Animated, Dead and Ukrainian

I’ve been a fan of Pixar’s films ever since I first saw ‘Luxor Junior’, ‘Knick Knack’ and ‘Tin Toy’ in college (before Pixar was bought by Disney). I think John Lasseter’s company was the first to give computer generated imagery the human touch.Luxo Junior Since then, they have gone on to produce such varied wonders as the ‘Toy Story’ films, ‘Monsters Inc’. ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Wall-E’.
There are very few film-making companies for whom it can be said that they have never put a foot wrong. With ‘Up’, Pixar have once again proven that beyond all the high-tech imagery, the flawless animation and Disney hype, they truly are master storytellers. I loved this film, from the light-hearted but moving opening, to the spectacular flight of the house, the mismatched heroes, the talking dogs, the weird bird and the hilarious action sequences (I nearly wet myself seeing the boy smeared across the windscreen of the airship). The people at Pixar are geniuses. Long may it last.
The Graveyard BookAnother master storyteller, though one with a very different style, who has also moved into the film medium more than once, is Neil Gaiman. His latest children’s novel, ‘The Graveyard Book’ is one of his best. Filled with his trademark imaginative magic and that sense of chilling child-like wonder which makes you wonder what kind of bedtime stories he tells his kids, ‘The Graveyard Book’ is a great story. I’ve just seen the movie version of ‘Coraline’ too, and though I thought the book told the story better, the end is proper spooky.
And finally, for now, you should check out this video of Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova’s fantastic sand painting. A kind of performance illustration, it is hugely impressive to watch and very moving in places. Amazing what you can do with sand and a light-box.