Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September 28th, 2021

by Sam Juliano

The titular creature from E.B. White’s iconic Charlotte’s Web was noble, erudite and compassionate.  In the modern picture book classic, the Caldecott Honor-winning  The Spider and the Fly by the nineteenth century poet Mary Howitt and artist Tony Di Terlizzi an iniquitous conman, plots a carnivorous conquest.  In Eric and Terry Fan’s It Fell from the Sky the crafty anthropoid wearing a stovepipe hat lies squarely in the middle of those two literary incarnations on the moral compass.  From the start this schemer was driven by avarice, and his the story of his rise and fall is a cautionary tale with pointed political parallel, though the Fans bring a lesson-learned coda to their delightful tale.  The brothers,  presently working out of Toronto, hold dual citizenship, so they are eligible for Caldecott awards, much as they have been previously in a distinguished and prolific career of picture book masterpieces such as The Night Gardener, The Antlered Ship, The Darkest Dark, The Scarecrow and The Barnabus Project.  Each new work by the tireless duo invariably brings on proclamations from their admirers that they have outdone themselves this time, and the same can be said for It Fell from the Sky, a bonanza of graphic resplendence that stunningly combines beautiful monochrome with incandescent color.

The Fans open their latest fantasy with an announcement that an object fell from the sky on a Thursday, a mid-week day bearing no special significance. The green and yellow marble nestles between flower plants, from where a Ladybug claims she observed the unexpected intrusion on their normally tranquil space.  Her contention that the marble bounced three times before rolling to a stop is contested by the Inchworm who counters it only bounced twice.  All the others, including the first pipe-smoking insect to appear in a picture book since Carson Ellis’s Du Iz Tak?, a Caldecott Honor recipient, concur the event was unprecedented in their collective consciousness.  The walking-stick, another one smitten with pipe-smoking gleefully observed he was being upstaged in the “strangeness” department, and the frog concluded it must be a gumdrop until the taste turned him off.  The dung beetle resolved to move it, but found that task impossible, and the Stinkbug brings on yet another theory, whereupon this alien object didn’t come from the sky at all, but was home grown, like a flower.  At long last the Grasshopper, the insect denomination of the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz is consulted for what is expected to be a sage interpretation.  He asserts it did actually fall from the sky, but specifies it is probably a star, a comet or even a planet. (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

“Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Walkabout,” “Breaker Morant,” “”The Piano,” “My Brilliant Career,” “The Year My Voice Broke,” “Careful He Might Hear You” and “Lord of the Rings” Lead wildly popular Tope 103 Australian/New Zealandic Film Polling! Kudos to Voting Tabulator Bill Kamberger and to FB Film Forum moderator Steve Finkelstein, Criterion Now moderator Aaron West and faithful voters at WONDERS IN THE DARK!

1.      Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975) – 295.5

2.      Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) – 253.5

3.      Breaker Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1980) – 241.5

4.      The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) – 211.5

5.      My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979) – 200.5

6.      The Year My Voice Broke (John Duigan, 1987) – 197

7.      Careful, He Might Hear You (Carl Schultz, 1983) – 195

8.      The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Peter Jackson): The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) – 184

9.      Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994) – 161.5

10.  Babe (Chris Noonan, 1995) – 159

11.  The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Fred Schepisi, 1978) – 153

12.  Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981) – 153

13.  Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015) – 148.5

14.  Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971) – 146

15.  Gallipoli (Peter Weir, 1981) – 141

16.  The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994) – 132.5

17.  The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir, 1982) – 118

18.  An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion, 1990) – 110.5

19.  Muriel’s Wedding (P. J. Hogan, 1994) – 108.5

20.  Rabbit-Proof Fence (Philip Noyce, 2002) – 105

21.  What We Do in the Shadows (Taika Waititi, 2014) – 96

22.  Lantana (Ray Lawrence, 2001) – 95.5

23.  Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori, 1994) – 88

24.  Animal Kingdom (David Michôd, 2010) – 84

25.  The Tracker (Rolf de Heer, 2002) – 83

26.  The Devil’s Playground (Fred Schepisi, 1976) – 80

27.  Holding the Man (Nick Armfield, 2015) – 80

28.  The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (Vincent Ward, 1988) – 80

29.  The Proposition (John Hilcoat, 2005) – 80

30.  Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991) – 78.5

31.  Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann, 1992) – 78

32.  The Last Wave (Peter Weir, 1977) – 76.5

33.  Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996) – 75.5

34.  High Tide (Gillian Armstrong, 1987) – 71

35.  Don’s Party (Bruce Beresford, 1976) – 70.5

36.  Mad Max (George Miller, 1979)– 64.5

37.  Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2002) – 64

38.  The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014) – 58.5

39.  Jedda, the Uncivilized (Charles Chauvel, 1955) – 58

40.  Starstruck (Gillian Armstrong, 1982) – 57

41.  Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009) – 53

42.  Lonely Hearts (Paul Cox, 1982) – 52

43.  Boy (Taika Waititi, 2010) – 48

44.  Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989) – 48

45.  Flirting (John Duigan, 1991) – 46

46.  A Cry in the Dark / Evil Angels (Fred Schepisi, 1988) – 45.5

47.  The Man from Snowy River (George Miller, 1982) – 45

48.  They Shall Not Grow Old (Peter Jackson, 2018) – 44

49.  The Sum of Us (Geoff Burton & Kevin Dowling, 1994) – 43.5

50.  Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001) – 43

51.  Storm Boy (Henri Safran, 1976) – 43

52.  Japanese Story (Sue Brooks, 2003) – 42

53.  Samson & Delilah (Warwick Thornton, 2009) – 42

54.  Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019) – 39.5

55.  Sunday Too Far Away (Ken Hannam, 1975) – 39

56.  Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000) – 38.5

57.  Mary and Max (Adam Elliot, 2009) – 38

58.  Babyteeth (Shannon Murphy, 2019) – 37

59.  Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, 1993) – 37

60.  The Castle (Rob Sitch, 1997) – 36

61.  Phar Lap (Simon Wincer, 1983) – 36

62.  Babe: Pig in the City (George Miller, 1998) – 35.5

63.  The Dish (Rob Sitch, 2000) – 34

64.  Malcolm (Nadia Tass, 1986) – 34

65.  The Sentimental Bloke (Raymond Longford, 1919) – 34

66.  Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016) – 33

67.  Look Both Ways (Sarah Watt, 2005) – 33

68.  Bliss (Ray Lawrence, 1985) – 32.5

69.  Man of Flowers (Paul Cox, 1983) – 32

70.  The Overlanders (Harry Watt, 1946) – 32

71.  Somersault (Cate Shortland, 2004) – 32

72.  A Woman’s Tale (Paul Cox, 1991) – 31

73.  Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992) – 30.5

74.  Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) – 30

75.  Dead Calm (Philip Noyce, 1989) – 30

76.  Utu (Geoff Murphy, 1983) – 30

77.  Long Weekend (Colin Eggleston, 1978) – 29.5

78.  The Quiet Earth (Geoff Murphy, 1985) – 29.5

79.  Smash Palace (Roger Donaldson, 1981) – 29.5

80.  The Interview (Craig Monahan, 1998) – 29

81.  The Lost Thing (Shaun Tan & Andrew Ruhemann, 2010) – 29

82.  Harvie Krumpet (Adam Elliot, 2003) – 28

83.  Tanna (Martin Butler & Bentley Dean, 2015) – 28

84.  Kiss or Kill (Bill Bennett, 1997) – 27

85.  The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello (Anthony Lucas, 2005) – 27

86.  The Sapphires (Wayne Blair, 2012) – 27

87.  Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton, 2017) – 27

88.  Lost & Found (Bradley Slabe & Andrew Goldsmith, 2018) – 26

89.  The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018) – 26

90.  Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002) – 24

91.  The Kid Stakes (Tal Ordell, 1927) – 24

92.  Leisure (Bruce Petty, 1976) – 24

93.  Snowtown (Justin Kurzel, 2011) – 24

94.  Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005) – 24

95.  The Big Steal (Nadia Tass, 1990) – 23

96.  They’re a Weird Mob (Michael Powell, 1966) – 21.5

97.  Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986) – 21

98.  The Getting of Wisdom (Bruce Beresford, 1977) – 21

99.  Lion (Garth Davis, 2016) – 20.5

100.                      Forgotten Silver (Peter Jackson & Costa Botes, 1995) – 20

101.                      Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett, 1997) – 20

102.                      Newsfront (Philip Noyce, 1978) – 20

103.                      Puberty Blues (Bruce Beresford, 1981) – 20

Read Full Post »