This originally appeared on Carrie Rickey's blog, "Flickgrrl," at www.philly.com/philly/blogs/flickgrrl.
Things are looking Up.
There's no question that you will see Up, the sublime Pixar animation about a septuagenarian grouch and a pesky kid who sail to the Orinoco in a Victorian house hoisted by a bouquet of helium balloons. The only questions are when and how.
When is up to you. How is a more delicate matter. Should you see it in 3-D? I chose not to. For me, while 3-D glasses deepen spatial perspectives, they wash out the evocative colors of animated films. (For this reason, I vastly preferred Coraline in its "flat" or 2-D version to seeing it in 3-D glasses.) Many others have experienced the same problem. Although Roger Ebert is agnostic about the preferable format, here's what he has to say:
"But let me gently mention one of the film's qualities that is likely to be diminished by 3-D: its subtle and beautiful color palette. Up, like Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Shrek, and The Lion King, uses colors in a way particularly suited to its content."
While the so-called Pixar guys - John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, and Pete Docter - are avowed fans of the Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki, Up is the first Pixar movie to approximate the watercolor transparency of Miyazaki's images.
Your thoughts? Consider this an open thread to talk about your experience of 3-D, animation, and Pixar vs. Disney and Dreamworks.
Woody Allen + Larry David = ?
If you're fascinated by the roots of Jewish humor - or the humor of Jewish roots - you must read Mark Harris' terrific piece in New York Magazine about Woody Allen and Larry David and their new movie, Whatever Works, originally written by Allen in the '70s for Zero Mostel and repurposed for David. If the film is half as funny as Harris' article - which wonders if the archetypal funny/sad Jewish guy "still has any relevance in an age when American Jews don't feel so bad about things, except on Yom Kippur" - it'll be better than three of Allen's last four films.
Except for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a light-filled account of a pragmatist and a romantic in Spain, I've been disappointed in Allen's recent work. Match Point and Scoop felt like tragic and comic interpolations of the murder and opportunism, idealism and romance themes played so superbly in Crimes and Misdemeanors. Here's hoping Allen's return to his beloved Manhattan is a restorative.
Not that you asked, but the Allen movies that most move me are from his middle period, which started with Annie Hall (1977) and ended with Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). By then, he had done his "earlier, funny" genre parodies (as a character in Stardust Memories puts it) and emerged as a filmmaker with his own style and voice. (At a tribute to Bob Hope that Allen put together in the 1970s for Lincoln Center, he admitted to being horrified at the extent to which he had stolen Hope's one-liners and persona as a self-conscious schnook.)
My Top 5 Allens are Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Deconstructing Harry. Everyone Says I Love You is a not-so-guilty pleasure: I love hearing Ed Norton and Tim Roth sing and watching Goldie Hawn dance. You?