On the Silver Screen

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.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: BRIDESMAIDS (DVD)

By Brian Lafferty

 

January 3, 2012 (San Diego) – I pop in the Bridesmaids DVD. I’m ready to laugh. I wait. Fifteen minutes pass. Then thirty. No laughter. Then a whole hour passes by, but not a single chuckle was uttered. Towards the end of the movie it was so quiet in the house that I distinctly thought I heard the sound of crickets chirping outside.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "MISSION" ACCOMPLISHED

 

By Brian Lafferty

December 21, 2011 (San Diego) – Many people I know would be hard-pressed to name their favorite TV show. For me, it’s easy. Mission: Impossible is my all-time favorite TV show. There’s something about the creativity in each mission’s execution. Even though everybody knows that the team will succeed, that doesn’t mean it lacks suspense.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

By Brian Lafferty

November 11, 2011 (San Diego) – Apparently every generation brings a disaster movie in which an asteroid, meteor, or comet is about to strike the Earth. There was Meteor in 1979. My generation had not one but two such movies in 1998. They were Michael Bay’s Armageddon and Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact. I don’t think I need to tell you which was more popular among my classmates.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: UNCONSCIENTIOUS DIRECTOR

By Brian Lafferty

 

November 11, 2011 (San Diego) – As a critic it’s easy to look at a film and say something like, “It would have been better if they did this.” The flaw of such logic is that there’s no guarantee that the replacements or additions would be any better than what made it onto the screen. Nor would excising a scene or plot necessarily benefit the movie.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: THE GREEN LANTERN (BLU-RAY)

By Brian Lafferty



November 7, 2011 (San Diego) – The comic book superhero genre won’t be going away anytime soon and that’s all right with me. Thanks to Warner Bros., The Dark Knight and Watchmen rank among my most favorite theater experiences. There have been many other comic book movies that left me excited for the next installment, eager to discuss them with friends.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: NOTHIN' BUT A GOOD "TIME"

By Brian Lafferty

 

November 4, 2011 (San Diego) – I love surprises. I drove into the parking lot where the In Time screening too place thinking that it was going to be a dime a dozen action film with incoherent stunts and poor camerawork held together by a gimmick. Over two hours later, I went home with a smile on my face.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: THE PACK (DVD)

By Brian Lafferty

 

October 12, 2011 (San Diego) – The 1950s spawned a then-novel horror subgenre. Many of these movies involved everyday animals and insects attacking entire cities after being transformed into giants (usually thanks to atomic testing or laboratory experiments).

 

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