From author-turned-filmmaker Neil Gaiman?the darkly creative mastermind behind the vastly popular Sandman graphic novels, the BBC-TV series Neverwhere, and the soon-to-be-released feature film MirrorMask?comes A SHORT FILM... more » ABOUT JOHN BOLTON, a disturbingly hilarious "mockumentary" that examines the question of where ideas come from, as seen through the life and work of renowned artist John Bolton, painter of voluptuous vampire nudes.« less
If you're a Gaiman fan, you're going to want this dvd!
mara@nvg | NJ/NY, USA | 10/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think that the less you know about the half-hour "A Short Film About John Bolton", the more enjoyable it is to watch, so I'll leave that for the official summary. All I'll say is, like Gaiman's written work, it has a great mix of humor and horror, and makes me confident that his feature-film directorial debut will be terrific. Also, I found I liked the film better on repeat viewing. So if you're underwhelmed by it the first time, give it another try.
Aside from the film itself, the bonus features make this a must-have for any fan. In addition to the commentary & making-of featurette, and the audio feature of Gaiman reading "Drawn In Darkness", there's the 100-minute "Live At The Aladdin" film. This is a recording of one of his benefit performances for the CBLDF, in which he reads some of his classic stories like "Chivalry" and "The Price", poems like "Locks" and "Babycakes", and rarities like "Being An Experiment" (where he hilariously demonstrates the effects of alcohol on writing ability).
Whether you're an uber-fan, or just discovering Gaiman's work, this dvd is for you."
The Anonymous Eponymous | San Diego, CA | 11/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this short film, introduced in person by Gaiman, at a Comic-Con a year or two ago. As he said himself, it is a documentary "of sorts," something new for him. However, it is definitely Gaiman's work, and to dismiss it on this basis would be a grave mistake for any fan. It would fit well alongside the short stories in Smoke and Mirrors, but is far more entertaining in a video format. The film itself feels like a labor of love more than a pricey studio production and, if my memory serves me, that's exactly what it is. However, the included extras dismiss any notion that this is less than a quality release.
For newcomers to Mr. Gaiman's work, I would probably recommend one of his novels (Stardust, American Gods, or Neverwhere) or short story collections (Smoke and Mirrors, Angels and Visitations) as a better place to start. For fans, this is a must-have."
Extras Trump Feature Presentation!
misterfurioso | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The "Live @ the Aladdin" extra, in which Gaiman reads a number of short stories and answers written questions from a live audience is excellent, and that's coming from somebody who has "seen it before" when caught this reading/Comic Book Legal Defense Fund on tour in LA.
Alas, I was not overly impressed by the short film, which I felt was rather thin on content and thus too long by half. It's the only time I can recall feeling dissapointed by Gaiman's usually flawless storytelling abilities! So two stars for the short, five stars for the Aladdin reading extra (and it's whopping in size: almost an HOUR)."
Extras might outshine the movie
JTHeyman | Somewhere in the multiverse | 12/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The end of this review will contain a bit of a spoiler for the title film of this DVD. I liked it but, truthfully, it was the inclusion of "Live at the Aladdin" on this DVD that sold me on this DVD. Gaiman is a master storyteller in many media, and his "A Short Film about John Bolton" is impressive for a first-time director, but one area in which he excels is reading/telling his own stories to an audience. I must admit that I was enraptured by the telling of various tales in Gaiman's own voice. "Live at the Aladdin" ALONE is worth the price of the DVD, which is why I think the extras might outshine the title movie.
And now the SPOILER for those who want to know what the movie itself is like (stop reading if you don't want to know): If you can imagine the story "Pickman's Model" (by H.P. Lovecraft) combined with "The Blair Witch Project" and "This Is Spinal Tap", as envisioned by Neil Gaiman, then you will recognize almost everything in this movie. It was a bit distracting, but still done well."
A short film indeed...with lots of extras
Richard Stoehr | Bremerton, WA USA | 08/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This little film of Neil Gaiman's is a pleasant surprise. I went into it expecting a quick documentary feature about one of my favorite artists (John Bolton) made by one of my favorite writers (Gaiman), something that could be provide insight into their past collaborations, if nothing else. What the film actually is becomes something quite a bit stranger. Quite...other. And also quite enjoyable.
As advertised (the title gives it away) the film itself is very short -- only about 25 minutes in length. It's a quick, satisfying little jaunt and taken by itself might be worth the price of the DVD alone. However, it's not alone -- it's got friends.
Specifically, it's got about 2 hours of extra features, tailor-made for the most rabid Neil Gaiman fan. The longest extra feature is actually three times as long as the short film, a video made of Neil Gaiman's appearance in Portland, Oregon on 'The Last Tour' for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. In just under 90 minutes, Gaiman does several excellent readings from his work and answers questions for an eager audience. His 'scientific experiment' on the effects of alcohol on writing is especially good, far better performed than read on a page. Also included in the DVD extras are a short interview with Gaiman about the film, an audio commentary track for the film itself, some 'biographies' of people in the film, a photo gallery of John Bolton's work, and a message from Neil about the CBLDF.
All in all, the film and the extras make for a pretty full evening's entertainment...as long as you're a Neil Gaiman fan. Despite the title, the DVD is much more about Gaiman than it is about John Bolton. But for a Gaiman fan, it's all worth watching."