Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not a lot of "paranormal activity"...

This is probably the most anticipated movie of the month. Why? Because Paramount decided to make people demand it through, if they wanted it to come to their city. Then, on top of that, eventually it just needed one million people to demand it for it to be released internationally. Wow, I guess it worked, huh? And just in the nick of time. Paranormal Activity was released on October 23rd, RIGHT before Halloween. After all, it would have been a shame should this film have been released Christmas day. Something tells me as many people wouldn’t have been in the spirit then.

Alright, alright. I’ll let off of Paramount for half a second to acknowledge that at least they did advertise creatively, and draw crowds to the Cineplex. But the same people that believe that this movie was actually real, probably believe that Paramount didn’t always plan of releasing it on October 23rd. I wonder if it still would have been released if people didn’t actually demand it? Hmmm…

That said, the premise of this little flick is basically a couple sets up their very own camera to record some uhh – paranormal activity in their home. It starts off small and builds up to some seriously creepy shit. This is all in an effort for the asshole boyfriend to be amused, and have his ever-forgiving girlfriend tell him he’s stupid and they should stop before they make it angry. This is of course before the boyfriend calls the ghost or whatever it is a pussy, asshole, etc. For shame he didn’t listen.

Now, I’m making this sound like some sort of House of Wax fake documentary or something. That’s not the case. This is actually a decent film, which in the spirit of Halloween, you may want to check out. That is if you end up in a theatre filled with people who can actually stay quiet during a movie as to not break the terribly-important (within reference to this movie) suspension of disbelief. I ended up seeing it with a massive amount of 15 year olds on Saturday night, and they ruined every quiet or potentially scary moment. Either by yelling something stupid or by making some other noise (ie: you’re hot!). Sigh…

The reason why this may have happened more than once is because, as aforementioned, the film moves slowly. Not in a bad way, but in a way that allows a person to build suspense over the time that’s its day, or when a psychic comes into the house to explain the rules or whatever. Again, I repeat, this is not a bad thing and assuming you have a decent crowd in the theatre with you, I imagine this to be a highly effective way of storytelling.

All in all, the film could have probably used a little more action, I found myself actually waiting until night to see what happens, and wanting the days to end – which most of the time consisted of the girlfriend telling her beau he should stop, then him telling her no, as he reviews the footage from last night. A film like Quarantine may have lacked the genuine creepiness this film offers, but Quarantine also moved faster, provided more eery and jumpy moments, and actually gave the audience and the characters a reason as to why they couldn’t get out of the house. These people were waaaay too patient if you ask me.

So if you dare to, walk through this door if you’re brave enough, but only if you’re willing to face the scary, scary thought that you may be accompanied by people who either have nothing else to do, or people who are insecure with looking like a baby, and will shout at the screen the whole time “this isn’t scary!”.

*Still courtesy of Paramount Pictures



>> Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hey, aren't you that guy from "Surviving Christmas"?

Where The Wild Things Are is exactly what it should be. Scary as hell to children at times, and a blast from the past to most adults born pre-1990. I can imagine the conversations between an adult and their child as they drive to the theatre:

KID: "Mommy, can't we go see GI Joe or Couples Retreat instead?"
MOM: "No, we're going to go relive one of my memories, and show you what a real movie is like!"
KID: "Isn't GI Joe a real movie?"
MOM: "Well, it is, but its not a classic."
KID: "Isn't Wild Things new, so how can it be a classic?"
MOM: "Yes, but it's - shut up or you won't get $12 popcorn!"

And half an hour later the kid is crying because he got scared when the wild things threaten to eat Max. Either that or he'll be right into it, or be bored.

Now, that's not to say Wild Things isn't a great movie. And based on the source material (which I have yet to read oddly enough), it was done in the best way possible with what they had, and I can easily see it being an actual classic film later on down the road as all these kids remember how scared they used to be of a wild thing named Carol who was voiced by one of the Sopranos. It reminded me a lot of Jim Henson creations to be honest. And would have probably fared just as well being made twenty years ago as it did today. Be it animatronic or CG, the realism of it all doesn't really matter anyways, but it is breathtaking at moments and does ease your mind into an otherwise preposterous world.

Whats most notable about what might seem to most viewers, is how problems are solved in this world. Be it a mud ball fight to settle some nerves or a stick in the place of an arm, its all interesting to look at and in most cases a bit comical.

It was nice to see Max relate to the character that represented what he was feeling at the time, be it loneliness, frustration and anger, or a need to explore when he was feeling lost. In fact, there were a lot of examples of little hidden things like this, where upon further examination you would notice a much finer level of detail than you might have seen upon your first viewing. The reason I mention this is because due to his schizophrenic amount of emotions, you end up getting a lot of lovable and wonderful creatures. James Gandolfini is misunderstood and angry as Carol, Chris Cooper as Douglas is a bit cocky but nonetheless is a great friend and supports Carol whenever he needs him. Meanwhile the "its not fair" Judith played by Home Alone's Catherine O'Hara is the closest to any enemy Max has in his world. Other mentionable roles were Ira and KW, played by Forest Whitaker and Lauren Ambrose respectively.

Now, I actually did see this film on Friday. And although the blog may not show it as i started writing this review on Saturday, and it is now October 20th. I didn't finish it due to a busy weekend, but In some ways I'm glad I didn't. Its allowed me to separate myself a bit from the actual film, and a get a better feel for how I felt about it. At first the film seemed sorta forgettable, a bit boring at times, and I wasn't sure how to feel about it. But now 3 days later, I actually wouldn't mind seeing it again. It leaves you with a feeling of warmth and and spark of creativity, and a fond memory of what it used to be like when you would still play with big hairy monsters and birds with human ears.

When is comes to Wild Things, I think if you feel like escaping one afternoon or evening, this will do it for you. This may not be a date movie, necessarily, and kids may not enjoy it for what it is, but its a damn good movie all around and the door is wide, wide open on this one. Perhaps even wide enough for you and your emotions.


TOY STORY 1&2 in 3-D (1995 & 1999)

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waaaay better than the illegal VHS copy I first saw ...

In a release that should have lasted more than 2 weeks, Woody and Buzz embark on a big screen retread in a beautifully done third dimension. Now, I won't get right into the details on the story, as I think most people are familiar with it by now. The general overall story line is based around the idea that our toys are alive, and when we aren't looking, they intereact and have arguments and play video games based on themselves. But I've never seen it like this.

The first time I watched Toy Story my 7th grade teacher was kind enough to make a copy of the movie from a VHS her friend had loaned to her, and then showed to us. Now, before DVDs, the first VHS I bought was my own, and I didn't get to see very many films, so I was grateful for anything - good quality, static, full screen, whatever. Toy Story 2 was seen on VHS as well - only a real copy this time. That was the last time I saw them (crica 2001) until I bought them on DVD in 2004. Then i was able to rewatch them as I pleased in wonderful digital widescreen. They were as I had remembered, and I loved it.

But it was never, ever, like this. After watching these films in digital 3-D, I rediscovered these films in a whole new way, unlike anything i had seen before. When I say that, and when I tell you this, I may be biased, as I now am comparing a viewing experience like digital 3-D to a copied VHS I had seen over a decade ago. But past that, compared to the DVD's even, there were textures and details that one would almost certainly miss upon any other form of viewing. This goes from the paint on the walls to the texture of Slinky Dog. Now, this is probably due more to the digital side of viewing this film, but the 3-D added that little extra pop.

I found myself watching this film, purposely losing the suspension of disbelief to break myself from the story and just appreciate the pure technical achievement that went into making the first fully CG animated film ever. And boy howdy was it brilliant. You could see the animators stepped up the game in Toy Story 2, adding more and more detail, definitely outdoing the first film, which they should have. I appreciate that, but not as much as the fact Toy Story was even just created and how well it was done. I wish I could only see everything and every movie in as much detail and wonder as I did in every frame of these movies. Mixed with that sense of complete rediscovery for an old favourite.

As afforementioned, it is a true shame they only ran this for two weeks. In the last two weeks last night was the first chance I found to run through this very open door. Even the intermission proved entertaining with a clock counting down the 10 minutes between films, and trivia and behind the scenes looks - wonderful, wonderful stuff. Not to mention the truly unique nature of this double your pleasure movie-going experience.

Now, Toy Story 3 comes out on June 18th, 2010, and I intend to be there to see it. And from the looks of the trailer, its going to be a good one, based on the premise of Andy growing up, set up nicely in the second one. For now, I've included the trailer for the third chapter of this magical series.

Trailer ParkMySpace Videos

*Still courtesy of Disney



>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Damn! Now I want a Twinkie!

After Dawn of the Dead, and the original Shaun of the Dead, I was convinced that there was no more that could be done with the zombie genre. Not because my mind was closed to the idea that anybody could ever do another "good" zombie flick, but because I didn't think it was necessary. Dawn proved zombies could be scary while commenting on our wacked out consumerist society, and Shaun proved an actual good spoof could me made, while still taking the horror genre seriously (sorry, Scary Movie series, you shoulda stopped at one). Oh, and then there is also 28 Days Later, that was pretty awesome, too.

Then Zombieland came out, and thank G-O-D they didn't stop. Because it is defiitely up there with Shaun, but mixes the zombie genre a little more with something like I Am Legend - where people are left alone in the world wondering if there are more people who are unaffected such as they are.

In this case Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and Michael Cera's long lost brother Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), meet up as a means of watching eachother's backs until they get a little more north to their destination, where either family or Twinkies may lie. Think of a buddy road trip movie with zombies. Along the way they meet up with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who screw them over more than once with their "we only look out for ourselves and we eachother" attitude. But, that doesn't stop them all from becoming a sort of dysfunctional family. Think National Lampoon's Vaction ... with zombies.

What reallly helps this movie move and move along fast is the fact that it's not afraid to have some fun, and lots of it. Nor is it afraid to be silly and a little over the top. It's one of those movies you won't watch again to see one funny part that reminds you of something you once laughed at, it's one that you watch again to see the whole movie filled with memorable dialogue and characters. "You're just asking to have your hair swept behind your ear." It's a day later and I'm still laughing every time I hear Eisenberg utter that line. The same goes for when his character meets Bill Murry for the first time. Murray, who plays himself, by the way, is the cherry that tops off what is already one of my favorite movies of the year.

When it comes down to it, Zombieland is more than just a comedy, and its more than just a horror, it's why I love movies. No, this won't win an Oscar, well, actually with the new expansion this year... no, okay it won't, but that's not the point. However, you will have fun watching it, no matter your mood. Whether it be lazy afternoon bored mood, a late night cuddle/date flick, or getting drunk and wanting to laugh at something. The door is wide open on this one, because damn it if Woody Harrelson beating up zombies with every different weapon imaginable and then wastefully tossing them aside in order to grab a new one, all in an effort to have some fun and get agression out, isn't a welcome site. Any movie, any day.

*Still courtesy of Columbia Pictures



>> Friday, October 9, 2009

This ain't no fairy tale . . . or SaskTel commercial.

For the last year I have seen two trailers and searched endlessly through the internet to find a copy of this movie to download, to buy, to anything. Trick ‘R Treat never did appear in theatres in wide release after being pushed back from its original release date of October 5th, 2007. A few folks saw it here and there, and excited rumours stated it would come out on DVD in late 2008. It never did. All that was seen of this film for a while was the creepy poster and a damn fun trailer, leaving you wanting more.
Then finally it was announced the film would be released on October 6th, 2009, just in time for Halloween - which seemed about as good a time as ever. If there had been a line to stand in, I would have been in it. That is if I hadn’t forgotten about the release and picked it up the next day, on October 7th. Which by the way, Wal-Mart was trying to sell it for $32, while HMV had it for $22. For shame, Wal-Mart. Clearly that DVD should have been manufactured by Indonesian children so you could sell it as one of your everyday low prices.

I digress. This isn’t about the outrageous price difference from store to store. This is about the pure joy that is Trick ‘r Treat. The film is an mash-up of four Halloween-related tales. One thing that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious pint-sized trick-or-treater with a burlap pumpkin mask, who makes an appearance in all the stories, as a 'friendly-reminder' to those who break the Halloween traditions. His wardrobe may have also inspired the look of all the characters in the film 9.

Nothing is what it seems when a suburban couple learns the dangers of blowing out a jack-o'-lantern before midnight; a terrifying principal (Dylan Baker) with a serial killer attitude teaches one neighbor the true meaning of Halloween; Laurie (Anna Paquin), a young woman dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, is stalked by a mysterious hooded figure at a local Halloween festival; a group of pranksters go too far and discover the horrifying truth buried in a local urban legend of a school bus massacre; and a grouch of an old man (Brian Cox), is visited by a strange trick-or-treater with a few bones to pick, which reminds me very much a Halloween version of A Christmas Carol, but a little more violent.

Things turn deadly as strange creatures of every variety — human and otherwise — try to survive the scariest night of the year. This movie is beyond any delicious-marshmallow or nougat covered candy you’re sure to receive at the end of this month. Being that it was purely word of mouth that drew me to this flick I didn’t know what to expect. As I was watching it there was enough disturbing, weirdness in the characters to remind me of Happiness, which also starred Dylan Baker mixed with Donnie Darko (Darko because you will enjoy the ride but it will leave you with a few questions).

The world of Trick ‘r Treat is set up based on the ghost stories and traditions surrounding Halloween, along with a few history lessons thrown in for good measure. It does it in a way where you instantly accept what you see before you, and as random as it may be, it never leaves you wondering why or how these characters got there, or why they exist in that world. It just is, and it’s a fun ride. Regular horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street (remake on its way, FYI), or Friday the 13th, don’t come close to perfecting this genre nearly as much as Trick does. John Carpenter’s Halloween is still king, but only because it preceded this film by three decades. Consider this movie a really well done adult version of the Goosebumps TV series – if it can be at all, even compared. This film will stand the test of time, and will undoubtedly be added to my roster of movies to watch come October and Halloween.

Trick ‘r Treat may have been more forgotten as a film in general had it not been for it’s back and forth, will it or won’t it be released reputation. This trend is now continuing on purpose with Paramount’s Paranormal Activity, the newest addition to the first person, fake-real documentary, which is purposely slowly being leaked to the public through small screenings in bigger cities in the US. But it only goes onto other cities when it is demanded by the public here, at Since the films limited release, the site has now been updated with a note stating “HIT 1,000,000 DEMANDS AND PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WILL OPEN NATIONWIDE”. This has no doubt been the tactic initiated by Paramount from the beginning- after all, what better form of advertising than word of mouth, right? Something tells me Paranormal Activity, which at the time of this review is at 936, 218 ‘demands’ will hit theatres nationwide slightly before Halloween. What a fun coincidence right? Touché, Paramount, and well done.

However, it should be noted that this only works if it’s actually a good film. Both Trick and Paranormal have gotten rave reviews from the people that have seen them. Paranormal is said to be ridiculously scary. So, note to all studios out there, don’t try and release the next Disaster Movie that way, because, your demands will equal about 8 people, and you would have wasted millions on production and . . . ahh, what’s the point? You’re gonna do it anyways, aren’t you? Because making bad movies is what fills time in between Oscar wannabes and summer blockbusters.

Again, I digress, Trick ‘r Treat is an instant classic for those who love horror movies and Halloween alike. The door is wide open on this one, you don’t even have to knock and say trick-or-treat to get the goodies here.

*Still courtesy of Warner Bros


About This Blog

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by 2008

Back to TOP