December 5 is the birthday of Wassily Kandinsky, the pioneering Russian abstract expressionist painter in the early 1900s; Walt Disney, who started out as a humble cartoonist and built the greatest animation studio the world has ever seen, and my husband Tom Robinson, an acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area artist, jeweler, and sculptor. Feast your eyes on Tom’s art here and his bespoke jewelry here.
We mostly don’t watch TV or movies. As independent business folk, we’re working all the time!
Since we go so long without, I wanted to have two movie nights for Tom Robinson’s birthday bash! (I think everyone should celebrate his or her birthday for at least two days, don’t you?)
Movie Night One: “Skyfall” (loved it), “The Great and Powerful Oz” (almost loved it), and a real gem of a find on Silver Screen’s wall, “A Cat in Paris” (adored it). (Silver Screen is a local video rental place about two miles walking distance from our house. We believe in patronizing our local business folk whenever possible.)
If anyone doubted whether Daniel Craig can act, “Skyfall” proves his ability beyond doubt. After his brilliant cameo as the assassin in “Elizabeth,” he hasn’t fared so well outside of the Bond franchise. I didn’t like “Cowboys and Aliens,” declined to see “Dream House.” The Bond in “Skyfall” is the closest yet to Ian Fleming’s Bond. In the book, “Thunderball,” Bond starts out as a chain-smoking, hard-boozing, gambling-addicted wreck, hardly the suave Sean Connery.
“The Great and Powerful Oz” is highly entertaining and true to the tropes of the most popular movie of all time (that would be “The Wizard of Oz, of course!), but marred here and there by excessive sentimentality. Still, the values—that people can use their everyday talents to defeat tyranny and that love and loyalty are the highest gift we can give—are very heartening to see in a business that has traded with darkness and depravity too many times.
“A Cat in Paris,” a French-produced film, is a total delight. It’s an animated film but not at all the CGI-laden animation of Hollywood. The animation looks hand-drawn and is highly styled; I call this film a “Mondrian cartoon.” The story is terrific, and the eponymous cat is loyal, brave, witty, and loving, as all my own cats have been over the years. Absolutely wonderful!
Next up for Day 2 of the Birthday Bash was “Iron Man 3,” “Oblivion,” and another animation I couldn’t wait to see, “Epic.” The warrior hummingbirds in the previews sold me. The hummingbird feeder on my patio and the birds who feed there are a daily delight. A few years ago I was inspired to write a pretty tough story about cancer, “Hummers,” that got chosen for Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 5th Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press).
Movie night 2 for Tom Robinson’s birthday bash (and then we probably won’t see movies or TV for another six months). “Iron Man 3” (loved it); “Epic” (adored it), “Oblivion” (liked it).
Robert Downey Jr. has the kind of masculine face that can be enlarged a hundred times to swooning effect. “Iron Man 3” has plenty of believable twists and turns, and (like “Skyfall”) a charming, handsome villain who is a very scary cold-blooded psychopathic madman.
“Epic” is a wonderful animation based on a book, William Joyce’s “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.” Like the film “Brave,” we’ve got girl-power and family drama with a beautiful story of Good (Life, Growth, Nature, and Family) versus Evil (Death, Destruction, Rot, and Blight).
As for “Oblivion,” the film started out suh-lowww. I’m a fan of a good setup, but 33 minutes before we get to the first Plot Point is 13 minutes too long, and after that, Tom Robinson kept asking, “When is the plot going to happen?” The complicated not completely coherent plot gets jammed into the rest. But Tom Cruise does well, I like him as an actor, and if you want to while away 165 minutes of your life on movie sci fi, I suppose you could do worse.
So there you have it, my friends. I love smart animated movies. It’s my inner child, I guess.
From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!
And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.
Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!