Rated 5.0

Henry Selick never received enough credit for the dual-holiday staple Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, but then the possessive nature of its title practically advertised his artistic subjugation (after all, he only directed the thing). James and the Giant Peach and Monkeybone did little to bolster Selick’s case, but the sublime 2009 stop-motion fantasia Coraline makes Nightmare look like child’s play. Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is about a spunky, blue-haired girl who moves with her dweeby parents to an old boarding house in an Oregon mudhole. She’s bored and unhappy at first, until she discovers a hidden door to an alternate universe peopled with dolls, including direct-opposite, possibly evil versions of her parents. Every frame of Coraline is imbued with buoyant imagination, creepy invention and creative storytelling.