By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin December 14, 2009 at 4:29AM
If you’re thinking about gifts for the holidays, I’d like to mention a few presents I’ve bought myself lately. (I’ll be posting my annual movie book roundup within the week.) First, if you haven’t seen the latest confection from animator Nick Park, you owe it to yourself and your family to purchase a DVD of Wallace and Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death. After twenty years these wry characters have lost none of their appeal, and Park remains a consummate filmmaker as he devises new adventures for the uniquely British duo. Once you’ve enjoyed their latest half-hour film, which originally aired on...
the BBC, you may want to do as I did and purchase two absolutely wonderful resin figurines of the duo “in character” from the Robert Harrop Company in England. Wallace (at right) is wearing a toque and stirring a mixing bowl, while his deadpan dog Gromit (left) is hefting a tray of buns. I bought mine on eBay and was amazed at how quickly they crossed the Atlantic. Now I smile every time I look at them.
I also couldn’t resist the new Jessica Rabbit “mini-maquette” from the folks at Electric Tiki. It shows the sexy character in a country-girl outfit that she was supposed to wear in the short-subject Roller Coaster Rabbit, as the cartoon’s director Rob Minkoff explains on the package. I see that it’s already sold out on the Sideshow Collectibles web site, its official distributor, but as usual various dealers are offering it at slightly higher prices than its original $124.99 cost on eBay. If you love Jessica you might want to spring for this—and then pre-order the next one in the series as soon as it’s announced.
I love music, but I must confess I don’t keep up with—or relate to—most of today’s hit-makers. That’s why it was such fun for me to watch Me and Orson Welles, which is heavily scored with swing and big-band records of the 1930s. (I even lit up when, in the midst of the new movie The Blind Side I recognized the opening vamp to Les Paul and Mary Ford’s recording of “How High the Moon.”) If you share my feelings, and haven’t ever had the opportunity to hear Vince Giordano and his Night Hawks in performance, here’s the next best thing, a wonderful video recently posted on The New York Times website. And if you’re in New York City over the holidays, be sure and make a reservation at Sofia’s to see the band on Monday nights.