Archive

Archive for October, 2012

Review: “Scream”

October 31, 2012 9 comments
Directed by: Wes Craven
Produced by: Cathy Konrad, Cary Woods
Written by: Kevin Williamson
Cinematography by: Mark Irwin
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Kennedy, Drew Barrymore, Roger L. Jackson
Year: 1996

 

If there’s any one series of films that have possibly helped to turn me around on my disinterest in the horror genre, it would be the Scream series. Having first seen Scream 3 some time after its release to home video, I became unusually preoccupied by the concept of this meta-heavy horror series. Neither pure satire nor straight up scary movie, Scream appeals to both fans and non-fans of the genre by covering all the tropes, calling out, subverting, and embracing all their idiosyncrasies while referencing past works and still adhering to the genre by becoming a relentless horror film in its own right. Read more…

Review: “Juan of the Dead” (“Juan de los Muertos”)

October 30, 2012 2 comments
Directed by: Alejandro Brugués
Produced by: Gervasio Iglesias, Inti Herrera
Written by: Alejandro Brugués
Cinematography by: Carles Gusi
Music by: Sergio Valdés
Starring: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorría, Jazz Vilá, Eliecer Ramírez, Antonio Dechent, Blanca Rosa Blanco
Year: 2011

 

I first heard about this movie through a Facebook ad. As you may already know, Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies, and, so, naturally, I have it listed as such on my Facebook page. Released in the US under the same studio, Focus Features, I was naturally notified in my feed of what can essentially be considered that film’s Cuban cousin, Juan of the Dead. Intrigued at the prospect of what could’ve possibly been an international effort to portray the same outbreak, but wary of the film’s potential to just essentially be a remake, I naturally put the film in my movie queue. My expectations weren’t too high for this film, nor was I expecting utter crap. Luckily, the movie wasn’t. And it makes smart usage of the zombie-infested setting to say some poignant things about life as a family in Cuba. (However, it’s unfortunately not the beginning of some international project to depict a global outbreak. Darn.) Read more…

Review: “The Sixth Sense”

October 25, 2012 3 comments
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Barry Mendel
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Cinematography by: Tak Fujimoto
Music by: James Newton Howard
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Trevor Morgan, Mischa Barton, Trevor Morgan
Year: 1999

 

Though I couldn’t outright say that The Sixth Sense is a horror film, at least in the traditional sense, it was somewhat of a rite of passage for me. Funny story — My mom had seen it before me and thought that I would possibly love it, if I could handle it. I was about 13 at the time, and so, like the self-confident early teenager that I was, I decided to go with her… but I was terrified to see this, to be quite honest, if only because her description of it was so scary. I wasn’t a horror fan at the time and hadn’t really sought out any scary movies in my life, so this was a new experience for me. And… Well, I’m not going to lie — I ended up seeing Runaway Bride one auditorium down because I chickened out mid-previews. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Frankenweenie”

October 22, 2012 4 comments
Directed by: Tim Burton
Produced by: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate
Written by: John August
Cinematography by: Peter Sorg
Music by: Danny Elfman
Starring: Charlie Tahan, Frank Welker, Winona Ryder, Cathernie O’Hara, Martin Short, martin Landau, Robert Capron, Atticus Shaffer
Based on the short Frankenweenie by Tim Burton

 

I’m going to say it, something that everyone’s been thinking and even saying for a while, but it bears mentioning again: Tim Burton has really lost his touch since the late 90s. Though he’s still since released some decent-to-genuinely-good films since then, none of them have been entirely original. His take on Alice in Wonderland was a garish bore, and while I truly enjoyed both Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they weren’t entirely his own material, now, were they? I think that the best thing that we can say about Frankenweenie at this point in Burton’s career is that it falls somewhere in this latter category of truly enjoyable though not entirely original material. Read more…

Special Review: “28 Weeks Later” – Portrait of Domestic Abuse

October 20, 2012 2 comments
Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Produced by: Enrique López-Lavigne, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich; Bernard Bellew (co-producer); Danny Boyle, Alex Garland (executive producers)
Written by: Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Enrique López Lavigne, Jesús Olmo
Cinematography by: Enrique Chediak
Music by: John Murphy
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Idris Elba
Year: 2007

 

28 Weeks Later lacks the originality, rawness, and, frankly, the mystique of Danny Boyle’s first film, but it’s a sequel that figures out a perfect way to have the rage virus return and deliver even more terrifying thrills. New director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo remains faithful to the tone of the first film yet focuses on entirely new characters and new ideas in a story that nonetheless continues where the last film left off. But while 28 Days Later told the story of a group of individuals coming together to form what could effectively be called a family, 28 Weeks Later intriguingly stands as a counterpoint to that narrative, weaving into its plot a story about a family torn apart by deceit and violence, and the two children who find themselves caught up in a system that, though well intentioned, may not be able to save them from a horrible fate.

(Due to the essay-like nature of this review, please know that SPOILERS are necessary for my examination, and, thus, do lie ahead!) Read more…

Review: “The Thing” (1982)

October 17, 2012 6 comments
Directed by: John Carpenter
Produced by: David Foster, Lawrence Turman, Wilbur Stark, Stuart Cohen
Written by: Bill Lancaster (screenplay)
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Music by: Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter (uncredited)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Donald Moffat, Charles Hallah, Joel Polis, T.K. Carter, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat, Thomas G. Waites, Richard Masur, Peter Maloney, David Clennon, Charles Hallahan
Based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell
Year: 1982

 

The Thing is one of those movies I dismissed as a kid as yet another stupid monster movie. Looking back, I know exactly where this prejudice came from. Apparently that was the general consensus upon release, too. The film opened up against E.T. and Blade Runner and subsequently lost a good chunk of change from movie going audiences who wanted to see aliens and sci-fi adventures on the big screen. A bunch of scientists in the Antarctic being attacked by an alien creature doesn’t exactly compare to the wonderment of a little boy befriending an alien visitor or a detective seeking out robot fugitives on paper, when you think about it, huh? Critically, it suffered similarly, with the film’s nihilism and grotesque special effects not exactly endearing The Thing to critics of the time. Much like me, perhaps, popular opinions did gradually turn around, and now the film is recognized for its better qualities, chief among them the very same nihilism and special effects that were so controversial for their times. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Dredd” 3D

October 10, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Pete Travis
Produced by: Alex Garland, Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich
Written by: Alex Garland
Cinematography by: Anthony Dod Mantle
Music by: Paul Leonard-Morgan
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey, Domhnall Gleeson, Warrick Grier
Based on the comic series created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
Year: 2012

 

Let me get this out of the way first: Before this movie, I had next to no familiarity with the character beyond the existence of an apparently terrible Sylvester Stallone adaptation that broke with tradition and revealed the face of its main character. And my familiarity with that film itself largely extends to a preview on some forgotten VHS tape that I used to watch a lot and the existence of a pinball table located in a bowling alley from around the same time period that I watched said tape.

That being said, I was pretty excited to see Dredd, largely because I had heard about its spectacular 3D effects and slo-mo footage, which was shot using Phantom Flex cameras at 1,000 FPS, and also because word from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con showing was largely positive. By the time I finally went and saw the film in theatres this past weekend, it had only out for 3 weeks, but was already dwindling in show times, especially for 3D films. The fact that three family films (Finding NemoHotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie) are currently occupying the 3D auditoriums probably has something to do with this fact, but also likely due to the relative obscurity of the character, at least on American shores. Luckily, I was able to locate a theatre not far from where I live, and so my roommate and I were able to treat ourselves to what is possibly going to be the most under-appreciated movie of the year. Read more…

%d bloggers like this: