3D is the past/ present/future

April 3, 2009
How do I know 3-D’s big right now? The Jonas brothers are doing it. And so is everyone else. DreamWorks Animation recently announced its plan to produce all its upcoming films, such as the fourth Shrek and the second Kung Fu Panda, in this medium. James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Robert Zemeckis’s “A Christmas Carol” will »

Snyder better ‘Watch’ it

March 27, 2009
Alan Moore warned that “Watchmen” was unfilmable. Zack Snyder (“300”) didn’t believe him. He probably does now, having delivered such a lengthy, visually dynamic and convincing lesson on how not to adapt a graphic novel. Don’t worry, the basic steps are much easier to follow than the film. First, come up with a creative and »

Coraline? More like CoraFINE

February 13, 2009
I have already made room on my wall for a “Coraline” poster next to my “Nightmare Before Christmas” art. It’s only fitting, since both were directed by the same person, who, fyi, is NOT Tim Burton, but Henry Selick. If you’re still wondering why “Corpse Bride” kind of sucked in comparison, it’s because Selick was »

Crappiness — in 3D!

January 30, 2009
‘Tis the season to be gory, or so Hollywood hopes. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the phrase “he took my heart” has been given a decidedly unromantic connotation by Patrick Lussier’s “My Bloody Valentine 3-D.” Caught in between old-school cliches and new technological advances, this film, like a box of cheap chocolates, leaves behind a »

A vigilante on Medicaid

January 16, 2009
Clint Eastwood’s latest movie “Gran Torino” could have easily been called “Growl, Scowl and Two Smoking Barrels.” The longtime gunslinger stars as Korea war veteran Walt Kowalski, whose racism, post-traumatic guilt complex and extreme disgruntlement with the world at large have successfully alienated him from both his own sons and his Hmong neighbors. The film »

‘Battle’ tries to make sketch happen

October 10, 2008
Despite what you’re thinking, “Battle in Seattle” isn’t a grunge showdown. The title refers to five days of mayhem and destruction that took place in Seattle in 1999 when thousands of protesters blocked the city in an effort to suspend World Trade Organization talks. A relatively forgotten event, it is nevertheless a gold mine of »

Brazilian gang wars: Lifetime movie matter?

March 7, 2008
Basic rule of filmmaking: if you find a formula that works, exploit it. At first glance, it looks like director Paulo Morelli and screenwriter Elena Soarez have read the handbook. Their film, “City of Men,” while not a sequel in the traditional sense, reintroduces the setting, themes and even some of the characters of the »

Dennis Quaid,

February 29, 2008
It’s good to provide different points of view … but only if you have a clear reason for doing so. Sadly, “Vantage Point,” director Pete Travis’s political thriller, doesn’t. The movie attempts to approach an ever-timely and ever-exploited basic plot – the assassination of the U.S. president and the subsequent search for the killer(s) – »

All over the place with Darth Vader and Mace Windu

February 22, 2008
When Eminem turns down a role in your movie, you should probably realize something’s amiss. Unfortunately, director Doug Liman didn’t get the hint and finished “Jumper” anyway. As dictated by the rules of the loser-becomes-powerful handbook (courtesy of Spidey & co.), young David Rice (Max Thieriot) starts out as the average sympathetic teenage dirtbag with »

A ‘Demon Barber’ shop duet: Depp & Burton

January 18, 2008
This winter season, a close shave is in fashion. Just make sure your barber isn’t British, unnaturally pale and disturbingly fond of his razors. The person responsible for spreading the fear (or appreciation, depending on how twisted you are) of a serial killer with these characteristics is Hollywood weirdo Tim Burton, arguably the only filmmaker »

‘Polar Express’ meets medieval milf

November 30, 2007
Never read “Beowulf”? That’s okay. Apparently, neither have the scriptwriters of Robert Zemeckis’ version of the Old English epic, and they still managed to squeeze a thoroughly entertaining plot out of it. “Beowulf” might not be the first time Zemeckis (also responsible for the “Back to the Future” trilogy) experiments with the motion-capture animation method »

‘30 Days of Night’ inanely tries to revamp horror genre with spilled blood

November 9, 2007
What would you do if you were stranded in northern Alaska for a month of complete darkness? (a) Stay in and watch re-runs of “Grey’s Anatomy,” (b) Daydream about being elsewhere, (c) Cut some heads off. Directed by David Slade (also behind “Hard Candy”, but still mostly known for shooting music videos for Stone Temple »