My Bloody Valentine 3D

Just when you thought it was safe to endure exposition

And get to it My Bloody Valentine 3D does. This is a film in a hurry.
Reported on 17th of January, 2009

As any of my friends will tell you, I am a very shallow person.  I like my girls pretty, my chips nacho, and I don’t like it when my bands become popular. 

My Bloody Valentine 3D

17 January 2009 @ AMC Century City 15

$17.50 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★


When R.E.M. became a superband, they were the same band, but they went from cool to uncool overnight.  They redeemed themselves somewhat when VH1 aired their story behind the music, and I found out Bill Berry left the band to be a farmer, but even that was not enough.

Actually, he did have a pretty nice doggy.

And I was just as disappointed to discover that My Bloody Valentine 3D is now receiving its appropriate critical acclaim.  Certainly the filmmakers deserve it, but bad movies belong to me!  Especially when they’re great.  And My Bloody Valentine 3D is that.  So I will push past my superficial nature, and tell you why.

Did I mention they do everything than you can do with a pickaxe in 3D? They do everything than you can do with a pickaxe in 3D. Everything.

Let me give you an example: I hate the dolly reverse zoom.  Hate it.  This is when you put the camera on a dolly and push it forward while you’re pulling the zoom backward.  The object of focus stays about the same size, but the world around him distorts.  It was done, correctly, in Vertigo, as Jimmy Stewart peers down the bell tower and the camera conveys absolutely what vertigo feels like.  It has since been used (and the worst offender is Steven Spielberg) to convey such non-sequiters as “I see a dinosaur!”, or “I found my keys!”.  It’s a camera technique that should only have been used twice.  Once by Hitchcock, and once in 3D.  In 3D, it’s genius.

This film does everything you could possibly do in 3D.  It places people behind chain link fences; it puts a heart drawn in blood on a piece of glass and frames the town sheriff with it; a fist punches a mirror; Kevin Tighe very slowly sweeps a shotgun across the front of the camera.  And so on.   My friend Adrienne said it can’t have done everything you can do in 3D.  She’s right.  But it does absolutely do everything you can do with a pickaxe in 3D.


It is a testament to the film, and my willpower, that I’m not going to tell you what those things are.  You need to see it.  In 3D.

It furthermore has boobies.  Remember boobies?  They used to be everywhere.  Now you can rip people in half in a PG-13 film (another dig at Spielberg, who could get the MPAA to let him torture puppies onscreen and fight about whether it should be PG or PG 13), but God forbid we get what any kid could have gotten on Cinemax 20 years past, and on the internet 10.

I would have preferred more variety to the boobies, but to My Bloody Valentine 3D’s credit, it makes up in length what it lacks in breadth.  And no that’s not what I meant; the film features a protracted and full frontal nude scene involving a scorned woman chasing her lover to the parking lot of a motel in the buff with a gun, and then running from the erstwhile killer.  In heels.

As the scene begins, our heroine is naked, and she’s in a hurry; do I pick up the gun, or a single stitch of clothing?  Let’s take a moment to praise that moment; the moment when our heroine, and the filmmakers, decide to just go for it.  Because what the critics will miss (and this how I can maintain my sense of cool, by seeing what others don’t.  Take that, self-generated sense of inadequacy!), is what My Bloody Valentine 3D does with narrative.  It’s a unexpectedly well structured film.

It's even good in upper 11, the dreaded digital theater.

It’s even good in upper 11, the dreaded digital theater.

When Speed came out, I was blown away, not because it’s a great movie, even though it is, but because it was the first time that they didn’t waste time with my most hated of film tropes: exposition.  Characters don’t sit around and talk about how their mother died, or didn’t die, or introduce themselves to the audience.  The film starts with action, and, after a very brief scene of the cops talking in bar, continues with action until the end.

This, I thought, correctly, is brilliant.  This is how all films will be from now on.  I was tragically mistaken.  The talky talky remains; to this day, you have to wade through the exposition to get to the good stuff.  And, as my final dig against Spielberg (in this post at least; two great films [1941 and Minority Report] and countless overrated ones do not an auteur make.  Okay that’s my last dig…The Terminal…okay, okay, I’ll stop), I recently saw Jurassic Park II on the television box, and its an astonishingly bad, and strangely mean-spirited film.  And, as expected, the first hour is talk, talk, talk.  I don’t care what characters say; I don’t care who they are, or what made them; I care what they do.  Get to it.

And get to it My Bloody Valentine 3D does.  This is a film in a hurry.  The film begins with a very brief newspaper headline montage of a mining accident.  It’s not a bad story, beginning heroic, where we discover that one miner survived, and turning nasty quickly, when we discover how: by  killing the others to conserve oxygen.  With the aforementioned axe.

In any other movie, this would be a twenty minute scene.  In this film, two minutes, and it’s not even a scene; it’s just the title sequence.  The movie begins when our villain, Harry Warden, wakes up after a year in a coma, and starts to talk about his childhood and how it affects who he is. As a person.

I’m just messing with you.  He just starts killing.  Everybody in the hospital.

Cut to the abandoned mine full of partying teenagers.  Here, I thought, we go with the exposition.  But after a very brief introductory scene, a character pops out and goes, “Boo!  I’m Harry Warden!”, and immediately proceeds to get an ax through the back of his head from the real Harry Warden, the eyeball impaled on the tip.  In 3D (did I mention they do everything than you can do with a pickaxe in 3D?  They do everything than you can do with a pickaxe in 3D).

I admit to being a little confused at this point.  Don’t they have to talk about ‘who they are and why they do stuff’ more?  For the first few seconds I thought, oh, it’s a dream, it’s not the beginning of the movie.  Movies start twenty to thirty minutes in, something happens, people talk for another twenty or thirty minutes, and something else happens and we all acquiesce and call it the ending. No, I thought, this has to be a dream, and in a minute, they’re going to get back to the talking.  But as the killing rampage began, with many bits and pieces coming towards and past the camera, I knew it wasn’t a dream; we’re five minutes in and the movie has started…twice.

Is My Bloody Valentine 3D that great?  Probably.  It doesn’t hurt, as we all know, when your expectations are low.  And while the film is not perfect, all other filmmakers on the planet (with the possible exception of Alfonso Cuarón) have a lot to learn from director Patrick Lussier and writers Todd Farmer and Zane Smith.  Characters don’t reveal characters; story does.  I know it’s hard to think of a good solid plot, with lots of things happening, but your audience is waiting.

Get to it.


The unexpectedness when something that shouldn’t be great, is.
Each of the 3D bits (seven) I mentioned, @ $2.00 per bit.
Total Profits


Did see again recently again, and maybe not as good as I remembered. SAT question: My Bloody Valentine is to 3D what Dark Knight is to IMAX: the exact same film.
Total Losses


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