Latest Reviews

Entries in 3D (2)


Drive Angry

3D is the bane of cinema. There, I said it. And I’m glad I did. Despite the occasional three dimensional triumph (How to Train Your Dragon), most movies do not need it. Rarely have I been thankful I saw a film in 3D, fearful that I may have missed something watching it in boring old regular 2D. After the backlash from shoddy up conversions, it appears studios now deem it necessary to advertise their film as being “shot in 3D,” as evidenced by the Drive Angry poster, though at this point, it hardly matters; the extra dimension is still unnecessary. Nevertheless, I’ve always stood by this point: 3D, as good or bad as it can be, is never the deciding factor in the quality of a picture. So as much as I hate the notion of wearing those silly glasses and looking at a dim picture, I still must admit to having quite a bit of fun with Drive Angry.

Nicolas Cage (who seems to be in every other movie these days) plays Milton. He has just escaped from Hell and is on a mission to save his infant granddaughter from being sacrificed by a Satanic cult led by Jonah King, played by Billy Burke. On his journey, he befriends Piper, played by Amber Heard, and has to contend with “The Accountant,” played by William Fichtner, who is on a mission to capture him and bring him back to Hell.

If you couldn’t tell by that ridiculous plot synopsis, Drive Angry is essentially a B-movie. It has a B-movie story, B-movie dialogue, B-movie acting and, keeping in line with its B-movie brethren, a number of nagging narrative inconsistencies. Although I suspect some of its inanity is unintentional, most of it is a wink and a nod to the people in the audience who get it. Aside from a couple of dramatic missteps (mainly due to the fact that drama even exists—in a movie like this, it shouldn’t) it knows exactly what it’s doing. Drive Angry is a silly, violent, purposely over-the-top picture that is accompanied by blazing heavy metal whenever someone struts or postures. It's exactly the type of low grade filth many will shun, but there's no denying that what it does, it does well.

It’s a movie that wishes to channel those old grindhouse films while keeping a modern tongue-in-cheek vibe. In a way, it aspires to be like 2007’s Shoot ‘Em Up, even going so far as to replicate one of its crazier scenes. However, Drive Angry doesn’t have the style or humor of Shoot ‘Em Up. With the exception of a few funny lines, only William Fichtner channels the type of vibe that film nailed so perfectly. Every moment he is onscreen is a delight and as soon as he disappears, you’ll be counting down the minutes until he comes back.

There’s not much more to say about Drive Angry. It’s big, loud, relentless and stupid, but it’s fun. Not random-trip-to-Vegas fun; more like a casual trip to a restaurant with friends fun—you’re glad you did it, but once you’ve digested it, it’s time to move on.

Drive Angry receives 3/5


Clash of the Titans

Something's wrong in Hollywood. It's called 3D. Now, before you naysay my statement, know this. I do not hate 3D. It has a place in film and, perhaps unfortunately, is the next evolutionary step in the future of filmmaking. However, with Avatar still going strong at the box office, Alice in Wonderland still climbing out of the rabbit hole and last week's How to Train Your Dragon enjoying its debut, the last thing we need is another 3D movie, yet here we are with the remake of the 1981 cheese-fest Clash of the Titans. Forget about what those big wig execs up in their ivory watchtowers want you to think. Clash proves that not every movie needs the extra dimension.

What separates this apart from those movies previously mentioned is simple. It was never meant to be in 3D. It was not filmed with that technology, like Avatar, or with the mindset for it to later be converted, as was the case with Alice in Wonderland. No, it was bumped up after the movie studio discovered just how profitable the format could be, considering the extra cost to see one in theaters. Thus, it looks horrid. Some scenes feel unfinished, certain visuals look blurry and at times, the characters seem misshapen with distorted heads and cut off body parts, as seen with the ear in multiple shots. Sometimes, I took my glasses off only to find much of it was barely converted, if at all. I watched whole scenes in crisp clear 2D without the glasses in a supposedly 3D movie. It's a nasty trick by the studio to force you into paying extra money with the notion that you're getting something more. Don't be fooled. You're not.

Regardless of how you're looking at it, you'll most likely wish you weren't at all. Clash of the Titans is an action bombshell, taking the genre and forcefully deflowering it with no regards to style or substance. It uses Greek mythology to prove itself as an epic, but it never does anything to warrant such a title.

Sam Worthington plays Perseus, son of Zeus, played by Liam Neeson. Zeus, a god, mated with a human in an act of revenge, who eventually gave birth to Perseus. Being half-human and half-god, a demi-god if you will, he is thrown into the thick of things when the battle between humans and the gods heats up. You see, the humans have betrayed the gods and Zeus is angry, so he joins with his brother Hades, ruler of the Underworld, played by Ralph Fiennes, to put them in their place. If the people of the city do not sacrifice the beautiful Andromeda, played by Alexa Davalos, a giant Kraken will come and destroy them. Perseus' mission is to figure out how to kill the Kraken and defeat the gods.

Essentially, it's a long winded journey to drably colored locales that all look exactly the same with the hopes of finding the information to take down the giant beast that ends in as boring a fashion as it possibly could. By the time Perseus finally gets to the much talked about Kraken, the creature merely waves his claws around, roars a few times and the movie ends. There's no battle, no showdown and, most importantly, no enjoyment to be had in any of it.

Perseus' journey is never fraught with peril or wonder. It gathers up the extensive history of Greek mythology, but has no fun with it. The PG rated Percy Jackson & the Olympians did more with its source material than this supposed grown-up tale of survival and sacrifice.

And that would be due to the script. This is a very badly written film, with unexplained plot occurrences and dialogue that would be better fit for a fun cornball picture. If you've seen the original film, you know it was a poorly conceived B-movie, yet irresistible in its campiness. This modern update doesn't even reach that status because it takes itself far too seriously.

Going hand in hand are the actors, who all seem half asleep in their performances. Liam Neeson, as established a star as he is, is boring as the god Zeus while Fiennes does little more than channel a less creepy version of Lord Voldemort from his roles in the Harry Potter films. Sam Worthington's banality may be the most egregious, however. He was great in Avatar and Terminator: Salvation despite their mediocrity where he proved himself as an up and coming action star. He was somebody to look out for, but he comes off as a second rate actor from a military commercial here. Sure, he looks strong and menacing, but his goofy way of talking in a loud whisper, not unlike Jack Bauer in 24, is laughable and makes his tough look moot.

Clash of the Titans is a disaster, joining the ranks of big budget travesties like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Land of the Lost. It's one of the worst movies of the year thus far and you should skip it, but if you must see it, take my heed and skip the 3D. Why pay extra when you'll walk out miserable either way?

Clash of the Titans receives 0.5/5