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Review: “Titanic” (1997)

May 15, 2013 2 comments
TitanicDirected by: James Cameron
Produced by: James Cameron, Jon Landau
Written by: James Cameron
Edited by: Conrad Buff, James Cameron, Richard A. Harris
Cinematography by: Russell Carpenter
Music by: James Horner
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, David Warner, Victor Garber, Bill Paxton, Gloria Stuart, Danny Nucci, Jason Barry, Suzy Amis, Ioan Gruffudd
Year: 1997

 

Titanic is responsible for exposing me to what is very likely my first experience with the phenomena of backlash toward something popular. Though I was just 11 when the film first released back in 1997 and had very little interest in actually seeing this 3-hour epic romance, I distinctly remember getting caught up with the other guys in my class who took great joy in teasing the girls who had begun bragging that they had seen the movie multiple times and memorized every moment. I even remember writing a sort of anti-fanfic of the film that I read in front of my 5th grade class for an English writing assignment wherein I was transported into the setting of the film and took the place of Jack and Rose at the end of the ship as it was sinking, thus dooming them both to a watery grave. There was also probably some destruction of a certain famous drawing from the film and the theft of the giant blue diamond. I hadn’t even seen the film at that point, but I had heard so much about it, I basically knew all the plot points and buttons to press that would set off the girls’ tempers and win the favor of the guys. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “ParaNorman”

August 26, 2012 6 comments
Directed by: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Produced by: Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner
Written by: Chris Butler (screenplay), Arianne Sutner, Stephen Stone (story)
Cinematography by: Tristan Oliver
Music by: Jon Brion
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Jodelle Ferland, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Jodelle Ferland, Tempestt Bledsoe, Hannah Noyes, Ariel Winter
Year: 2012

 

There are several things that I admire about this movie that I’m just going to highlight from the outset:

  1. The animation is impressive. I have no idea how they pulled off the visually (not to mention emotionally) charged ending effects, but I would really like to see the featurette on the home release on that.
  2. Getting back to the emotion, there are moments in the film that feel stunningly authentic, and that ending really does pay off.
  3. The filmmakers largely stayed away from obvious pop culture horror references that would be so prevalent in so many big studio film efforts. There are some, one of which is revealed in the trailers (“You want to play hockey?”) and another that is a lot more subtle than this (Norman’s ringtone is from The Exorcist), but, for the most part, the film is a much calmer, more self-contained experience than it could have been.

I lead into this review with those points because I don’t want to sound like I didn’t enjoy this film, because that wouldn’t necessarily be true. The fact of the matter, however, is that for all the things this film excels at, there are several things that hold it back for me from being the apparent critical darling that Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that ParaNorman is.

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