Friday, November 11th 2006.

Mexican director del Toro is best known as a director of big budget Hollywood horror-ish effects fests like Mimic (1998), Blade II (2004) and Hellboy (2004). More impressive however – and less easily generically defined – are the two movies he’s made in Spain set in the immediate aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) is a ghost story with an alien ambience reminiscent of visionary SF writer J.G.Ballard. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) is arguably even more ambitious: at once a no holds barred fantasy / horror outing and a brutal and violent war drama. And much, much more besides.

Following a fairytale prologue concerning a subterranean princess’ departure from her underground kingdom for the surface world where her former identity is unknown, young girl Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) travels cross-country with her mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) to live with Carmen’s new husband Vidal (Sergi López), a ruthless Captain in Franco’s army obsessed with stamping out the remaining rebel forces.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Live Action Movies

Volere Volare (I Want To Fly)

Directors – Guido Manuli, Maurizio Nichetti – 1991 – Italy – Cert. 15 – 94m

*****

A sexually insecure man turns into an animated cartoon character as he tries to start a relationship with the woman of his dreams.

PLOT

The shy Maurizio (Maurizio Nichetti) works dubbing old black and white cartoons while his more outgoing brother (Patrizio Roversi) dubs porno movies. Martina (Angela Finocchiaro) is a freelance fulfiller of her clients’ bizarre psychosexual fantasies. Upon meeting, the two are attracted to one another, but Maurizio’s inhibitions in the face of romance cause him to be transformed – slowly – into an animated cartoon character. Martina, meanwhile, is highly dissatisfied with her hitherto love life and is searching for a man somehow different from all others she’s known…

OPINION

Easily saleable by the epithet “adult Roger Rabbit“, this gentle and greatly likeable Italian sex comedy makes cinema history with a final bedroom scene in which live action woman disappears under the sheets with a cartoon lover! Early animation buffs will spot interesting works by the Fleischer and Terry Studios, with hilarious sequences where Maurizio adds a cacophony of real time sound effects as a one man band. Later, little animated black and white ducks crawl into his coat; later still, his hands turn into animated gloves to grope Martina (against Maurizio’s will) at a restaurant.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Edward Scissorhands

Director – Tim Burton – 1990 – US – PG – 105 mins

*****

Burton’s first post-Batman outing is essentially a fairytale set in the modern world.

A rare fusion of big budget American Studio movie and highly personal vision, Tim Burton’s first post-Batman (Tim Burton, 1989) outing is essentially a fairytale set in the modern world. Its environment is a pastel-shaded suburbia inhabited by gossipy women, largely absent men (they’re at work during the day) and equally absent teenagers (away on a camping trip). This is clearly not so much a naturalistic representation so much as a paradigmatic equivalent, which is probably just as well since at the end of one predictable street is an equally unpredictable, gothic mansion towering into the heavens.

As Avon Lady Peg Boggs (the versatile Diane Wiest) traverses this route, she wanders about first the magnificent castle grounds – adorned with exquisitely sculptured bushes – and into the creepy interior where she finds Johnny Depp’s Edward, the boy previously described in the film’s frame story by an old aged Winona Ryder as “a boy who had scissors for hands”. He also has numerous tiny gashes on his face, to which Peg painstakingly proceeds to apply her craft!… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Edward Scissorhands

Director – Tim Burton – 1990 – US – PG – 105 mins

*****

PLOT

An old lady tells her grandchild a story: “there once was a man who had scissors for hands.” His name was Edward (Johnny Depp), and he lived in the old mansion on the hill where an inventor (Vincent Price) was refining him into a real boy. But before the inventor could add the final touch – replacing the scissors with real hands – he died.

Meanwhile, Peg Boggs the local Avon Lady (Diane Wiest) is doing her rounds when she calls at the spooky mansion to discover the strange boy with the cut face who she makes up and brings home – to arouse the curiosity of the bored, local housewife community.

Edward soon demonstrates amazing creative abilities, carving hedges into statuesque forms and cutting hair on dogs and humans in unique styles. Housewife Joyce (Kathy Baker) is smitten with lust for Edward – with catastrophic results – while the boy himself falls hopelessly in love with Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), who is taunted by her boyfriend (Anthony Michael Hall). Disastrous consequences follow.

OPINION

Having delivered a Batman (Tim Burton, 1989) far more satisfactory than anyone dared hope, and taking the inevitable (after all the hype) fortune at the box office, director Tim Burton is given free rein to do whatever he wants.… Read the rest