Tag Archives: 3D

Film Review: Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent-(2014)-149

From Walt Disney Pictures.

Starring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley and Imelda Staunton. Directed by: Robert Stromberg

Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

“I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream.” If you remember this line fondly, then you were and still are a Disney kid. No one can forget the classic animated feature, “Sleeping Beauty”, with it’s fantastic visuals, beautiful animation and it’s incredibly vicious villain. Yes, we are talking about Maleficent. 55 Years later, we return to the fairy tale to see a different take on one of the greatest Disney villains of all time.

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Maleficent takes a back story route through what caused her to place a curse on an infant child of the human kingdom near by. Why curse an innocent child? Well, I don’t provide spoilers so you’ll have to see for yourself, but the filmmakers provided a good explanation to her sudden arrival at the coronation of young Aurora, and the twists don’t stop there in what was actually a really refreshing reimagining of an old tale.

Let’s put some fears to rest here. Angelina Jolie is fantastic as Maleficent, she has the cruel cynicism that oozes through every coy smile and chuckle, but she also brings a sense of softness and sadness that was easy to identify with, and believe it or not, she brought tears to my eyes a few times, her performance is that beautiful. But her performance wasn’t the only stellar one. One of my favorite young actresses, Elle Fanning, yes the younger sister of Dakota Fanning and star of Super 8, is Princess Aurora, and she was equally fantastic and had great on screen chemistry with Jolie, which adds much needed to emotional weight to the story. Sharlto Copley also brings a great deal of character to King Stefan, though his performance echoes through some of his previous roles in delivery. Probably one of the biggest surprises is how they handle the raven that accompanies her, I rather liked the change, but that’s all I will say.

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The visuals are fantastic as well, as the mixture of stone walls of grey intertwine with the bright and colorful forests and landscapes of the moors, with the addition of 3-D that is actually worth watching, the depth of the world draws you in, and it’s like pure Disney magic that we all know and love, I felt like a kid at Disneyland during most of the film.

I say most, because there are a few portions of the film that almost drew me out of the world, and actually, they mostly happen at the beginning. Not to say the story there isn’t well told, the screenplay holds the story back at the beginning, and there are plenty of face palm worth dialogue in the first 15 minutes or so of this tale. I also believe that the story felt a little rushed, at 97 minutes in length, the movie sped by at often a far too quickened pace. I wanted to slow down, and enjoy the performances between Jolie and Fanning especially, as it seemed to jump ahead further and further, and before you know it, Prince Phillip shows up.  Some of the creatures designs looked a little too cartoony to fit in at times.

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Maleficent is one of those movies that may be hit or miss for many. You’ll either fall in love with the performances and the heart behind Jolie’s performance, or, you’ll feel disappointed that they didn’t go quite as dark as the previews played it out to be, or you may be one of those folks expecting a live action remake of the original 1959 classic. If that’s the case, you’ll be let down.

Great

Count me as a lover, and not a fighter of this film, as I found the performances of the lead characters and the interesting twists to a story I hold dear to my childhood as a refreshing glimpse into one of the most iconic villains of our time. It explores the notion that I believe as well, that evil is not born, it’s made. Our actions in this world have the power to do great and quite vicious things, and Maleficent gives us an emotional look at what causes folks to do acts of both. I don’t expect a lot of folks to agree with me, but I do ask you go in with an open mind, you may find yourself loving it as much as I did.

Maleficent gets 8 thorns out of 10.

 

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Movie Review: Titan A.E. (2000)

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Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

Don Bluth has always been a favorite filmmaker of mine. His movies are edgier than your average kids movie, the animation is always gorgeous, and the villains are always menacing (Rasputin in Anastasia, ’nuff said). His movies were usually major successes in the box office, but not all of them. Probably one of the biggest failures of his animation studio, was a science fiction animation/3D hybrid known as, Titan A.E.

Why did this movie bomb you may ask? Was it because it was terrible? Or was it the victim of a poor advertising campaign?

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What Worked:

First off, the animation is amazing. The cross over between traditional 2D animation, mixed with the 3D environments and vehicles is strikingly beautiful. The character designs are astoundingly charismatic in their look and personality. Every second of this film is just stunning. Not only does it look good, but it sounds good. The dialogue is well written, and the voice cast is phenomenal in their roles. Matt Damon and Drew Barrymore have fantastic chemistry in their characters, Cale and Akima. John Leguizamo steals a lot of the scenes with the very enthusiastic scientist, Goon.

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The story is well told, and is definitely a hell of a ride. The world has ended, humans are going extinct, and the quest to reunite the human race on a new planet from a machine called Project Titan. I don’t even want to say more about the story, it just needs to be experienced.

I don’t usually compliment movies on soundtracks, but this one had one of the best I have ever heard.

Damnit, what does this device do?!
Damnit, what does this device do?!

What Didn’t Work:

While I’m in love with the story, it does have it’s fair share of pretty big plot holes that are sometimes jarring, and that’s not all the way the filmmakers fault, 20th Century Fox wanted this bad boy out as quickly as possible, and they had to skip a lot of steps to get this film out. Still, one of the biggest things this movie missed out on, is Goon’s device. Damnit, what did it do? It could have saved the day and it would have been amazing. But no, you never find out what it does. That’s just an example of the film’s problem, it doesn’t give all the pieces to the puzzle.

The pacing of the film tends to pick up, then slow down, pick up then slow back down. Especially on the alien creature’s ship, the film hits a screeching halt that some people may not recover from completely.

Final Score:

Great

 

Despite the fact that the story has holes in it, and the pacing falters here and there,  Titan A.E. is an amazing cinematic experience of science fiction and fantasy, with memorable characters, beautiful visuals and a fantastic soundtrack to boot. The one thing that would make this better is a blu-ray release. Please?! 8 out of 10.

Movie Review: Nurse (2013)

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Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

As a horror fan, I can’t help myself sometimes. I have this habit of seeing pretty much every horror movie, no matter how gruesome, or disturbing, and what have you. I saw the trailer for Nurse, and I immediately knew what I was getting into….but I went ahead anyways.

By day Abby Russell (Paz de La Huerta) is a dedicated nurse, someone you wouldn’t hesitate to trust your life with. But by night, her real work begins…using her smoldering sexuality she lures cheating men to their brutal deaths and exposes them for who they really are. When a younger nurse starts to suspect Abby’s actions and compromises her master plan, Abby must find a way to outsmart her long enough to bring the cheater you’d least expect to justice.

Nurse 3DWhat Worked:

Ever heard of the term Grindhouse? A style of film that aims to shock with explicit nudity, scenes of disturbing violence, and lots and lots of the red stuff flying everywhere. That’s just a basic explanation of this inexplicable film phenomenon. Does it apply to Nurse? Absolutely. Three words perfectly describe Nurse, Boobs, Butts and Blood. Oh yes, there is lots of all three of them. Every few minutes in fact, but that’s not why the movie is enjoyable (I prefer my women with meat on their bones, so the blood is what I enjoyed the most)

The gore is insane, in quality, and quantity. But it’s also brought to a comedic level with how absurd each killing is after the other, you start to feel like a demented human being because of how hard you’re laughing, hooting and hollering at the screen. You’ll feel like an animal, but it’s a lot of fun to watch.

nurse-3d-4984The leading lady is amusing, she tackles this ridiculous onslaught of cheese and schlock with a cold and technical precision, that I appreciated. The rest of the cast is..well decent, can’t expect them all to be gems in a movie called Nurse 3D (for the record, didn’t see it in 3D, damn you limited release movies)

What Didn’t Work:

Good lord, who ever wrote this screenplay needs to be murdered by this nurse. The dialogue is horrendous, even for a movie that’s supposed to be over the top and funny, it’s painful to hear some of the dialogue in the film. The pacing of the film tends to be stop and go, and the movie starts to feel a little long, it almost overstays it’s welcome.

A few times throughout the film, they lose the humor, and then it confused me. Is it supposed to be serious now? Or is it just not funny anymore? This happened a few times to me, and maybe it’s not meant to be that funny and I’m just a psychopath, that might be it.

Final Score:

mediocreIt’s a lot better than I was expecting, but still in no right mind can I give it a higher score, even though it was a pretty fun movie to watch. Be warned that this movie is pretty out there, but if you can think you can stomach it, grab some drinks and some friends and give it a shot. 5.5 out of 10.

Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

Out of this world experiences await..Literally.
Out of this world experiences await..Literally.

Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

The term “Movie Magic” is thrown around a tad bit too often to be considered special. In my opinion, a movie that pulls off this “magic” should be one that leaves you in awe, absorbs you into the world of the film completely, and just makes your jaw drop to the floor in amazement. Does Gravity join the ranks of the films that achieve “movie magic”?

So....come here often?
So….come here often?

Normally, I would give you the basic story and then get to what I like about the movie, but I feel like you probably know enough about the movie already just by either seeing the trailer or even just looking at the poster, literally, it’s a pretty basic story and I’d rather not spoil any of it.

What Worked: The visuals. Dear god. Some of the most beautiful visual effects i have seen in a movie. Part of how a movie can win an audience over is the attention to details, and all the details are here from the reflections off the helmets to the planetary debris circling the planet, you totally buy that this is outer space, and you start to feel like you’re there with them. Along with the visuals, you have the usual argument whether or not 3D is worth it. It’s absolutely worth it in Gravity, in fact I would say it’s necessary. The depth of space behind the actors, and the free flying debris that literally flies into your face a few times, it’s awe inspiring and adds to the growing tension in the film.

Absolutely terrifying wouldn't begin to describe this feeling of drifting away.
Absolutely terrifying wouldn’t begin to describe this feeling of drifting away.

The movie is also incredibly tense and frightening, I can’t recall when the last time I saw a theater of people who were all at the edge of their seat and holding their breathe. Every movement of the characters as they attempt to grasp on for dear life is crazy to watch.

I’ve never been a real big fan of Sandra Bullock in the past, I just never saw her appeal, even in the award winning Blind Side movie. That changes here, she delivers a performance so believable and deep, plus add in George Clooney, and you’ve got the dynamic duo that really delivers and makes this movie simply unforgettable.

What Didn’t Work: My nitpicks really exist in the realm of believability in some of the situations throughout the film, including the inferno aboard the space station, that’s all I will say, there are those instances where it feels like the filmmakers were bending physics to their advantage to make their situations work.

The ending of the film is what's really frustrating.
The ending of the film is what’s really frustrating.

The ending of the film is not quite what you’d expect, which is usually a good thing right? Here it doesn’t work, at least it didn’t for me, it felt like a typical hollywood ending that pandered to the crowds that couldn’t take a more realistic ending. That’s all I’ll say, any more may spoil things.

Final Score:

Legendary

 

Despite my frustrations with the science behind the film at times, and the ending that made me go, “That’s Bullshit.” The film is incredibly powerful, tense, frightening, and it features some of the finest visual effect and 3D work I’ve ever seen. Plus two incredible performances from Clooney and Bullock are just icing on top of the cake. Gravity is pure movie magic, plain and simple.  9 out of 10.

Movie Review: Silent Hill Revelation (2012) HORRORATHON

Twice the Silence!
Twice the Silence!

Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

Earlier this week I tackled the game to film adaption of Silent Hill, and favored it with an Okay  score. Now it’s time to tackle the latest cinematic venture into the mysterious and cursed town of Silent Hill. This movie, which is loosely based on the game, Silent Hill 3, tells the story of Heather (Adelaide Clemens) and her father Harry (Sean Bean) who, since the occurrences of the first film, have been moving all over the country to try and escape the past horrors that involved the town of Silent Hill. That may sound confusing if you haven’t played the games, but without spoiling much for you… Heather = Sharon. Got it? Good. Let’s continue on. Obviously, the past catches up with them and forces Heather to return to Silent Hill in order to save her father from the horrors within.

I don't know what she's screaming about, the set design is amazing.
I don’t know what she’s screaming about, the set design is amazing.

What Works: The visuals are still fantastic the second time around, all the sets are detailed well, and easily fit within the world of the games. The fog, the ash, the rusty world, all of it is stunningly beautiful and executed well. Little details from the games are incorporated well and little props you may recognize make an appearance, it made me quite happy.

I also have to give the story some positivity  this time around because they did a much better job at least keeping to what occurred in the game. The script is a improvement this time around as well. Probably the biggest step forward for the cinematic form of Silent Hill was having a better structured cast that mostly performed well with each other. Adelaide Clemens is wonderful as Heather, she looks like her, walks like her, and she has a fantastic screen presence and definitely carries the film forward. Sean Bean has just about the same amount of screen time as in the first one, but he is still a great addition, and Deborah Kara Unger is back as well as Dahlia, with a new look and new temperament which is very refreshing.

Run Heather Run, the angry fans are coming!
Run Heather Run, the angry fans are coming!

What Didn’t Work: I noted above that the story was closer to the game, but it’s not close enough for it to be enjoyable, important scenes and details of the game are ignored, or shown out of context.  Example: The Detective’s role in the story is so severely reduced that it’s almost criminal. I mentioned the script was better, but the dialogue still starts to suffer as the film progresses, hitting a dreadful peak at the end of the film. While we had some pretty good acting this time around, there are some that are bad enough to drag the film down even further. I’m looking at you Kit Harington and especially you Malcolm McDowell, and you can’t blame the script for your lack of enthusiasm in the roles you were given. Blah.

Once again, creatures like Pyramid Head make an appearance when they don’t belong there. The addition of the mannequin spider is also perplexing. Speaking of that scene in general, what was the point of that scene? I found no point at all to even introduce the girl that Heather sees there and tries to rescue. It’s pointless and cheesy. So is most of the ending of the film too.

Who cut this movie? The Nurses?
Who cut this movie? The Nurses?

Final Score:

disappointingBased on my criticisms, you’d probably expect a Just Bad or maybe even a Painful, but the feeling that came to mind the most was my level of Disappointment. I was really excited for this movie, and as fun as it was to watch in 3D, I came out not feeling angry but just feeling sad. Sure, the visuals are stunning, and the acting and script see some improvement, however, it’s the really their choices in telling the story of the game, some really bad performances and dialogue, some characters shown that were pointless or some characters that were important that barely made an appearance that makes a good chunk of this movie quite a drag.

I’ll give Silent Hill Revelations 4 out of 10.  It is available on Netflix if you’re interested.