Monday, May 30, 2011

TRAILER PARK: Fright Night (2011)

Sick of vampires yet? I have to say I am not a big fan of remakes or vampire flicks these days but I am excited for Fright Night, a retelling of Tom Hollard's 1985 surprise hit horror comedy starring Roddy McDowall and Amanda Bearse (the annoying neighbor from Married with Children and real life lesbian). Fright Night tells the tale of a horror fan who realizes his neighbor is a vampire. This remake stars Anton Yelchin (Chekov in Star Trek relaunch), Colin Farrell as the vampire, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Mclovin' from SuperBad), and David "Freakin" Tennant (Doctor Who). I have to say the casting of David Tennant sells it for me. The trailer looks creepy and director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl and the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)gives the new version a slicker, edgier look. This is is first picture to be released through Dreamworks under Touchstone Pictures for distribution, Disney and Dreamworks inked a 30 picture deal some time ago. All I can say, is please don't "SUCK!" Literally. Fright Night opens nationwide August 19 2011. Check out the trailer here. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Warning: SCAR 3D may cause Fainting (Abomination of Film!) This may or may not be a marketing ploy!

Phase 4 Entertainment
Directed by Jed Weintrob
Cast: Angela Bettis, Christopher Titus
Rated R
Running Time: Too LONG!

My momma always said, "I'm like a catfish, one good tug on the hook and you could reel me in to believe anything." I guess that is why I fell for director Jed Weintrob's marketing ploy for Scar 3D, notably the first film to be completely filmed in HD 3D and the first film to be 3D on Video on Demand. In 2007, there were rumors and buzz swirling around an independent film that was so grotesque it caused a woman to faint and a man to projectile (fill verb in here)during a test screening. The film was delayed in the US, although opening #1 in several other countries (according to Wikipedia...perhaps another marketing ploy?). Finally, after much wait, the film was released on Blu-Ray with the old time 3D glasses and I drooled over what was supposed to be this "grotesque, fun masterpiece". After all the buzz, it had to be too graphic to release to nationwide distribution, right? This film is no more grotesque than Babe: Pig in the City. In fact, that film scared me more! The acting is on par with Baywatch Nights, the color is out of focus, the dialogue alone is repelling,and my god, the dialogue! Perhaps, I am being too harsh. This is a horror film after all. This is the problem when you over hype a product, what would be a "supposed" fun B horror movie becomes a vessel for my rage with Hollywood, or in this case underground Hollywood.

That being said, Scar 3D is not without its merits.

1) Angela Bettis- Indie scream queen who most of mainstream America remember as the anorexic girl from Girl Interrupted. Horror fans will know her from Lucky Mcgee's dark horror triumph May, his Masters of Horror "Sick Girl", and that made for TV miniseries remake of Carrie. I really wish she could find a vehicle for her talent. She is the Parker Posey of the horror genre.

2) The gore- It is okay. Why did people faint? Im not sure (again, the dialogue?) Example: "Did you get the shit? That skunk scared the hell out of me!" or "Alter Boy, I do not want to graduate with my virginity!" Honestly, Hostel had more gore (or at least the nauseating effect) than Scar. But I will say, for the budget...I have seen far worse.

3) You can thankfully turn your Blu-Ray player off.

I was so deceived by the hype, I have been ranting and have yet to explain the plot.

Joan Burrows (Angela Bettis) returns to Ovid, Colorado to visit her brother, the local sheriff (Christopher Titus) after a traumatic event occurred many years ago, the death of her best friend by a a crazed killer who (here is where the title comes in) scarred her. Joan begins recalling the event through flashbacks as her niece, Olympia, and her friends fall prey to a copy cat killer and Joan will once again have to face her fears. It is pretty standard for a horror plot and there is supposed to be a surprise but of course, you see it coming a mile away!

Back to the rant...

The 3D was very rich in parts and for an independent film, impressed me at times. Again, marketing ploy! I am such a horror fan boy like Admiral Ackbar says, "It's a trap!" The HD really distorted the color so the gore looked cheaper than it actually was. It did however give some of the "slicing" scenes a scabbed over effect. In other words, this is direct to DVD dribble. I never would have rented it, or in this case bought, had the buzz not seduced my morbid ear. Curse you IMDB message boards!!!

MIKE-O METER: Avoid!!!


Dreanworks Animation
Voices: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Angelina Jolie
Running Time: 1 hr 31 minutes
Rated PG


"Bear in mind" (pun intended) Kung-Fu Panda 2 is a kids movie and while packaged for the whole family, the film falls short of the original in humor, originality, and heart. I am not going to lie, I was super stoked to see this (I being a 30 years old male wearing a G.I. Joe shirt) and while the film made me smile; it never brought out a vocal laugh from my generally "easy to please" lungs.

KFP2, for those who love anagrams, begins where the first film left off. PO (voiced by the often annoying but pleasantly tolerable as a voice actor here, Jack Black)is continuing his journey as a Dragon Warrior, alongside the Furious Five (including Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, and Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu). Po begins to question where he came from and being a Panda, it is a wonder he never questioned the fact his father was a goose before. I guess, he was too busy consuming all those noodles! Po's father tells him he is adopted but there is little that he knows, only he found him in a crate of radishes. PO is ever so hungry for the truth, among other things, and alongside side the Furious Five sets off on a quest for the truth.

Meanwhile, a ruthless peacock (Yeah...pretty scary) Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman) is invading villages in search of pieces to put together a disastrous cannon to rule all of China. Of course, Lord Shen is about to meet the bumbling wrath of Po and the Furious Five. But does Po and Shen share a common bond? Will Po learn the truth about his parents? Will the Furious Five defeat Lord Shen and his Hench "animals"? Will Po eat a bounty of noodles, fall, and crack semi-amusing lines such as "My fist hungers for Justice!"? You will have to wait and see!

The animation is splendid as it weaves from standard, dazzling CG to 3D cut outs to paying homage to the martial arts through bright color and dark lighting. The sweeping score from the original film reprises as a backdrop for yet another fun kung-fu adventure. The voice actors are on top of their game and give their characters life (mainly Black and Oldman). The film starts off promising with Po's habitual clumsy antics but without a powerful villain and zany laughs, the movie begins to stall. The film still registers as cuddly cute, teetering on generic if you are not under the age of ten, but wears on the older crowd until the touching last reel. There is a valuable lesson for kids as "knowing who you are and staying true to your own can overcome anything." (Cue shooting star: The More You Know!) Seriously, little ones should eat KFP2 up like a bowl full of noodles but unlike the first Kung-Fu Panda, Shrek, and the beautiful How to Train Your Dragon; there is little humor for adults. Favorite line: "Tell those villains to start playing action music, because it is on!"

Overall, I am trying not to be too critical as Kung-Fu Panda 2 does its job on the scale of cute but is nowhere near as entertaining as last years Tangled, Despicable Me, or Toy Story 3.

-Mike Hufford

Stayed tuned later on in the week for my "adult" review of Hangover 2 and Scar 3D!!!