Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Hotel Transylvania
Although I love the animated stylings of Genndy Tartakovsky, and although the character designs in Hotel Transylvania were fun and interesting, overall I was totally nonplussed by this film. The little-bird-leaving-the-nest storyline it tells has been done dozens of times before, and I could see every plot point coming from a mile away. As I said, the character designs are good, and there are some chuckle-worthy gags, but sadly this movie doesn’t translate well to 2D, as literally every shot is clearly crafted in service of the 3D effect this movie had in theatres rather than in service of the story. As entertainment for young kids, you could do worse, but Genndy Tartakovsky has done much better.
2.5 out of 5

Unfortunately, Tim Burton’s disastrous Dark Shadows came out before Frankenweenie, and that movie’s poor reception seems to have resulted in Frankenweenie being overlooked. Make no mistake, Frankenweenie is the superior film, with a look that screams Tim Burton (black and white, German Expressionist angles, Burton’s trademark character designs) and yet manages to be distinct from Burton’s other works – even the short film that inspired it! Much like ParaNorman, another stop-motion gem from 2012, Frankenweenie tackles some pretty serious subject matter – the death of those we love – in a heartwarming, funny and creative fashion, and you’ll find yourself laughing as much as crying. This movie is basically the best parts of Old Yeller and Mary Shelley’s classic tale of Frankenstein, and I loved every minute of it. Tim Burton’s recent track record may be spotty, but in my mind movies like Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows were worth it if their creation helped Frankenweenie to be realized.
4 out of 5

I have never cared about the comic book character Judge Dredd, and my only experience with him before this film was the atrocious Sylvester Stallone movie Judge Dredd with Rob Schneider. My ultra-low expectations may have done Dredd a favour, because instead of a completely stupid movie like the Stallone flick, I got an energetic sci-fi shoot-em-up that was evocative of movies like Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall. Dredd is no masterpiece, but with some clever science fiction moments and the same basic plot as The Raid: Redemption – the best action movie in recent memory – the movie succeeds in entertaining, keeping the pace up and ending before it gets tedious. If you want some good, old-fashioned R-rated sci-fi action that doesn’t require much thought but isn’t short on brains either, you, like me, will probably be pleasantly surprised by how fun Dredd can be.
3.25 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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