Culture

Neil Gaiman's 'Graveyard Book' In Safe Hands With Director Henry Selick

Henry Selick/Photo: <a href=CC/Watsonsinelgin/Flickr" />
Henry Selick/Photo: CC/Watsonsinelgin/Flickr

It looks like The Graveyard Book is about to get the "Coraline" treatment. Neil Gaiman's 2003 novel about a child raised by ghosts and other supernatural types in a cemetery is now the responsibility of Henry Selick, who famously took the animated feature world by storm in 1993 with "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and has been creeping out youngsters ever since. Don't expect the movie version of Graveyard to pop up anytime soon -- Selick apparently has at least one more secret project to spring on us before he knuckles down on the Gaiman project.

When collected and combined in a montage, director Spike Lee's dolly shots lend an intoxicating and surprisingly emotional perspective to everyday moments. (Wonder if there will be yet another example in his upcoming feature, "Red Hook Summer.")

When I heard that "The Wicker Tree" (the long-awaited sequel to Robin Hardy's 1973 suspense classic "The Wicker Man," and adapted from a novel he wrote called Cowboys For Christ) was finally out on DVD, I leaped at the chance to watch it. I went in with what I feel were very realistic expectations, since the entire concept -- down to Christopher Lee reprising his role from the original, nearly forty years later -- seemed almost too far-fetched to be taken seriously. Even so, I have to say it was a painful disappointment; I still can't say I understand exactly what happened to whom, or why. But if it revives any interest in the 1973 version, then I suppose it's worthwhile. And anything's better than Nic Cage in a bear costume!

Pointed social commentary is something we're used to seeing from Margaret Atwood, but whimsy ... not so much. The famous author's recent essay in the NY Times Opinion Pages describes an imaginary (one can only assume) encounter with a pair of Martian travelers who quiz her about American literature -- and eat all her marshmallows. I'm counting on Atwood to be all doom and gloom again in the final book of her Madd Addam trilogy.