THE CAPE 1.1, 1.2: Pilot/Tarot

I was prepared to hate NBC’s newest superhero series, THE CAPE. After all, it looked pretty campy, and I just happen to hate circus settings, so things did not look good at the start. Luckily, THE CAPE improved steadily over the course of its inaugural hour.

THE CAPE is refreshingly free of overt camp and snarkiness; at least the initial two hours played the story straight. And the tale was a surprisingly straightforward superhero origin tale: Vince Faraday (David Lyons) was a cop wrongly accused of a crime, and then presumed dead in one of those amazingly unlikely explosions in which no body is found. But he survived, and undertook special training with a mentor to mold himself into a living weapon to strike at his nemesis, corporate mogul Peter Fleming (James Frain) a man so powerful he is untouchable by conventional justice. Vince keeps his true identity a secret in order to protect his loved ones from that menace (who has a sort of villain name of his own, being known as the murderer “Chess”), and yearns to clear his name so his son can grow up proud. That’s a lot of comic baggage for one show. Toss in a sexy sidekick, and you have a TV show.
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DVD: Coraline (2009)

Coraline

Coraline strikes me as a children’s movie that should be watched with a parent close at hand. At several points I found myself thinking, “Wow, that would really scare a kid, wouldn’t it?” Unfortunately, there was no child handy to either correct or reinforce my impressions, so I can only guess. I will admit however, that the younger version of me would have enjoyed this movie immensely – but I have been told that I had a somewhat morbid sensibility as a kid. (One I still cultivate, BTW…)

Coraline tells the story of 11-year-old Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), who moves into a new apartment in a creepy old Victorian mansion. Coraline’s parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) are workaholics who act like caring for Coraline is a burden, hence she is often left to her own devices. In short order she meets a weird local lad called Wyborne (Robert Bailey Jr.) who hangs out with a mangy cat (Keith David). Wyborne gives her a strange old doll with buttons for eyes that resembles her. That night she dreams that a sealed-up door in the living room leads to another world – where lives her “Other Mother” (also Hatcher) and “Other Father,” dream parents who dote on her every whim and ply her with a magical garden and delicious food. But the real difference is, the Other parents have buttons for eyes. Coraline finds herself enchanted by this alternate reality and returns through the portal many times. She is thrilled to be offered the chance to remain in this world – until, thanks to the cat and a morbidly altered version of Wyborne, she realizes that things on the other side may be just a little too good to be true, and staying forever comes at a terrible price.
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