By any logic, the prehistoric creatures of the ICE AGE franchise should be extinct by now, or at the very least have migrated to the direct-to-video market, like their colleagues over at THE LAND BEFORE TIME had the grace to do. But no, here we are with ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, the 3D, CG-animated film in which we rejoin family mammoth Manny (voice by Ray Romano), irascible saber-tooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary), and wacky sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) as they deal with the break-up of Pangaea, an iceberg full of animal pirates and, for some reason, a teen mammoth (Keke Palmer) who just wants to belong to the cool gang (never mind the shifting of land masses that WILL VERY LIKELY KILL HER).
Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons went to see all the animal hijinks and weigh in on how the fourth installment of the ICE AGE franchise fares, whether the filmmakers are at all invested in these films at this point, and where the hell did all the humans go? Then, Steve takes a look at the genre elements in Woody Allen’s latest, TO ROME WITH LOVE, and Dan gives his thoughts on the paranormal thriller RED LIGHTS. Plus, what’s coming to theaters next week.
Brad Anderson knows his way around old school horror — you know, the kind that relies on atmosphere and suggestion, the kind values the power of the disturbing thought as much as or more than threateningly wielded power tools and bleeding limb-stumps. In films such as THE MACHINIST (where Christian Bale almost literally wasted away on-screen) and SESSION 9 (where David Caruso went slowly nuts listening to a tape recording) he got considerable mileage out of the power of nuance. Now, with VANISHING ON 7TH STREET, he turns the encroaching dark into a malevolent force, throwing Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, and John Leguizamo together to face the deadly (and digitally enhanced) shadows. “Watch this with the lights on,” is an old cliché, but in this case, it’s all too applicable.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Anderson.
Magnet Releasing offers limited theatrical engagements of this TWILIGHT ZONE-type film, with engagements starting in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Philadelphia in February, then expanding to San Diego, Portland, Seattle and more in March. The story: When a massive power blackout causes a city’s population to vanish, a handful of survivors band together inside a tavern in an effort to survive as darkness approaches. Brad Anderson directs from a script by Anthony Jaswinski. Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, and John Leguizamo head the cast.
Advance word suggests that the film’s atmosphere is impressive, but the plot line feels like a half-hour episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE stretched to feature length.
New York, NY: Village East Cinemas
West Los Angeles, CA: Nuart Theatre
Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre
Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse
San Diego, CA: Ken Cinema
Royal Oak, MI: Main Art Theatre
Portland, OR: Hollywood Theatre
Seattle, WA: Varsity Theatre
Palm Desert, CA: Cinemas Palme D’Or 7
Columbus, OH: Gateway 8
You can check Magnet Releasing’s website for additional playdates.
Check out the recently released trailer for the new horror/thriller THE VANISHING ON 7TH STREET. Starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, and directed by Brad Anderson (SESSION 9) this film follows a group of people as they fight to survive in a world slowly going dark:
A mysterious, seemingly global blackout causes countless populations to simply vanish, leaving only their clothes and possessions behind. A small handful of survivors band together in a dimly-lit tavern on 7th Street, struggling to combat the apocalyptic horror. Realizing they may in fact be the last people on earth, the darkness hones in on them alone.
If the trailer is any indication, Mr. Anderson may have another hit on his hands. THE VANISHING ON 7TH STREET debuts in theaters later this year.
George Romero’s return to the LAND OF THE DEAD proves that the writer-director has lost none of the talent that made him one of the most important figures in the history of horror movies. His film is a witty, clever, action-packed piece of violent pop art that benefits from the backing of a major studio (slick production values and a bigger scope than any of his previous zombie films) without succumbing to many of the pitfalls. Which is to say, Romero retains his bite: not only does the excessive gore show little signs of compromise to get an R-rating; more importantly, he creates a radically subversive scenario that few contemporary filmmakers would dare to emulate.