I went to see “Coraline” with Mel & Helen today; it was one of the best times I’ve had at the movies in a long time. The trailers I’d seen for “Coraline” over the last few months had me really interested to see the movie, but they really didn’t do it justice. It’s an amazing film in all aspects: it’s visually remarkable, the voice acting is superb, the story is compelling, and it has a fantastic soundtrack.

It’s a very dark movie in parts, and if you’ve got very small children you might want to consider their penchant for fright before taking them. Helen’s just turned four and she did pretty well, but there were certainly some parts of the movie that freaked her right out. The imagery in the movie can be genuinely creepy; it’s not “hey, something jumped out and solicited a scare” style fright, but the basic atmosphere and feel of the film that gives the scare. It’s incredibly well-done. Helen loved it, and I don’t regret taking her in the slightest; but if your kids are easily scared, you might want to weigh that when deciding whether or not to see this.

Also, keep in mind when you’re watching “Coraline” that every single thing you’re seeing on screen is an actual, constructed object – there’s no CGI in this movie. It’s completely hand-built, sets, props, backdrops, the whole works, shot in stop-motion. It’s a remarkable technical achievement.

I’ve left plenty of movies wondering why I wasted the $20-30 that it takes to get tickets and snacks for a movie at the theaters; this was not one of those movies, not by a long shot. The experience of seeing this on the big screen was worth every cent

My only regret: not living in a city where I would’ve been able to watch “Coraline” in 3D. I’ll bet that’s an amazing experience. Comment if you’ve seen the 3D version and let me know what you think.

A-Rod won the 2003 MVP award on steroids

Alex Rodriguez was named the MVP of major league baseball in 2003 after winning his third consecutive American League home run title with 47.

He was apparently on steroids when he did it. Four sources have independently told Sports Illustrated that Rodriguez tested positive for two steroids in 2003 – the last year in which Major League Baseball claimed that steroids were a banned substance, but offered no penalty whatsoever for testing positive.

Isn’t it about time to just say, “Fine, everybody did it,” officially dub the entire 1990s and early 2000s The Steroid Era, and just quit worrying about this? I guarantee there won’t be a similar witch hunt over A-Rod to match the one being unleashed on Barry Bonds — you won’t hear a clamoring of baseball writers wanting A-Rod’s MVP season asterisked or vacated the way you hear some people say Bonds should lose his home run record.

Punish everybody, or punish nobody — but either way, just move on.

A-Rod wins ’03 MVP award on steroids – Sports Illustrated

As a comical footnote to this story, ESPN — the self-proclaimed “World Wide Leader” — has apparently been scooped *hard* on this story. It’s currently the lead feature story at Sports Illustrated and at CNN.com, and as of 9:45 a.m. there’s no mention of it whatsoever at ESPN.com. Awesome.

“We have chosen hope over fear.”

Remember that? Fast forward to Feb. 4…

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”
— President Obama, Feb. 4.

WASHINGTON — Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

read on

Twitter words during the Super Bowl

This kind of thing just amazes me. A nationwide map (of the lower 48) showing the frequency of words that flitted across the Internet on Twitter during the Super Bowl. Astonishing to watch.

Map of Popular Super Bowl Words Used on Twitter – Interactive Graphic – NYTimes.com.