Tag Archives: Teri Hatcher

MOVIE REVIEW: Coraline – Still Your Best Bet at the Movies!

When it was announced that Henry Selick was developing Nail Gaiman’s wonderful novel Coraline for film, it was probably not something that registered with most moviegoers. If they recognized the name at all, it was most likely from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – even Burton claims that all he contributed was the basic plot, lead character and a few hasty sketches. Selick did all the heavy lifting.

coraline

Coraline is a completely different story. Selick developed the film, both writing the screenplay and directing the film. Here, Selick’s genius becomes clear. He adds a character – the odd little boy named Wybie [voiced by Robert Bailey Jr.] – to add to the stakes, and provide a contrasting character for Coraline [Dakota Fanning]. He also makes a few other tweaks that give the film even more depth than that usually given by stop motion animation. Then he adds really excellent 3-D – not as a gimmick, though there are places where an action does pop toward the audience – but as a means of making Coraline’s unique world just that little bit more unsettling.

The story of Coraline is one of misunderstandings: Coraline’s parents [John Hodgman, Teri Hatcher] seem disconnected from her, disinterested – though they are really trying to make a deadline on a freelance job, producing a catalogue for a client; when Coraline finds her other parents, she really thinks they are genuinely interested in her – though she is merely a diversion for them [especially her Other Mother]; Coraline doesn’t understand Wybie, either, thinking him a pest when he’s really a very lonely boy who has no idea about how to make friends.

Her adventures in both worlds involve other minor players who contribute to the mood: Miss pink [Dawn French] and Miss Forcible [Jennifer Saunders] who appear to have been very naughty in their professional careers, and Mr. Bobinski [Ian McShane], who is an aging Russian acrobat who is trying to train mice as circus performers. These characters give the film world a little extra bite and reality.

Then there’s the cat [Keith David], who is the same in both worlds but can talk in the Other World. Gaiman does a smart-ass cat to perfection and Selick captures him just as well in the film [and doesn’t a good fantasy require a smart-ass cat?].

After taking in the boring for 113 minutes/exciting for 5 minutes so-called thriller, The International, it’s my firm recommendation that Coraline is the best film available for the smart movie buff this weekend, acing out the engaging Confessions of a Shopaholic by a nose.

Final Grade: A

DVD REVIEW: Desperate Housewives, Season 4: Sizzling Secrets Edition

Last season’s addition of two new couples [one gay] to the inhabitants of Wisteria Lane sparked a season of television that ranked right up with the first season’s deliriously/deliciously funny first year. Of course, one member of one couple was a former resident of Wisteria Lane who was returning after a dozen years. Katherine [Dana Delaney] and Adam [Nathan Fillion] Mayfair and her daughter, Dylan Davis [Lyndsy Fonseca] brought one of the season’s darkest secrets with them, while the gay couple, Bob Hunter [Tuc Watkins] and Lee McDermott [Kevin Rahm] brought the world’s ugliest lawn ornament.

Housewives, S4

Katherine brought one other thing to the show – competition for Bree in the Make-Martha-Stewart-Look-Like-a-Piker Sweepstakes and Adam’s profession [gynecologist] led to some unusual [and unusually funny scenes early in the season. Meanwhile, Lynette [Felicity Huffman] and Tom Scavo [Doug Savant] had to deal with Tom’s daughter from his first marriage, Kayla [Rachel Fox] – a true demon seed if ever there was one. Add to that the Carlos-Gaby-Victor triangle; prospective in-laws; Edie’s usual machinations and the drama of a gay wedding… sorry, commitment ceremony… and that would do for an entire season on any other show. Then, there was the tornado…

The balance between the dramatic and comedic aspects of the series has never been better and the cast really tore into the material. Season four even spawned an episode that could contend for FX and set design Emmys with the tornado and aftermath episodes. If Marc Cherry decided to end the series tomorrow, it could have no better send-off.

Continuing his innovations, Marc Cherry came up with a great concept for the DVD package for season four: Couples’ Commentaries. Each of five episodes has a commentary track by the actors who play one of the main couples on the show, plus there are two additional commentaries of the traditional nature.

Features: Audio Commentaries: Marc Cherry, Bob Dailey and Jeff Greenstein on the season premiere, “Now You Know,” and Marc Cherry, Nicollette Sheridan and David Warren on Mother Said; Couples’ Commentaries: Marcia Cross and Kyle MacLachlan on Now I Know, Don’t Be Scared; Dana Delaney and Nathan Fillion on Distant Past; Eva Longoria Parker and Ricardo Antonio Chavira on Something’s Coming; Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant on Welcome to Kanagawa, and Teri Hatcher and James Denton on Mother said; Getting Desperate: From Beginning to End – following the making of Something’s Coming; Spare Time: Hanging With the Men of Wisteria Lane; Cherry-Picked: Creator Marc Cherry’s Favorite Scenes [with optional commentary]; Alternate ending [with optional commentary]; Deleted Scenes [with optional commentary], and a Blooper Reel. There is also an eight-page booklet designed as a Fairview Reality flyer with realtor’s descriptions of the eight houses we’ve seen in the show, along with ads for local businesses and a list of episode titles and some [but not all] of the bonus features [at the least, they could have included the list of commentary tracks].

Grade: Desperate Housewives, Season 4 – A

Grade: Features – A

Final Grade: A