Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What to do with your friends on Friday. Also Chocolate Eggs.

Neil, Hi, I'm really looking forward to seeing Stardust. However, I'm considering bringing my six year old daughter but I'm not sure if she's old enough. Would you advise against this? Being a young girl, she loves all things fairy, and I think she'd like it. At least the parts where there aren't flying pirates, I think. She's seen the Princess Bride, and I know you've made that comparison before. I know the movie's rated PG-13, but so was the Simpsons movie and she didn't seem to be emotionally scarred from that.Thanks,
Alex Petretich

There were some six and seven year olds at the London screening we did a couple of months ago, and none of them seemed traumatised, and all of them seemed determined to make their parents take them to see it again. It's not a kids' film, but it's a film that kids would enjoy, as far as I can tell.

Dear Neil

My Italian is only good for reading music, but I think the link to A Gentlemen's Duel says it's been removed because it contravenes somebody's conditions of service. Makes me all the keener to see it. Do you have another link, please?
Stephen in Bristol

I'm afraid that my powers are the same as yours -- limited to what I can Google. is the studio's site, with a teaser for the film but not the whole thing.

Snowbooks has a mock Wikipedia page for Jeff Lint (and, of course, Steve Aylett):

They've put quite a lot of work into it, including links to YouTube excerpts from Catty and the Major.

Cheers, Brian

Good to know. Although the Catty and the Major in my head was infinitely more disturbing (and looked more like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon). A few seconds googling showed that you can read the first couple of chapters of Lint online at
although the effect of Lint is cumulative.

(Currently reading Sarah Salway's Tell Me Everything, because I really enjoyed her novel Something Beginning With, the kind of idea for book's structure I wish I'd had, and written in a way that kept up with the structural conceit.) (It was retitled The ABCs of Love in the US, just to limit the readership.)


I read this article with a certain amount of concern:,
as it explains that Stardust is a wonderful, amazing, brilliant film and that everyone will go and see Rush Hour 3 because the marketing for Stardust hasn't been any good. I hope they're wrong. I really hope that the plethora of good reviews, and the word of mouth, will make up for any deficiencies in the marketing.

(If you're in two minds about Stardust, about whether or not to see it or even when to see it, please go and see it this weekend. Friday night if you can. Take friends. If necessary, take them at gunpoint. They will love the movie so much they will forgive you afterwards. And if they don't forgive you, you can dispose of them quietly -- you're the one with the gun, after all -- and you will have a wonderful time for the rest of your life with the new friends you made at the Stardust screening.)

The reviews of Stardust continue to be lovely: for example, is the Associated Press review. And they love Michelle Pfeiffer, who
is deliciously evil as a witch who wants to cut out Yvaine's heart and eat it to gain eternal youth and beauty for herself and her sisters. (Well, mainly for herself.) She shows great comic timing and isn't afraid to play with her glamorous image, or look grotesque when her character, Lamia, is at her most decayed and desperate.

It comments on the should you take kids question:
"Stardust" also calls to mind last year's "Pan's Labyrinth" .... in that it superficially appears to be suitable for the whole family, and it's really not. It's never as terrifying as "Pan's Labyrinth" but it does get dark; in a broader sense, though, kids just might not get a lot of the nuance. Their parents are truly the target audience here

Weeks and weeks into this Summer of Disappointing Movies, we have finally unearthed a decent gem of a film. This is the one you take a date to; especially if your significant other wears an ankh or has a Death (the D.C. comic character) tattoo somewhere or owns all the Sandman graphic novels. Paramount Pictures has graciously brought the fairy tale back to the screen, with a quality not seen since The Princess Bride. Forget Narnia, Terabithia, and Hogwart's - it's all about Stormhold and the fallen star.
Stardust comes well after the burst of summer blockbusters, but looking back, it will be seen as one of the 2007’s best and most fully satisfying adventures.
has me trying to explain the difference between novel writing and movie making to journalist Colin Covert.
"Writing a novel is a voyage of discovery," said Neil Gaiman, who has written piles of them (including "American Gods," "Anansi Boys," and "Neverwhere") and sold millions.

But turning a novel into a film is like "running a very sharp-edged maze leading through a minefield, with people shooting at you, in a freezing downpour, having no sense of where the exit might be, pursued by hounds, while blindfolded."
Dear Neil,
Did you know that they made up a new law in China that prohibits the Dalai Lama, among other people, from reincarnating?

That trick never works.


And finally, this article haunts me:

It's not that the squirrel sneaks into the shop and steals Kinder Eggs and eats the chocolate. It's that it goes off with the toys inside the egg afterwards. I have visions of the neighborhood squirrels industriously assembling their Happy Hippo Star Wars figurines... But why? Dear God, why?

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