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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

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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