Alice in Wonderland– worth the price of admission

Alice in Wonderland
review by Timothy Hogg

This week, the movie theaters announced that (insert bullshit reason here) prices were going up slightly for regular films, but the IMAX and 3-D films were going to skyrocket. We decided to go and catch Alice in Wonderland before these outrageous prices took effect, but sadly, they went into effect on March 25th. Luckily, we had a coupon, which kept the price to $25.00 for two tickets to see Alice in 3D.
As much as I would like to go into some tangent about the outrage I feel toward the greedy people of Hollywood, this post is going to be about how WONDERFUL this film is.
Alice in Wonderland is a well known story, one of those tales that seems to get redone, rehashed every decade or so. It’s one of those stories that seems to get told in cadence with the current vision of reality of the time– the most famous being the tame Disney cartoon version– violence rarely plays out so well in a cartoon.
This does represent Tim Burton’s vision of the original story by Lewis Carroll. Like most films, Burton’s version pays no attention to keeping with the consistency of the original story. Instead, this version of AIW is more Burton’s version of the Disney cartoon mentioned earlier. Instead this is more of a culmination of both Alice in Wonderland and through the looking glass, but regardless of how authentic, the film works amazingly well. I think the main thing that really makes this film shine is Burton’s way of storytelling has finally managed to mitigate its weird/awkwardness to normalcy. Alice’s dream sequence offers Burton an open canvas of his craft and he wields a colourful brush indeed. The visuals of the world offer striking contrasts of red, white and darkness.
Burton’s cast of characters are mostly from his previous arsenal of big name actors: Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp and the ever creepy, Cripin Glover. The casting is wonderfully done, Bonham-Carter is nothing short of brilliant as the evil Red Queen, with Glover as her Heart patched heroine horror. The true stars of this film are the anthropomorphous, particularly the Cheshire Cat’s coyness. Depp’s characterization isn’t particularly amazing or astonishing, in fact the bond that Alice and Hatter share almost seems rehearsed.
Regardless, the film is still at the top of the list of a decent year of films thus far. Is it worth the additional cost of admission now? Yes. This is one of those not to be missed films in the theatre–although the 3-D experience is certainly optional.

The White Stripes Under the Great Northern Lights Film

Film Review: Under the Great Northern Lights
by Timothy Hogg
It was just a couple of days ago that I was scanning through the internets as I do everyday that I stumbled upon the news that the White Stripes have a new documentary coming out soon. Tonight, for whatever reason, it was on Comcast’s On-Demand service. I had seen an HD preview just a few days before and was intrigued, so I paid the $6.99.
Simply put, its a great film and probably the best music documentary I have seen in years. There is just something about Jack White and the way that he markets himself and the band that makes all of this such a neat little package. It works so well because the grainyness of the homemade film fits perfectly with the style that the White Stripes puts out musically.
The film centers on the brother/sister duo from Detroit who make the trip to our great northern partners. It serves as a perfect showcase of what the band essentially wants to do, play small shows and even smaller shows during the daytime. It makes the supergroup seem more human, quaint even. I am a bit prejudiced in that I simply love the music, its rawness authentic and because of this film, legitimate. Jack White’s fame has sort of spoiled this band, which is always seemingly in contrast to Meg, who has the personality of a church mouse, quiet and cute (albeit sexy). Often as Jack plays through his philosophy on everything, Meg is often in the sequence, quiet while he roars–the same goes with the band–his guitar loudly rebelling against the demanding timing of Meg’s drum.
This is what they are all about–and the film really shows them beautifully in this world of mostly black and white, antique cars and animated crowds. It’s so beautifully done, comedy at times, emotional at others that it will be somewhat disapointing to see the band live in concert again someday, in full color. This is the concern when documentary rock films are just that good, it makes it difficult to really appreciate how good the band is live the next time you see them.