Free from ‘Saw’ sequels, Darren Lynn Bousman broadens his range.
Horror Rod Lott
Can director Darren Lynn Bousman survive in a post-Saw world? After the grating steampunk musical misfireRepo! The Genetic Opera, I would have said "no way," but my mindset has been reversed by Mother’s Day and, to a lesser degree, 11-11-11.
Ironically, not only were both films denied anything beyond a blip of a
theatrical release, but now — insult to injury — they have to compete
against one another on home video.
For its 20th birthday, ‘Jurassic Park’ gets a 3-D coat.
To celebrate 20 years, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park returns to theaters starting today, this time with a conversion to 3-D.
Does the 3-D add anything? No. Does the movie still work? Yes.
So ubiquitous in our current pop culture is the 1993 blockbuster that there’s no need for me to rehash its plot beyond “man clones dinosaurs.” (For kids, all one has to say is “dinosaurs,” and they’re onboard.) It’s been ages — 19 years, I’m guessing — since I last saw it before this week, and it was a pleasure to revisit its big set pieces, which have stood the test of time.
What hasn’t aged well is the film’s opening — basically, everything before chaos reigns on the theme-park island. It takes too long to get to the goods, and this chunk of time stands as Park’s weakest portion. The 3-D is not only an unnecessary addition, but actually proves problematic by spatially disorienting viewers during scenes of action. Spielberg’s frames wow enough because of how realistic the dinosaurs look (and still do); they’re not in need of the View-Master treatment.
It didn’t bother my 8-year-old, however, and I suspect he’s the real reason Universal Pictures has reopened Jurassic Park’s gates: Now, a whole generation exists that wasn’t around to see the movie when it first broke ground ... or to see 2001’s Jurassic Park III, for that matter. Certainly the studio wishes to prime this batch of youngsters so they’ll be in line for Jurassic Park IV (reportedly with Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow at the helm), and just judging from my son’s case, it’s safe to say they’ve wildly succeeded. —Rod Lott
Sci-Fi Rod Lott
Quoth the cyborg, “I’ll be back.” And he was. And now again, this time in the form of Terminator Anthology,
Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray box set of the four franchise films to
date. It could be argued that the movies stopped being good when James
Cameron stopped directing them. After revisiting the quartet, I don't agree — I strongly
Horror Rod Lott
One of at least four werewolf films to be released in 1981, The Howling remains a distant second to John Landis' An American Werewolf in London, but only because Joe Dante wasn't able to enjoy the competition's deep coffers. Sacrilege alert: I find Dante's to be the better movie.
More paranormal activity among teens with romance on their minds.
Drama Rod Lott
I'm beginning to think that YA stands not for "young adult," but "yet
another" — as in yet another book-based, supernatural-tinged teen
romance to emerge in Twilight's wake. Beautiful Creatures is one of them. It's much better than Twilight, but hell, what's not?
Action Rod Lott
Prior to Lethal Weapon, Mel Gibson was best-known as the hero of a postapocalyptic Down Under in 1979’s Mad Max, 1981’s The Road Warrior and 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Blu-rays of each come housed in one of those unnecessary tins via Warner Home Video's new Trilogy set.
A comedy classic turns 30; moose outside shoulda told ya.
Comedy Rod Lott
I found out long ago it's a long way down the Holiday Road — three
decades, to be precise. I forever hold an extra-special affinity for
1983's National Lampoon's Vacation,
not just because it's a modern comedy classic, but because it was the
first R-rated movie I got to see in theaters; I was 12. (Thank you,
Janice Haunschild, for convincing my mom she had nothing to worry
Make time for the brilliant, moving conclusion to Richard Linklater’s trilogy of tales of Jesse and Celine.
Drama Phil Bacharach
In Before Midnight, the latest of director Richard Linklater’s odes to romance — a high-minded odyssey begun with Before Sunrise in 1995 and continued with Before Sunset in 2004 — there’s a sly bit that reflects the personal baggage fans of this trilogy bring to the multiplex.
Horror Rod Lott Hatchet III
posits that a man whose face has been turned to raw meat can get right
back up and walk around as if nothing happened. Then he gets chainsawed
into even halves, yet even that fails to faze him.