Jan 4 2012

The last word (for now) on the theater experience


I saw Mission Impossible in IMAX last week and I’ve been mulling two things over ever since. The first is that I’m going to try not italicizing movie titles in blog posts anymore. Because it’s annoying to do and you know when I’m talking about a movie right? Can we agree to let that slide for the time being? Good. Thing two, though, is an issue that keeps coming up on this blog/podcast: the “theater experience.” Mainly, how it differs from the experience of just watching a movie at home, and whether it’s actually all that necessary anymore now that we’ve all got reasonably nice televisions, easy access to new movies, and addictions to texting during the slow bits.

Obviously, Hollywood’s been chewing on this topic too, as evidenced by the gimmicks they’ve been pulling out to get people into the theaters. 3D’s been the big one, and as Logan and I have said before, it’s not doing it for me. I like gimmicky 3D like in Piranha or My Bloody Valentine. There it’s fun. But in most other cases it feels tacked on and unnecessary. Theater chains have also tried offering big cushy seats for premium prices. But you know what? I’ve got a whole couch at home, and it doesn’t cost me 10 bucks extra to sit on it.

Which brings us to IMAX. “Okay,” Hollywood implores us, “you may think movies are just as good at home, but does your home have a 70 FOOT SCREEN?!?!” “No,” I reply, speaking for all of us, “no it does not, that would be ridiculous.” But I do have a reasonably large TV. And I’ve got friends with even bigger TVs. TVs that take up entire walls of their homes. And I’ve noticed that the universal truth about the size of a screen is this: after about 10 minutes you stop noticing it.

Yes, Mission Impossible looked great in IMAX. And there were times when I felt more immersed and part of the action. Brad Bird used that space wisely. But because I’m crazy, I also went to see Mission Impossible in a regular theater. And let me remind you folks, a regular movie screen is still pretty damn big. The difference made by IMAX isn’t worth the higher ticket price. And I argue that seeing the movie at home would have been equally enjoyable.

So 3D, fancy seats, IMAX, none of these are motivating me to leave the house. But a couple days ago I had another experience. An old theater was showing Vertigo and I got to see a Hitchcock film in theaters for the first time. I loved it. Not because I love the movie Vertigo. It’s pretty good, but it’s not a goto of mine. In fact the print was kind of muddy and the sound wasn’t great. What I loved was just being in a theater filled with people who wanted to watch Vertigo. It’s that community kind of feel that I so rarely get with new movies. I love laughing along with an audience at a great comedy, or hearing screams in a horror movie. That’s the heart of the theater experience for me. Sharing a movie with other people.

Maybe as movie theaters become marginalized and your TV becomes the default spot for new movies, then the only people who bother to go to the theaters will be people who feel like I do. And if that’s the case, as Logan has theorized before, theaters will be forced to cater to those people like the Alamo Drafthouse does: by taking a hard stance against talking and texting and bringing the love of enjoying a movie with others back to the movie theater.

Or they could just make everything holograms. I’d go to that.

Jun 14 2011

Logan’s Badly Photoshopped Poster of the Week

As usual, I arrived a bit early for Super 8 (thoughts coming tomorrow!) this past weekend, and took some time to walk around the lobby to check out all of the new posters.  I saw a few of my old friends, and also stumbled across one of the busiest posters I’ve seen in a while.  Let’s take a look, but be warned: you may want to scroll slowly.  If you try to take this in all at once, there is a slight chance of blowing your mind all over the keyboard.

Where to start?  It appears that the studio had well over four hundred production photos and they wanted to use every fucking one of them.  Besides the goofy hair, the only thing of even remote interest on this poster is a sword fight with fire on the bottom right.  Heck, they could have at least given Milla a bust line or something.

Mar 30 2011

New Potter Poster Hints at Harry/Voldemort Pie-Eating Contest


Another helping of raspberry...TOM?

At least that seems like the most likely explanation for the copious amounts of photoshopped red goo around the characters’ mouths, considering the absence of any apparent lip wounds.  Of course there are other possibilities…

  • Harry and Voldemort magically switch bodies.  Voldemort puts a bunch of lipstick on Harry to make everyone thing he’s a nancy.
  • Harry convinces Voldemort that he just needs to learn to be human again.  Wacky montage ensues in which Voldemort cuts himself shaving.
  • Turns out the climactic last horcrux is at the bottom of a vat of strawberry Quick.

We’ll just have to wait for July to find out!  IN 3D.

Mar 2 2011

Critical End! (The Podcast) #84: Triple P


This week, we saw the one where Nicolas Cage escapes from hell wearing a leather jacket and kills a bunch of dudes. No, the OTHER one. REVIEWED: Drive Angry 3D. PLUS: Post-Oscar talk.

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Feb 17 2011

Hacking 3D

I admit that this completely pointless and unnecessary, but kind of a cool, simple hack nevertheless.

Feb 10 2011

TRON: Legacy’s Legacy

It’s no secret that we really dug Disney’s TRON: Legacy. Sure, it didn’t make either of our top films of 2010 lists, but it was definitely one of last year’s highlights.

Which brings us to the DVD/Blu-ray release…or I should say, the DVD/Blu-ray/Digital/Blu-ray 3D/DVD+Blu-Ray/DVD+Blu-ray+Digital/DVD+Blu-ray+Digital+Blu-ray 3D/DVD+Blu-ray+TRON release.  That’s right, Disney, known for overkill releasing style, plans to drop a staggering nine versions of TRON: Legacy on home video, two of which will feature a bare bones version of the original TRON.  The only thing missing is a laser disc version.

While I’m all about variety, this is mostly ridiculous.  It would be one thing if you were getting something different on each disc, but how many formats do you really need the same film on?

Although I will admit that this is kinda awesome…

More info on each version over at IGN.

Dec 29 2010

Critical End! (The Podcast) #76: The Worst Zookeeper Ever


Bring in the logic probe! REVIEWED: Tron, Tron: Legacy.

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Dec 8 2010

Critical End! (The Podcast) #74: Gargamel’s Travel Pants


The one where we DON’T complain about the 3D. REVIEWED: Tangled. PLUS: The only podcast with a “C Moon” joke.

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Dec 3 2010

IMPORTANT NEWS FLASH: “Piranha 3D” Sequel Gets a Title!

Looks like it's back to work for boob master Eli Roth!

And that title is…Piranha 3DD

Seriously.  I may be alone here, but Ithink that’s a brilliant title.  I can pretty much already see the 3D boobs on the poster, and as we all know, 3D boobs pack those theater seats.  Hollywood even has a formula for this:

3D boobies = Money in bank

Have a great weekend, kids.

Dec 1 2010

Critical End! (The Podcast) #73: Dangerous


What a beautiful place…to be with friends. REVIEWED: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. PLUS: Logan’s dangerous obsession with National Lampoon Magazine.

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Nov 8 2010

Critical End! (The Podcast) #71: Screwvernors


The final ingredient to this podcast…is YOU! …And cumen.  REVIEWED: Saw 3D. PLUS: BevCast.  ALSO: If you missed our Critical Hit of the first six Saw movies, check it out here.

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Oct 31 2010

What to Watch on Halloween


This list isn't for you, Li'l Eeyore!

Happy Halloween, folks!  If you’re like me, Halloween has transformed over the years from an excuse to dress up and bug people for candy to an excuse to sit at home and watch scary movies.  And eat candy.

Recently, some friends asked me to put together a list of thriller/horror movies that I recommended.  I was pretty happy with what I came up with, so I’m sharing it with you, in case you needed some inspiration for your own All Hallows’ Eve celebration.  Feel free to disagree in the comments.


  • Psycho (thriller/slasher) Obviously.  First and best slasher.
  • Three…Extremes (Saam gaang yi – subtitled) – Watch Instantly from Netflix – This one’s great for a party because it’s composed of three short stories, all creepy.  None of them are blow-you-away-awesome but they’re each fun and disgusting in their own way.  Gets very gross.
  • The Evil Dead Trilogy (horror/horror comedy/action adventure) – Watch Instantly from Netflix – Obviously a must see.  The second one’s the best, but they’re all great and better as a marathon.
  • Psycho Beach Party (horror comedy) My favorite horror comedy of all time.  Gidget meets Hitchcock.
  • Re-Animator (horror/dark comedy) – Crazy college student discovers Frankenstein serum, creates super disturbing zombies.  Jeffrey Combs is amazing in this.
  • Dead Alive – (horror comedy-ish) aka Braindead.  Early Peter Jackson does Evil Dead.
  • The Frighteners (horror comedy-ish) later Peter Jackson does Ghostbusters
  • The Mist (thriller) – Most of the movie is an awesome and faithful adaptation of the Stephen King novella.  Then the end…oh man, the end.  Different from the book but AMAZING.
  • Undead (horror comedy)  Probably my second favorite horror comedy.  Australian zombie flick with kickass action and a really weird plot twist.  Succeeds both in the comedy and the horror which is rare.
  • Infection (Kansen – subtitled) – Watch Instantly from Netflix – Some weird infection makes people kill people in gruesome and awesome ways.  The story’s not stellar, but the suspense and effects are pretty great.
  • Identity – Remember this?  John Cusack….anyone?  I liked it.
  • Dawn of the Dead (the 2004 remake)  I wasn’t a fan of Romero’s original but this remake is pretty good.
  • Premonition (Yogen – subtitled) – Watch Instantly from Netflix – NOT the Sandra Bullock version.  Very cool film.
  • The Omen (the original)- Watch Instantly from Netflix – Awesome suspense film made even better by giving you the opportunity to do Gregory Peck impression’s the whole time.  I’ll get you started:
    • “I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted – if I could hit ’em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird…”
  • The Howling (horror/dark comedy) – Early Joe Dante’s take on werewolves mixed with some weird social commentary.  If you watch this, you must PROMISE me that you’ll be deathly quiet when the female lead is searching the dark office.  Because the best thing ever is about to happen.
  • The Descent – Spooky thangs in a cave.
  • Creepshow (cheese factor) – Watch Instantly from Netflix – Adaptation of several Stephen King short stories.  The one King himself stars in is hilarious.
  • Final Destination (cheese factor)  Though I secretly like this movie on a non-ironic level.  Avoid all the sequels.
  • Gremlins and/or Gremlins 2 – Again, an obvious one.
  • The Thing (John Carpenter)
  • Black Sheep (horror comedy)
  • The Eye (Gin gwai – subtitled) NOT the Jessica Alba version.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original) – It’s not stellar but it did invent the chainsaw maniac as well as the documentary style horror movie.
  • The ‘burbs Watch Instantly from Netflix – (horror/comedy)
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night (cheese factor) Got to get a Christmas one on the list.  See Logan’s detailed review here.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space (cheese factor/horror comedy)- Watch Instantly from Netflix
  • The Wickerman (original)  Two words: Christopher Lee.
  • Child’s Play (slasher) – Watch Instantly from Netflix – The series is really hit or miss but the first one is pretty solid.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Series (slasher) – Most of these movies aren’t “good” per se, but they’re kind of required viewing of the genre.  The worthwhile entries are:
  • Friday the 13th Series (slasher) – Most are even worse than the Elm Street movies.  The first Friday the 13th is reasonably good and has a nice twist that everyone already knows.  And Freddy vs. Jason is actually pretty awesome (a highlight for both characters).  Also, despite Logan’s protests, I thought the Michael Bay produced remake was surprisingly good.  The others are only good for their comedic value.  Particularly…
    • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – Funny for not being the final chapter, and containing the antics of both Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover.
    • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – Hilarious for NOT taking place in Manhattan.
    • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday – Watch Instantly from Netflix – Jason is killed when the FBI sets up a “sting” for him that consists of a naked chick in a cabin.  Then his demon possesses the black guy from X-Files.
    • Jason X – Jason IN SPACE!
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (horror comedy) – Now you’re ready for this one.  The horror comedy that becomes an actual horror movie as it goes along.

Oct 20 2010

Critical End! (The Podcast) #69: You’re doing it wrong

If you promise to stop making movies, Wes, you can have it. REVIEWED: My Soul to Take. PLUS: Michael Caine shoots somebody in the face.

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Oct 11 2010

Complete the Journey…NOT in 3D


"You want it post-converted when?"

In an extraordinarily rare show of common sense, WB has decided NOT to release part one of the final Harry Potter film in 3D, because they “were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality.”  So they ran out of time, which isn’t exactly like saying “there was no reason for this to be in 3D in the first place” but I’ll take it.  Hollywood’s no stranger to rushed 3D conversion jobs, so it’s nice someone finally had the guts to put the kibosh on one.  That doesn’t mean part two won’t be in 3D, however, so you’ll still be able to enjoy the magical wonder that slightly increased depth of field will bring to Ron Weasley’s hair.

[Via Screened]

Sep 22 2010

True Lies Sequel Actually an Upcoming ABC TV Series


Big deal, it's been adapted before.

There have been rumors to this affect for a while now, but it appears that it’s now somewhat confirmed.  The James Cameron/Schwarzenegger classic True Lies will be morphed into a prime time TV series for ABC.

Honestly, I’m excited to see what they come up with.  The spy-with-a-family-life premise still has some juice (though, J.J. Abrams’ Undercovers is treading very similar ground), and Cameron is no stranger to producing TV shows, though they haven’t traditionally lasted very long.  Let’s just hope we don’t all have to buy 3D televisions to watch this.

The big question mark is who will take over Arnold’s role.  My pick?  Arnold.  But that’s mostly because I’m anxious to see him get back to acting.  He could at least cameo as a rival spy or something, right?  Ease back into things a bit.  Actually, rebooting old Arnold movies as TV shows could be a great new trend!  Imagine Last Action Hero as a Saturday morning cartoon.  Each episode, Arnold and the kid go on a new crazy adventure in a different movie.  It’ll be like the animated version of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures but without all the annoying, government-mandated learning!