Sunday, January 27, 2008

Skinwalkers DVD


“Skinwalkers” isn’t what we’ve been lead to believe. It’s actually a modern western that involves Native American mysticism and a bit of Japanese numerology -- no, wait! It’s a classic character-driven horror movie -- better yet, a child-in-peril supernatural thriller with twists and turns around every corner, leading to a werewolf vs. werewolf smackdown in Act III! The answer is: all of the above.
Captain Obvious moment: bigger doesn’t always equal better. A straightforward story can go a long way. Starting off with a pancake flat opening, “Skinwalkers” is full of needless scenes, unnecessary twists and sketchy action sequences. Even Rhona Mitra can’t save this one.
Most of us grew up watching memorable cinematic moments like, “Luke, I am your father” and “I see dead people”, so the desire to emulate that brand of shock and awe storytelling is understandable but it’s not always necessary. They tried to shoehorn a twist that hurt the narrative -- made no sense. Werewolf movies have been in a slump for a while and hiding the creatures (which look pretty decent) in the theatrical trailer was a big mistake. I don’t have a problem with the PG-13 rating, but if you’re going to take out the gore and violence, you need to replace them with something else. Better action scenes, cool transformations, whatever. Poke around on the DVD (which includes commentary by director Jim Isaac) and you’ll find an Easter egg featuring Stan Winston at Comic-Con discussing how he became involved with the project.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Monsters


So Cloverfield pulls in 18.25 million on Friday alone. No big stars, 30 million dollar budget, shaky cam and a heavy viral marketing campaign was all it took. Pretty impressive. I thought the film would be a moderate success but this is one of those occasions where the buzz actually translated into big box office.
Speaking of monster movies, if I were to do a Top 2007 list, “The Host” would be right up there. A little girl gets kidnapped by a people-eating creature and it’s up to her dysfunctional family to pull off the rescue. It’s a nice blend of horror and comedy - a prequel is in the works. There are some interesting choices made along the course of the story that might considered unpopular or predictable but they work for the most part.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Man in the Shadows


“Cat People” has always been one of my favorite horror films -- even that 80s remake was fun in its own goofy way -- and I was lucky enough to catch a documentary on Turner Classic Movies about producer Val Newton. Fascinating stuff... The way light and shadow were like additional characters. He thought of his movies as “terror” films. Horror disgusts, but terror lingers. Something to consider...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sarah Connor Chronicles


It’s almost impossible not to compare the “Sarah Connor Chronicles” pilot to the “Terminator” movie franchise, but so far so good. The effects and action were solid for television. Summer Glau did her usual butt kicking thing. The last couple minutes made up for the plotting that seemed a little too by the numbers at times. I’ll have some more thoughts after tomorrow night’s part two.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jessica Alba's Eye


Asian horror might be dead but apparently it can be reanimated for American audiences. “One Missed Call” had a more than respectable showing with its 13 million dollar opening weekend. This probably bodes well for Jessica Alba’s “The Eye”. The new one sheet looks mighty lame though.

On the screenwriting front, it’s been a pretty unproductive week so far. Aside from some cosmetic changes and chicken scratch outlining, I haven’t had a substantial page increase in a while.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Doomsday



I’m a big fan of Neil Marshall’s “Dog Soldiers” -- still haven’t gotten around to watching “The Descent” -- and his new project, “Doomsday” sounds promising. He’s blogging about the film here
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