‘Aladdin’ is Disney animation at its best

Aladdin gets the lamp in Disney's 'Aladdin'
Aladdin gets the lamp in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’

[rating=3]Starring: the Voices of Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale
Director(s): Ron Clements & John Musker
Writer(s): Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliot, and Terry Rossio

The Disney animation machine has been chugging along for nearly a century, turning out some of the most remembered and celebrated pieces of moving imagery in history. Generations have grown up with memories of Snow White and the Seven DwarvesBambi and The Little Mermaid.

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Overlooking the Self: ‘The Shining’ as an allegory of American Imperialism

Shelley Duvall (left), Danny Lloyd and Jack Nicholson head to the Overlook Hotel in 'The Shining'
Shelley Duvall (left), Danny Lloyd and Jack Nicholson head to the Overlook Hotel in ‘The Shining’

In The Shining, writer-director Stanley Kubrick presents the chilling tale of Jack Torrance, a middle-aged, all-American family man who slowly loses his mind to forces of the supernatural. When he accepts the position of caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, a massive, swank institution ornately decorated and expensively furnished, Jack opens himself up to the physical manifestation of his alter ego, a ghostly force destined to hack up his wife and son with an ax.

Throughout the film, we learn three pieces of information central to the film’s thematic progression. First, that the Overlook has quite a sordid past and remnants of the past still linger in the hallways and guest rooms of the hotel. Next, that Jack’s young son, Danny, has a form of extrasensory perception, not to mention an alter ego of his own. And, most central to the story, we discover that when given the chance, forces of evil will drive humankind to commit inhumane acts.

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Murder Me Mallory: ‘Natural Born Killers’ and the Media

In a landscape of television media riddled with fancy computer-generated American flag logos, snappy catchphrases like “America Under Siege” and glittery advertisements encouraging us to preserve the spirit of liberty by buying a Ford, it seems needless to argue the notion that television shapes not merely our reception of news and information, but our perception of it as well. In the wake of September 11th, nightly news reports focus almost exclusively on the worldwide manhunt for terrorists, yet there continues to be little new information on this front. News programs have evolved from hour-a-week broadcasts to day-long spectacles for celebrity newscasters to interview one more family of a fallen firefighter.

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The Color of Special Effects & ‘Aliens’

Sulaco in 'Aliens'
Sulaco in ‘Aliens’

The majority of filmgoers are familiar with the use of blue- or green screens in filming effect shots in big budget films such as Star Wars or the Matrix. But with the advent of digital compositing in post production, a wide variety of colored screens can be used depending on the color of the foreground objects that are shot in front of it. So there are blue screens, green screens, black screens and even red screens in some cases.

The most famous of these is the blue screen. Here we will explore the process involved in replacing those “blue” with an image.

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‘Vlad’ was a big idea that comes out small

[rating=2]Starring: Billy Zane, Paul Popowich, Kam Heskin, Nicholas Irons, Brad Dourif, Francesco Quinn, Monica Davidescu
Director(s): Michael D. Sellers
Writer(s): Written by Michael D. Sellers, based upon a story concept by Tony Shawkat

'Vlad'
‘Vlad’

This was a difficult review to write. After watching Vlad — due out on DVD September 21st — I had to really sort through my feelings to figure out exactly what I thought of it. In the end, I was left with a rather ambiguous, it’s not bad… but it’s not exactly good, either.

Basically, the concept of the film has four college students embarking on a research project about Vlad the Impaler. However, their trip is threatened by a mysterious group who wish to get their hands on a mystical necklace, which one of the students has in their possession. The necklace’s powers soon bridge the past and future, by bringing Vlad the Impaler into the present day where he quickly sets out to wreck havoc.

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