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February 2009

Film Review - Coraline

CORALINE still

From the director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “James and the Giant Peach” comes “Coraline,” another foray into luxurious stop-motion animation and wildly imaginative fantasy visualization. It’s a gorgeous picture to behold, but fails to absorb smoothly, for the surreal nature of the material often overwhelms basic storytelling requirements. “Coraline” is an easy film to admire, but not always to watch.

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DVD Review - Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous

BLONDE 4

The second of pop star Jessica Simpson’s two desperate attempts to become a top-tier big screen comedienne (the other being last year’s odious “Blonde Ambition”), “Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous” (aka “Major Movie Star”) is pretty much as unremarkable and borderline unprofessional as one might imagine. A riff on “Private Benjamin,” “Valentine” is a graceless, flavorless farce built around the idea that Simpson’s dimwit routine still holds appeal and the hope that the target demo has never heard of Goldie Hawn. It’s not the worst film to escape from the Simpson Family promotional think tank (“Papa” Joe produces), but it’s a dreary, numbing comedy that has rightfully bypassed theatrical release for a quietly embarrassing DTV launch. 

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