Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend Cinema Listomania (Special Hair Care! Edition)

Video Even of the Week: Might Rogue Pictures' DVD of Skyline -- the aliens invading California sci-fi that makes Battle L.A. look like The Hurt Locker -- be what we're talking about? Is Warner Home Video's Blu-ray of Yogi Bear, with Dan Aykroyd as the voice of the computer-animated incarnation of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, conceivably in the running? Or against all the odds, are Sony's various disc versions of The Tourist, the Hitchockian romantic thriller with the dream team of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, perhaps The One(s)?

All worthy to be sure, especially that last (and I seem to be the only person alive who enjoyed it unreservedly) but for my money -- and granted, it's a slow week -- it's got to be Disney's Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of the animated musical hit Tangled.

Tangled, of course, is a teen version of the venerable Rapunzel story, with Mandy Moore -- the Miley Cyrus of an earlier generation -- providing the voice of the heroine (and with a lot of spunk, although as Lou Grant famously told Mary Richards, I hate spunk). Songs -- and there are a lot of them -- are by Alan Menken, a very talented guy who has yet to equal the ones he wrote for Little Shop of Horrors back in 1982, but the real reason to see this is the animation. The creative team here -- including Pixar genius John Lasseter, who co-produced -- use CGI to simulate the look of traditional hand-drawn Disney fare (more specifically, given the story's Grimm's fairy tale origins, old oil paintings and kids book illustrations) and the results are mostly breathtaking (think the ballroom sequence in Beauty and the Beast). At what point the Oh Wow! novelty wears thin, however, will depend on your attention span

Here's the trailer, which should give you at least an idea of the film's visual splendor.

It will come as no surprise to anybody that Tangled looks quite stunning in both the DVD and Blu-ray high-def transfers here (I want to say that the Blu-ray looks incrementally better, but frankly I can't see much difference); bonuses with the combo pack include the de rigeur deleted scenes and making-of documentary, which are interesting up to a point, if you catch my meaning.

In any case, the film is a stunning (if rather pro forma) achievement; you can -- and on balance probably should -- order it over at Amazon here.

And with that out of the way, here's a fun and clearly relevant little project to help us wile away the hours till next we meet:

Best or Worst Fairy Tale Movie (Animated or Otherwise)!!!

And my totally top of my head Top Five is:

5. Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946)

The one and only. With the divine Josette day and Jean Marais, whose fatuous good looks were never better employed.

4. Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall, 1990)

Cinderella as an L.A. street hooker. I still can't believe anybody actually likes this reprehensible piece of crap.

3. Snow White and the Three Stooges (Walter Lang, 1961)

On ice, no less. And co-written by future U.S. Information Agency head Charles Z. Wick.

2. Cinderfella (Frank Tashlin, 1960)

Cinderella again, only this time embodied by Jerry Lewis. I think this is actually one of his best, although a lot of that is down to writer/director Tashlin.

And the Numero Uno happy-ever-after flick of them all simply has to be...

1. Rocky (John Avildsen, 1976)

Said it before and I'll say it again -- Rocky's II through V are all completely awful, but the first one is an utterly charming fairy tale cleverly concealed inside a seeming piece of slice-of-life blue collar realism.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?