On the Silver Screen

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

By Brian Lafferty

 

June 11, 2012 (San Diego) – I attend every screening with a pen and small notebook in hand. I have a strong visual memory, but it never hurts to jot down certain things I may later overlook. For Prometheus, I wrote only three brief sentences before I put the notebook down. This film had the tractor beam effect on my eyes. I sat fully entranced, unable to look away.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "CABIN" FEVER

By Brian Lafferty

 

April 13, 2012 (San Diego) – The plot synopsis is the easiest part of writing film criticism. It’s also my least favorite. It puts a crimp on word counts; far too often I’ve had to jettison entire paragraphs of criticism to begrudgingly accommodate it.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

By Brian Lafferty

March 23, 2012 (San Diego) – The Hunger Games is gripping, emotional, and gritty. It’s Hollywood’s second great survival film after Joe Carnahan’s The Grey. On top of that, it’s an indictment on the social disparities between the elite and lower class, and on American society’s obsession with reality television.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: MAD LOVE

By Brian Lafferty

 

March 22, 2012 (San Diego) – My first exposure to Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran was in my Language of Film class at California State University, Fullerton. In this class, we had to watch at least two to three movies per week to analyze such film grammar as movement, color, rhythm, lines, space, etc.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SHOCK PARTY

By Brian Lafferty

 

March 13, 2011 (San Diego) – Everyone has the time of their lives in Project X, a comedy movie, party movie, found footage movie, and disaster film all rolled into one. I’m happy that they had fun because I didn’t. I felt like a teenager forced by his parents to attend a social gathering with people he doesn’t know and can’t relate to.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SPACE COWBOY

By Brian Lafferty

 

March 13, 2012 (San Diego) – This year I (quietly) introduced a rating system. In short, the highest rating a movie can get is an A, a D- is the lowest rating a movie can get on the basis of being bad, and an F given to films that are not only unbearably bad, but immoral, base, incompetently shot, and beneath contempt.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (DVD)

By Brian Lafferty

 

March 6, 2012 (San Diego) – Anthology films are like short story collections and concept albums. Like the former, they offer an eclectic selection of stories. Like a concept album, an anthology film’s stories can sometimes be connected to a certain theme or share similar qualities.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "SENSE" AND SENSIBILITY

By Brian Lafferty

 

February 27, 2012 (San Diego) – Perfect Sense starts out innocently. After it creeps up on you, it snowballs with emotional intensity before hitting you with maximum impact. It subverts every Disease of the Week and End of the World cliché, resulting in a fresh script additionally laden with originality. It opened my mind to new possibilities.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: KILLER "ELITE"

By Brian Lafferty

February 13, 2012 (San Diego) – Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is populated with politicians more corrupt than Randy “Duke” Cunningham and a slew of dirty cops. With so many stock characters and potentially tiresome tropes like chases and shootouts, the film could have easily become a hotbed of clichés. Elite Squad, against all odds, transcends them all with a complex script. Nothing – not the characters, plot, themes, nothing – in this movie is as simple as black and white.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "HOUSE" OF SPY GAMES

By Brian Lafferty

 

February 10, 2012 (San Diego) – Has Daniel Espinosa seen every single Tony Scott film? Based on what I saw in Safe House, I don’t doubt it. Safe House is so influenced by his films that it could very well have been directed by Scott.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: FANTASY "ISLAND"

By Brian Lafferty

 

February 10, 2012 (San Diego) – After watching Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, I wondered what Six Year Old Me would have thought. Six Year Old Me would have loved it. He would have laughed, he would have been thrilled, and he would have had fun.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: TOUCH OF "GREY"

By Brian Lafferty

 

January 27, 2012 (San Diego) – Around this time last year, Sanctum hit theaters. Set in a series of frigid, but gorgeous underwater caves, it boasted beautiful cinematography. Unfortunately, it was a dopey survival movie whose sole purpose was to kill off its cardboard characters in gruesome ways.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (BLU-RAY)

By Brian Lafferty

 

January 23, 2012 (San Diego) – The last few years have been rough on a lot of people. People have lost their jobs, they don’t know how to support themselves and their families, and I’m sure there are those who, like George Bailey, wish they had never been born.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SMUGGLING ACT

By Brian Lafferty

January 13, 2012 (San Diego) – Contraband is a goofy mess. It inspires laughter at the wrong moments and reticent admiration for its actors, who display a work ethic not unlike the horse in Animal Farm, but are deserving of a better film. Part of me wants to tell you to see it for its awfulness, but I can’t. Time and money are precious. Maybe it when it comes out on home video.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: DEMON SEED (DVD)

By Brian Lafferty

 

January 3, 2011 (San Diego) – Demon Seed, available from the Warner Archive Collection and adapted from a novel by Dean Koontz, may borrow from Rosemary’s Baby and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I still felt like I hadn’t seen anything like it before.

 

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