• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

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TITLE: Coraline

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Animation and Horror

There are times with certain film projects that credit for certain genius is given to the wrong person. A great example of this would be The Nightmare Before Christmas, which many fans of the film believe to be a Tim Burton-directed project. Although Burton did produce the film and had some creative input, the project was really the creation of Henry Selick and it was his creative intellect that brought Jack Skellington to creative life. Coraline is a permanent stepping out for Selick from Burton’s looming shadow, and the result is a modern animation classic.

Coraline Jones (voices by Dakota Fanning) is a moody tweener who is forced to move away from her home and friends because of an accident that happened to her mother (Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgman). Coraline meets Wyborn Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.), an annoying morbid young man who is not allowed by her parents to visit Coraline at her home due to his grandmother’s sister’s disappearance in the same home years before. While exploring the musty old house Coraline discovers a secret door that leads her to an alternate universe where her parents are perfect in every way, her weird neighbors cater to her every whim, and Wyborn is mute and a perfect friend in every way. Coraline loves her version of Wonderland over her neglected reality, but her Other Mother (also played by Hatcher) wants proof of Coraline’s love and asks the young lady for a shocking sacrifice. The Other Mother is not what she appears, and Coraline must decide between her boring reality and a fantasy world that will trap her forever.

Coraline is a wonderful animated film for numerous reasons. The voice acting is superb: Fanning is fantastic as the moody tweener (which may not have been too far of a stretch as she was 14 at the time) and Hatcher plays a monstrous Other Mother. Bailey is also excellent as the quirky Wyborn, and Keith David does an excellent job playing an uncanny black cat that speaks to Coraline and gives her ample warning of the impending dangers. The stop-motion animation is beautiful and distinctive, and Selick and his crew (including many animators who worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas) have created a unique looking project that is heads and shoulders above many of its CGI counterparts. The storyline written by Neil Gaiman (who also wrote Stardust and Beowulf) is wonderfully translated to the screen by Selick who also wrote the screenplay and the story flows along well. Some of the story is also as comical as well as creepy, especially the scene where old diddies April Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Miriam Forcible (Dawn French) perform a burlesque-style Vaudeville act that is as risqué as one will ever see in a film rated PG. Other aspects are also well created for Coraline including the depresing and mundane-looking set construction and the wonderfully spine-chilling musical score written by Bruno Coulais.

Coraline probably should have received a PG-13 rating instead of its MPAA-given PG rating, mostly due to the burlesque scene and its scary nature. Selick should be proud of this creation, as Coraline is one of the very best animated films of the past twenty years and ranks up there with The Nightmare Before Christmas as one of the greatest stop-motion animation films of all time. I wish that more stop-motion animation projects would be released, but unfortunately this is a disappearing art form. Let’s hope that this does not happen and CGI does not take over the world, but in the meantime Coraline is a perfect example of stop-motion animation that belongs in the collection of all animation collectors with more discerning tastes. Not a family film as originally advertised, but Coraline is a wonderful example of a quickly disappearing art form.

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