Movie Review: ParaNorman 3D (2012)

“I wish I understood you”

So what happens when a small town is coming upon the anniversary of the death of a supposed witch and you have a young outcast boy who has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts? Pretty much one of the best children films of the year I believe.

In 2009 we all got a glimpse at the gothic children’s tale return with Coraline, here is its obvious continuation.  In that film the story was all about a child coming to realization that the family she wants might not be better than the family she already has, here however is a story about a family (and by proxy town) needs to realize that the weird (freaks) of their world aren’t exactly the people that you should accept rather than persecute. It’s the same story that so many other films try to tap into, just a completely lighter take on it (that would be the ‘kid’ genre).

The first thing about this movie that I feel helps it, for the adults in the room especially, is its interesting alliance with horror movies. It takes its time to comment and kid with them as you see Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) watching zombie films and there’s a scene where a woman, helpless of course, is screaming in fear of her imminent death and the moment takes so long that we see the actress run out of breath, stare at the camera wondering “really?”, then start screaming again before we eventually have her killed by the zombie. So we know from that point forward that we know that the film is being handled by storytellers who are fans of their own little world and keeps enjoying that fun throughout its runtime. The nicest way to put it is if Robert Rodriguez made Planet Terror for children and the hero of that story was the child (his son) who was a part of the gang, take a moment to imagine that, animate it, and you now have ParaNorman.

ParaNorman takes its own little jabs at the horror genre throughout as well. It even manages to have its own fresh take on zombies and their objective in the film which is not only a nice twist but makes the movie a lot more fun than any gritty hard R horror action film that’s been released in the last decade I feel.

Otherwise the film doesn’t really try to do anything particularly grand with its characters. The gang (can we call them Scooby Gang? I remember a reference at one point) is made up of relatively stock characters. The outcast protagonist, and his outcast best friend, Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who plays the typical big and both of their older siblings, one being a dumbish jock, Mitch (Casey Affleck) and the other being the typical teenage girl, Courtney (Anna Kendrick), as they try to deal with the zombie/witch problem that their town now has.

What I particularly found lovely was the final fifteen to twenty minutes of this film. When it had finally gotten to the climactic moment in the film is when the directors (Chris Butler and Sam Fell) and all of the clay and digital animators pulled out all the stops and managed to pull off some of the most spectacular visuals I’ve seen all year. I’m amazed sometimes at how vivid these, basically, pieces of playdough can end up becoming when films like this work, and when you add in the new digital amalgamation that has now become more popular in these films it’s become unbelievably gorgeous.

Rating: 8.0/10

Movie Review: Fright Night (2011)

Note: I saw in 2D

The horror franchise is best known for doing one of two things right, when they get anything right, scaring you or making you laugh. There are very few times that it can do both, or ever more than that. This isn’t an exception to that rule.

Early on in film it’s made very obvious that the film’s entire purpose is to entertain you rather than make you worry about what’s in your close while you try to fall asleep. The point that Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire doesn’t remain as speculation for very long for the audience which is what helps make every scene that follows work as him just messing with the people around him. You start to watch the movie as watching who knows this fact and who doesn’t and how they each react to what may seem socially normal and what it actually means.

What makes this movie great comedic/action/horror fun is what also makes it also categorized as “not that good a movie”. If you’re not willing to allow this movies to win you over then you’re going to spend the better half of the film hating yourself for taking the time to head down to the theatre and spend your good money to watch it. However, if you’re into seeing Farrell and Tennant pretty much just stand there and smirk at you as they play their roles in such an over the top fashion then you’re in for a fun ride.

Otherwise the film is rather ill suited for the remake. All the other characters are pretty run of the mill ironed out roles. Anton Yelchin plays the eventual hero, Christopher Mintz-Plasse is the nerdy best friend and really shows his lack of range while still being likeable and fun, Toni Collette is a fun mother type and Imogen Poots is eye candy for the young adults in the room. Everyone is who they are and just an excuse for us to enjoy Farrell and Tennant.

Rating: 6.0/10

 

Meet Jerry in the First Trailer for the “Fright Night” Remake

IGN has released the first trailer for the remake of the 80s horror/comedy Fright Night starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Check out the trailer below:

Synopsis: Teenager Charley Brewster (Yelchin) guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Farrell) is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent (Tennant), the opportunistic host of his favorite TV show, to help him take down Jerry and his guardian.

I haven’t seen the original, which I promise to remedy soon, but this trailer just look fantastic. It’s not going to win any Academy Awards but Farrell just oozes the right amount of allure as well as creepiness and I can already see the action packed third act where Yelchin crosses to road to care of business coming and I just can’t wait for it.

What do you think of the trailer?

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