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Entries in vampires (56)

Sunday
Mar032013

Review: "Stoker" Disturbs. But To What End?

A slightly abridged version of this review was previously published in my weekly column @ Towleroad

Thirst > Stoker

A few years ago Park Chan-wook, the acclaimed genre fabulist from South Korea, made an award winning vampire film called Thirst. With the exception of the Swedish instant classic Let The Right One In, it's the best vampire film of the past 20 years. Second best might not seem like high praise but consider the volume of competition!  

In Thirst, a priest and reluctant vampire, infects a young girl with his addiction and she flips from moody troubled teen to lusty adult trouble-maker. Is she his impressionable victim or his soulmate apprentice? Or is she much harder to pin down? Having raved about Thirst when it was released (including a Best Actress nomination for Kim Ok-bin right here) and being a shameless Kidmaniac I walked into Stoker with high expectations. Despite the title's nod to Bram Stoker, I was not expecting an English language pseudo-remake of his earlier vampire feature. There are no literal vampires this time but the central power play relationship and overall bloodlust are like eerily similar echoes. Even the supernatural powers remain: India (Mia Wasikowska) even begins the film boasting of her preternatural hearing in voiceover while she hunts a defenseless animal in the tall grass. It's like a Terrence Malick sequence with brutality in place of spirituality. India's hearing is so acute she even catches spidery footsteps (So do we since Stoker shares with Thirst masterfully creepy and super detailed sound design.)  

A Stoker family dinner. Bloody steak.

"Don't disturb the family" is a stupid fun tagline for Stoker's ad campaign and poster since the warning is pointless. This family was disturbed long before you bought a ticket. [more...]

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Sunday
Feb172013

Small Talk With Nosferatu

silent sunday

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Tuesday
Jan012013

Curio: Frank Langella at 75

Alexa here. I just couldn't let the day pass without paying tribute to Frank Langella on his 75th birthday. He has always been one of my favorite actors; something about his unctuous classicism makes him appear to be a larger-than-life Caravaggio, and my gothic sensibilities have only truly been satisfied with his turn as Dracula. His work continues to intrigue; 2007's Starting Out in the Evening was a recent high point in a career that has spanned more than 50 years. Plus, he revealed himself to be quite the debauched dandy in his memoir Dropped Names, making him all the more endearing (read what Nathaniel had to say about it here; it really is a fun read). 

 

I'm enough of a fan that I invested in an Edward Gorey-illustrated poster from his Broadway turn in Dracula, and I still hold on to my VHS copies of two of his early films... [more]

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Thursday
Oct182012

Oscar Horrors: "Max Schreck"

HERE LIES... The actor-or-is-he Max Schreck, brought to vivid undead-or-is-he life by Willem Dafoe in 2000's Shadow of a Vampire, nominated for Best Supporting Actor.


JA from MNPP here. When I started rewatching E. Elias Merhige's 2000 film Shadow of the Vampire the other day for the umpteenth time I was convinced that we first see Willem Dafoe's Max Schreck is when he's first being filmed by Murnau & Company - when he emerges from his deep dark tunnel, aka the hole where Murnau says he found him. I was wrong. The first time we see Schreck is a few minutes earlier when Murnau leaves a caged mink sitting outside said hole as tasty bait and Schreck's hands - white as moles, fingers long and sharp as stalactites - appear in the background and snake their way around the bars, enveloping their innocent prey.

Now I'm not one to talk about how an actor uses their hands - it makes me feel like Guy Woodhouse telling Roman Castavet about that "kind of an... involuntary reach" - but Dafoe's performance demands it...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep222012

I Vant To Link Your Blog

Empire Parker Posey (who has been teaching an awesome course in Emmy acceptance speeches ---teehee) joins the cast of Grace of Monaco as Nicole Kidman's frenemy lady-in-waiting
Monkey See shares notes on Quartet's gala premiere at TIFF
Stale Popcorn discovers The Perfect American Psycho Billboard
CHUD I didn't know this: Director Rian Johnson's (Brick, Looper) brother Nathan paints posters for each of his movies 

TMZ crew member on The Lone Ranger dies 
Wax Word the new Keanu Reeves action epic 47 Ronin is having a nightmarishly expensive post-production phase
Hollywood.com Helen Mirren to reprise her Oscar winning role as The Queen on the stage in a new play
Advocate Scarlett Johansson will scratch at limp Benjamin Walker in Broadway's millionth revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Ciarin Hinds, so ubiquitous right now, will play Big Daddy. Oh the mendacity of it all!
Movie|Line those hoping for a quick stage-to-film transfer of Nina Arianda's star-making Broadway outing in Venus in Fur might be disappointed to learn that the film adaptation is indeed underway... but in French directed by Roman Polanski and starring his wife Emmanuelle Segnier.  

Finally... the trailer for Amy Heckerling's Vamps starring her Clueless muse Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter has arrived.

Distribution is getting so confusing as of late. Get this: Vamps hits various on demand digital thingies on October 19th, theaters on November 12th and DVD/Bluray the next day on November 13th. What-the-whanow? That's more confusing than seeing Dan Stevens all shirtless and not in the arms of Lady Mary... which is plenty confusing enough!

Tuesday
Jun192012

True Blood 5.2... Or, Nahhh,... TEEN WOLF Top Ten!

previously on True Blood

After a disappointing return to Bon Temps I was all primed for something closer to satisfying from the second episode of this storied show's fifth season but instead of excitement the True Blood team offered more set-up as if this were part two of the season opener rather than a stand-alone episode or a compelling stakes-raiser. When will this season actually begin? Any movie that hadn't begun after 1 hour and 30 minutes would be universally shunned but unfortunately TV series can get away with doing nothing for hours on end, everyone assuming (generously) that "something will happen next time." 

In a complete dereliction of duty, and a complete absence of self-awareness, True Blood refuses to de-clothe Chris Meloni in "Authority Always Wins"

As far I can tell there are 5 major story threads going on...

  • The Authority vs. Russell (Denis O'Hare) who they thought was dead. Starring Bill & Eric.
  • Tara is now a Vampire after we thought her dead. Starring Tara, Sookie, Pam & Lafayette. 
  • Werewolf PackPower Struggle once their pack leader is found dead. Starring Sam, Luna, & Alcides.
  • The love between Jessica ♥ Jason has died and now everyone in Bon Temps is lovelorn and lonely... particularly the plain ol' human characters and solo girl vamps who used to always hang with their makers. Starring Jason & Jessica & Hoyt & Reverend Newlend & Sheriff Andy & Holly & Pam.
  • War vet buddies are haunted by a dangerous loose cannon among them. Starring Terry & Arlene.   

Within these five general stories are (presumably) little minor stories starring only one or two of the characters bringing us to the very obvious conclusion that there are too many characters is not enough of a show-running directive / understanding that "ensemble" actually means 'a large group of characters' rather than 'abundant solo acts.' Frankly, I'm losing interest. It's like a very mild (hopefully tentative) version of that time a few months back when Glee returned from hiatus and I suddenly and violently knew I simply Could Not anymore with that show. Ugh.

the only emotionally engaging thread in "Authority Always Wins" took place a century ago!

Draining the Episode Dry
Body Count: 2 (Humans in Pam/Eric flashbacks); Sex Scenes: 0; Fresh Meat: The sickeningly sexy Chris Meloni joins the cast of the most naked show on television... completely clothed. Which tells you everything you need to know about the catastrophe that season 5 is threa... you know what? I CAN'T. I CAN'T.

Today I'd much rather talk about Teen Wolf.

Ten Best Things About Season 2 Teen Wolf (thus far)

10 Even when the relationships make you groan/giggle  -- almost always --  you can still care about them. Maybe because they're teenagers and you can forgive teenagers a lot. Maybe because it's only been 1 Season and they aren't replaying the same drama for years on end (yet). Maybe because the show doesn't take itself too seriously but genuinely seems to be fond of its characters.

09 Season 2's supposed edict "more emotions, less clothing" is so far totally true.

eight more bests after the jump

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Tuesday
Jun122012

True Blood 5.1 "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

I had such a good time covering True Blood last year that I decided early on that I'd chime in again this year. Unfortunately those slutty Bon Temps whackjobs and their blaspheming god (Alan Ball) did not reward me with a fine debut. Cliffhangers are rarely the best way to end a TV season -- especially one with a really devout fanbase that's coming back anyway. They invariably make the return feel like less of a drunken celebration and more like the clean up after A Lost Weekend. No one remembers how things got so messy but excuse us while we mop up.

Turn Turn Turn... TARA? The angriest bartender in Bon Temps won't be happy about this.

There's so much clean up. Sookie's house had not one but two dead girls to dispose of (Tara and Debby) and icky leftovers (the tooth!) but to avoid Tara's death being a true one, Sookie bargains with Vampire Pam to turn her. This is a terrible terrible decision but Sookie makes notoriously terrible decisions and almost always for selfish reasons so this is par for the course. More after the jump including the usual NSFW shenanigans of those Bon Temps hookers...

Click to read more ...

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