Tag Archives: 3-D

AMAD-Horror Edition: Dark Country

1 Oct


October 1st,2009–

Wow. October’s already here! From this point forward I’m gonna set a genre for AMAD and stick to it for the entire month. This time, it will be horror films–surprise, surprise!–and every day from here to October 31st I’ll be highlighting a different one, preferably something I haven’t seen before. Below, I’ll throw up the lineup for the next five days so you can keep track. So, let’s get started today with the Thomas Jane directed thriller Dark Country that mixes 3/4 noir with 1/4 Twilight Zone and produces an interesting modern riff on the ‘killer on the deserted highway’ motif.

cinemagrade b-I have alot of respect for Thomas Jane as an actor. He’s consistently taking roles and projects that aren’t a ‘sure’ thing and even if they don’t always pan out (Mutant Chronicles) he gets the credit for mixing it up and taking risks. He’s also quite talented and more than capable of elevating a movie with his performance. He’s easily the best thing about The Punisher 2004 and hits all the right notes in The Mist. He also seems relatively grounded and in-touch with his work and his fanbase. Jane and David Arquette brought the entertaining and silly The Tripper to The Senator Theater’ in ’07 and had alot of fun screening it for the audience that showed.  You can see from the clip below that they really got into the event and were not concerned with  holding themselves at a distance from the audience. Top that all off with the fact he’s a native son of Baltimore. Continue reading

Movie Review: ‘The Final Destination’? We Can Only Hope

1 Sep


 The Final Destination in 3D (R)


 The Final Destination is nothing more than an 80 minute gimmick designed to give the audience outrageous death scenes and jump-in-your seat thrills. That, however, is not the movie’s problem. The problem is that this fourth installment in the ‘tired-the-moment-it-began’ saga is a complete waste of an 80 minute gimmick featuring outrageous death scenes and it lacks any kind of actual thrills. This flick challenges Transformers 2 for the crown of most insipid and intentionally insulting summer entertainment. Most will shrug, roll their eyes and exclaim “I told you so!” but as any horror fan knows, the potential was here for a good time. Continue reading

Cinematropolis Review:16 minutes of ‘Avatar’ in 3-D! Pretty Darn Impressive!

22 Aug


August 21st, 2009—

UPDATED: Read my full AVATAR review HERE.

 Well, now I’ve actually seen some of James Cameron’s Avatar the way it was intended to be seen—on the Imax and in 3-D. Let me just say that the venue really does make a difference. Like most of the rest of us, I watched the teaser trailer online yesterday and I was underwhelmed by what I was seeing. As a sci-fi geek and a genre hound, I was expecting something more breathtaking, more original, and, I dunno—more daring. On the computer screen, even in HD, the film looked like little more than a cartoon.  The story appeared a basic amalgam of every “outsider meets a new culture” film I’ve seen and the environments and wildlife were interesting but I wasn’t any more convinced by the animated landscapes than the cluttered cgi worlds of the Star Wars prequels. In fact, one of the only reasons my wife and I ended up going to the preview tonight was so I could write about it here. I was curiously ambivalent otherwise. Continue reading

After 12 years, James Cameron Brings Us…Dances With Smurfs? Avatar Teaser and Pics!

21 Aug


UPDATED: Full-length AVATAR review HERE.

 Also check out: My review of the first 16 minutes of 3-D Avatar HERE.

August 20th, 2009–

When James Cameron’s Avatar is released on December 18th, 2009 it will mark, to the day, the anniversary of the director’s last movie, Titanic. Yea, you remember it–the one with the boat. When that predicted flop went on to be the biggest money maker of all time and sweep the year’s Oscars, Cameron was golden. And then, perhaps in an effort to stay golden, he never directed again….until now.  Continue reading

Wanna see 16 minutes of 3-D Avatar Free on Friday? Get tickets this afternoon!!

17 Aug



Monday 17th, 2009-

I’m a little late on this, but wanted to give a brief heads-up on the sneak peek that IMAX has lined up for James Cameron’s upcoming 3D sci-fi epic Avatar, currently scheduled for release on December 18th 2009.

This Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., select IMAX theaters will be running a free preview of 16 minutes of Avatar with an intro by Cameron and 3D glasses so audiences can get a glimpse of the way the technology will render the alien planet of Pandora. Continue reading

Movie Review: Pixar’s ‘Up’ soars in 3-D

1 Jun


cinemagrade A

Pixar’s Up is a grand adventure and a heart-warming drama that reaches new emotional heights for the animated film team. It’s not surprising that Up works as a superb family entertainment; after-all Lasseter and gang have yet to really miss. What is surprising is that Up, similar to last year’s brilliant Wall-E, manages to raise the bar for Pixar and gives us a film that exceeds both our expectations and the boundaries of its own premise. Like its protagonist Carl Fredrickson, Up takes off early and heads into the stratosphere, floating with ease for its entire running time and finally coming down to bask in the glow of the voyage.

For Pixar, Up marks a more adult journey than its predecessors. After Toy StoryA Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2,  Pixar had cornered the market on wonderful children’s films that appealed to both young tykes, their parents and everyone else in between. However, they were still, essentially, “kid’s films’. With Monster’s Inc. this began to change. The world of Monsters was a complete original and it took childhood imagination and married it to working class comedy and embedded something at the heart; a parent/child bond between Sully and little Boo. It was an enticingly complex and poignant relationship for a mere children’s film and it signified the move to a broader genre camp–the ‘family’ film. Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo boldly launched the company forward into that kind of family epic, and Brad Bird improved it with The Incredibles. And then, using the enjoyable Cars as a transition piece, the Pixar films changed. Ratatouille, Wall-E and now Up all share the fact that they don’t have a simple or easily marketable idea at their core; a rat who wants to be a French chef, a little worker robot who doesn’t speak and spends the first half of the movie puttering around an abandoned Earth, and now, the story of an old curmudgeon sailing his house to South America via thousands of balloons anchored through his chimney.


 The new Pixar films aren’t limited to being simply kiddie or family pictures but are capable of functioning simply as ‘good movies’. Up(directed by Monsters helmer Pete Doctor) is like that, starting with an emotionally charged set-up and moving into a captivating lost world adventure worthy of a 30’s fantasy serial.  The animation has reached such a level of sophistication that Pixar can combine stylized representations with nearly photo-real imagery and it all blends together perfectly. Some of the visual enchantments include a floating house lifted into the sky by thousands of shimmering balloons, a massive air-ship releasing canine-piloted planes, and characters who represent their own brand of animated evolution; an old man squared down by age and experience and a small, round little asian boy who has yet to encounter the defining and shaping events of life. All of it looks spectacular and there is a mesmerizing beauty to the soaring sky sequences and the passages that occur in South America.

Up’s strongest feature is the writing and character development. Carl Fredrickson is an old, house-bound widower who has ceased making contact with the outside world. The house that he bought and fixed up with his loving wife is still intact, but all around high-rises and skycrapers have cropped up and businessman are pursuing Carl’s property. Shortly after meeting the young and determined Russel, an overweight and clingy boy scout, Carl is faced with the possibility of losing his  house and all the memories of his beloved wife along with it. His solution is the massive clot of balloons he attaches to the house which propel it airborne, tearing it from its foundation and floating away towards Paradise Falls, a lost world in South America that he and his wife had long dreamed of going to.


 To say more of the journey, or how exactly Carl and Russell happen to be stranded in the floating house together would be to rob the film of some of its best moments. What is important is the way in which the filmmakers imbue Carl with a heartfelt quest and a desire to have one more great adventure for the sake of his wife. Their relationship is presented to us in the first fifteen minutes of the movie, when a young boy meets a hyperactive tomboy dreaming of far-off lands and exciting travel. That fifteen minutes, nearly as silent as the early parts of Wall-E, are the most emotional of the film; I was in tears half-way through. Ed Asner as Carl brings a weight to the role that carries all of that emotional currency with him through the fast-paced adventure segments. Russell, the little boy that accompanies Carl is primarily a bundle of energy but his home life has issues and he has latched onto this old man in a way that forces Fredrickson to consider something besides his own loneliness for the first time in years.

The theme of Up is refreshing as well. In the face of time and tragedy, which moments of our life are the ones that gave it meaning? The wide-eyed thrills or the smaller pieces? What Up does is give care and craft to both; the human drama is stronger here than it is in any ten live-action Hollywood dramas. The adventure in South America has a high-flung, good natured excitement to it and the action scenes in the air are far more rousing than anything in the last Indiana Jones film.


How about the 3-D? For the first time, I was enthralled by its use. When it requires dropping an extra four dollars to see a film in three dimensions instead of two, it really needs to work if I’m going to recommend seeing something that way. I totally recommend Up in 3-D. Instead of focusing on a series of “set pieces’ the animators have  painstakingly designed each sequence of Up in a way that it immerses the viewer into the world of the movie. The 3-d only accentuates and deepens this immersion. Whether its seeing Carl’s house sail under darkening storm clouds or watching Russell dangle thousands of feet above the jungle, the 3-D opens up the animated world like a cinematic version of a pop-up book. There is a weight and texture to the flawlessly concieved art.

In any form, Up is worth a look. It stands at the forefront of this year’s most ambitious movies and so far it’s the best.

Live in Baltimore County and want to catch a free screening of Up! in 3D tonight?

26 May


If you live in Baltimore, or close enough to make it down to the Whitemarsh Theater tonight, then you can follow this link, provided by the Facebook club “I love Free Movie Tickets!’ ( join it, as they offer free screenings all the time) and sign up for yourself and one guest. Then, when you show up at the theater, let the Disney reps know who you are, and you are in. The trick is coming early enough to make sure you will get a seat. I’d suggest showing up at least 40 minutes before showtime, but in this case an hour certainly couldn’t hurt.

If you are interested, follow the link  HERE. It will tell you everything you need to know. Sorry it’s so last minute, but I just found out about this myself.