Paranormal Activity 3: CFQ Spotlight Podcast 2:41.1

Don't Believe Everything You See, Especially in the Trailer: A scene NOT from PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3.
Don't Believe Everything You See, Especially in the Trailer: A scene NOT from PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3.

And so the story of two sisters vexed by supernatural forces — as captured by conveniently located video cameras — continues, or begins, or ends depending on how you want to look at it, in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3. Another prequel set in 1988 and purportedly recorded on VHS equipment — which doesn’t really account for the broadcast-quality image — the film purports to show how sisters Katie and Kristi Ray were first courted as children by forces malevolent, leading to the chaos depicted in the previous entries.
Those who are acquainted with the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise will know what to expect (although maybe not when to expect it), but is more of the same enough? Join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they patiently await the manifestations and debate whether this strung-out origin tale fills in narrative gaps or just restates already established history with more ungainly video equipment.
Also: A discussion of the Wachowski’s imminent return to genre and Bryan Singer’s bid to retell the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA legend once more. Plus: what’s coming in theatrical and home video releases.


Speed Racer – who needs it?

What were they thinking at Warner Brothers?  Take a 1960’s Japanese cult cartoon, lavish it with a huge budget and pray that it will find an audience. The result: a film that one Toronto reviewer proclaimed, “is like having someone vomit a bellyful of skittles at you for two and a half hours, and only slightly more entertaining.”
Just who did Warner Brothers think would want to see this mess anyway?  It’s not like they weren’t warned – they must have seen the Wachowski’s MATRIX sequels? 
SPEED RACER has the distinction of being the first major league critical (and likely) box office disaster of the summer movie season. It is completely incoherent, like an over amped version of Joel Schumacher’s Batman films, where the action is almost impossible to follow and just tries to pound you into submission.  The only redeeming thing about this film is that it has a good cast.  Too bad they didn’t have something to do.  Continue reading “Speed Racer – who needs it?”

The Matrix (1999) – Science Fiction Film Review

The surprise sleeper success of 1999, this ingenious science fiction thriller easily surpassed THE PHANTOM MENACE in imagination, action, acting, and effects – if not in box office. It also spawned two action-packed sequels that, unfortunately, illustrated the law of diminishing returns, as what once seemed fresh and original quickly decayed into repetitious formula.
Excellence can be easier to acknowledge than it is to explain, which is why writing favorable reviews can be more difficult than writing negative ones: a list of virtues is a harder to identify than a laundry list of faults. In the case of THE MATRIX, the film is filled with what sounds like a laundry list of typically brainless big-budget Hollywood excesses: a cyberpunk, virtual reality storyline; an ear-shattering soundtrack; numerous fight and chase scenes; and enough gunfire to turn a building into the concrete equivalent of Swiss cheese. Yet, somehow, these elements coalesce into a film that is much more than just another Joe Silver science-fiction free-for-all (a la DEMOLITION MAN). The Wachowski Brothers have actually written and directed a densely plotted, intriguing tale that reuses familiar material without ever surrendering to hackneyed clichés. Continue reading “The Matrix (1999) – Science Fiction Film Review”