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Joel David Moore

Blu-ray Review: Weak Filmmaking Drains Creative Pool of ‘Shark Night’

Shark Night

CHICAGO – There may be little LESS scary in horror than a CGI shark. From the very first scene of “Shark Night,” one knows they’re in movie-watching trouble. A personality-less drone in a bikini gets tossed around a seemingly placid lake by an unseen shark. One can’t tell what the hell is going on. There’s no shots below the surface (not really to build tension but because this movie is inexplicably PG-13). And there’s no fear, tension, or actual interest. From here, it’s much of the same. Dull, dull, shark attack, dull, shark attack, end. Throw this one back in the water.

Blu-ray Review: Despite Interesting Intentions, ‘Chillerama’ Misses Target

Chillerama

CHICAGO – I was SO with “Chillerama” when it started. The concept is right in my wheelhouse as I’ve long been a fan of B-movies, having been raised on the works of Roger Corman, Troma, and the writing of Joe Bob Briggs. If “Chillerama” can’t appease me, it’s unlikely to work for anyone. Bad news. Despite its best intentions and clever foundation, the execution here is just off, resulting in a hit-and-miss film that does way too much of the latter half of that equation.

Film Review: ‘Shark Night 3D’ is Stupid Enough to Be a Cult Film

CHICAGO – “Shark Night 3D” is at the top of the food chain when it comes to the people-so-stupid-they-lack-basic-survival-skills category of horror thrillers, and has so many wrong elements it nearly swings back to be right.

Blu-Ray Review: Incredible Release of ‘Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition’

CHICAGO – In April, Fox released one of the best Blu-rays of the year for James Cameron’s “Avatar,” an edition that proved that the film would still work even without the theatrical benefits of 3D or IMAX. It was one of the most impressive-looking HD releases in history but the lack of special features made clear that a double dip was on its way. Seven months later, Fox unveils the “Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition” and it is simply amazing.

Blu-Ray Review: Adam Green’s ‘Hatchet’ Continues to Divide Audiences

Hatchet

CHICAGO – Is Adam Green the next great horror director? There are many fans of the genre who love to make the case of the current-and-future importance of Green, pointing to films like “Frozen,” “Spiral,” and, most of all, “Hatchet” as their evidence. To some, including this horror junkie, the jury is still out. Watching Green’s breakthrough film, now available on Blu-ray, it’s easy to see what people adore about Green and what he still needs to work on.

Blu-Ray Review: James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Revolutionizes HD

CHICAGO – When “Avatar” played in theaters, many viewers wondered how it would look at home without the benefit of 3D or IMAX to help propel the awe of the experience. The recently-released Blu-ray should settle any arguments.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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