Gimmicks

Perfume

Tom Tykwer‘s Perfume: the Story of a Murderer was released in theaters in 2006, but it’s seeing another day for a very particular reason: the rebirth of Odorama. Well, not quite. The film is getting a limited re-release accompanied by a “scent track,” with customized perfumes created to heighten the filmgoing experience by corresponding with certain scenes. In a film about a deranged killer who has a superhuman sense of smell and an obsession with getting sniffs, it’s an apt feature to introduce. Basically, it’s ritzy Odorama, the scratch-and-sniff technology brought to theatres by John Waters in 1981 with Polyester. Instead of dog poop and sweaty sneakers, the scents are Thierry Mugler fragrances, a far cry from Odorama’s wacky, intentionally gross-out roots. Back in the early 2000s, perfumer Christophe Laudamiel heard that a film adaptation of his favorite novel was in the works and got busy with his vision: crafting scents to match the pivotal scenes of the story. Some are pleasant sounding, like Baby, Sea, and Baldini’s Boutique, but others are harsher — like Paris 1738, which mixes together notes of “sewage, rotting food and horse sweat.” Yummy. Laudamiel then took the products to Constantin films and Mugler, who both loved the idea, but the fragrances were only available to moviegoers in limited theaters in the lobby. With the re-release of the film, the scents will be given to audience members on card-stock strips so that they can sniff away during the intended moments.

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Boiling Point

3D has long been a viable tool in the filmmaker’s arsenal. Sure, it’s not a particularly awesome tool, but it can be a fun tool. My first theatrical experience was a neat showing of Night of the Living Dead 3D. I later really appreciated the in your face fun of My Bloody Valentine 3D. I mean, if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it, right? Plenty of people hate 3D and await its demise. I have never been one of them, but I’m slowly leaning their direction. I’ve previously said that one key to 3D remaining viable is to ditch the gigantic, heavy glasses – that’s still imperative. I hate those things. But really, I think 3D has to get more aggressive and in your face to justify the film being in 3D. I can’t get behind the sentiment that the 3D in Prometheus was good or added more to the experience. The 3D in Prometheus was unobtrusive. I think people liked it merely because it didn’t detract from the experience. Is the lack of failure the new marker of success? Not in my book. What does adding 3D do if you’re not going to exploit the technology?

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? To make his latest short, Joseph Ernst took a camera onto a London street. What makes it special, is the camera – a hand-cranked wooden beast that’s rocking 18 frames per second and coming up on its 100th birthday. What he captures is a kind of temperal confusion that seems gimmicky, but still speaks loudly to the films of the past. What we all wouldn’t give for a hi-def camera to take back to the 1920s to see what real life looked like back then. All too often, watching a movie from another era means seeing a time through the lens limitations and imagining things in their sepia-toned saturation instead of how they looked through everyday eyes. Ernst has done the reverse here, and it’s fascinating and funny. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Finnish filmmaker Juuso Mettälä heads under a frozen lake to get all of his shots for a gravity-defying short film that toys around with fluid motion and perspective to beautiful results. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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While 3D is all the rage now, and thankfully its death knell may be sounding, it can be easy to forget that 3D is not a new Hollywood trick to get butts into seats. There have been 3 distinct periods of prevalent 3D films in cinemas, one in the 50s, one in the 80s, and the one in which we currently find ourselves. And one of the films that helped kick of the 3D revival in the 80s was a spaghetti western called, rather appropriately, Comin’ At Ya 3D. It should be stated upfront that Comin’ At Ya 3D is first and foremost about the 3D gimmick. I won’t go so far as to say it’s not a film, but it’s definitely a case of style over substance and the story always takes a back seat to the in your face 3D effects. That’s not to say that the 3D doesn’t at times enhance the story being told, but it’s clear that the 3D is the big selling point here. No one was expecting Oscars for acting on this one. That said, Comin’ At Ya 3D is a lot of fun. If there’s something that could conceivably be thrown at the screen given the confines of a period Western, you can pretty much bet that it’s going to be thrown at the screen. It definitely takes a kitchen sink approach.

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Not content with three fake dimensions, Dimension Films (seriously) is going to release Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World with one more facet: the sense of smell. Smell-o-Vision was an abject failure as a movie fad – only appearing in the 1960 movie Scent of Mystery after its development by Hans Laube. The idea was that it could add to the film-watching experience by allowing an audience to smell what was happening on screen. Although there were competing technologies like AromaRama, the concept was one that never worked in a real theater setting (because scents don’t just go away instantly when you need them to, and the room ends up smelling like burnt roses buried in cigarettes and maple syrup). Learning from the overkill of Scent of Mystery‘s 30 smells, Sky Kids 4 will only have 8 points during the film where the audience can smell what’s happening on screen. Plus, instead of a puff of air, the movie’s “Aromascope” will achieve the effect by use of a rub-and-sniff card with corresponding numbers. That method was used with John Waters’s re-release of Polyester in 1982 (although he called it Odorama), and it worked well, but it’s all still a huge gimmick. And before you think it’s the studio that’s forcing it on the helpless artiste Robert Rodriguez, here’s his near-robotic statement included in the press release: “Families are going to love the interactivity of this new addition to the movie going experience. And best of all, you […]

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It’s dark, and it’s about to get darker. You slide ten cents worth of plastic onto your face because it’s supposed to make you see an extra dimension, and you’re paying more for it. There’s no need to do a full intro on 3D. We all know it. We all have opinions about it. Some movies that utilize it are heart-stopping while others are migraine makers without the chance of a refund. Yesterday, after coming late to the game on this one, I discovered the 3D world of sound, and it created an experience more immersive than any 3D I’ve ever seen. Strap on your headphones, take a few minutes of your day off from studying Greek Literature (you won’t use it) or ordering lunch for your boss (he can skip it), and check it out:

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Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Tolerate 3D.

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When I thought more and more about it, I realized that Scorsese is one director that doesn’t need 3D to add depth to his visuals.

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Hello 80s, Goodbye 3D

With the clear dawn of a new decade, we say goodbye to a once-great innovation that’s been reduced to a scummy fad. R.I.P. 3D.

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It’s happening. Theaters are going to start charging more to watch a film with an extra dimension despite a noticeable lack of vibrating seats. Will you shell out for it?

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ff-fireball

Tai gets out of jail thanks to bail money from his twin brother who is sadly in a coma from all the money-raising/underground mob activity he’s engaged in. So, Tai goes underground and joins a Fireball team as well to avenge his brother’s coma.

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With everyone clamoring to get more 3D movies in theaters and not enough screens to hold them, it’s a crucial time to either invest more or take a step back and question whether 3D is really going to last a while this time.

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PatrickLussierHalloween3

From the man that brought you gimmicky mining tools flying at your face comes gimmicky kitchen knives stabbed at your face. It might sound lame, but you don’t see the words “Rob Zombie” anywhere near this do you?

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There’s nothing in Cleopatra that screams out for 3D, unlike say, Soderbergh’s currently in-production The Girlfriend Experience starring porn star Sasha Grey. So why’s he doing it?

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