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Off with ‘er head: “Alice” teaser arrives

Just when you think Tim Burton can’t top himself, he does … and gives you years’ worth of unsettling nightmares in the process.

Yes, yes, filmophiles, you know what I’m talking about: Burton’s bright, menacing, gleeful non-animated take on “Alice in Wonderland.” If ever there was a movie meant to be made, and made by the King of Creep, it’s “Alice in Wonderland.” (Come to think of it, I’m not entirely convinced Burton isn’t a reincarnation of ole’ Jabberwocky Joe.)

The cast is too exciting for flowery words, so I’ll just go with names: J. Depp as The Mad Hatter; Alan Rickman as The Caterpillar; Anne Hathaway as The White Queen; Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen; and Crispin Glover (you may remember him as Thin Man in “Charlies Angels: Full Throttle”) as The Knave of Hearts.

Bad news, though — this little beaut’s not coming out until 2010. In the meantime, watch the trailer or, if you’re in the mood to put your Ambien to the ultimate test, mosey on over to Imdb.com and check out these dead Michael Jackson-meets-“Nightmare Before Christmas”-meets-the craziest acid trip Timothy Leary never took promo shots.


One to Watch: “An Education”

I’ve come to believe that movies choose us as much as we choose them. Maybe that makes me a bit of a romantic (which is sort of revolutionary, since I’m a hard-line skeptic about most things), but movies keep finding their way to me when I’m ready to see them. Case in point: “An Education.”

Now don’t start thinking I’m excited about this one because of some beautiful, tawdry affair I had at age 16 with a much-older man who used me for my lithe teenage body but ultimately taught me many a deep life lesson in the process. This is not the case. (I suspect the reason is because in high school I never met any older men as effortlessly handsome as Peter Sarsgaard.) No, I’m eager to see “An Education” because it’s the kind of boundary-pushing, morally complex film I don’t believe I could have appreciated 10, or even five, years ago. Use “Lars and the Real Girl” as a reference point. At age 16, could anyone have grasped the strange beauty of a movie about a damaged touch-me-not who finds true love with a life-sized (and anatomically correct!) sex doll?

These days I like to think I’ve grown enough to appreciate movies that force me to question my beliefs, standards, ideas about the world and the way people interact within that world.

Or maybe I’ve just gotten tired of movies where the guy gets the girl, they roll off into the sunset in their luxury SUV and everything is kittens, sunshine and rainbows.