Red Koi Reviews

See what I've seen, hear what I've heard

Archive for March, 2006

The Corpse Bride

Posted by redkoireviews on 19/03/2006

The Corpse BrideI think I’ve become a Tim Burton fan. This is the second film of his that I’ve seen in a row, and it was great. Tim knows how to tell stories. The Corpse Bride is a beautiful tale of love, horrible families, and the struggles that bubble up when two worlds collide.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a grim or gruesome tale – it’s actually very sweet, funny and poetic. The use of puppets and stop-frame animation somehow make the movie even more fable like. If it had of been done with ultra smooth computer models, it would have lost that quality.

I think I liked it slightly better than ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory‘. Perhaps it’s just because there was no book to read first, but I found The Corpse Bride more inventive somehow. The reviewers at Rotten Tomates seem to have like it too.

My Rating: 4 Stars


Posted in 4 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 2 Comments »

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition 2005

Posted by redkoireviews on 12/03/2006

Beech TreeThis is the third time my partner and I have seen these awards at the Australian Museum. Unlike a lot of modern art like Erwin Wurm, there is no subtext or artistic plot to wade through before you can enjoy these wonderful photographs.

That’s not to say they’re simply asthetic. The animal portraits in particular a emotional, full of life and personality. The category showing how humans can hurt or kill wildlife has a story to tell and made my teeth grind.

I think my favorites where some of the abstract photos – one of a still creek was mystical. Other faves where in the ‘wild places’ category. Perhaps the most impressive where the child categories – these pre-teenagers take photos far better than anything I’m capable of. Always worth a visit, and this year is no exception.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Posted by redkoireviews on 11/03/2006

Willy WonkaThis second film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic childrens book by director Tim Burton was excellent. Johnny Depp makes an excellent, if darker version of the Willy Wonka I met when I first read the book as a kid.

The plot is not 100% true to the original, but for once I didn’t mind, much. I found Charlie a little too saintly, but hey, it’s a kids story.

While Depp was excellent, the kids where not as good. I think Grandpa was one of the best performances.

My partner and I saw this on DVD, and unlike many DVD’s, the extras were worth watching. The Mini doco of Dahls life was really interesting and actually gave the film more . . . weight. See the Rotten Tomatoes review for a second opinion.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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The Door in the Floor

Posted by redkoireviews on 05/03/2006

The Door In the Floor PosterMy partner and I hired this DVD last night. Not exactly popcorn and laughs, it’s a rather dark portayal of a family in collapse and a young wanna-be writer who gets caught in the crossfire.

The acting was pretty good and the storyline strong enough, but it didn’t drag me into the characters lives like I thought it would. If you’re not making a statement, or using clever plots and effects, a movie has to emotionally grip it’s audience. “Door in the floor” does that up to a point, but is perhaps more of a ‘hold’ than a ‘grip’.

The movie was based on “A widow for one year” by John Irving which I’m interested in reading. However, like most movie – book pairs I suspect the book will be better, and the movie better for seeing it before reading the book. The Rotten Tomatoes reviews are worth reading. They give it 6.2 out of 10.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Posted in 3 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

Posted by redkoireviews on 04/03/2006

A Hat Full of Sky book cover A Hat Full of Sky is aimed at “young adults” and follows the story of Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegle (Pictsies) in “Wee Free Men“. After the heavy, dense read that was Voss, this was almost a relief to read.

Tiffany Aching is a young witch, leaving her home and dairy to learn how to become a witch. However, she ends up having to learn a lot more a lot faster after an ancient spirit like monster called a ‘Hiver’ steals her body and mind. Wikipedia has a full if bland sysnopsis.

Terry Pratchett’s witches are my favourite group of characters. Thet have a strong sense of social justice in a way that most humans don’t. They understand people, history, land and creatures. They ‘live on the edge’, understanding the light and dark sides of everything. Oddly, they seem a bit Australian: practical, blunt with words and stubborn. They don’t like ‘official’ authority and at least pretend to be very egalitarian. Oh, and they’re very funny too.

The central plot is not very subtle: Girl gets attacked by Monster, Girl fights back etc. But that isn’t the point. The story is more about Tiffany’s understanding of what being a whitch is all about – what the ‘soul and centre’ of a good witch is. In ‘Wee Free men, Tiffany fought the Queen almost intuitively. In “A Hat Full of Sky” she fights the hiver with some intuition and some knowing. Overall, an easy read that isn’t an empty read.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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