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Posts Tagged ‘3D’

Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn

Friday, August 25th, 2023

August 19, 1983

METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN is yet another sci-fi/fantasy/adventure released in the summer of RETURN OF THE JEDI that seems like it wouldn’t have existed without STAR WARS. In fact, a 1983 Cinefantastique article quotes screenwriter Alan J. Adler (PARASITE, THE CONCRETE JUNGLE) saying that he “packed my bags and left town for Los Angeles” when he saw STAR WARS. To be fair, this particular movie seems much more inspired by THE ROAD WARRIOR, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Before seeing them, I always mixed this up with SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE, without realizing they were released a few months apart, and both in 3D. Now that I’ve seen them I know that they actually are kind of similar – both have a tough bounty hunter guy driving around a wasteland planet in large all-terrain vehicle, fighting mutants and warlords and shit while searching for someone. Dogen (Jeffrey Byron, HOT RODS TO HELL) is a “Finder,” and instead of trying to rescue some abducted tourists he’s trying to kill a wizard guy named Jared-Syn (Michael Preston, Pappagallo from ROAD WARRIOR), who’s trying to do a, like… evil crystal thing. Because the treaty with the Nomads was violated, I believe is what Dogen says. You know how it is. Gotta stop that, obviously. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jaws 3-D (40th anniversary revisit)

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

July 22, 1983

JAWS 3-D (viewed by me in its shameful flat version) is another summer of ’83 movie that I’ve previously reviewed. But that was 13 years ago, and if I’m doing a summer movie series I can’t really skip over a sequel to the movie that kinda invented the summer blockbuster. I also thought it would be a good marker on the timeline, much like how RETURN OF THE JEDI and STAYING ALIVE indicate how much culture had changed in the six years since STAR WARS and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. In eight years we went from a popular beach read elevated by a knockout directorial vision to a gimmicky studio product sequel with twice the budget but a fraction of the style or substance.

It’s tempting to see sequels as emblematic of the ‘80s, but the truth is I counted almost as many released in 1975 as in 1983*. I suppose a difference is that 8 of the 10 in ’75 were part 2s, whereas 1983 gave us such part 3s as this, RETURN OF THE JEDI, SUPERMAN III, AMITYVILLE 3-D, and SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT PART 3. THE OMEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN and ROCKY series’ had also hit part three in 1981 or 1982. So maybe it really was a different movie landscape. The era of part threes, heading into part fours. (read the rest of this shit…)

Friday the 13th Part III

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

“‘Oh shit’ is right! Let’s get out of here!”


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III, a.k.a. FRIDAY THE 13TH 3-D, picks up near the end of part II. It replays much of the climax, but at the part where he seems to be dead (before the whole thing where he comes back with no mask on) he sits back up and suddenly THE MOVIE BECOMES THREE-DIMENSIONAL! At least if you’re seeing it in 3D, which is how I fortunately got to see it on two occasions at all-night horror marathons in the ‘90s and early 2000s. (Man do I wish I had the equipment now that that version is available on blu-ray.)

In the tradition of the first two, the opening titles are what are known in the parlance of our times as “absolute bangers.” The logo looks really cool flat, and even better in the proper format, where it emerges from the screen at you. But the excellent graphic design almost doesn’t matter because the topper here is the synthy-disco-ish theme song, honestly one of the most badass horror themes of all time, at least if you like them danceable (which I absolutely do). It’s credited to “Hot Ice,” but it’s Harry Manfredini with Michael Zager, a producer who worked with The Spinners, among others.

Steve Miner returned as director, but with new screenwriters – the husband and wife team of Martin Kitrosser (writer/director of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOYMAKER) & Carol Watson (MEATBALLS PART II), with an uncredited rewrite by Petru Popescu (Peter Weir’s THE LAST WAVE – no shit). And they got a new Jason (Richard Brooker, DEATHSTALKER) and new makeup crew headed by Doug White (THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, C.H.U.D. II, DESPERADO), who gave Jason a new look. It’s the next day and the hair’s completely gone, so I guess we gotta infer he stopped somewhere to shave himself bald. (read the rest of this shit…)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

In the part of my brain dedicated to Favorite Movies, James Cameron’s TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY sits on the top shelf with all the best and strongest. It was the definition of knock-you-through-the-back-of-the-theater summer blockbuster when it arrived in 1991, and my love for it has only deepened in the intervening quarter century.

Some big budget FX movies arguably get by on technological gimmicks that lose power as years pass, but not this one. It matters nothing that the groundbreaking, reality melting digital effects of the liquid metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick, THE MARINE) no longer cause jaws to drop, because in fact T2 is more impressive as a document of the time before computer imagery largely replaced old school stunts and sets and locations. No matter how many times and ways people and vehicles and buildings and cities and countries and planets have been elaborately destroyed by computers in the summers since, the thrill of T2 is not gone. For example the semi vs. motorcycles, helicopter vs. truck and other attempts to quash the relentless pursuit of the T-1000 are still exhilarating.

Rewatching every few years doesn’t wear out T2’s spectacle. Instead it amplifies the themes that animate the movie’s soul. (read the rest of this shit…)

Captain EO

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

tn_captaineolucasminusstarwarsI mentioned in my LABYRINTH review that I thought Michael Jackson would’ve been a cool Goblin King. Sorry about that. I take it back. Mr. Bowie was uniquely suited for the character and I’m glad he got to hang out with all those puppets and implant himself in the creepy childhood memories of millions around the world.

And besides, Michael got his chance to get a little muppety, because the next Lucasfilm release was this 17 minute 3D film starring Jackson as “the infamous Captain EO,” leader of “a rag-tag band” of aliens and robots and crap sent on a dangerous space mission to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader (Angelica Huston). EO gives his crew a speech about how everybody thinks they’re a bunch of fucking losers and if they don’t pull this mission off they’re gonna be “drummed out of the corps.” Which really makes you wonder how they got into the corps in the first place. What kind of boot camp can these weirdos make it through?

They seem to be kind of the Bad News Bears of space troopers. They’re bickering, cartoon-voiced goofballs who screw everything up and get yelled at by the Captain (except when they throw an egg at the hologram of Commander Bog [Dick Shawn, The Year Without a Santa Claus]), which makes him laugh).

The crew consists of a robot named Major Domo (voice of Gary DePew, producer of ANGEL 4: UNDERCOVER), another one named Minor Domo that attaches into the Major’s back, a furry two-headed monster named Idey (Debbie Lee Carrington, RETURN OF THE JEDI, HOWARD THE DUCK) and Odey (Cindy Sorenson, THE DARK BACKWARD), a green elephant-man named Hooter (Tony Cox, RETURN OF THE JEDI, SPACEBALLS, BAD SANTA) and a small furry guy with butterfly wings named Fuzzball (effects by Rick Baker, makeup man for the cantina scene in STAR WARS as well as Jackson’s Thriller video). All are small in stature, most are inept and cowardly. But EO leads them through a space battle, a crash-landing and a dark tunnel to the Supreme Leader, who turns out to be a grey and black Giger-esque biomechanical witch hanging from a web of cables and corrugated tubes. She is not happy to see them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jurassic World

Monday, June 15th, 2015

tn_jurassicworldLet’s face it, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD means this is an all time great movie summer. Whatever else comes out, who gives a shit. Irrelevant. It could be nothing but THE COBBLER coming out every week until September and it would still be one for the record books. Therefore it seems weird to be praising a more normal, not world-shattering part 4 movie in this same summer, but I’m an honest man so I have to do it. JURASSIC WORLD is a solid, fun sequel and although I’m not sure I liked it quite as much as I liked LOST WORLD when I first saw that, I think this is the best of the sequels.

But Vern, you’re saying, THE LOST WORLD sucks. Hold onto your buts. I admit that my tastes in Jurassic Parks are different from most people around here. So I’m sure you will disagree with me that this is clearly, by far, for sure without even a remote question the best of the non-Spielberg-directed JP joints on every possible level forever and always amen may the force be with you and I hope they burn in hay-ell.

It’s odd that they waited 22 years to do this premise. In retrospect it seems like parts 2 and 3 were treading water trying to figure out what the hell to do in the wreckage of the actual Jurassic Park, the aftermath of the failed pre-opening in part 1. This time it’s a natural extension of that first concept. What would it be like if they actually got their shit together and opened the park, and made it work for a while and become a popular vacation destination before nature finds a way to fuck it up? Isn’t it time we actually saw Ian Malcolm’s prediction of the Pirates of the Caribbean eating the tourists? (read the rest of this shit…)

Comin’ at Ya!

Friday, December 19th, 2014

tn_cominatyaSometimes something you never thought would happen happens, and you can hardly believe it. For example when they finally freed Mandela, or a couple days ago when Obama announced he was normalizing relations with Cuba, or in this case when they re-released the legendary 1981 3D movie COMIN’ AT YA! in modern digitally projected 3D.

This is a very limited release I’m afraid, I doubt it’ll come to too many of your cities, if any, and I know most of you are like me and don’t have a 3D TV if it ever comes to that. But if you like seeing things poke out of a screen then definitely check and see if it’s possible to catch this one. It’s a treasure.

The title COMIN’ AT YA! is not a lie. Especially the exclamation point. The stereoscopic mission statement of this movie is in extreme opposition to the modern conventional wisdom that it’s bad for 3D to have gimmicks and things reaching out at you. The philosophy here is to stick knives in both eyes of the modern limp 3D and then pull them out and then jab them in and repeat and repeat and repeat. To date I think my favorite 3D experiences have been FRIDAY THE 13TH 3D and the three Robert Zemeckis mocap movies. Even compared to those, this is by far the 3Dest movie I’ve ever seen.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Step Up All In

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

tn_stepupallinIt may be shameful but it’s no secret that I’m a fan of the STEP UP series. It’s like the DEATH WISH series in many ways. Okay, in only one way: I like all of them. The first one is enjoyable dumb melodrama, then the second is a surprisingly good and clever sequel, and the third is even better. Part 4, REVOLUTION, was not quite as good but I liked it, it had people dancing on bouncing cars and a ridiculous plot about using flash mob dancing as a tool of political protest and at the end Peter Gallagher thanked the guy for practically humping his daughter on stage in front of him. Because the transcendence of dance or whatever.

I’m happy to report that I liked part 5, STEP UP ALL IN, a little better than the last one, although admittedly they sorta cheat and do it by rehashing parts 2 and 3 and bringing back favorite characters for more than just cameos this time.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

tn_trans4For God’s sake don’t take this as high praise, but TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION is the most legitimate movie in the TRANSFORMABLES saga so far. Not too legit to quit while they’re ahead, but competent in ways the others weren’t, and overall much less annoying. The downside: less crazy. Michael Bay has earned an expectation of escalating preposterousness and headscratching whatthefuck moments in each chapter, but this time he verges on tasteful, at least by the standards of his filmography. Only mild racism, no leg humping, only one scene with a hero threatening an old lady with a baseball bat. Robot hyenas with fur and a trigger happy fat Transformer with the voice of John Goodman seem kinda tame after the robot baby factory on the moon, Robot Heaven and peeing and farting robots of previous chapters. And we’ve gotten acclimated to the robot beards. He’s gotta go further than this if he wants to shock us.

And guess how he did it? I cannot fucking believe I’m typing this, but Michael Bay – the George Washington of the cinematic movement that forced me to invent the Action Comprehensibility Ratings system – has made a movie with genuine action clarity.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Gravity

Monday, October 7th, 2013

tn_gravityGRAVITY is the new one from Alfonso Cuaron, genius director who hasn’t done one since CHILDREN OF MEN seven years ago. You remember for that he and his criminally award-snubbed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE CAT IN THE HAT [!?]) devised several completely jaw-dropping long take shots where the protagonists run through these crazy battles and go through all kinds of shit without any visible edits. Remember that scene where the car is rolling down the hill and they get attacked by a band of marauders, or the one where he has to fight his way up the stairs looking for his elephant? Or actually I think one of those was TOM YUM-GOONG. But even so there were some great ones in CHILDREN OF MEN, and for GRAVITY they took that to the next level, doing most of the movie in long unbroken takes. You just stop thinking about it, but apparently the first shot lasts 17 minutes. And this is in an era when 17 seconds without a cut would seem like a long time.

Like AVATAR, this plays like a live action movie but actually has more animation onscreen than organic human flesh. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts who are out in their astronaut suits fixing a satellite or telescope or some scientifical type shit when debris from an exploded satellite wrecks the shuttle and kills the rest of their crew. They have no contact with earth, no space ship and limited resources they gotta try to use to get their ass to the International Space Station or whatever. One of those space joints they got up there. Stop me if I use too much technical jargon and what not. (read the rest of this shit…)