Posts tagged ‘2009’

Halloween 2 (2009)

I have, quite literally, just finished watching Halloween 2 as written and directed by Rob Zombie. I must say that it took me a while  to get my hooks into this one, but once I did, I couldn’t let go. It wasn’t the best horror movie I’ve ever seen but it wasn’t supposed to be. What’s more, they knew this. I have an admiration for films that know what they are and are not only comfortable with it, but relish in it. Contrary to what many critics might think, and there were definitely more negative criticisms than I expected, Rob Zombie knew exactly what he was doing here. For me, this film was part artistic film-making and part homage to movies of this ilk from the 1970s and 80s. In the world where there are enough remakes and reboots to choke your average moviegoer to death, Rob Zombie is one of the very few I give credit for putting out a good end product.

I strongly suspect that you have to have watched a lot of good and bad horror movies to appreciate Zombie’s work here, and I have. He is a fan of horror who now makes it. There is no better hands for such a movie to be in. In a field where literally EVERYTHING has been done, where do you go? How many times can the killer come out of absolutely nowhere before you no longer jump. How many sick and depraved ways can you see a body mutilated and torn apart before you are desensitized and it all gets stale. You can only go down the same road for so long before you reach the end. Zombie does his best with the scares and the blood here, but from the mindset of a fan who’s waiting for them and thinks they know what’s coming. Some are decided meant to be seen coming, though that might not be obvious to some viewers (If you don’t know by now that the friend running downstairs to call 911 is going to die then you haven’t watched enough horror movies). Others are meant to see if they can sneak up behind you before you turn around.

There is some great artistic camera work and editing done to change things up a bit from your expected death scene. I was in tears at the death of Annie (both with Laurie and Sheriff Brackett). The end in the shed could have had some more depth to it and while I did understand and respect the point being made with Dr. Loomis (people who will profit off of horrific events and the pain of others), it could have used some more work too. Zombie gives a new and more realistic feel to the unstoppable monster, even in the presence of ghosts and visions. I also think the groundwork laid in the first film goes a long way in making the character of Michael Myers even more interesting in both films, though you definitely can not understand this movie without seeing first one. All in all, I believe Zombie achieved what I think his goal was and I was sucked in to the movie. I didn’t finish it and feel that I’d wasted my time. On the contrary, I was quite entertained and please with the film.

Rating: 4 stars.

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Avatar

Originally written on 12-20-2009

By now, you’ve no doubt heard so much about how incredible Avatar is that, even if you were considering it, you might now be having second thoughts about seeing it. I’m here to tell you not to be dissuaded. You may be at the point where you think that this movie couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. I went into to Avatar with very high expectations, and they were not only met. They were exceeded.

Here’s what happened. I didn’t know very much about this movie. I’d heard good things about it. I’d heard that their was a lot of buzz. Which is actually usually cause for me to disregard it. At least initially. I love to go to the movies. But I like to appreciate movies on their own merit, not because everyone is going nuts over it due to heavy promotion. I probably WAS NOT going to see this movie. I’d seen a couple of trailers, but nothing that got me excited. Then I saw this.

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi895222297/

That got my attention. One line spoken in the entire trailer. Incredible visuals. Music that builds perfectly from calm to intense. Add that to a pretty interesting plot, I was now probably going to see this movie. If I could scrape together the cash and the opportunity. Then I got a few bucks for Christmas, I had Friday off and AMC theaters have $5 admission for movie showtimes before noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So I went. My showtime was 9:50 AM opening day. There were about twenty other people there when the lights went down. For the next 2 and a half hours, I was glued to the screen. When it was done, I was speechless.

Don’t worry, I won’t give any spoilers. There are plenty of places that you can find those. Though I’d advise against it. The story was great and so was the cast. Perfect. That alone would have been enough. But this was a computer animation movie. This usually inspires some eye-rolling if it’s a film trying to be taken seriously at all or going for realism. And rightfully so. Though I enjoy Pixar and Dreamworks, this isn’t anything like that. This is way further down the road. This is new ground in computer animated films.

Lots of people would give you lots of different problems they’ve seen with recent attempts for realism in computer animated films. The two that always jump out at me are facial expressions / mannerisms and the eyes. Facial expressions and general subtle mannerisms tend to lack a lot realism. The eyes also tend to look kind of dead. They’re usually glassy, too dark and just missing realistic movement. Polar Express is a good example of a great effort for it’s time creating computer animated humans, but it still had the same problems in these areas.

Now, obviously, this film did not create realistic computer animated humans. Or any computer animated humans for that matter. But with the new technology innovated for this film, I believe they could. The natives of the alien world in this film appear completely real in a way that has not been achieved to date with animation or creature effects. The filmmakers, in addition to using a brand new type of camera to shoot the film, also came up with a rig that would read the expressions and mannerisms of the actors as they played out their scene. This translated into, from what I could see, completely accurate facial expressions and mannerisms transferred from actor to computerized character. In addition, the eyes are finally ALIVE! Mind you they’re not human eyes, but it’s there. When you watch these characters you get the feeling of watching a real person, not a cartoon or animation. You eventually lose yourself in it.

Between the beautiful landscapes and characters, the wonderful story and the new advancements that tie it all together, this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. If I can help it, I WILL be seeing it again and purchasing it on DVD.

Rating: 5 Stars