Monday, May 18, 2009

MY BLOODY VALENTINE? Either provide decent 3-D on DVD -- or don't even bother

Theatrical 3-D -- I'm referring now to something like the currently-in-release Monsters vs. Aliens -- has definitely arrived. It's got the technology down pat: easy to view, non-headache-producing, full of stylish, clever, sometimes thrilling effects. And when this same movie arrives on DVD and is popped into your home player with those little paper glasses planted not-so-firmly on your nose, the result -- if history is any guide -- is going to be abysmal. History, in this case, would include tomorrow's release of MY BLOODY VALENTINE, via Lionsgate, which is not even up to the relatively crummy level of last year's Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D, which was a gift from Warner Bros' New Line Cinema.

Slasher movie acting lesson: One -- Look romantic/sexy/wistful.

"Valentine" actually takes 3-D so far down the tubes that the headache arrives within moments of trying to view this wretched transfer: out of focus most of the time, dark and gloomy (and not only in the scenes that are supposed to be dark and gloomy) with the effects that were so hyped-as-fantastic in the theater barely registering here on your TV monitor. So bad is this ridiculous would-be 3-D movie that, within minutes, I suspect you'll have hit -- and hard -- "eject," flipping the little silver circle over to its infinitely more watchable 2-D side.

Slasher movie acting lesson: Two -- Look scared.

My Bloody Valentine is actually not that bad an example of the slasher film, given what else is out there these days. It has the sense to add a mystery to the usual goings-on so that we at least have something else to think about besides the tiresome, typical "Who's the next victim?" The cast is -- surprise! -- full of pretty girls and hunky guys with acting skills that at least can handle the task at hand. Generally speaking, this means looking sexy, romantic and/or wistful, then looking scared. And finally, more often than not, looking dead. (If you think about it, the cast of one slasher movie could easily be switched for the cast of another without many viewers being any the wiser.)

Slasher movie acting lesson: Three -- Look dead.

Director Patrick Lussier (helmer of the Wes Craven-produced nouveau-Dracula series and a fine film editor: see Red Eye) does an OK job of moving things along. His pacing is smart, he gets decent performances from his cast, and a few of the killings are prime in terms of producing a creative weapon-meets-victim moment (see above for one example). Yes, there is a degree of the same-old/same-old here, but since this is true of almost every slasher movie since the dawn of knife, ax and chainsaw, let us not pretend to expect much originality. What we should expect -- insist on, really -- is that movie distributors either put up the money for the technology to obtain decent 3-D on DVD or just give it up. Subjecting us to continued shoddy and inferior product will only come back to bite them in the ass when viewers finally reply, "Don't even ask" to at-home 3-D.

Just breaking news, as of 4:40AM on 5/19/09, Video Business Magazine reports that Blu-Ray will soon be tackling 3-D Home Standards. You can read the article here. No exact time frame is promised, but eventually maybe we'll be able to have the 3-D theatrical experience at home....

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