Sunday, February 15, 2009

Coraline, Delinked in Bruges, Quintessentially 

Despite a hopeful email from John Clute a couple weeks ago, book coverage on the new "Sci Fi Wire" has been scant to nonexistent, and the whole tenor of the site is apparently now about movie news and gossip; and thus, I have removed the link to SciFi.com / Scifiwire.com from my row of essential daily links atop my Links Portal page... replace by SF Site, with Salon squeezed in there earlier in the row.

Despite a hesitant start, Locus Poll submissions are healthily underway, no doubt due in part to plugs from Neil Gaiman and John Scalzi and other Locus partisans. Not quite 300 ballots received thus far, not bad for two weeks into the voting period.

I saw Coraline Friday night -- in a nearly packed house -- and was quite delighted. I think, in fact, it's the first movie I've ever seen in 3D, and I was impressed by how transparently easy the viewing was -- no straining with crossed eyes to make the 3D image click into place. My only reservation about the film is that it lacks the emotional catharsis -- that moment of emotional payoff in the conclusion -- that is de rigueur for any Hollywood film. As I watched it, I thought this was a good thing, the film avoiding the standard Hollywood formula, for a more sedate, perhaps literary, conclusion. But in retrospect, I can see what those various film critics mean when they suggest the film lacks something, that however good it is all the way through, it doesn't quite 'work'... But this is a very minor quibble.

A shout-out for the film In Bruges, which I caught up with this past week, via Netflix, after seeing it nominated for a best screenplay Oscar. I was so annoyed by sitting through the trailer for it 15 times (it seemed) a year or so ago that I skipped it entirely -- I find trailers intensely annoying, primarily because they make all films look the same, all a collection of action moments and cutesy jokes (as in the excerpts of In Bruges, which made it look like a freak show about absurdist assassins). But it's a quite wonderful film, a black comedy with fine writing and performances -- and a pleasantly melancholy score by Carter Burwell, which I promptly purchased on CD, and which reminds me of his score for Barton Fink, not a bad thing.

And finally -- launching a new regular feature today, a series of interviews by Nick Gevers of short fiction writers and editors. My intent is to have one feature post -- a review, or interview, or essay -- each week, Sunday night or Monday morning, with Nick's interviews a regular part.
I'm intrigued as to the reaction to In Bruges in the USA - it struck me as a film with a very darkly comic Irish themed outlook( both in action and in particular in accent). I'm glad to see it's gotten an Oscar nod for best screenplay - although how will they show a clip that dosen't include at least 8 c words and as many F words? it was a huge success here, but I thought it wouldn't travel well, glad to see i'm wrong!
thomas, Ireland
I'm not sure, but I don't think the film did a big business here in the US, though not because of any Irish theme. That didn't really occur to me as I watched it, since it wasn't *set* in Ireland, and Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes are big enough stars everywhere. As for the Oscars -- I don't think they show clips from nominees for mere screenplay categories. Only best pictures nom's. So it won't be a problem.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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