Where the Wild Things Are

This is a robot you don't wanna cross: BLINKY TM

This is a robot you don't wanna cross: BLINKY TM

The Narrative category at the Vimeo Festival + Awards served as a frank reminder (or wakeup call for those who don’t know): some of the best film out there isn’t at the theatre. It’s not even on demand. It’s here, online. And best of all: it’s considerably shorter than anything even remotely feature length, which sits perfectly well with the current average attention span ability to sit still for more than 3-6 minutes!

Looking back: Maurice Sendak

Looking back: Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak, 82, beloved children’s author and illustrator of the cherished childhood favorites Where the Wild Things Are, Higglety, Pigglety Pop! and Chicken Soup with Rice, isn’t feeling so great these days. “I’m old,” he says. “I’ve been rather sick, to tell you the truth.” But, he adds, “I can make believe I’m well.” Sadly he was too unwell to attend the unveiling of the fifty-year-old mural he painted for the children of a young Manhattan couple in back in 1961. The entire wall, 1,400 pounds in all, was removed and taken to the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, where it is part of the permanent collection.

"Jim loved your card so much he ate it."

"Jim loved your card so much he ate it."

I love this anecdote shared by Maurice Sendak when he was once asked by Applesauce Magazine to share some of his favorite comments from readers over the years. “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very…

Spike Jonze's short film I'M HERE

Spike Jonze's short film I'M HERE

In his feature films, Spike Jonze has successfully melded his singular sensibility with other equally distinctive voices (Charlie Kaufman in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION, Maurice Sendak and Dave Eggers in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE). But for a taste of pure, unadulterated Jonze — to really appreciate the deadpan high concepts, the absurdist melancholy, the skewed sense of enchantment — turn to his music videos and short films.

Written and directed by Jonze (and financed by Absolut Vodka), the half-hour I’M HERE, the high point of a strong opening shorts program, follows in the venerable tradition of sci-fi stories about robots who discover the contradictions of the human heart. Sheldon (Andrew Garfield) is a sad-eyed android librarian in an unfriendly Los Angeles where the robots lead an underclass existence and seem fated for a lonely obsolescence. (He and his fragile fellow bots certainly look like last century’s models: boxy heads, Lego-like appendages, protruding wires.)

Where the wild boys are

Where the wild boys are

In watching Spike Jonze’s amazing film, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, I kept glancing at my five year-old son. Could it be true that we were actually enjoying the same movie on the same level of interest and engagement? That’s both fascinating and a little bit scary.

If you haven’t seen it yet, do. Unlike anything to cross mainstream screens in a some time, WTWTA is built on a series of purely visual, visceral experiences and interactions, and not at all on plot. Perrin Drumm made a similar point in her post on the film. (I won’t be giving anything away by telling you that the road to the climax hinges on one individual wanting to, like, build a really cool secret room out of sticks, and another individual being extraordinarily pissed and offended at the exclusivity of that conceit. The nerve!)

FULL FRONTAL FASHION roundup

FULL FRONTAL FASHION roundup

Think of this as your FULL FRONTAL FASHION cliff notes. Casey Storm’s notes from WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Casey Storm talks candidly about why he picked Converse for Max’s costume in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. Go green as we report on sustainable fashion in Italy. Zac Posen shows us his bright and shiny…

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Max is a feisty little kid. First he gets upset because his older sister doesn’t want to play with him. Then he gets upset when her friends play too rough (i.e. caving in his snow fortress). His mom (Catherine Keener), though caring, has her own stuff going on (work, boyfriend) and she can’t be there every single time he builds a fort that’s really a rocket ship that will take them to the moon. As a kid, I remember being frustrated when I wanted to show my mom something, and she, busy working or conversing with another adult, would only walk very slowly towards the excitement I had waiting just around the corner, while I tugged mercilessly on her arm, trying to get her to break into a run. This is normal kid stuff, and I’m not sure its enough to summon the kind of tantrum Max throws, one severe enough to take him to a far away island inhabited only by big, scary monsters. It makes Max come off more like a spoiled brat than the hero-figure created by Maurice Sendak.

Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years

Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years

Spike Jonze planned his upcoming release of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE very well. He seems to be all around us. For starters, the latest issue of Wholphin includes three short Maurice Sendak-based pieces he directed. They’re very DIY (as in not very good) but they’re cute and kooky and serve a purpose, namely, to get us all amped up for the real, long-awaited, much-anticipated thing itself, in theaters Friday.

FULL FRONTAL FASHION roundup

FULL FRONTAL FASHION roundup

Think of this as your FULL FRONTAL FASHION cliff notes. Looks designed by threeASFOUR ThreeASFOUR connects the dots at New York Fashion Week. Body puppets from WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE will be the number #1 costume this year. Go behind the scenes with FASHION IN PROGRESS.  It just goes to show that a fashion…

Wild Thing: Spike Jonze

Wild Thing: Spike Jonze

Usually in Hollywood we hear stories about how a director’s vision is compromised and corrupted by the influence of big business, movie heads, and focus groups. The New York Times Magazine ran a story about Spike Jonze’s journey of bringing Maurice Sendak’s brilliant, iconic Where the Wild Things Are to life. It seems in this case, art, and the good guy, have won.