Monday, June 25, 2012

Thank you True Blood

God bless True Blood.  I don't love it, but I still watch it: it is so over the top and ridiculous.  Please enjoy Eric, Bill, and the guy from Law and Order perform a tribute to Magic Mike.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I had the same reaction to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as I had to John Carter: pleasant surprise. I did not have high expectations for Lincoln, despite the fact that it was directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the crazy Russian behind Night Watch and Wanted.

OK.  Really Blogger?  I finally get in a writing mood and you are going to cancel spell check on me?  My cat can spell better than me!!  Please forgive me in advance for the worse than usual grammar.
Back to the movie.  I was totally charmed by this film, as I was by John Carter.  It has an old fashioned quality about it: if old fashioned movies featured lots of gore and a bad ass Mary Todd Lincoln.  The historical Mary Todd I find to be kind of an asshole.  Really, she was a shrew.  Yeah, get all mad at me:  I f’ing hate Mary Todd Lincoln.  But not in this film: played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead she is quite the sympathetic character, and rather good with a rifle.

The Vampires in this world can go out in the daylight.  They have been in the new world for quite a while, and seem to have settled in the South, where the slaves are easy pickings.  A young Abe Lincoln sees his mother killed by a Vampire, and decides to take revenge.  Helping him is the mysterious Henry (Dominic Cooper), a Vampire slayer.  Abe (played by the very tall handsome Benjamin Walker, who will be giving Jeremy Renner some competition for my summer movie crush), splits his time between politics and Vampire killing.  When the Civil War comes along, Abe’s two worlds will collide.

Abraham Lincoln features some great make-up and special effects, and the train finale has to be seen to be believed.  I enjoyed the mix of horror and history and the performances were top notch throughout.  Is it a great film?  No, but I had a lot of fun watching it.  Might even buy it as well.  I can have a John Carter/Abe Lincoln marathon. 


I've been really putting off writing about this one. I saw it as soon as it came out. I love Alien and Ridley Scott and I admit I had astronomically high expectations. I know that is not a good thing but I couldn't help myself: I had not been this excited about a film in a long time. I avoided reviews (something I rarely do: I love spoilers.) and tried to keep an open mind. There is a lot to love about Prometheus. An awful lot to love. But is also drove me crazy. A lot of it makes no sense. Yes, I've read all the reviews now, and the message boards. People are very passionate about this film, which is awesome. I am passionate about it as well: I just don't want to think about it that much. Thinking about the film makes me frown. I can feel the wrinkles between my eyes deepening when I try to figure it all out.

Let’s start out with what I liked about Prometheus.

First thing: this Dude:

The film begins with what is now known as the "sacrificial Engineer." This very buff pale creature drinks some goo and then disintegrates. His DNA spreads throughout the ocean, presumably giving us the building blocks of life? (Frown/Wrinkle). The Engineers are a God like race, storming around the universe creating life and then destroying it when they see fit. Basically they are assholes. And, they are easily killed by slug like creatures that inhabit the planet the Engineers have taken over to build weapons of mass destruction to kill off the humans. (Frown/Wrinkle).

The second thing I love about Prometheus is Michael Fassbender's performance as David, the Lawrence of Arabia loving Android with Daddy issues. Speaking of Daddy issues, EVERYONE in this damn film has some kind of Daddy issue, not the least of all is Elizabeth Shaw, played by Noomi Rapace. Elizabeth is a scientist who discovered the cave paintings that led the crew to this distant planet. Along with her boyfriend, guy whose name I forgot, she is on a mission to discover God. She believes the Engineers are our creators, but she still has faith that someone created them. See, this is the reason I don't try to think about such things. It leads you off on dangerous odysseys that make no sense.

I also love Charlize Theron as the icy corporate stooge Vickers. You actually feel kind of bad for her when another character asks her if she is a robot. I will agree with some of the criticism that hers is a throwaway character. I didn't need another person with Daddy issues to drive the point home, but there you go. She is great, and she has *SPOILER ALERT* one of the great death scenes of all time. Ouch.

My favorite thing about Prometheus is Noomi Rapace.  Her Elizabeth is one tough bitch without being "Ripley" over the top.  Her "self surgery" is one of the best scenes I have seen all year.  Her choice at the end, to confront her makers and find out why they have foresaken her, makes sense for the character.

And now we get to what makes me so frustrated with this film. I get the sense they were making it up as they went along. You know what else gave me that sense? Lost. I gave up on Lost when it became clear that there was no end plan. Damon Lindelof wrote both Lost and Prometheus. I admit: I was distracted throughout most of the film looking for Alien references: that is my bad. But I was not so distracted to miss the fact that nothing here makes sense. I left the theatre with a big WTF and I blame Lindelof for that. Vague can be good, I am fine with vague, but vague and frustrating for the sake of being vague and frustrating just plain sucks.
I love that Prometheus aims high: it's not just horror sci-fi: it is mind-bending thoughtful horror sci-fi. I just wish I could shake the feeling that it is a bunch of cool scenes thrown together because the filmmakers thought it would blow people's minds away. My mind is blown: and exhausted and just a little pissed off.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Island of Lost Souls 1932

I have no excuses for not writing for so long.  OK, I have a few.  Here we go:
  1. I am a lazy bitch
  2. Got a big job promotion (yeah me!). Increased drinking due to job promotion has prevented me from watching any films start to finish.
  3. I was reading 50 Shades of Grey.  It was so horrible I lost all faith in humanity and art. 
  4. I am so pissed that a horrible writer like the person who wrote 50 Shades of Grey is now a millionaire that I stopped writing.
  5. I am so ashamed of my envy over this 50 Shades of Grey thing that I stopped writing.
  6. Game of Thrones was on.
  7. I am so confused over Prometheus that I was worried if I absorbed anything else my brain would literally explode.


What got me out of my funk was not Prometheus, although I will speak to that at a later time, but a little ditty known as Island of Lost Souls.  I wasn't planning on watching this film, but I was SO LAZY that when it came on TCM I got sucked in.  The other choices were getting up or watching "Bitchin Kitchen" which I am convinced is produced by the Devil.  Island of Lost Souls is a Paramount film from 1932.  It features Bela Lugosi in a very small but disturbing role.  This was shortly after the release of Universal's Dracula so it is no wonder they put his name on the poster.  Small aside, 1932 was an awesome year for Lugosi.  Not only did he have a role in this film, but he also starred in Murders in the Rue Morgue and White Zombie.  Here he plays the "Sayer of the Law," a half man/half animal sort of creature created by one Dr. Moreau, played by the amazing Charles Laughton.

Laughton is absolutely bananas in this.  He is so freaky as Dr. Moreau that he made a guest appearance in my stress zombie nightmare the night I watched this.  Not only does Laughton look menacing (he looks a bit like a pig, I'm not gonna lie), every expression, glance, inflection, tells the audience that this is a very, very bad man.  I have never really been a huge fan of Laughton (except as a director: Night of the Hunter is the bee's knees) but I am now. 

OK, if you haven't guessed Island of Lost Souls is an adaptation of H.G.Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Wells apparently disliked the film, with it's emphasis on horror.  Island of Lost Souls is one of the last "Pre-Code" horror films and it has it all: torture (a "House of Pain" is mentioned frequently), animal experiments, the suggestion of bestiality, gore, murder, Charles Laughton.  What more could you want?  Plus, the "Panther Woman", played by the lovely Kathleen Burke, who won a nationwide contest to appear in the film. 

Spooky, atmospheric, over the top: Island of Lost Souls is just a perfect horror film.  It saved me from my rut.  Horror always pulls me out of whatever abyss I find myself in.  That is why I love it so.  Now tell me Bela: What is the Law?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coming Soon: Resident Evil!!

One of my number one guilty pleasures (after Toddlers & Tiaras and Gossip Girl and Flowers in the Addict) is the Resident Evil series.  I love these films.  I will play hooky from work and watch all the films back to back while drinking beer and eating doritos (I am fancy like that.)  I am really excited for the new film: it brings back a bunch of old favorites.  It also looks so complicated I have a bit of a headache just watching the trailer.  I have really had my fill of films that don't make sense for the year (see: Prometheus). 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

R.I.P Ray Bradbury

“Why is it," he said, one time, at the subway entrance, "I feel I've known you so many years?"
"Because I like you," she said, "and I don't want anything from you.”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury died yesterday at the age of 91.  I just really, really love this man.  Such a joy to read, such an inspiration.  If you have time watch the video below.  It is an hour long, but for any aspiring writer it is well worth it.

“Dad," said Will, his voice very faint. "Are you a good person?"

"To you and your mother, yes, I try. But no man's a hero to himself. I've lived with me a lifetime, Will. I know everything worth knowing about myself-"

"And, adding it all up...?"

"The sum? As they come and go, and I mostly sit very still and tight, yes, I'm all right.”

Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands? He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451