Thursday 24 Apr
 
 

Sorcerer

William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
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Youth
 

Frankenweenie


Tim Burton builds a better 'Frankenweenie' and it’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive with humor and heart.

Rod Lott October 9th, 2012

One imagines Frankenweenie is the movie director Tim Burton has been waiting to make his entire life.

A film of stop-motion animation, it is a feature-length version of a charming but unremarkable live-action short he made for Disney in 1984, about a kid who revives his beloved dead dog via lightning bolts. The House of Mouse found the end result so odd and macabre that it shelved plans to send it to theaters and fired the then-novice director.

Burton landed on his feet, of course, and three decades later, the world is used to his idiosyncratic style — one indelibly stamped on his filmography, which includes Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhands.

Ironically, now that Burton is a household name, the new Frankenweenie comes to us from Disney. Yet if there’s a Hollywood studio moviegoers will associate with it, it’s Universal. While on its surface a story of the bond between a boy and his dog, the film is not-so-secretly a tribute to Universal’s classic monsters of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

Its debt to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is right there in the title — and in an absence of color — but Frankenweenie’s back half also cleverly pays homage to Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon. By doing so all at once, Burton also winks at the studio’s monster-mash efforts like House of Frankenstein, which crammed in as many monsters as would fit in one film. These overstuffed spin-offs were like The Avengers of their day, endlessly replayed on local television stations’ weekend schedules to children all too happy to soak them up.

Burton’s just one of the few who has been able to take all that absorbed junk culture and wring it into a career — witness Mars Attacks!, his Planet of the Apes remake and this summer’s Dark Shadows. Not that the bar was set all that high by those projects, but Frankenweenie is his finest stab yet at marrying nostalgia to his own skewed sensibilities.

In fact, it’s one of his best, period, and part of that could be because working with stop-motion animation allows him complete visual control. His works often put looks above logic, but the script by frequent collaborator John August (Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) allows his boss’ imagination to run wild while also retaining heart. Without quite hitting tearjerk mode, it has much. And much more artistry.

Hey! Read This:
Dark Shadows Blu-ray review   


 
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