Titanic Sails Into the Third Dimension

For many people, 3-D has become a blight on the film industry… an over-used cash-grab that does little more than, well, grab extra cash from the wallets of the world in exchange for eye-strain and migraine headaches.  Granted, when the technology is applied properly, the results can be astounding, such as this past summer’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, or 2009’s Avatar, the film that completely redefined what a 3-D movie experience can be.  Since the release of Avatar, however, Hollywood has been churning out a steady stream of films using a process commonly referred to as “post-conversion”, which allows filmmakers to turn their work into 3-D features without actually shooting the films in 3-D.  It’s a process that’s rarely done with any real care or attention to detail, as well as the primary cause of the aforementioned eye-strain and headaches.  In short, it’s a way for Hollywood to take more of our money.  However, James Cameron, the director of Avatar, wants to prove all of the naysayers wrong.

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Review: Contagion

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, and Marion Cotillard.  Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Drinking glasses.  Doorknobs.  Credit cards.  Handshakes.  The touch of a loved one.  These are but a small few of the innocent accomplices aiding a deadly virus as it begins to eradicate mankind in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, a film in which the simple, common act of a mother playfully feeding her child a potato chip can lead to the deaths of countless numbers of people. Continue reading

Review: Shark Night 3D

Starring: Sara Paxton, Katharine McPhee, Dustin Milligan, Joel David Moore, and Sinqua Walls.  Directed by: David R. Ellis

When I first heard that Shark Night 3D was being made, my initial reaction was one of great anticipation.  Last August, when Piranha 3D was released, I was taken aback (in a great way) by its flat-out CELEBRATION of its extreme R-rating.  Horror fans wanting to see a fun monster movie featuring copious amounts of gore and nudity couldn’t have possibly done better last summer.  And so, when it was revealed that Shark Night 3D was to be rated PG-13, my anticipation turned to apprehension, and I was convinced that there was NO way the film would be truly scary.  Sometimes it sucks to be right. Continue reading

Review: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Starring: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison. Directed by: Troy Nixey

One of my favorite things about films in general is the atmosphere they create.  Comedies, for example, tend to be filmed using very straight-forward camera techniques that keep the viewers’ attention squarely on the actors who are responsible for making them laugh, and bright color palates that are designed to be uplifting and happy.  Horror films, on the other hand, are traditionally filmed in the completely opposite way: drab and dreary colors, constant darkness, and camera angles that deliberately mislead the viewers’ eyes, keeping them wondering if they REALLY just saw the thing lurking in the corner of the room.  Thankfully, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” absolutely bleeds such an atmosphere.  Sadly, there isn’t much else going for it.

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Review: Fright Night (2011)

Starring:  Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots, and Toni Collette. Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Okay, full disclosure here: I’m not a huge fan of Hollywood’s tendency to re-shoot older films.  I consider it to be lazy and a sure sign that the screenwriters are rapidly running out of original ideas.  Therefore, when I heard nearly a year ago that another version of  “Fright Night” was headed to the local multiplex, I was skeptical to say the least.  The original, one of several terrific horror films released in 1985, is one of my all-time favorites…it was also one of my very first “vampire” movie experiences.  Now the new “Fright Night” is here… and does it honor the original classic?  In truth… yes and no. Continue reading