Posts Tagged ‘Gerard Butler’

Gorgeous Camp, Campy Gore – Three Films By Dario Argento

Posted 14 Oct 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Phantom of the Opera is a film Dario Argento was born to make. The Phantom of the Opera, Italy, 1998

Jenifer, USA, 2005

Pelts, Canada / USA, 2006

Directed by Dario Argento

Italian filmmaker Dario Argento is widely known among horror fans as a distinctive, sadistic auteur, a director who has found beauty in terror and mutilation with films such as Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980) and Opera (1987). It is often forgotten that he also helped write one of the greatest Westerns of all time, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), but that makes sense, as he has devoted his career as a director to the creepily atmospheric and macabre, delighting in tales of the supernatural and visions of brutal but creative murder. Suspiria is generally considered to be his masterpiece (and it is certainly one of the prettiest horror films I’ve ever seen) and I actually like Opera even more in many ways, but this entry in my ongoing Halloween Movie Month (HMM … yeah, I like that acronym better) series will focus on three newer films with which I recently caught up, including his two contributions to Mick Garris’s always intriguing Masters of Horror series. Read More

Spoiler Alert! Some Thoughts On Twist Endings

By Ezra Stead

The Sixth Sense ruined twist endings for quite sometime after its 1999 release. Since M. Night Shyamalan’s much-ballyhooed 1999 feature The Sixth Sense, twist endings have gotten something of a bad rap, and usually with good reason. After all, in many cases they are a cheap way to add excitement to the climax of an otherwise dull story; sometimes they are a cop-out, negating all emotional involvement that may have been invested in a film up until that point; others seem to be the sole reason for a story’s existence, without which the whole thing crumbles. On the other hand, when they work, twist endings can make a good film great, and they occasionally even reward repeat viewings by revealing previously unseen layers that can only be recognized once the conclusion of the story is known.

As rightly reviled as are many recent examples of the technique, especially many of Shyamalan’s subsequent efforts, there are also many laudable examples to be found among some of history’s greatest cinematic achievements, old and new. Widely respected filmmakers from Alfred Hitchcock to David Fincher and Christopher Nolan have successfully employed the well-placed twist to wonderful effect, and even Orson Welles’s immortal classic Citizen Kane, considered by many to be the greatest American film ever made, concludes with what can only be deemed an elegant, emotionally rich twist ending. Read More

How To Train Your Dragon

Posted 15 Oct 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Animation, Film Industry News, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill

How To Train Your Dragon, USA, 2010

Directed by Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders

hiccup and toothlessToday Dreamworks releases How To Train Your Dragon on DVD and BluRay Disc. The release is highly anticipated due to the film’s underdog success. Its initial opening was a decent one, but its residual and viral attention has made it a hit despite being overshadowed by James Cameron’s Avatar. With 3-D becoming such a phenomenon, some films are going to rely too heavily on this appeal to snare viewers. I feel 3-D is especially effective in animation, where technicians have more control over color and light, which allows Dragon to fire on all cylinders.

How To Train Your Dragon opened strong but seemed to lag in an overly weak box office weekend, finishing just ahead of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland and Hot Tub Time Machine. The film may have suffered from Dreamworks’ lower than Pixar status because of the enormous success of Up (2009), which was released just a year before and took the film world by storm, becoming the first animated feature nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in the general category. But soon after a lull hit the box office due to lack of any real contenders, How To Train Your Dragon got a second wind via residual viewers, and returned to #1 five weeks later.

It’s taken a while for word to get around about how good this film really is, and I will dare to say it is quite possibly the best 3-D animated film ever made. That’s right, Toy Story, I said “best ever!”  Read More