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Review: Dead Snow (2009)

April 20th, 2010 Comments off

The movie is in German with English subtitles.

Not every movie is made to be great.  In fact, I’d say it’s not hard to argue that most zombie genre movies are not meant for greatness.  Dead Snow, or Død Snø if you want to be German about it, is just that type of movie.

It’s weird to see this kind of flick come to America from the foreign ranks.  Although you do see camp show up occasionally — think the awesome Shaolin Soccer or last year’s Bollywood kung fu comedy Chandni Chowk to China — it’s rare to really see a campy horror in subtitles.

The plot here is surprisingly easy to follow and having to watch the subtitles wasn’t actually that tough, even for a horror movie.  Basically, you have seven medical student friends who arrive in a remote, Norwegian (or at least I think it’s Norway) locale, where they expect to meet one’s girlfriend, who owns a cabin in the mountains.  They hike nearly an hour from the road to reach the rustic cabin.

When the girlfriend doesn’t arrive, they start to worry; tension is added by the visit of a local camper who warns of evil in the mountains which is descended from a Nazi crew that raped the land and eventually froze in the mountain cold.  When the boyfriend heads off to find his girl, the zombie fun kicks off in full.

Click on through to read some more. Read more…

Review: Primer (2004)

April 19th, 2010 Comments off

Primer is a complex and, at times, very confusing film that earns a hearty recommendation from me.

The best way to watch a movie is almost always when you have no idea what to expect.  Going in with little more than a two line plot mini-summary leaves you open to surprise and, occasionally, that surprise is pleasant.

It was so with Primer, a 2004 independent film that was a darling of the Indie Film Circuit.  It won the Grand Jury Prize and Alfred P. Sloan Prize at Sundance, the Best Writer/Director at Nantucket and the Best Feature at the London/Sci Fi.  It was also nominated in all the major categories for which it was eligible at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards.  For a film made on a budget of about $7,000… well, let’s just say that newcomer writer, director, producer and lead actor Shane Carruth has got some game.

I do feel that going into the movie with very little background was important in my enjoyment, so I’m certainly not going to play too much of a spoiler herein.  I’ll keep this review pretty high level and light on detail.  And with a film that was as dense on the scientific jargon, keeping it high level is sometimes a necessity and not simply a luxury.

Primer is a mix between a sci fi feature and a thinking-man’s thriller.  As a bit of a science nerd, I think the thing I appreciated the most was Carruth’s dedication to maintaining at least a modicum of scientific integrity in his draftsmanship.  The film definitely has a gritty and perhaps even realistic feel.

Read more, after the jump. Read more…

Trailers: “Green Zone” (2010) and “Iron Man 2” (2010)

March 15th, 2010 Comments off

Last week I linked to two anticipated 3D releases, and today I’m gonna follow up with two of the action movies I’m pretty jazzed for in 2010.

Matt Damon and the team from the Bourne trilogy are joining up again for Green Zone, a thriller set in immediately post-invasion Iraq.  It promises great action and intrigue.

Meanwhile, in the world of comic-book blockbusters, Robert Downey Jr. will be reprising Tony Stark for Iron Man 2.  This one ain’t gonna be high art, but it should be balls-to-the-wall good in a Michael Bay style of filmmaking.

Trailers… after the bounce: Read more…

Trailers: “Clash of the Titans” (2010) and “Tron Legacy” (2010)

March 11th, 2010 Comments off

I bought some IMAX stock last month because I do think Avatar (which I reviewed here) has brought us forever into the era of the 3D blockbuster.  I don’t think this will be something that fizzes out over time, though I’m hardly going to go rushing to buy a 3D-TV for my apartment.  I think that IMAX likely will stake out its claim to super-high def 3D entertainment and that Hollywood will continue its current trend of producing blockbusters in both 2D and 3D.

Two of the more intriguing products coming out are the reboot of 1981 Harry Hamlin vehicle Clash of the Titans and the sequel vehicle starring newly minted Academy Award Best Actor Jeff Bridges, Tron Legacy.  I admit a personal bias toward the Greek mythology bastardized by Hollywood, but I’m really pretty jazzed about seeing CGI neon in 3D.  Both [should / could] be awesome.

I’ve linked their HD trailers, after the jump: Read more…

On the Awesomeness of “Lost Boys”

March 10th, 2010 Comments off

I honestly couldn’t really care much about the death of Corey Haim.  Yeah, anyone throwing their life away on drugs is tragic, but Corey Haim’s death is really no more so than your local neighborhood crackhead.  That said, he was in some kickass movies.  Silver Bullet, Lucas, Lost Boys and, of course, that movie where Nicole Eggert got nekkid.  [Pause… reflect… getting creepy so get back to typing]

Anyway, Lost Boys was freaking awesome, so in honor of Haim’s passing we will remember his best movie career scene… starring the most powerful stereo in the world:

Oh, and if they need someone to adopt Nanook, I’m totally in.
After the jump, the “Cry Little Sister” compilation and movie trailer. Read more…

The 100 Cheestiest Movie Quotes of All Time

January 22nd, 2010 Comments off

YouTube user hh1edits has assembled the 100 Cheesiest Movie Quotes of All Time.  Embedded here:

A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?

Seriously?  Really?  Drew Barrymore can’t demand a better set of lines?

Trailer: IMAX Hubble 3D (2010)

January 20th, 2010 Comments off

Umm… Awesometown.  Actually going into space on the repair mission for the greatest scientific tool of the modern era, and you do so with an IMAX 3D camera?  You, fine sirs, rock.

Behold:

Best Reviewed Movies of the Year (2009)

January 13th, 2010 Comments off

Rotten Tomatoes has announced their top 10 movies of the year.

I still have some movie renting to do.  I’m normally not one to pay heed to mass media opinions on film.  I don’t identify (or tend to agree) with the vast majority of reviewers; however, I am a believer in aggregated general market consensus.  For that reason, I’m at least willing to listen to Rotten Tomatoes and it’s macro scoring system.

Well, the site just released its 11th annual Golden Tomato Awards, for the best reviewed movies of the year.  I must admit that I’ve only seen three of them so far, though I intend to view a few of them in short order.

The full list, AFTER CLICKING THROUGH. Read more…

NY Times’ Netflix Map Generator

January 12th, 2010 Comments off

Netflix gave The Grey Lady access to the rental patterns for their top movie titles in 2009 and the Times went to town converting zip code based data into graphical renderings of rental patterns for said movies.  The generator is fun to play with and features some interesting patters like the limited, Manhattan and hipster Brooklyn appeal of Mad Men and the exclusively suburban draw of Last Chance Harvey.

I’ve got some of the more interesting maps, including a stark comparisons that perhaps reflects the persistent residential segregation of New York and the appeal of homosexually themed films in minority communities.  On a more comfortable level, a movie about robots was most most popular among non-humans.

Wondering?  CLICK THROUGH TO READ ON Read more…

Review: Avatar (2009) or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Scripts and Love the CGI

December 29th, 2009 Comments off

In no way does this review intend to do anything but convince you that, despite its faults, Avatar is the Must-See movie of our generation.

Let’s get one thing out of the way now: in no way am I panning Avatar.  That movie was incredible on so many levels.  Visually I was mesmerized and made every effort to take every detail in.  I was astounded by the depth of it all and the plot was easy to follow with key, defined characters there for the understanding in a simple manner.

This is perhaps the only movie that I have told a 65 year old senior law firm partner and a 11 year old European kid that they HAD to go see, immediately, in theatres.  As a general rule, I hate going to crowded theatres and prefer to hold out for the latter half of a film’s run or even just wait for Netflix and my 60” high def TV.  But Avatar is a once in a generation type of flick.  The type of movie that changes the way cinema is shot and produced forever.  That’s not hyperbole… that’s reality.  And if people need evidence, just check the vast number of producers that are lining up to use Cameron’s new technology.

Why, one asks?  Well, how bout the fact that Avatar has made it into the black after just 12 days of worldwide release.  It’s not a stretch to say, with $600+ million in the bank and no drop in receipts, that Avatar could pass $1 billion by the end of the New Year’s weekend and be well on its way toward being the first film to legitimately challenge Cameron’s last theatrical release (Titanic) and its record $1.8 billion haul.

But here’s my problem, Avatar is a brilliant movie, but like Titanic it’s actually a pretty crappy film.  Huh?

Again, I think it’s worth noting that I loved the hell out of this movie.  I plan on seeing it at least two more times in IMAX.  The 3D was brilliantly done in that it set the mood without dominating the film.  The CGI rendering is so amazing that you think it is live film.  The Navi are so realistic that it makes you want to Darth Vader strangle everyone who screamed out “Jar Jar!” when seeing the trailers.

Cameron has created in Pandora a universe that’s almost hyper realistic.  The only thing I can compare it to, visually, is seeing the World Cup or Monday Night Football in High Definition for the first time after a lifetime of bunny ears analog viewing.  There were several times I just wanted to pause the projector and drink in the careful level of detail and striking brilliance of what Cameron’s team created.

It all was so amazing that I didn’t care about the following beefs, which I set forth below.

CLICK TO READ MY BEEFS AND WHY THEY DON’T MATTER ON THE WHOLE Read more…