Posts Tagged ‘3-D’

MOVIE: Dark Tide (2012)

April 17, 2013

darktideA few recommendations I would like to make, having recently seen this film starring Halle Berry and her husband (!!) Olivier Martinez (note: I express “!!” because I had no idea they were married to each other, though that sure explains why they were in this stinker together):

1.  Shark divers, like cops, who are one day away from retirement should always call in sick that last day.  If you absolutely MUST go to work, do not do anything work-related whatsoever.  Especially if Halle Berry tells you to.

2.  Rich idiots who want to dive with Great White Sharks should just be dropped into a GWS feeding zone the first hour of the tour — none of this trying to talk them out of their “sharks would never bite ME because I am RICH” attitude.  They’re going to die a horrible death anyway.  Why wait until dusk when it’s that much harder to see them getting their comeuppance?

3.  Speaking of dusk, isn’t that, along with “dawn,” the time of day shark experts are always telling people NOT to go diving in shark-infested waters?  Because the sharks are more likely to attack at those times of day?  See above, re: don’t do anything Halle Berry tells you to do.

4. Why do I keep telling you not do anything Halle Berry tells you to do?  Because Halle Berry’s characters are always ruled by their emotions and those emotions totally get everybody killed in this movie, even though her character and all her character’s buddies keep trying to tell us none of it was her fault.  IT WAS TOTES ALL HER FAULT.

She does look really great in that bikini, though.  I’m assuming that was the primary reason she was cast in this shark bomb.

5.  If you decide to rent this movie because you, like me and my mom, are a total sucker for shark movies, allow me to suggest: NO.

[Netflix it  (available for Watch Now) | Buy it]

Genre:  Drama, SHARKS
Cast:  Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown, a bunch of other people you’ve never heard of

MOVIE: Sanctum (2011)

February 17, 2011

My expectations for this movie were low — I was pretty much just after a 2-hour episode of I Shouldn’t Be Alive and a chance to stare lustfully at Ioan Gruffud’s delicious  nose for a while.  So, it says a lot that even going in with little in the way of hope, I still emerged from this stinker disappointed. When are the people who make movies going to realize that scripts matter?  This movie had all the elements it needed to be really entertaining — a great setting and a decent story (about a group of people trapped in a huge, underwater cave system in Australia, forced to work together to try to find their way out with minimal gear). But instead of focusing on the adventure elements, they spent way, WAY too much time on stupid, trite, unoriginal interpersonal relationship nonsense.  Beeyuck, I say.

If the whole movie had been like the last ten minutes, my pals and I agreed, where the survival and escape parts finally became the focus, it could’ve been pretty good.  Alternatively, if the characters had been interesting people with actual depth, instead of merely being oft-recycled characters from 8000 other films just like this one, it also could’ve been pretty good.  Or at least pretty better, anyway.

Instead, our four main characters were these extremely familiar yahoos:

Cranky Team Leader:  Extremely focused cave diving expert who abandoned his wife and son years ago when he realized the only thing he truly cared about was work.  Can’t express emotions and has long since given up on trying.  Likes to quote Coleridge incessantly, I’m assuming because the writer read “Kubla Khan” in high school and has been waiting ever since to impress chicks by working it into a script.  (Shut up, Coleridge.)

Team Leader’s Teenage Son:  Dragged along on this expedition by his father in a half-hearted attempt to un-irreconcilable their differences.  Predictably snotty and bitter about it, though I should note he was the only character I liked who made it to the final act.  As it turns out, Rhys Wakefield is pretty adorable;  I wouldn’t mind seeing him again in something.  Something . . . say . . . good, perhaps.

Rich American Prick:  Ioan Gruffud’s character (forced to speak in a brash American accent, which did not help matters much), who is funding the expedition.  He’s just arrived at the site as the film opens, primarily, it seems, to show off his huge, costly project to his new girlfriend.  He’s an arrogant jerk.  He also, coincidentally, has all the worst lines in the film (my friends and I were snorting back laughs every time Ioan opened his mouth, poor fella).

Also, for the record, I never want to hear Horatio Hornblower use the word “clusterfuck” ever again.  It just comes out all wrong.  Ioan, next time make them let you substitute “absolute bollocks” instead, ya dig?  Obliged.

Rich American’s Stupid Girlfriend:  She’s actually an experienced mountain climber, which is why it was so surprising when she refused to take any of the advice the divers kept giving her.  You’d think an experienced-anything would know better.  It starts with her refusing to put on a wet suit despite the obvious risk of hypothermia (the water is a mile deep in a CAVE where it gets no SUN, lady!), and it only goes downhill from there.   I couldn’t wait for her to die, to be honest.  I’m sure that makes me sound like a terrible person, but, hey, just wait until you meet her.

These guys all get trapped in the cave system together when a hurricane hits land above them and a boulder falls into their only known exit.  They spend most of the next 90 minutes bickering and swimming around, boring boring boring, and it’s not until the final ten minutes, when we’re down to just the father and son, that the movie finally hits its stride.  In the meantime, everything else goes exactly as you’d expect — the father and son clash constantly then finally bond when it becomes clear to the son that his father cares if he lives or dies, the Rich American argues all the time and acts cocky and is later revealed to be a total coward, all the nice people get killed early on and in truly horrible ways, etc. etc.

And then, ugh, there was the 3D, which was absolutely pointless.  It added nothing of interest whatsoever visually (not that there was much to work with — boringest underground cave system EVER), which surprised me because it was my understanding they shot the movie in 3D, as opposed to adding the effects later, and so one would assume they were thinking about cool things to do with it the whole time.  Alas, not.  Also, James Cameron was the producer, a man who clearly knows a lot about how to use 3D effectively (Avatar was a bad movie, yes, but the 3D effects totally blew my mind).   So, like, what the hell, team?  If you have the option of seeing this in 2D instead, you should take it.  Save yourself the extra dough and spend it on margaritas afterward so you and your own movie-watching pals can get sloshed and make fun of Ioan Gruffud all evening.  Ach, if only we’d known!

Then again, I should probably mention that it’s entirely possible this movie was a lot better than I’m giving it credit for.  Because, in all honesty, I spent a ridiculous amount of time focusing on Cranky Team Leader’s face, ignoring everything else, trying to figure out why Stellan Skarsgaard looked so weird.  Turns out, Stellan Skarsgaard looked so weird because he was actually Richard Roxburgh.  Go figure.

That plus the fact we were waited on by Poor Man’s Philip Seymour Hoffman at the concessions stand left me all dopplegangerly disoriented, which I’m sure helped matters very little.

Phew.  Whadda stinker.  I will say, though, that I had a great time watching this movie — there’s really nothing quite as entertaining as seeing a bad film with a couple of bad-film loving friends.  Let’s do that again soon, ladies.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Action, Adventure
Cast:  Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie, Christopher Baker, Nicole Downs, Allison Cratchley, John Garvin

MOVIE: Piranha 3-D (2010)

August 27, 2010

Okay, sure, you can make a case for me simply being foolish.  I mean, who goes to a movie named Piranha 3-D expecting it to be good, after all?  Only a fool!  A crazy person!  A complete madman!

But, but. . . BUT!

In my defense, I had fully expected this one to suck — UNTIL the reviews started to pour in last week.  In my experience, critics don’t tend to like most horror flicks, and for that reason alone, my plan had been to avoid reading anything those wankers had to say in the first place.  Why bother when you already know their nature is to knee-jerk with a pan on principle, right?  Snobs.

Imagine my surprise, then, when a reader forwarded me this rave review from Associated Press reporter Christy Lemire:   “Mere words cannot describe how awesomely gnarly Piranha 3D is, how hugely entertaining and how urgently you must get yourself to the theater to see it. Like, now.”

Say what?  “Awesomely gnarly”?  She even talks like me!  Curious, I started poking around and, sure enough, the critics were mostly kinda NOT hating on this one too much.  And that’s when I made the neverfailingly tragic mistake of getting my hopes up.  WILL I NEVER LEARN?

Apparently not.

The first few minutes of Piranha 3-D seemed only to confirm Lemire’s review, with a witty nod at Jaws that boosted my hopes all the more.  The filmmakers must be true fans, I said to myself, and everybody knows true fans of Jaws are among the smartest, most talented people in the world.  (Ahem.)

But as the Jawsaphors continued to pile up (not just in the script, but also in the camera work), the whole thing started to feel less like an homage to one of my all-time favorite films, and more like evidence the Piranha 3-D filmmakers couldn’t be bothered to come up with their own ideas — consumed, as they clearly were, by trying to maximize the number of jiggling, naked boobies they could cram into 88 minutes of film. (Some of those boobies, frankly, I found scarier than the prehistoric piranhas trying to munch on them.  Not a good sign, ladies.)

In my opinion, to really get into a horror flick, you have to have someone to root for.  It doesn’t always have to be the good guy — I mean, who among us wasn’t totally rooting for Junkbucket in Junkbucket, after all? — but you have to give a rat’s ass about somebody.  Giving the ass of that rat (just what IS the origin of that expression, anyway?)  requires some semblance of character development, no semblance of which can be found in this movie, despite the near-heroic attempts of both Elizabeth Shue and Ving Rhames.  By the end, the only thing I was rooting for anymore (aside from the closing credits, of course) was that the two little kids would become fish food, because at least killing off children would be somewhat original.

Also, for the record — Things I Do Not Need to See in 3-D: vomit, dismembered penises, Eli Roth.

Speaking of which, despite the fact this movie is titled Piranha 3-D, the 3-D effects were clearly added after filming was complete, tossed in at seemingly random, unplanned moments, making them superfluous at best and irritatingly distracting the rest of the time.  Frankly, I’m at the point now where if a film advertised it was going to be shown in TWO! AMAZING! DIMENSIONS!,  I’d be far more willing to shell out the extra five bucks for my ticket.

In other words: 3-D fad, I wash my hands of you.  You and I are finished.  Done. Kaput.  It’s over.  Stop texting me.

That said, I am pleased to report there was one good thing that came out of my Piranha 3-D experience.  You know those new full-body x-ray scanners showing up in airports nowadays?  The ones that give the security staff a vivid view of all your naughty bits?  I have stopped caring about this.  Because after 88 minutes of naked ladies! naked ladies! naked ladies! (including two who could make out underwater for ten minutes without ever coming up for air — neat trick!), I became completely immune to the titillation.  I give those x-ray officers three 8-hour shifts before looking at boobs becomes the most boring task on the planet.

I feel kind of bad for those guys.  Also: gynecologists.

This movie is definitely what I would describe as “awesomely gnarly” — except that I don’t mean that in a good way.  Frankly, Ms. Lemire, I haven’t been this disappointed by mainstream media praise for a horror movie since Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  Fie on you.

Friends:  Save your hard-earned money and go rent Jaws instead.  All the Richard Dreyfus, nary a one of the wet tee-shirt contests!

Enemies:  You’ll love it!  Try the IMAX theater!

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Horror, 3-D
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Jerry O’Connell, Steven R. McQueen

MOVIE: Avatar (2009)

December 31, 2009

Okay, look.  This movie is terrible.  It’s absolutely terrible.  The script, the dialogue, the characters, terrible, terrible, terrible.  It’s actually insulting to me — as it should be to you — that James Cameron spent so many millions and millions of dollars on this thing and yet failed to put any money whatsoever into the story and script.  A twelfth-grade creative writing student could’ve written a better movie script.  And you probably could’ve paid him about $500 to do it.

THAT SAID, this movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes of absolutely stunning visual spectacle the likes of which I have never seen before in any movie in my LIFE.  I didn’t even think the world Cameron created was very creative — it looks just like Earth but with neon blue flowers and dinosaurs, big whoop.  There wasn’t anything sophisticated or even very scientifically intriguing about the planet or the sentient beings or the avatars themselves — from where I sat anyway. But the 3-D effects, holy cow.  They are absolutely stunning.  I didn’t look away from the screen a single time during this film (except to roll my eyes at Sigourney Weaver, I should say).  I was completely mesmerized by the drops of water that appeared right before my eyes, the way the characters looked like they were really and truly standing there having a conversation six feet in front of me, and those little floating jellyfish-like things from the tree, flitting around so close to my seat that it felt at times like if I slowly moved my arm out, one might land softly on my hand.  That was pretty wow.  That was wow enough to be worth the torture of all the rest of it.

And so my advice is:  if you have any interest in seeing this film whatsoever, go see it right now, while it’s still in theaters.  See it in 3-D (preferably IMAX, if you can swing it), and see it right away.  Don’t wait for DVD.  If you wait for DVD, all you’re going to end up with is Dances with Wolves with blue Marfan-syndromed Native Americans and an actor only marginally more interesting to watch than Kevin Costner (Sam Worthington — he’s cute, but meh).  Does that sound like fun?  No.  No, it does not.  Trust me on this one.  Theater or bust.

And while I’m at it, Happy New Year!

[Prequeue me at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy
Cast:  Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Lang, CCH Pounder, Wes Studi