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Entries in vampires (52)

Tuesday
Nov152011

10th Anniversary Top Ten: "Once More With Feeling"

One of the all time best episodes of anything ever turned ten just a week(ish) ago... but I wanted to celebrate on a Tuesday.

Dawn's in trouble? Must be Tuesday."

That means for the past week and for many weeks after circa 2001 I had the songs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Once More With Feeling" in heavy rotation in my head and or ipod. 

One of my favorite moments of any awards season, obscure though it be, is the moment during the AFI's one and only televised award ceremony in January 2002 (anyone remember that? They combined TV and film like the Globes do) when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was nominated for best drama series. When they announced the category a clip from this very episode played proudly alongside clips from its three fellow nominees, all traditional awards heavyweights: The West Wing, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. This is the sort of company Buffy should have been keeping during its run though Emmy voters just couldn't see it*.

For today's top ten, because I can never find a good excuse to talk about my #1 favorite TV series of all time, here's a top ten of that historic episode, in chronological order because the episode is so beautifully constructed.

TEN BEST MOMENTS IN "ONCE MORE WITH FEELING"

Intro Once More With Feeling proclaims itself 'a very special episode' immediately, dispatching the usual credits for an overture style opening credits with each cast member smiling inside the (spot)light of the moon. It then surprises by 'going through the motions' of a typical day without dialogue before getting to its first number "Going Through the Motions", instantly recalling the gold standardepisode Hush. It's a ballsy confident move and, as it turns out, telling: Aren't those two episodes essentially fraternal twin classics, each riffing imaginatively on the difficulty of truly communicating with the people we love most?

• "Going Through The Motions" manages to answer all the complaints about Season 6's Sad Sloggy Buffy Summers and respond with a knowing and compelling cry for help. And it performs this dramatic spell with hilarious little sung asides (Demon Just Realizing He's Been Killed: "She's not even half the girl she --owwww!" | Hot Guy Rescued: "How can I repay... " Buffy: "Whatever...")

♫ I don't want to be... going through the motions
Losing all my drive
I can't even see, if this is really me
And I just want to be
Aliiiiiiiiivvve ♪" 

The best part is the ending which reworks a now excessively familiar sight, a vampire being dusted, into something newly magical; Buffy emerges from the cloud singing beautifully, like it's fairy dust not ashes. 

8 other 'best' moments & grudge-holding Emmy bitching

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct242011

Oscar Horrors: Redressing Dracula

HERE LIES … Eiko Ishioka’s costume work for Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), which smothered the rest of the nominees with reams upon reams of flamboyant fabric to slither away with the statue that year. And it damn well deserved it, too.

JA from MNPP here. In the fall of 1992 I was fifteen years old and had found myself in the first blushes of cinemania, and as a budding horror enthusiast I was obsessed with Francis Ford Coppola’s film before it had even come out. It was more difficult way back then before the internet so we relied on things called “magazines” to keep us in the know, but I went one step further where this movie was concerned – I bought the “pictorial moviebook,” as it calls itself on the cover, and I studied it like the bible. And with its heavy focus on Ishioko’s work it was the first time I’d ever given much thought to a film’s costuming.

As Coppola had said, he wanted the costumes to be the set…

And are they ever. Ishioka was a visual artist and had done some memorable work for the stage version of M. Butterfly and Paul Schrader’s 1985 film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters before this, and she brought with her an eccentric batch of influences, to put it mildly. From the human musculature that influenced Dracula’s armor in the opening scenes…

Visual splendor and bizarre influences after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct212011

We Need To Talk About Linking

MTV Tom Hiddleson singing the praise of his new Thor 2 director Patty Jenkins. He just loves Monster (2003) and Kenneth Branagh assigned it to him as prep before Thor 1; how weirdly coincidental.
Go Fug Yourself has kind words for Amanda Seyfried and hilarious words for Justin Timberlake.
Awards Daily Sasha thinks this has been a weak year for cinema -- I'm guessing because of the lack of consensus on a single masterpiece. I'd say the opposite. I can't get over how good this year is. It's so exciting to be looking at an awards season that might not have a frontrunner. Consensus makes it boring. Bring on the passionate discussion of what is "Best" please!

Acidemic in praise of crazy "chicks of death" dangerous women from Flash Gordon (1936) through Rosemary's Baby (1968) to Trouble Every Day (2001)
Reelizer How beautiful is this poster for The Iron Giant by Kevin Tong? Me want.

"The Iron Giant" © illustrator Kevin Tong

Movie Morlocks Kimberly from Cinebeats on Werner Herzog's excellent adapation of Nosferatu starring Klaus Kinski. Such a good movie. 
MNPP JA loves Carey Mulligan and thinks you do, too. Exciting projects she's lining up. 
/Film taking storyboarding to the next level with Darren Aronofsky's Noah's Arc movie.  

Ultra Culture bitches about Rotten Tomatoes in order to praise Terri (which was recently nominated for one of Gotham's prizes)  
Towleroad Zachary Quinto to play a gay ghost on American Horror Story


Empire
 offers up a final We Need To Talk About Kevin poster with "Joker" coloring. I love movie posters but when a movie makes this many and keeps changing it up I start to worry that they don't know what they're selling anymore. 

Finally...

The Lost Boy thinks that Viola Davis is going to win the Best Actress Oscar. That seems to be going around. Here she is at the Women in Hollywood Awards.

 

The imagination is so potent. And that's really why we're actors because it's the power of transformation, the power of not being you, of going into a world that is different but ultimately real. And I always felt I had that I had that power even as a little black girl with the afro and using the crisco for moisturizer for my skin. I always felt that everything was possible. That I always had the power to be anything i wanted to be.

As I was walking the red carpet someone asked "What sets you apart from everyboy in the room?"

"Well... I'm black."

[Laughter] and then she launches into an honest and beautiful speech about Cicely Tyson "throwing her a rope" as a young dreaming girl and the need for stories about women of color in the movies. She is awesome.

Thursday
Sep222011

The "Dark Shadows" Family

Entertainment Weekly has the first promotional photo for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows which I am duty bound to post because La Pfeiffer is given such prime placement, closest to the camera, even though the photo isn't as hi-res as one might wish to justify being excited about its "first" and "official-like" status.


From left to right
: Helena Bonham Carter (Dr Julia Hoffman, the psychiatrist...who also needs one), Chloe Moretz (Carolyn, a moody teen), Eva Green (Angelique, a witch who hates this family with a long history with Barnabas the vampire), Gulliver McGrath (David, a troubled boy who believes he sees the dead), Bella Heathcote (Victoria, the new governess), Depp (Barnabas the vampire... ancestor of this family), Ray Shirley (Mrs Johnson, the ancient maid), Jackie Earle Haley (Willie the shady groundskeeper), Jonny Lee Miller (Roger, David's father), and Michelle Pfeiffer (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the steely matriarch under seige by witches, family troubles, and the arrival of Barnabas).

I noticed some time ago while tinkering around backstage on the site, that I tend to post a lot about Tim Burton movies before they arrive only to be mildly (Sweeney Todd) or wildly disappointed (Eyesore in Wonderland) once they arrive. The wild haired auteur always finds at least one element to keep me interested... in this case his reunion with you-know-who who gave his filmography its very best performance (Catwoman!) give or taken Martin Landau in Ed Wood.

 

 

 

What'cha think of their looks?

I must say that Colleen Atwood's costuming -- always an Oscar threat -- is a little more sedate than usual which I count as a good thing. I especially like Pfeiffer's belt although I think giving Helena her Red Queen coloring all over again is probably not the best move.

 

 

Friday
Aug262011

My Missing Whedon: "Angel"

This morning I read all 3,040 words of "Angel by the Numbers" an essay by Dan Kerns, who started on Joss Whedon's vampire series Angel as Best Boy and worked his way up to Gaffer. I discovered the article through Whedonesque and I heartily recommend it. During the reading I consumed ½ a cup of coffee (I've successfully narrowed down my daily consumption to 2 cups!), ignored the urge to pee twice, and thought of 4 other television shows: my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which sits comfortable at #1 of my all time favorite tv shows), one-of-a-kind Firefly, fascinating but uneven Dollhouse, and the non-Whedon series Dexter because "Darla" (Julie Benz) was mentioned and I just watched the first three episodes of Season 5 and it's just not the same without her... (and maybe it's the kind of repetitive series that should've wrapped with Season 4?)

Buffy, Angel and Faith.

Before I move on to work on 4 pending articles, I feel the need to admit that I've only seen 19 episodes of Angel, despite seeing literally every other episode -- even the unaired ones including the aborted Buffy pilot where Willow was not Alyson Hannigan (!) -- of every other Joss Whedon series and all of his movie work, too! Hell, I've even seen that animated sci-fi bomb Titan A.E. (2000). I've never understood why I couldn't work up much interest in Angel as a series but perhaps it was the procedural stand-alone nature of the early episodes which are the bulk of what I saw. Maybe I was just angry that Buffy received only 1 spinoff and not 2 (At least twice a year I impatiently dream of a 4 season run of "Faith the F*cked Up Vampire Slayer"). Of the 19 episodes I remember only about 6: the one where Oz visits to give him the Ring of Amara, the one where Willow drops in to restore Angelus soul, and any of the times that Eliza Dushku stopped in for a little big city ass-kicking. You get the picture: Crossovers! I tried again 2 times in later seasons and could not understand what the hell was going on.

Monday
Aug222011

True Blood 4.9 "Let's Get Out of Here"

Run Alcides, Run. This episode finally gives you weres and shifters some room to move. Take advantage of it.

Joe Mangianello as Alcides.

"Let's Get Out of Here"
But, alas, Alcides isn't fast enough. Bill snatches Sookie from his arms to rescue her from certain death in the pre-titles opening. [Editor's note: Certain death in television series means that tense space in time between the cliffhanger of the previous episode and the first three minutes of the current episode]. But his pre-credits run is telling; this episode is speedy and we'll dash through this post, too.

The run for your life plotting makes Antonia's next move extra distressing. She magically slams all the doors shut on the Moon Goddess Emporium, like she's Carrie White at the prom. Her former friends are now prisoners and coerced coven members. 

Is she planning to wipe them out once she's done with the vamps? CLICK FOR FULL POST.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug192011

Review: "Fright Night"

Colin Farrell has something of a wolf's reputation as a celebrity and it serves him well in Fright Night, a remake of the 1985 vampire comedy, while playing a shameless monster. Yet, for all his rabid dog violence as vampire Jerry -- "a terrible name for a vampire!" --  the most adorable moment in his performance is positively kittenish. While stepping around a beam of sunlight during one action setpiece he hisses at it with instinctual annoyance. You can't scare sunlight away, dumb Jerry! It's a silly bit of actorly business but the new Fright Night soars whenever the cast or director are having a bloody good time.  Good times at the movies are as infectious as vampirism, though thankfully more common.

READ THE REST AT TOWLEROAD

I'm eager to see the original now that I've seen this. (Yes, it's true. I never have)

Tuesday
Aug092011

True Blood 4.7 "Cold Grey Light of Dawn"

She hurts him to save him. Unless they're silvered all the vampires will walk into the sun.With Sunday night's episode, fang-bangers are now past the hump. This season's witchy storyline is now on its way to resolving itself. The halfway mark also suggests that from here on out we might have droppings that set things up for Season Five. 

Cold Grey Light of Dawn
We begin where we left off with Marnie (Fiona Shaw) wreaking havoc. Controlling vamps, as it turns out, seems to be getting easier and easier for her. With a whisper of "Resurrection" her former rapist Luis (Peter Macdissi) stakes himself with Bill's silver weapon after a scuffle. One vampire down, all the rest of them to go. Marnie wants them all to meet the true death. After the burst of action that opens the show (Tara also narrowly avoids death at Pam's rotting hands), things slow down considerably. We stop in on unhappy couples (Alcides and Debbie) still shaky couples (Sam &) and new ones (Sookie & Eric). Meanwhile, Tara dumps her lover and signs up with Marnie's vampire slaughter plans, Jason tries to avoid Hoyt "I'd rather be cooking then talking anyhow" and realizes (again) that he's hot for Jessica. Most oddly, Bill tells Jessica the Antonia story which seems like a really strange storytelling move. We've heard and seen this storyline via Marnie and Luis so many times now it felt like a "previously on..." in the middle of the show.

But any scene with Deborah Ann Woll's Jessica gives us great visuals. Such a screen face [spoiler image after the jump]

Click to read more ...