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Mr. Beaks is coming at ya in 3-D at the 3-D Film Expo -- IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE!!!

Hey folks, Harry here with Mr Beaks talking about the coolest film festival in the world right now. Father Geek and I are coming in for the Sunday Line-up at the festival - and hopefully get tickets to the films that day... HOPE-a-HOPE-a-HOPE-a! People that just blanketly claim that all 3-D movies suck without having a real knowledge of this vintage period really don't know what they're talking about. HOUSE OF WAX, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, HONDO, DIAL "M" FOR MURDER, I, THE JURY, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.... these are all superior films! And they are all truly enhanced and more thrilling film experiences when seen as originally intended. It's a good reason to travel halfway across the country... especially when many of these films haven't been screened in 50 years, because of the death of the format. Now that it is re-emerging in regular theaters via James Cameron & Robert Rodriguez... It is very important to examine what has come before to see what dramatically worked and failed in terms of 3-D filmmaking story devices. Wish I could have been there for the whole thing! Here's Beaks...

I guess film festivals are a year-round phenomenon, cropping up wherever there’s a dead weekend to be found, or a woefully underappreciated artist to be celebrated, but since Labor Day weekend, I feel like we’ve been kicked in the butt by a heapin’ helpin’ of these suckers. Toronto, Venice, Deauville, with New York about to come in a week or so, not to mention all of the specialized showcases going on across the country.

Right now in Los Angeles, there’s The World 3-D Film Expo at the Egyptian Theater, which has been described to me as the temporary Mecca of the Film Geek universe. (Hopefully, you already took a gander at And why wouldn’t it be? According to the press notes, many of these films are being shown in 3-D for the first time since the 1950’s, and are unlikely to be seen in this kind of high quality presentation again. Hell, Reichmeister Knowles himself *almost* deigned to grace Los Angeles with his presence just to attend it. I got a chance to check out IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, and was knocked out by the clarity and depth of the image (not to mention the movie, which is a Ray Bradbury inspired gem). If you’ve never seen a classic film in 3-D before, this is *the* way to do it, and while some of the big guns have already been screened (including THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and HOUSE OF WAX), there’s still some other notable films on the way. I’ll be heading back for I, THE JURY on Saturday, and might have to check out THE FRENCH LINE on Sunday, if only to feast my eyes upon the two most noble justifications for the advent of 3-D filmmaking, both of them belonging to Jane Russell. DIAL “M” FOR MURDER is also screening this week, but it appears to be sold out, and I don’t know that any stand-by tickets will be available (probably not). I was fortunate enough to see it several years ago at the Film Forum in New York City, and, honestly, watching it in its proper presentation elevates the film from a merely well-acted murder mystery to a masterful and, at times, fiendishly clever (watch out for those scissors) use of the form to open up what is little more than a filmed play. Though all of these pictures are arguably can’t-miss affairs given the infrequency of their exhibition, DIAL “M” FOR MURDER is the one you might consider doing as the title instructs just to see it.

Now, if only they’d do a schlock 1980’s 3-D festival in the near future, featuring such unforgettable mind rapes on the putrid order of TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS, COMIN’ AT YA, METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN and THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE, the film that finally recognized that two-dimensions are woefully inaccurate for the outsized genius of Steve Guttenberg.

Another event that has been closing in on my radar thanks to a number of emails from enterprising young filmmakers with works screening there is the Los Angeles incarnation of the New York Film & Video Festival, which is kicking off this Friday, September 19th, with screenings at the Laemmle Fairfax Theaters, as well as Raleigh Studios. When I lived in New York, I’d occasionally check out films of friends and acquaintances that had managed to get selected for the festival. As usual, the entries appear to run the gamut from animated shorts to feature films to documentaries to experimental works to Dalmatian Tentacle Porn and so on – all of them looking for distribution or recognition. And just like many other film festivals around the globe, it’s often very difficult to decide what’s worth seeing since so many of the movies have yet to be screened for anyone.

I’m not going to pretend that I’ve done my homework for this festival (though I did notice that Mark L. Lester has a film on the schedule!), but a young man named Gavin Heffernan found a way to get his labor of love in front of me, and though I am inundated with requests to check out all manner of projects in any variety of medium, I’m happy I gave into his persistence. His film, titled EXPIRATION, is a sort of heartfelt variation on AFTER HOURS concerning the plight of three young characters brought together by a convenience store robbery. This unexpected occurrence sends them out on nightlong adventure which just might carry a greater significance pertaining to their unclear futures. Essentially, this is a leaving home story, with the main character, played with the kind of winning onscreen charm by Heffernan that really can’t be faked, discovering that the path down which he’s begun to travel might be contrary to the yearnings of his heart. The themes are all familiar enough, but what’s most impressive about this feature length digital production, twenty-nine months in the making, is Heffernan’s second nature ease with narrative. His is a genuinely involving story, effortlessly told and undeniably affecting by the time it arrives at its unlikely conclusion. And this isn’t just a simple boy meets girl tale; it’s a pretty ambitious script with lots of clearly drawn supporting characters whose arcs are all seamlessly woven into the script. Heffernan’s a damn smart writer, and EXPIRATION is the exciting first step in what could be a very exciting career.

Finally, there’s the First Annual Festival of Endless Screenings Until I Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil, which is currently underway, and will be getting lots more coverage as we head into awards season.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 17, 2003, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Didn't read the review/news

    by runningsore

    Did I make it?

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:01 p.m. CST

    YES...YES...YES!!!

    by runningsore

    FIRST!!! Yes I know, *uck me up my stupid ass....I don't care! I'M FIRST!

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:01 p.m. CST

    I remember my first exposure to 3-D

    by vikingkitty

    My local NBC affiliate ran a presentation of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" in the early 80's, and promoted the hell out of the fact that 3-D glasses could be picked up at your local Wendy's.

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:31 p.m. CST

    It must be said

    by IFartOnYourGrave

    Fuck first posters, fuck them up their stupid asses...

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Jaws 3D

    by jimmychitwood

    i remember seeing that in the theatre...it sucked, i even knew that at 12...

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Already saw Creature and Outer Space in 3D.

    by Durendal

    I've already seen these two in 3D, as well as another classic known as The Maze. They were at a nifty dollar theater in Spokane, Washinton, about two hours from where I live. The theater gave out the 3D glasses and everything. Ah, if only I had been familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000 at the time. They're classics, I know, but they're still pretty bad by today's standards, but it's a good kind of bad.

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:47 p.m. CST

    third dimension

    by septimus_p

    As good as IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and HOUSE OF WAX still are, I have fond memories of some pretty bad 3-D flicks that were still corny fun at the movies: GORILLA AT LARGE and a tripped-out horror flick about an ancient aztec relic called (I think) THE MASK. 3-D went best with cheese! Oh Yeah, one other thing: for a truly 3-Dimensional candidate for 2004, vote WESLEY CLARK FOR PRESIDENT IN 2004! Rhodes Scholar, Viet Nam vet, a fellow who has a master's degree in economics and was also supreme commander of NATO. Doen't W.'s silly dress-up landing on that aircraft carrier look awfully silly next to a FOUR STAR GENERAL? Bush is toast!

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:58 p.m. CST

    First 3D movie was...

    by RenoNevada2000

    A 16 mm print of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON screened at a friend's birthday party when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Nothing cooler than a backyard full of kids (they were projecting onto a large bedsheet) ducking and screaming the night away to this.

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 2:59 p.m. CST

    East Coasters don't dispair!

    by RenoNevada2000

    The Film Forum in New York City will be running DIAL M FOR MURDER in 3D starting January 2. I'm definitely driving in (2 hours) for that.

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Dammit!

    by IFartOnYourGrave

    Why can't cool stuff like this be in my town?

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 4:08 p.m. CST

    ANTON SIRIUS DONT LOOK LIKE A GEEK!!!

    by dorisday

    I'm a Torontonian who was watching the cable access channel which carried all of the Film Festival press screenings. Anton Sirius got up and introduced himself as being from "AICN News" at one of these press conferences. I was totally surprised. He's tall, blonde, young and he doesn't look like a geek at all. And I'll bet he loved his digs at the Candy Factory Lofts

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 4:19 p.m. CST

    I've seen It Came From Outer Space...

    by Cap'n Chaos!

    I saw it in 3-D at KSU a few years ago and, quite frankly, I thought it was pretty crappy even among the ranks of '50s sci-fi. It could have been a bad print, but the 3-D seemed pretty bad too. Oh if only I could have been there the prior year when they screened Creature.

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 5:38 p.m. CST

    3-D films still shown in Milw, WI

    by AZhippieboy

    Being a huge fan of 3-D movies, I had the pleasure of finding a theater in Milwaukee, WI that still shows 3-D movies. I was lucky enough to watch a showing of House of Wax, and Friday the 13th part 3 last year before I moved to Arizona. Although I love it down here, I still miss that theater. For you guys in or near Wisconsin, check out www.timescinema.com for upcoming 3-D movies. Next month, they're showing Friday the 13th 3 around Halloween.

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 6:07 p.m. CST

    fucking them up their stupid asses

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    THE ANAL PROBE IN 3-D!!!!!!!! THE ANAL PROBE IN 3-D!!!!!!!! THE ANAL PROBE IN 3-D!!!!!!!! THE LORD HAS BLESSED US WITH THE ANAL PROBE IN 3-D!!!!!!!.....And thus, Amen! - - - George, The 7th Chicken!!!!

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 8:03 p.m. CST

    3d film expo

    by MiltonWaddams

    a lot of reasons to film the main character blowing bubbles towards the camera and possibly confetti peices. where do i sign up?

  • Sept. 17, 2003, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Creature from the Black Lagoon

    by Syd Mead

    Was okay, not perfect but okay. It was only good because of the awesome make up design. The creature was a classic. Scared the shit out of me as a little kid. Since there is probably less than 100 features made in 3D at least a hand full won't completely suck hard great dane cock. Here's another one that did... Comin' At Ya ! Made in the early 1980's when 3D had its half assed second coming of sorts. No it wasn't a porn but a cheesy western if I remember it correctly. It's so easy to forget crap.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Nice reference to 'Comin' At Ya!'

    by crimsonrage

    Ferdinando Baldi's 80's 'sort-of' remake of his Spaghetti Western masterpiece 'Blindman', which had Ringo Starr as a Mexican bandit! Anyone who liked the blind gunfighter stuff in 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico' would be advised to see 'Blindman'. Rodriguez was clearly inspired by it.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:51 a.m. CST

    3-D movies can be fun but also a pain in the butt!

    by TheFoywonder

    Especially if they are of the blue/red glasses varierty. We briefly considered running ROBOT MONSTER in 3-D for SCHLOCKTOBERFEST but it just wasn't meant to be. For my money, the best 3-D movie I ever saw in a movie theater was the 1985 animated movie Starchaser: The Legend of Orin. ONLY 30 MORE DAYS UNTIL SCHLOCKTOBERFEST 2003: SCHLOCK & AWE! www.schlocktoberfest.com

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Caught "It Came from Outer Space" at college back in the late 70

    by Rolling_Stone

    Still does.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 2:18 a.m. CST

    Seats are available on stand-by

    by plasmon

    I've got a festival pass to "The World 3-D Film Expo" and I want urge that those who are motivated to do so have a fighting chance of seeing one of the sold out films by getting there early enough. For sold out performances they are checking the number of empty of seats just before start time and letting in people who have been waiting in a special stand-by line in. At "Creature From The Black Lagoon" there were 17 or so open seats, so at least that many people got in to see the supposedly sold out show. I would guess you should be there at least two hours (perhaps even 3 hours) early to make sure you can get a seat. Most shows are not sold out. The most pleasant suprise for me so far has been "Kiss Me Kate". I'm not a musical fan but it was well acted, sung, and danced, and had some nice use of 3D without getting silly about it. Another surprise was "Gorilla at Large" with a very young Raymond Burr and Anne Bancroft and some entertaining performances from Lee J. Cobb and Lee Marvin - there is a lot of use of 3D but again in a fun way. And the classics like "House of Wax", "It Came From Outer Space", and "Creature From The Black Lagoon" have never looked better to me, with true polarized 3D. Even "Robot Monster", which is infamous for its ridiculousness, looked fantastic - and I hadn't remembered that the musical score was by Elmer Bernstein as was the musical score for the "Cat-Women Of The Moon", a truly silly sci-fi effort. So give some of the future films a shot if you're willing to stay in line. Start time for "Dial M For Murder" is Fri Sep 19 at 9:30. Other films can be checked out at www.3dfilmfest.com.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 5:43 a.m. CST

    i remember watching Dial M in a big cinema and smoking weed

    by CuervoJones

    that was like 4D at least!

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Beaks.. you try too hard dude

    by BilboFett

    Man.. do you have a thesarus out everytime you write? Do you talk like this in person? Your prose is difficult to navigate, and its an effort to even comprehend what your main point is. Sorry bud.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Metalstorm! Snort!!!

    by Poetamelie

    "Metalstorm: the Destruction of Jared-Syn" is right up there with "Freddy as FRO7," "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever," and "Married To It" for the all-time worst, most pretentious movie titles. Thank you for the best laugh I've had all morning! Time to kick back and watch "Gymkata," now that I'm in the mood.

  • Sept. 18, 2003, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Comin' At Ya!

    by mascan

    Ugh . . . I remember this for the mental scar it left . . . the scene with the baby crapping straight down at the camera . . . don't know how that made it past the MPAA, but I've never been the same since.

  • Sept. 19, 2003, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Fort Ti / The Maze

    by plasmon

    To give a feel for some of the films, here are some comments about two of them from last night, both lesser efforts... FORT TI (1953) is a B-movie roughly structured around a real life group of pre-American forces in 1759. Helping the British overseers, the Americans, who uniformily speak in modern idiomatic American English, are fighting their evil enemies, the French and the Indians. The real-life rag tag guerrillas are portrayed as highly disciplined and uniformily well-dressed (wearing imitation Robin Hood green felt forest get-ups). The injuns all wear indian costume #4. Fight scenes are all ridiculous, with guns being magically reloaded in a matter of seconds, hand-to-hand combat that compares with a high school students effort, a love story with no believeability, a spy story with no impact, and an anti-climatic attack on Fort Ticonderoga. But the movie exists for 3-D. There are frequent thrusts of flames into the camera, guns and cannons point right at the audience, hatchets go flying past your head, all of it entertaining but mostly just little bon-bons to entertain the audience. SPOOKS was shown, a Three Stooges short of the boys trying to sell pies in a deserted neighborhood in the middle of the night when they enter a house where Dr. Jeckel and Mr Hyde are about to transplant a brain from a luscious young female into a gorilla who is in a cage. Hijinks ensue with knives flying toward the viewer as well as many pies into the faces of all. A lesser short not really rescued by anything in 3-D. THE MAZE is a 1953 British film that is really slow going until the final 10 minutes when... No, I won't say what happens but for those who have seen the ending it will be memorable... The acting is uniformily British average for the time. The 3-D effects are actually quite good. There is very little gratuitous stuff flying at the camera, mostly the sets always have furniture or something in the foreground and people placed at various depths, emphasizing the 3-D medium in subtle and typical British fashion. DOOMTOWN was the final short, a very interesting puff-piece produced in 1953 about one of the first publicized atomic bomb explosions in Nevada. This is the explosion that has the famous scenes of phony houses exploding from the blast wave as well as cars and trucks. What I hadn't known that these were filmed in 3-D. Actually they used two cameras side-by-side hoping that one of them would survive the blast but sometimes both cameras survived making it possible to produce a 3-D image. Some people in the audience were cheering when the bomb went off and caused all the destruction, I guess there are people like that everywhere, but I was quietly awed by the brief but very rare images that have survived. I don't remember the name of the person who has worked on re-constructing the film but kudos to him. Thats all, this should give an idea of one night of the festival. Not the best night, but entertaining none the less.

  • Sept. 22, 2003, 4:54 a.m. CST

    Festival Over

    by plasmon

    The festival is finally over! There were 35 shows, usually a feature with a short that would have played with the feature back 50 years ago. THIS WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST FILM FESTIVALS I'VE EVER BEEN TO! The films shown covered most of the 3-D releases from the early 50s and offered a great sampling. Included was some real rare stuff, British test films, several scenes from Howard Hughes's SON OF SINBAD with Vincent Price, Jane Russell in another Hughes production of THE FRENCH LINE complete with both an original uncensored dance sequence and a censored version that was the one that was released, stereo film experiments from pre-1923, and even the deservedly unknown Harry Mimmo in DOWN THE HATCH, and many, many other films. Its unlikely that a festival like this is going to be shown again, but it will be fondly remembered by me.

  • Sept. 23, 2003, 4:16 p.m. CST

    3-D FILM EXPO

    by juanpa

    First of all, SPY KIDS 3D was not areal 3-D when you compare with the wonderful experience of films were shown at the Hollywood Egyptian's 3-D FILM EXPO. I never thought ther were so many films in great shape and good 3-D...no color lens...Polaroid style...so you could feel clean and great the effect. Congratulations to organizers for great Festival and my best support to the kind people who host the Festival eveyday ... I enjoyed at all

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:09 p.m. CST

    COMIN AT YA RERELEASE!!!!

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    crazy shit