- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009

Spike Jonze — the director of “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation” — has dipped into the world of children’s literature to deliver a delightfully trippy version of “Where the Wild Things Are.” Which other odd directors have set foot in the world of children’s books?

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Leave it to Tim Burton to one-up an already trippy children’s movie; his take on Roald Dahl’s classic novel is even more acid-infused — bad acid, some would say — than the 1971 version starring Gene Wilder. Mr. Burton’s next film, “Alice in Wonderland,” also dips into classic kiddie territory and promises to be just as odd.

2. The Witches — There’s something about Mr. Dahl’s work that lends itself to absurd — and frightening — adaptations, and Nicolas Roeg’s version of “The Witches” is no exception, calling to mind the director’s previous works, such as “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” starring David Bowie.

3. Coraline — Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, Henry Selick’s stop-motion extravaganza is a 10 on the creepy scale: There’s nothing like trading eyeballs for buttons to make the skin crawl. Mr. Selick — whose work includes “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Monkeybone” — was the perfect choice to helm this oddball kid’s flick.

4. Fantastic Mr. Fox — One more entry from Mr. Dahl’s oeuvre; Wes Anderson, the uber-twee filmmaker behind “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” recently debuted this stop-motion animated picture about a talking fox to much applause at the London Film Festival.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — In this first entry in the Harry Potter film series to take a seriously dark turn, Alfonso Cuaron — the virtuoso behind “Children of Men” — brought a delightfully dark look to the evil Dementors haunting Harry.

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