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Entries in vampires (55)

Tuesday
Apr232013

Burning Questions: Can You Really Separate A Performance From The Film?  

Hey everybody. Michael C. here. Growing up in the dark days before Twitter, back before I could get my Oscar gripe on 24/7, I had to focus all that emotion on Siskel and Ebert’s annual "Memo to the Academy" special. Watching year after year, one of the refrains the duo drilled into my head was that the Academy should expand their idea of what constitutes an Oscar-worthy performance. Don’t lazily jot down the names of those appearing in best picture contenders. Evaluate each performance on its own merits, apart from the film that contains it. They were adamant on the subject. 

Or at least they were, until the 1998/99 episode when Gene found the limits of Roger’s open-mindedness by suggesting James Woods receive a Best Actor nod for John Carpenter’s Vampires. After Gene went on for a bit about Woods’ talent for commanding the screen, Roger demurred, “Yeah, but if you’re gonna nominate someone for Best Actor you kinda want them to be in a little better movie, don’t you think?”

Gene wasn’t having it: “No. I want the performance. I don’t care about the movie.” 

This altercation zeroed in on a question that has always nagged at me. If even a harsh critic of stodgy thinking like Ebert has to draw the line somewhere, is the issue that cut and dry? Is it really possible to separate the performance from the film? [more]

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Tuesday
Apr162013

Links: Moore Film History of the Damned, Bro

T Magazine on Julianne Moore as an "informer" of human nature
Elusive Lucidity "film history, bro"
Press Play a conversation about morality and religion in the filmography of the Coen Bros 
My New Plaid Pants I've been curious about this Kiss of the Damned movie -- I used to try to see every vampire flick (the only kind of horror you could always find me at) but then there were too many of them and the fascination wore off -- but Jason reviews it for us. 
My New Plaid Pants somehow I almost missed that JA wrote up his whole fascinating ballot on our...
"Best New Directors of the 21st Century"... in case you missed that whole talking point

Gothamist Stars. They're just like us. Julia Stiles rides the subway, too.
Observations on Film Art David Bordwell on Ebertfest regular C.O. "Doc" Erickson, eyewitness to classic film history with notes on Alfred Hitchcock, The Misfits and more...

Back to that T Magazine Juli profile again for a hot minute. a hot red minute.

Photograph by Inez and Vinoodh.

On a scale of 1-∞ how much do you love her? Whatever your answer is it's one degree less than my love at least! I claimed her in 1995 after [safe]! (Also she has the world's best publicist maybe, right? Even when her movies are On Demand - The English Teacher - she commands attention in the media)

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...

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