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Well, this looks painful, even if it has Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston [acting ability dubious, as I have never actually seen anything with him] in it. I watched a trailer for it and nearly fell asleep. Blah blah blah black roses blah Byronically tortured musician with stringy-haired Weltschmerz blah blah blah regal androgynous lover blah blah long-term relationship of stormy passion blah blah blah more Goth stereotypes than you can shake a pentacle at blah blah love triangle when energetic little sister comes to town blah blah mopey mopey blah blood Popsicles snoooooooooooooore.

Well, okay, I actually liked the blood least until the characters went all metatextual and starting discussing how odd they were. Look -- I don't mind people sitting around and talking, especially since it's all my characters really do. However, when the people start narrating what's obviously going on in front of their faces, I find it a tedious turn-off.

Kinda surprised these vampires didn't die of boredom.
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This trailer for Twixt is of the sort that obviates watching the actual movie. Based on the trailer, this movie looks overlong, overdone and overacted. A pity because I think there's an interesting idea rattling around in there somewhere.
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The concept of Daybreakers is: When everyone's a vampire, who's the lunch? In the near future, humans are becoming extinct as more and more of them are turning into vampires. Hematologist Ethan Hawke pairs up with humans Claudia Karvan and Willem Dafoe to find and propagate a cure. Many car chases, scenes with evil businessvampires, dramatic washed-out shots in mostly colorless tones and scenes with portentous music result, but I find it hard to be sympathetic, even if Ethan Hawke can't stand to drink human blood and feels pity for humans. Something about these vampires, indeed, this whole movie, is remarkably bloodless. Entertaining time-passer, though.

P.S. Also the slow-mo gore is unintentionally hilarious. Oh the humanity vampirity!
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...about an envious Goth whose popular and perfect twin sister becomes a vampire? Sign me up for Thicker Than Water: Vampire Diaries 1, not coming anywhere to a theater near you. Clearly I need to see this.
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In a country where it's always snowing, 12-year-old Oskar, a boy as pale as the sun, meets an enigmatic girl one night, Eli, with her dark intense gaze. The two couldn't be more different -- he a scared, passive kid on the young side, she a solemn old soul -- but they're both lonely, and they both want to do violence to the people who threaten them, so that brings them together.

As Oskar struggles with bullying at school, he becomes friends with Eli, who solves Rubik's cubes instantly, but doesn't remember her birthday. About them swirl two mysteries. First, who is killing young boys around Vallingby, the suburb where the two live, and draining their blood? Second, what kind of creature is Eli, who must be formally invited in and who licks blood drops off the floor? Read more... )
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Since I have problems finding this, here is my books Amazon list and my one for DVDs.
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On the eve of the movie debut of Twilight, much pissing and swooning occurs on the subject of vampires as depicted in this film. Lots of articles wonder about the attraction that the Twilight vampires have to their audience.

Rosemary Black, New York Daily News: 1) Women are drawn to Byronic heroes. 2) We desire them because the intense fear provides orgasmic arousal. 3) They're the ultimate symbol of a chaste sensuality. 4) They're perpetually young, sexy and intensely devoted to their mortal lovers.

Kate Harding, Broadsheet [Salon]: 1) New York Daily News is full of shit. All the article's arguments represent tired stereotypes about female sexuality. 2) Women are attracted to the recent crop of vampires because they are written by women and /or because there's a focused on well-rounded female characters.

Henly 424, Salon commenter: The current iteration of the vampire, an intensely devoted, magical, eternally loving being with awesome superpowers, recapitulates the old fantasy that a supernatural creature can somehow rescue an ordinary kid from a life of boring normalcy and transform him/her into something powerful and stupendous, merely by association with the undead.

There's not anything particularly attractive to women as a whole about vampires as a whole. For women as a whole to be attracted to vampires as a whole, both women as a whole and vampires as a whole would require definition as monadic entities. However, women are diverse in their attractions; vampires are diverse in their manifestations. The idea that "vampires" can reveal something "essential" about "feminine sexuality" can just go to hell.

Even if we're talking about the type of vampires shown in the Twilight saga [which we probably are, even though it's never explicitly stated], the question is still not "Why do women love vampires?" The question is "Why are these particular characters extremely popular among a huge subset of U.S. readers who are mostly teenaged and female?" There's no ahistorical answer. I can't stand it when people can't frame their inquiries with appropriate exactness.

As to why the Twilight vampires are so popular with their audience, I think Laura Miller's analysis of Bella as Mary Sue is an insightful start.

The LHF vampires are amused about the amount of critical ink being spilled in an attempt to explain their attractiveness to mortals. :p

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On November 14th, Let The Right One In is coming to the Kendall!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also the book comes out in paperback on October 28th. I will read it.

EDIT: Let The Right One In has already been issued in paperback in 2007 under the title Let Me In. The upcoming release represents a title change and a tie-in to the US release of the film. Anyway, I'm getting Let Me In through interlibrary loan!!
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A picked-on little boy falls in love with a vampire girl. Winter, ice, moodiness and death result. Looks good. Based on a novel?!
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F.W. Murnau's German Expressionist classic, Nosferatu [1922], is arguably the best vampire movie ever made. Capitalizing on the heightened emotions and stark shades of black-and-white, silent film, Nosferatu basically rips off the plot of Dracula, but simplifies it to its basic darkness vs. light plot. Max Schrek, looming with inexorable and silent menace, embodies the Nosferatu character so well that he seems less like an actor playing a role and more like a nightmare given substance.

Shadow of the Vampire takes this idea -- what if Schrek really was a vampire playing an actor playing a vampire? -- and runs with it into the territory of midnight-black comedy and dazzling insanity.

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Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn's impressive physical comedy -- with rubbery, expressive faces and slapstick timing -- really make Death Becomes Her.  Competing for the affections of plastic surgeon and undertaker Ernest [played by Bruce Willis], Madeline [Streep] and Helen [Hawn] characters ingest a magical elixir that guarantees perfect youth. Unfortunately, the formula does not guarantee perfect invulnerability, so Madeline and Helen prevail upon Ernest to do their heavy-duty make-up and maintenance. Will they tempt Ernest  to immortality? Will they be able to keep themselves together [literally]? Who really ends up with immortality in the end? 

With dry wit, the script deftly skewers the modern equation of youth with beauty and happiness; Streep and Hawn, masters of zingy delivery, drop bons mots that kept me chuckling. They play their constant goat-getting with such relish that the fact of their misery goes slightly less noticed until the end, when they attend Ernest's funeral and learn that, through his kindness, charity, sense of humor and good works, as well as his descendants, he has truly reached immortality.

On a vampiric note, I enjoyed Death Becomes Her for its investigation of the flip side of immortality. Madeline and Helen's physical fragility exemplifies a damning and unexpected consequence of living forever. [I particularly liked Madeline's confrontation with the medical establishment. Her controversion of all laws of physics drives the examining physician to drink.] Meanwhile, Ernest, who thinks of immortality as boring, lonely and pointless, provides the philosophical argument for a finite lifespan.

[Filed under "vampires" for treatment of immortality.]
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I am firmly convinced of this. I just saw the teaser trailer for Twilight [previously mentioned here and here], in which Bella, a mortal, falls in love with Edward, a douchebag vampire. Because the trailer usually provides a condensed view of the movie's tone, cinematography, plot and acting abilities, I have no faith in the upcoming film. It appears that it will consist of people standing around looking dyspeptic and occasionally making hammy, passionate proclamations, all with portentous special effects and no sense of humor whatsoever. Regrettable, really, when Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are each young actors known for actually doing some good acting.

Wait...I take back what I said about there being no good vampire movies. Nosferatu is good.
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As a movie, Underworld did not interest me, despite the presence of vampires, werewolves, Bill Nighy and lots of corsetry. In fact, it punished my senses, so I turned it off, bored, halfway through. I do, however, enjoy the soundtrack. In fact, I play it regularly when working on LHF. It reminds me of the sort of music that vampires would play ironically.
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Neil Jordan, director of Interview with the Vampire, introduces the film on the DVD by saying that the characters are "the saddest vampires you'll ever see."  I think he meant to say that the vampires were UNHAPPY, but I cracked up because they're actually the most PATHETIC and RIDICULOUS vampires I've ever seen. Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie a lot more than I enjoyed Bram Stoker's Dracula [a.k.a. Coppola's Love Fest of Heaving Bosoms and Red Water]. Here is the real screenplay:
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Keanu Reaves as Jonathan Harker: [brain is on screensaver]

Anthony Hopkins as Abraham van Helsing: I chew ze scenery, ja? Is between my tees, ja? HAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Bill Campbell as Quincey P. Morris: Goldurn it and tarnation! I'm madder than a riled-up hornet. Dadgum -- how many fake folksy expressions does a feller have to use to compensate for the fact that his Texan hick character has got as much karikter development as an advertising picture on the side of a feed sack?

Gary Oldman as Dracula: I am sensitive. Note the deep wells of feeling in my large liquid brown puppy-dog eyes. Well, actually, they're more like the eyes of a hairy horny werewolf, given that I screw Sadie Frost's character on a sundial in a labyrinth while looking like a monkey/bat combo. But pay no attention to my furry palms.

Winona Ryder as Mina Murray: Sure, it makes no sense at all that an unaccompanied fin-de-siecle woman engaged to be married to an utter twit would a) be walking around scummy London unaccompanied and b) allow herself to be accosted by a mysterious "Prince Vlad" and then c) go see nudie movies with him and d) pet wolves, but THROW ME A BONE HERE! I'm doing the best I can with utterly stupid material.

Bosoms: [heave heave]

Red Water: [gush gush]

Scenery: Hello! We are obviously matte paintings and sound stages and overly employed dry ice! Not to mention soap flakes for snow. But you should give us an Oscar anyway. Or two. Or three. PLEAAAAAASE.

Crosses: Watch how we break. This is Very Symbolic. VERY SYMBOLIC.

Annie Lennox: You know, I'm just going to ignore the entire movie and write a seriously awesome love song for the end credits that transcends any of the efforts put forth by the cast in terms of quality. 

EDITED TO ADD: Viewers: Mmm, this cheese tastes good.
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Since most of my movies are packed in preparation for my move, I'm watching movies through my compooper. The latest...An earlier example of German expressionism than Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1919), directed by Robert Wiene. I highly recommend it because a) it's the prototypical horror film, involving murder, twisted psychology and the analysis thereof; b) it really exploits the form (black-and-white) to heighten the delirious, dream-like atmosphere; c) it's a well-done classic.
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Everyone go see Nosferatu at! This is a vampire film before it became a silly cliche, a vampire film before the vampires became romantic tortured souls, back when they were barely formed things out of the ooze of of our symbolic nightmares. You will not find much character depth or subtlety in this 1922 work, but you will find a steadily creeping sense of dread and a memorable exploration of what it's like to be stalked by death. Answer: It's freakin' scary!
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Kissed, the movie mentioned in my July 3rd entry, came in the mail on Monday, and I watched it. I'm only now reviewing it because I was busy priming and painting Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kissed, a closely focused movie with very few extras or characterological background, is a character study of two characters who are debatably nuts, yet perfect for each other.

Despite the inherent unlikeability of the characters, Kissed is an interesting, solid movie. It's by no means as artistic, philosophical, psychologically profound and daring as it thinks it is, but it's interesting and saved largely by convincing performances. The acting is all-around low-key, underplayed, even a bit deadpan [hah], which keeps the story from becoming sensationalized. The lack of extras [never have I seen a more desolate college campus] mars the realism, but also adds a dreamy, depupulated atmosphere to the story, demonstrating how much Sandra and Matt are focused on things besides the real world. The languid camera work and the poetic voice-overs add a meditative mood to the proceedings, though there are far too many fade-to-the-white-light-of-transcendent-orgasm shots. Also, the voice-overs could have been used much more parsimoniously, at the beginning, the end and during the extended childhood flashback of Sandra's. 

Apparently Kissed is based on a short story, "We So Seldom Look on Love," by Barbara Gowdy. I'll have to look into it. Maybe it provides some history for Sandra and Matt.
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Annette Curtis Klause has four weird, romantic YA fantasies to her credit. I especially like her first, the 1992 Silver Kiss, in which a mopey mortal gets it on with a broody vampire well before BTVS. [Check out the pallid beauty of the cover art. I'll take a framed edition, thank you very much.] Later came Blood and Chocolate, a very sensual tale about a werewolf girl in love with a human boy and therefore in conflict with her pack. Great concept, right?

Not if the producers of Underworld [crashingly boring trilogy about vampires vs. werewolves] get their paws on it. Blood and Chocolate is now a movie, pusillanimously debuting in late January because the makers KNOW it's a turd. Oh, it smells like a rotting carcass already...

Well, we know that crosses and garlic repel vampires, and silver bullets repel werewolves, but what effectively wards off evil film adaptations of good fantasy novels?

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With sections on vampires, werewolves, demons, etc., Queer Horror [] appears to be a comprehensive overview of queer characters and themes in various media, well worth a long look when I have some time. Mmmm, queer vampires...



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