Posts Tagged ‘Tim Burton’

10 Sequels That Are (Arguably) Better Than The Original

Posted 27 Nov 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Bride of Frankenstein is not only better than the original Frankenstein, but also the best of all Universal monster movies.We’re used to movie franchises being victim to diminishing returns, with the sequels to classic films generally lackluster at best (Ghostbusters II, Halloween II), and at worst, utter travesties that threaten to tarnish the legacy of the original (the Matrix sequels, The Godfather: Part III). On rare occasions, though, the second film in a trilogy or franchise (which I consider to be any series with more than three movies) actually surpasses the original in some way. Here are ten sequels that are, in some circles at least, considered better than the films that spawned them, and my thoughts on each.

10 Sequels That Are (Arguably) Better Than The Original1. THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) – this is the one that got me thinking about the topic in the first place, and it’s also the oldest of the films discussed herein. James Whale’s follow-up to his 1931 hit, Frankenstein, ties up the loose end of Victor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) promising his monster (Boris Karloff) a bride to quell his loneliness. It also features most of the iconic images and dialogue associated with Universal Studios’ most famous monster, including Frank learning to smoke in the hut of the blind man he befriends (which was cemented in the public consciousness by Mel Brooks’ spoof of it in 1974’s Young Frankenstein). Bride’s expert blend of humor and pathos, as well as truly chilling moments such as Frank’s hollow, soulless intonation of the classic line, “I love dead,” make it not only better than the original Frankenstein, but also the best of all Universal monster movies. Read More

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

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

By Scott Martin

The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Netherlands, 2009  The Human Centipede tells the story of a German doctor who kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, mouth to anus, forming a "human centipede".

Directed by Tom Six

You know that series of movies that Lionsgate puts out, the “8 Films to Die For,” or its off-shoot “After Dark Films” series? This midnight movie wannabe sits comfortably in that zone of quality, and having seen a large handful of those films, I genuinely enjoyed two. I wish I had genuinely enjoyed this, but the lack of joy (even for his own craft) that director Tom Six (apparently that’s his actual name) injects into this experiment makes it absolutely unwatchable. I’ve no qualms with the darker side of independent horror; in fact, I consider it some of the best cinema around. It’s the creation of neo-grindhouse art that I so greatly appreciate, but at least that has some joy in it. It isn’t made solely to piss on its audience, nor is it made to make a point. Six, who seems to be channeling pre-Rampage Uwe Boll, takes what could have been a modern grindhouse masterpiece and turns it into a shock-theater piece of the worst kind: banal.

Six has stated that he loves making movies that push boundaries and that pay no mind to political correctness, so, disregarding the film’s World War II allegory, we’ll take him at his word. Here, he has crafted a film so vile, and yet so uninteresting, that he seems to not only be disregarding political correctness, but also his own mission statement to push boundaries and do something original that hasn’t been done before. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) can be down to this: two teens get tortured by a crazy man. Even more boiled down, it’s Saw (2004), but with a pinch of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (1984, with a remake on the horizon in 2012). 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

The Legacy of Silent Film

Posted 04 Apr 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

A Trip To The Moon is one of the best of the very early silent films.

Perhaps one of the main reasons that so many of us, myself included, fail to “get” certain films, or certain aspects of film as a whole, is that we have not spent sufficient time studying the beginnings of the art form. We have not looked to the past. This, then, is a look at the first few decades of the cinematic arts, and the influence of these early films on what we see onscreen today.

When Louis and Auguste Lumiere first showed their short film The Arrival of a Train in 1895, they certainly had no inkling that, almost 100 years later, it would be the film-within-a-film in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Nor could Carl Theodor Dreyer have suspected that his 1928 feature The Passion of Joan of Arc would one day be the major inspiration for Mel Gibson’s hugely successful The Passion of the Christ (2004). But no matter where these and other early filmmakers envisioned the medium in 100 years, or whether they even believed it would last that long, the films we see today are undeniably the legacy of these pioneers of a nascent art form. Read More

Metropolis – Still Compelling After Nearly A Century

Posted 31 Oct 2010 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill

Metropolis, Germany, 1927

Directed by Fritz Lang

metropolis 1927 movie poster movies i didnt getMany attended the much anticipated premiere of Metropolis in Berlin on January 10, 1927, including many high-ranking officials in the German government, such as former Reichsprasident Paul Von Hindenburg. The film was the most expensive ever made in Europe at the time, and much was expected from it. It was carrying the financial burden for not only The Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), the largest film production company in Germany, but also the German film industry itself. After all, UFA owed the majority of the film’s cost, a sum of over four million dollars, to two American film companies: Famous Players and Metro-Goldwyn. A few years later, it so impressed Adolf Hitler that he requested its director, Fritz Lang, to become his principal filmmaker for the German film industry. Lang fled Germany soon after the offer was made.

Like all great epic films, just as much creativity went into the making of the film as the story itself. Lang used state of the art special effects to create integrated animated images with the actors. Much of these scenes were achieved by a technique called the “Schufftan Method,” a photography technique that combines mirror shots and model shots to create a composite image. It was invented by cinematographer Eugen Schufftan and was first used on a large scale in Metropolis. Many of the other sets were built at real-to-life scale, not sparing much else to sacrifice detail. Lighting was used extensively throughout the film and accounted for a quarter of the film’s budget. Filmmakers in the early 1900s were able to move lights around and further away from objects while maintaining beam concentration, which enabled Lang to create surreal, hard light with long, sharp shadows. The scenes of the roberter (robots) are stunning, and the concepts and design of the roberter are mimicked in many other sci-fi films that came later, such as George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977), especially in the character of C3PO.

Spoiler AlertMetropolis tells the story of a city in the future and the people who build and inhabit it. The inhabitants are divided into two classes: the industrialists and city dwellers, who plan, design and occupy the uppers levels of the city, and the workers who build and maintain the city’s functions and live below the machine level. The standards of living between the two classes are distinct and unjust. Life among the “top dwellers” is shown to be gay and carefree. They participate in games and sports, attend the theater and frolic in parks, while life among the “workers” is barely livable, as they drudge from one day to the next performing physically taxing tasks and duties in order to maintain the city’s power and resources. Towers ascend to dizzying heights. Cars and public transport travel between mammoth structures on trams and byways that connect the buildings in a labyrinth of man-made objects. The city represents the ultimate in man’s achievement, but in it we see the price of building and sustaining such an accomplishment. 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