November 22nd, 2005

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Chris Van Allsburg's "Zathura"

On a much lighter note is "Zathura," a picture book
written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg.
"Zathura" is an old fashioned board game that is found
in the basement of an old house. You know this film is
a winner when the director Jon Farveau confidently
presents old fashioned film credits with a soaring
musical score by John Debney. "Zathura" is a film for
young people that does not cater to pop culture, but
with a modern sensibility.

Danny(Jonah Bobo) and his baby brother, Walter (Josh
Hutcherson), suffer from sibling rivalry. Much to the
consternation of their divorced and overworked father
(Tim Robbins), the two boys run around the house and
break things. An older sister (Kristen Stewart) sleeps
late and dates bad boys. Walter discovers the
"Zathura" game and starts to play with it. As the
games begins, meteors shower the house. The boys, the
sleepy sister and the house in sent into outer space
and become prey of the carnivorous Zargons. While the
Zargons represent nightmarish imagery, the light tone
of "Zathura" guarantees family fun. As the boys and
their sister play the game of their lives, the three
gain maturity and a better understanding of each
other.

"Zathura" is the third successful professional
marriage between Chris Van Allsburg and the motion
picture industry. "Jumanji" starring Robin Williams
was released ten years ago to good box office, but
disappointed the fans of Van Allsburg's book.
Produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks and
Michael Jeter, "The Polar Express," has become a
Christmas favorite that has returned to the IMAX
Museum of Discovery in Fort Lauderdale (http://www.mods.org)
and is being
released on DVD.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

A docudrama about the creation of the docudrama, "Capote"

Like O.J. Simpson, actor Robert Blake has been found
innocent of murdering his wife, but is liable for her
slaying in a wrongful death civil suit.. Besides being
the star of the 1970s television show "Baretta" and a
member of "Our Gang-Little Rascals," Blake costarred
with John Forsythe in the movie "In Cold Blood,"
written by Truman Capote. Upon the book's publication,
Capote became a media celebrity who spent the
remaining years of his life being more famous than
relevant. The new film "Capote" may of been accurately
titled, 'Capote, in his Cold Blood." "Capote" focuses
on the celebrated author's years in writing his novel,
"In Cold Blood," a breakthrough book that separates
the thin line between fact and fiction.

Based on the book written by Gerald Clarke, Director
Bennett Miller draws a parallel between Capote
(Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and the two killers, in
particular Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.). Capote
develops a kinship with Smith and finds that his
writing is inspired by this murder trial and appeals.
Despite being anti death penalty, Capote becomes
increasing depressed that he can not conclude his book
until Smith and Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) are
executed. "Capote" presents the story of a man who
believes he is selling his soul to the devil.

An actor who stands some 6 inches taller than the
character he is portraying, Philip Seymour Hoffman
nevertheless channels the spirit of Truman Capote. He
masters the flamboyance of the celebrity who was the
target of "The Dean Martin Roasts," but reveals the
selfish ugliness in his private moments. As Harper
Lee, Catherine Keener provides a stoic, yet charming
performance as Capote's sounding board. "Capote" is a
somber, talky melodrama, but when the murders are
recreated in a flashback, the results are jarring.