Something In The Air
A semi-autobiographical drama from director Olivier Assayas set in 1970s Paris
An offbeat, innovative and downright manic mix of live-action, CGI and stop-motion. Brendan Fraser stars as a cartoonist tormented by his own creation, the mischievous Monkeybone. Whoopi Goldberg stars as Death, no less
Despite its convolutions, Monkeybone's a manic treat. Director Henry Selick throws in elements reminiscent of Beetlejuice, Heaven Can Wait and his own The Nightmare Before Christmas to make it one of the most inventive movies to roll off Hollywood's rusty production line for quite some time.
Fraser plays Stu Miley, a comic artist whose chief creation, 'Monkeybone', ("America's most disturbed comic strip") is poised to become a franchise. Monkeybone himself is to simians what Ren Hoek (of 'Ren & Stimpy') was to Chihuahuas: pure, unbridled id.
Just as Stu is about to propose to his doctor girlfriend Julie (Fonda), an accident lands him in a coma. Stu finds himself in Downtown, a limbo populated by fallen gods and coma-bound souls. Here Stu meets his "figment" Monkeybone (voiced wonderfully by John Turturro). With Stu's sister (Mullally) insisting they turn off his life-support machine in three months, Stu and Monkeybone race to get an "Exit Pass" so the cartoonist can return to his body. However, after tricking Death (Goldberg), Monkeybone then tricks Stu and returns to the conscious realm. 'Stu' awakes raving, libidinous and determined to milk the franchise...
Brendan Fraser has two personas: the hunk of The Mummy Returns or the likeable lunkhead goofball of George of the Jungle. He's very much the latter here, but he also gets to play naughty boy, in the Monkeybone-Stu incarnation.
Although the combination of stop-motion animation, CGI, sets and elaborate makeup and costumes don't always gel, it's extraordinarily inventive. Plus the film mines a rich humorous seam that is vulgar and gloriously irreverent.
Fun fun fun, but not necessarily for all the family.
Any film calling itself The Great Beauty runs the risk of turning itself into a pretty large target for sniping critics, especially at Cannes. Thankfully, Paolo Sorrentino's film more than shoulders t
Film4.com editor Catherine Bray takes in Steven Soderbergh's Behind The Candelabra, Jim Mickle's remake of We Are What We Are, Lucía Puenzo's Nazis-in-hiding adaptation and Mahamat Saleh Haroun's comp
On Film4: 26 May 2013