healyg: (apology)
Sorry I've been off the wagon for a couple weeks, y'all! I haven't been able to visit my public library since early January at the latest, so it's really cut into my ability to get new books. But I do work at a university library, and yesterday I checked out this neat book of essays on film called Perspectives on Citizen Kane (edited by Ronald Gottesman). As you know, Citizen Kane is often considered to be the Undertale of film, and I find it a fascinating movie, despite not having read much of the criticism about it before. This book is a good primer on that, I think; it's got essays by Bazin and Truffaut, among others, and there's a very good interview with Welles by Peter Bogdanovich near the back.

Best of all, I think, is the book's collection of reviews, written within the first decade of Citizen Kane's 1941 release. It's interesting to see how the critics responded to it; everyone could agree that it was a stunning film in terms of technique, but there were those who declared it a masterpiece outright, those who thought the film enjoyable but found the themes lacking, and those who believed the rest of the movie was a complete mess. Most baffling of all is Jean-Paul Sartre's review, who apparently thought of Citizen Kane as a work of art incomprehensible to the American public, and Orson Welles an artist cut off from the masses, a view that I find incomprehensible. (The man played The Shadow, for Christ's sake!) A fascinating review, and a really good book. Check it out if you can.
healyg: (Healslime)
In honor of the 150th Anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I will be recommending one Alice-related thing each Saturday, starting July 4th, continuing on into November, or whenever I get tired of it.

The 1999 TV movie version of Alice in Wonderland (produced by Hallmark) is, strictly speaking, not my favorite version of Alice by a longshot. It's far too treacly in parts, filled with all these insistent references to performing, not losing your nerve, etc., etc. It's a bit like having your favorite album be periodically interrupted by snippets from an inspirational speaker. Too many of the performers are just hamming it up, as well. (Witness Martin Short's turn as the Mad Hatter)

But the special effects are nearly worth the cost of admission by themselves. It was made in a transitional era between CGI and practical effects, so there's lots of puppetry mixed in with the CG. The White Rabbit in particular still looks very good. The sets are all well done as, too (my favorite is the White Rabbit's house, which is a pop-up illustration that comes to life), although some of these are brought down by lighting issues. And some of the singing is quite good.

Overall, should you watch this movie? It's still not very good, but if you enjoy spectacles, and can get it for cheap, I say you should.

Availability: The DVD is on Amazon for about 10-20 bucks, and it's also available on Youtube. I'm not too sure about its streaming status, but you can probably look that up online.

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