Thursday 17 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Children's · ParaNorman


None August 15th, 2012

If you haven’t seen 2009’s Coraline, you might be more inclined to surrender yourself to the macabre charm of ParaNorman. Both films, works of stop-motion animation by the Oregon-based Laika company, share much in common: an outcast protagonist, ineffectual grown-ups, visually stunning riffs on the supernatural.

But while Coraline sustained a masterful level of Grimm-like creepiness, ParaNorman is only fitfully brilliant.

The premise is promising. Eleven-year-old Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) has a familiar problem: He sees dead people. Lots of ’em, actually, which makes him something of a pariah in the hamlet of Blithe Hollow, Mass. His only pal is Neil (Tucker Albrizzi, TV’s Good Luck Charlie), a chubby kid who isn’t thrown off by Norman’s frequent conversations with the dearly departed.

Boasting a casket full of horror-flick references, ParaNorman tosses its prepubescent hero into some mumbo-jumbo about the town being cursed by an 18th-century witch, and Norman being the only one to stop it. The escalating dread fuels some wonderfully grotesque sight gags involving decaying zombies and sundry stubborn corpses, and Jon Brion’s music score adds beautifully to the weirdness.

The script proves less successful.

ParaNorman conjures up mood galore, but the script by Chris Butler, who directs here with Sam Fell (The Tale of Despereaux), settles for thin characterization and a storyline that seems like a patchwork of other movies. Lovely animation and strong voice work — from the likes of Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Anna Kendrick and John Goodman — almost makes you forget you’ve seen this all before.

One final note, parents: Don’t be lulled by the PG rating. Some scenes might be a bit too scary for the smallest moviegoers.

Hey! Read This:
• Coraline film review 

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