What can you do when your family has gotten so annoying that you have to physically remove yourself from the equation for fear of causing bodily harm to someone that you’ll probably have to see a weekend later for New Year’s? Well, going to the movies is always an option. Unfortunately, with the crop that’s springing up this year, you might want to sit tight and endure your familial strife, since that may just be a better option.
We’re in the final stretch now. Christmas Day is right around the corner, so you better stock up on Blu-ray goodies for the movie buffs in your life. While the titles being released this week weren’t necessarily the biggest films of the year, there are a few things of interest.
This weekend asked the question: “Can you open a sequel nearly 30 years after the original and expect anybody to show up?” And the question was answered: “Well, yes. Sort of.” Theaters saw the release of ‘Tron: Legacy’, a movie that I liked for its flashy, art-directed-within-an-inch-of-its-life audio video aesthetic (and the weirdness that goes along with it), but didn’t find nearly as compelling on a commercial narrative plane – or, er, grid. That sentiment seemed to be shared with the masses, as the movie debuted as a hit… but how much of a hit?
The “somebody” in question is Warner Bros. Pictures, which is unleashing a big-budget, low-intelligence movie based on the “classic” (there should be a fair amount of discussion here about that signifier) Hanna-Barbara cartoon series ‘Yogi Bear’. It just looks dreadful. Thankfully, there are other things out there this weekend that you can check out instead.
I’m just going to say it: The roll-out of 3-D Blu-ray this year has been an unmitigated disaster. The technology is there and ready (and by all accounts is very impressive), but the unfocused marketing and paltry selection of titles available have curtailed most consumers’ interest in the product. Chief among the major screw-ups has been the limiting of desirable titles to brand-exclusive bundle packages. You want to watch ‘Monsters vs. Aliens‘ in 3-D? Buy a Samsung 3-D starter kit for $350. How about ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’ or ‘Coraline’? Oh, sorry; those are only available with the Panasonic 3-D kit (also $350). Can you use the Samsung glasses with a Panasonic TV or vice versa? Of course not. And now we’re being told that the most-wanted 3-D title of all will be locked into an exclusivity deal for another year? It’s like someone is purposefully trying to kill 3-D Blu-ray before it can possibly gain any traction.
Even though the movie was marred by terrible reviews (including one from yours truly), it was still thought that ‘The Tourist’ would top the box office this weekend. The combined draw of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, as well as the intriguing “sexy international thriller” vibe that the trailers and TV spots put out, should have been enough to get people flocking (FLOCKING) to the cinemas. Meanwhile, Fox released the third installment in the very-literally-preachy ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series after Disney backed out following the catastrophic box office of the second film, to tepid reviews and only so-so word of mouth. But it turns out that you just can’t keep a good Jesus Lion down!
This weekend, a pair of big-budget Hollywood movies are opening while a few smaller films are sneaking into theaters specifically for awards consideration. (Don’t worry, only one looks like it will be considered at all.) Nothing seems all that exciting. Something tells me this year is going to end with a whimper and not with a bang (and not just because I’ve seen a lot of stuff opening between now and the end of the year).
‘Be Kind Rewind‘ was not a very good movie, but it inspired a whole movement of zero-budget, fan-made remakes and fake trailers for famous movies that now proliferate on YouTube. This “sweded” trailer for ‘Tron: Legacy’ may be one of the most fun I’ve seen recently.
I’m taking my plans to upgrade my home theater to 3-D slowly and easily, one small step at a time. Step 1 is to get a 3-D Blu-ray player. That happened this week when the OPPO BDP-93 arrived on my doorstep. Let the unboxing begin!