Posts Tagged ‘3D’

Coraline – Henry Selick And The Giant Letdown

Posted 02 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Animation, Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Coraline, USA, 2009  Coraline is a 2009 stop-motion 3D fantasy children's film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name.

Written and Directed by Henry Selick

Based on the Book Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Henry Selick, notable director of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), is hit or miss. With James and the Giant Peach (1996) and the aforementioned Nightmare under his belt, I’m not quite sure where he went wrong. Those two organically energetic and bright films were followed by Monkeybone (2001), and the soulless concoction of Coraline. His heart might have been in the right place, and I’m sure his intention outweighs the validity of the project, but it’s been years since I’ve seen a film so bereft of heart. This is not to imply that heart means something jolly or even fun, but rather a passion for craft, mainly. The film as a whole winds up being depressing, mainly because of this lack, and ugly for a slew of other reasons, and while moments of the film remain frightening, as does the entire idea behind it, there’s something intangible that’s hard to abide. Read More

Kung Fu Panda 2 – More Black Than White

Posted 21 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Animation, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Kung Fu Panda 2, USA, 2011

Directed by Jennifer Yuh

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a 2011 3D American computer-animated action comedy film and the sequel to the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda. Perhaps the most important aspect of Kung Fu Panda 2 (and I never thought I would type this) is that the series is aging with its fans; so much so that I could expect Panda 3 to be the most adult of the series. They’ve already started exploring more personal themes than the last entry, which mostly took the themes of following your heart and believing in yourself and employed them. Here, the story deepens more than you might expect, dealing with themes of adoption, unrequited love, and acceptance of others. More importantly, the imagination of the film has grown tenfold.

Of course, there’s a bit of formula; you can’t escape the fact that it’s a kid’s movie, but it gets further away from the drama-killing formula that impeded the first film. When I sat down in the movie theater in 2008, I knew exactly what I was getting. It was going to be a film about a goofy “man-boy” (bear-cub?) panda who doesn’t quite belong, who gets a Jungian call to duty to learn kung fu and save his village. Here, that formula is side-stepped in favor of a generally engrossing and slightly depressing storyline. Po (voiced by Jack Black) finds out that he’s adopted and wants to find his biological parents, he’s in love with Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie), who may or may not share his feelings, and the entire country of China is under attack by a villain who has a cannon that shoots a blast so powerful it wipes out any trace of the kung fu that seems to be the nation’s bread-and-butter. So Po and his Furious Five – Tigress, Crane (voiced by David Cross), Mantis (voiced by Seth Rogen), Monkey (voiced by Jackie Chan), and Viper (voiced by Lucy Liu) – go off to defeat it; but how do you use kung fu to stop something that stops kung fu? “By finding inner peace,” Po’s mentor, Master Shinfu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), tells him. That’s heavy. Read More

Cave Of Forgotten Dreams

Posted 06 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Canada / USA / France / Germany / UK, 2010

Written and Directed by Werner Herzog

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is an astonishing new documentary from master filmmaker Werner Herzog.

There is no better filmmaker in existence to have made this film, a document of one of the greatest treasures in human history made by a director who is one of the greatest living legends in cinema history. Werner Herzog, who deftly alternates between fiction and documentary films like no other filmmaker alive (Spike Lee has done fairly well in this regard, too), presents a truly jaw-dropping 3D journey through the Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc, a cave in southern France that houses some of the oldest known artworks of the human race. Through his necessarily limited exploration of the cave (the crew was allowed to film only four hours a day for one week, and only under the strictest of guidelines) and extensive interviews with various fascinating and eccentric experts, Herzog delves into the mysteries of the beginnings of human consciousness and, by looking deep into the past, ultimately considers the possibilities of the future.

The deep underground cave explored and documented in loving detail by Herzog and his crew of four was discovered in 1994 by Jean-Marie Chauvet (for whom it was named), Eliette Brunel Deschamps and Christian Hillaire, who found it by following an air current coming out of the ground. A landslide over 20,000 years ago had sealed the cave, effectively making it a perfect time capsule for the ensuing millennia and keeping its extraordinary artifacts amazingly fresh, which led to suspicions by some that the paintings on the walls were, in fact, a modern hoax. This is briefly addressed in the film, with experts pointing out the layers of calcification over the charcoal lines of the paintings that could only have been produced over thousands of years. The excitement and emotion felt by the many archaeologists, scientists and other experts in various fields is palpable, and the often amazing cinematography makes it infectious.  Read More

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides coming to TV?

Posted 27 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Essay, Film Industry News

By James Dohan ABC Family announced today the acquisition of the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” from Walt Disney Pictures.

ABC Family announced today the acquisition of the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” from Walt Disney Pictures. The deal provides ABC Family with the first-window rights to the network premiere which is scheduled for 2013.

Tom Zappala, executive VP of ABC described the film “as one of this summer’s most highly-anticipated movies” since the audiences love the world-known franchise that is thrilled with excitement, charm and good fun. In addition to the first three ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films Zappala mentioned that ‘ABC are thrilled to add this installment’.

The film will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, Read More

Rango

Posted 25 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Animation, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Rango, USA, 2011

Directed by Gore VerbinskiRango film

I wasn’t prepared for Rango to be as dark as it was. Gore Verbinski has always been a director to dabble into life’s bigger questions with a lot of subtle ease, without losing the ostensibly fun side to his films, but, with this being an animated Nickelodeon production and all, I was blind-sided by the depth of John Logan’s screenplay and the heartfelt genuineness of Johnny Depp’s performance as a chameleon with an identity crisis. To be fair, the screenplay’s base elements are very standard – there is a formula, and you know where the film is headed as soon as it starts – but, to the film’s credit, everything that happens in between is remarkably intelligent.

And the whole thing feels like a painting. Gotta love that.

Consider that this one of the rare CGI films that pays respects to traditionally animated films; remember that Tangled (2010) was specifically designed to look like oil paintings and 2D animation. Rango achieves this without the oil painting angle, and does so seamlessly. I couldn’t point to one shot that didn’t look carefully rendered. I also had a hard time not picking out references to other films. I like movies that respect their elders. Nods to Star Wars, Raising Arizona (tell me that score doesn’t have echoes here), and obviously older westerns are everywhere. There’s even a certain cameo that ties the entire story together and references that by which the entire Western genre has come to be recognized. Read More

Rio

Posted 22 May 2011 — by contributor
Category Animation, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Rio, USA, 2011Rio film in 3D

Directed by Carlos Saldanha

There aren’t many reasons to seek out a film like Rio. It’s probably the very definition of inconsequential. But I  imagine that the filmmakers, who also gave us the three Ice Age movies, didn’t have much consequence in mind. A domesticated blue macaw is kidnapped and taken to Rio De Janeiro to mate with the only other bird of his kind. A weird hypothesis for the film to take, considering that we aren’t told what kind of blue macaw these birds are – hyacinth or throated? Is it a Spix blue macaw? And even so, why are there only two of them left? I’m not an ornithologist, but this crossed my mind more than once during the film. Suspending disbelief works most of the time.

Early on in the film, and by “early on” I mean “pretty much during the opening credits”, we’re let in on the joke: this is a film about a bird finding the courage to fly. Of course, flying is a metaphor for being free. It’s not that the bird can’t fly, so he doesn’t have any sort of disability to overcome; it’s that he was knocked out of a tree by poachers when he was extremely young, and just never learned. This bird is Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), and he grew up in the warm protective arms of a woman named Linda (voiced with love by Leslie Mann). Linda has no idea how special Blu is, and neither does he, until (for some reason) a Brazilian bird doctor walks past their bookstore and sees Blu for what he is – the last of his kind, sort of. The three of them go to Brazil, right before Carnival, to mate Blu with Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway) in order to continue the race. The birds are kidnapped for other gains, and the film finally truly starts, with absolutely no urgency whatsoever. Read More

The Green Hornet

Posted 09 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

The Green Hornet, USA, 2011The Green Hornet 2011 Movie

Directed by Michel Gondry

It takes a certain kind of film to make me question the state of a genre. Certain horror movies make question the audiences that attend them, and certain movies that go on to win Oscars make me question the voters, but not since 1990’s Captain America (a horrid movie starring Matt Salinger as the first Avenger) have I sat down and thought about the state of a genre. I remember seeing that and being thankful that even after such a gigantic misfire we’re still allowed Batman movies and Spider-Man movies and even another Captain America film (which appears to be infinitely better). The Green Hornet, you should know, is one of those certain films – I’ve seen it twice now and both times I’ve thought to myself, “Is this the state of the superhero film? This is what we’ve come to?”

Michel Gondry, by all accounts, is an astonishing director; he’s a visionary. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the best films of the last ten or so years, and far and away the best film of 2004. The Science of Sleep (2006) is gorgeous. The Green Hornet is misguided and full of itself, but I mostly blame Seth Rogen for that. Rogen co-wrote, co-produced, and stars as Britt Reid, our hero (?), who puts on a mask and a trenchcoat and fights crime by pretending to be a criminal. I have no problem with the story at all; I’m a fan of The Green Hornet series and radio show and all other incarnations thereof. However, seeing it brought to this shameless level makes me wonder why it had to be done in the first place. My guess is that it was solely designed as a vehicle for Rogen, which doesn’t even make any sense because audiences already know him. He’s famous, and can open a film on his own. I generally enjoy him, specifically in supporting roles – Knocked Up (2007) is the exception that proves the rule. Read More