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Theatrical Review: “The Purge”

June 9, 2013 4 comments
The PurgeDirected by: James DeMonaco
Produced by: Michael Bay, Jason Blum, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Sébastien Kurt Lemercier
Written by: James DeMonaco
Edited by: Peter Gvozdas
Cinematography by: Jacques Jouffret
Music by: Nathan Whitehead
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, Tony Oller, Arija Bareikis, Tom Yi, Chris Mulkey, Tisha French, Dana Bunch, Peter Gvozdas, Karen Strassman
Year: 2013

 

Bad news: This thing’s probably making money on its opening weekend. I went to go see Mud last night (excellent movie, by the way), and the lines for this movie, which disturbingly included several families with young kids, were pretty large. Look forward to next year’s sequel, people. I kind of regret paying into the box office success by going to this, but my friends were all chattering about it so I guess I kind of felt obligated to see it, if only because we were all coming up with theories as to what would occur in the movie, and I would’ve felt left out if I was the only one who hadn’t seen it come Monday’s carpool.

I have to admit, aside from maybe one little plot point early on, none of our predictions came true. Guess we don’t see that many crappy movies to actually get a handle on how these kinds of movies work. Oh, and spoiler alert, if you couldn’t tell already, I hated this dreadful excuse for a movie. Read more…

Review: “Slither” (2006)

October 8, 2012 9 comments
Directed by: James Gunn
Produced by: Paul Brooks, Eric Newman, Thomas Bliss
Written by: James Gunn
Cinematography by: Gregory Middleton
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Tania Saulnier, Brenda James
Year: 2006

 

Slither is an amusing horror comedy from James Gunn, the director of the indie superhero film Super andfuture director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy adaptation (so expect him to be kind of a big thing soon). Featuring a familiar B-grade horror film vibe while elevating it to a higher, sleeker form, Slither provides a lot of great scares and plenty of familiar yet effectively disturbing moments to please horror aficionados (such as the alien slug’s gradual approach toward a girl soaking peacefully in her bathtub in the poster), but it also cuts through the gross-out moments with plenty of laughs and has a great deal of fun with the concept without falling into the camp category. And though it may be taking on the form of lower rung monster thrillers, Slither also shows that fun horror films don’t have to be straight up satires or mindless gags, with a narrative about faithfulness and trust woven throughout. (Please note that this review brings up narrative parallels, and, thus, contains some spoilers.) 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.

Read more…

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