Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

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Gary Oldman just makes every film better, doesn’t he? I mean, Bram Stoker’s Dracula notwithstanding, he is AMAZING.

Is it totally out of line to say that I think Sirius Black is sexy? I think it’s just Gary Oldman with long hair and a goatee…even though he’s one of the best actors of our generation…he’s hardly ever – ok, mostly never – sexy. Mason Verger? No. Zorg? No. Beethoven? Maybe.

Let me settle down – this is a children’s film, after all.

I think my favorite part was when Hermione punched Draco in the face. To me, Hermione is a much more interesting character than Harry Potter. As a mudblood, she’s subject to just as much – if not more – bullying and hardship as Harry. Yes, sure, she’s got parents – but they’re fucking dentists. Snape fucking straight up ignores her – she knows all the answers and he harrasses Harry instead. She’s been turned into a cat (or dog). She’s been frozen. She solves the mystery of the pipes. She saves the day in this film. I’m just saying, Hermione Granger is the real hero here.

I can’t believe I missed Dobby.

This one is my favorite Harry Potter so far…but then again, I still have 5 films to go.

What We Do in the Shadows

 

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Ever curious, I’d been wondering where Taika Waititi came from – like what did he do before Thor: Ragnarok? A quick google pointed me towards his vampire mockumentary with Jemaine Clement, What We Do in the Shadows. I’d had it filed away in the back of my mind for awhile, until I saw a commercial for an upcoming TV series based on the film. Oooh, better get on it!

Having a weekend of flying ahead of me, WWDitS was the first thing I downloaded from Prime. Filmed in two camera documentary style, it wasn’t the easiest film to watch in daylight, on a 7 inch tablet – keeping with the vampire theme, it is rather dark and grainy at times. I squinted my eyes and blazed forward. Goddamn, this is one of the funniest vampire films I’ve ever seen – and there are A LOT of funny vampire films – Fearless Vampire Hunters, Vampire’s Kiss, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once Bitten, Innocent Blood, Queen of the Damned – oops, I don’t think that last one was supposed to be a comedy.

I have a total crush on Vladislav, probably because he reminds me of my BFF’s future husband, Voltaire. I know his look was a nod to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but I didn’t hate it.

Taika’s Viago is a dandy vampire, with a tragic backstory. He is roommates with Vladislav, the Nosferatu-esque Petyr and the Lugosi-ish Duncan – they all share a Wellington flat…and argue over who is going to do the dishes. They also go clubbing, try to lure victims and get into a turf war with the local werewolf pack. It is sidesplittingly funny – it’s a dry humor, though not as dry as British humor, with a bit more of the physical comedy. I’ll never get over the vampire sissy slap fight or Vladislav’s failure to “get the face right”.

I don’t know if it is valid to say I have a “New Zealand sense of humor”, just based on Taika Waititi and Peter Jackson – I cannot even think of anyone else from New Zealand. <Googles New Zealand Celebrities…> Nope.

Underworld: Blood Wars

I had totally forgotten that they’d made another one of these…until it magically appeared on the DVR – thanks, husband. You are the best at fulfilling all my “vampires fucking werewolves” needs.

Even though the film started with a brief “Previously on…” summary of the first four films, I had a difficult time following the threads of the plot. I had totally forgot that Theo James was in the last one – and fuck if I remember what he did there. Vampire things, I guess? Vampire gun things? I cannot tell if he is supposed to be a love interest for Selene or a son type figure? Both?

My favorite thing about Blood Wars – besides Theo James – were the Viking Vampires. The Viking Vampires were fucking badass. Don’t get me wrong, I like the black, goth vampire thing…but sometimes, a white silky nightgown is more comfortable to eat people in.

So yeah, there’ll be at least one more of these movies coming out. I predict they’ll keep making them as long as Kate Beckinsale can squeeze into a leather catsuit.

Underworld: Awakening

Is it sad that this is the best film that we could think of to see on ‘date night’? Seriously, my husband and I hadn’t seen a film in a theater together since The Dark Knight. We just don’t get out much.

I previously complained that the first, second and third Underworld films were boring. Believe it or not, I wasn’t bored at all through this one! BUT…and it’s a big BUT…that’s because this was also the first 3D film I’ve ever seen. (IMAX nature films at Moody Gardens don’t really count. I know, I’m totally behind the times. I also still use an unupgraded iPhone 3GS and pay my bills with checks. I am a fucking dinosaur.) In any case, I was in total “Look! Pretty pictures!” mode. I was like fucking little kid, staring, slackjawed. I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the film nearly as much if we had been sitting in a 2D theater.

I didn’t know much about the plot going in, except that there was a three-way Vampire/Werewolf/Human conflict of some kind. Wait – isn’t that also the plot of Twilight? Anyway, the entire plot of the film seemed to be crafted for the express purpose of NOT having Scott Speedman in the film. No complaints from me there, his character was sorta douchey. Too bad the film ended setting up a douchey sequel.

I had no idea that 3D movies have 3D trailers. It was sequel=tastic! They’re making yet another Resident Evil sequel. Meh. I was shocked that Wrath of the Titans looks like it may be pretty cool, unlike the first one. The monsters actually look intimidating and Perseus has hair. I raised an eyebrow that the trailer music was Marilyn Manson. Then there was the trailer for the Ghost Rider sequel. Somehow I never saw the first one, but the sequel for that one looked pretty cool, too. The only trailer that wasn’t a sequel was for The Cabin in the Woods, again with Marilyn Manson as the trailer music. When did Marilyn Manson become so socially acceptable? Anyway, the trailer makes the film to be a somewhat original horror film. Or maybe that’s because I am remembering how original Cabin Fever was? In any case, they’re all in 3D and I would be happy to sit through any of them…except maybe the Resident Evil one…

 

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Someone over in Hollywood must be reading my reviews, because they got rid of Selene and made a prequel all about Lucien.

That being said, Rise of the Lycans was still fucking boring. I was able to paint my toenails and load the dishwasher without really missing anything. There wasn’t much of a plot; Vampire enslaves werewolf, werewolf fucks the shit out of the vampire’s daughter, vampires fuck shit up and then werewolves fuck even more shit up.

I am intrigued by the concept of Werewolves that tunnel through the ground like gophers. Why??? That makes no fucking sense at all.

Why is it that Michael Sheen makes a smoking hot, long-haired werewolf, yet in real life, he looks like he drives a Diddler Van? It must be Hollywood magic and special effects.

I was largely indifferent to the exchange of Kate Beckinsale for Rhona Mitra. Rhona has better cheekbones, that’s about the only difference.

Underworld 4 is coming out in 2012…fourth time’s a charm…our planet may finally be free from insomnia for eternity.

    

Underworld: Evolution

Yet another film starring Kate Beckinsale in a corset, fighting vampires and werewolves and various hybrids of the two. Even though it’s the sequel to Underworld, it had enough in common with Van Helsing to confuse the hell out of me and make me have to think real hard about what had happened in the previous movie and who the characters were.

Underworld: Evolution picks up right after the last movie ended…I think. The bad vampires are about to wake up the first vampire ever created. Once this guy is back in action, he goes looking for the first werewolf, who just happens to be his brother. As soon as they’re reunited, they’re going to…uh…do something…really bad? Kill everyone on the planet or something? Just as boring as the first one, I put my brain on auto-pilot while watching this one and didn’t store any of the plot points in my long term memory. it’s just as well, because I’m sure they did make any sense anyway.

I was weirded out by Kate Beckinsale’s body double. That sex scene contained the most awkward and contrived bare abdomen close-up I’ve ever seen. If you are going to have an extreme close-up of a naked body part, why on earth would you pick the belly button?

The prequel is still coming. Why?

    

Van Helsing

Stephen Sommers should be stopped before he strikes again.

Why? I’ll tell you why. My husband and I were eating dinner before the movie and jokingly, I said that if there were pygmy vampires like the pygmy mummies in The Mummy Returns, I would scream right there in the theater. Well, I didn’t scream – I just groaned loudly instead. Yes, there were fucking PYGMY VAMPIRES. Goddamnit.

Words cannot express how much this movie sucked. I didn’t think it was possible for any movie to suck as much as The League of Extraordinary Shittiness – but Van Helsing is right there, neck and neck. I’d be hard pressed to say which one is worse – they both made me want to die. Maybe Richard Roxburgh should be put on temporary Hollywood probation – he was in both stinky films.

Hugh Jackman, I don’t love you anymore. I forgave you for Swordfish and Kate and Leopold. Hell, I even forgave you for Oklahoma! But this is the last straw. As transfixing as your vampire-hunting mullet was, I cannot be in love with you anymore – at least not until X-Men 3 comes out.

Hugh Jackman drifted in and out of his accent more than Kevin Costner in Robin Hood. Kate Beckinsale was no better, but at least we know that the Avon Lady visits Transylvania. Girlfriend was wearing WAY too much eye liner. I had a hard time believing that Dracula would have one bride, much less three. He was queerer than a three dollar bill. The one performance that I did enjoy was Faramir as Carl, the horny friar. He was Van Helsing’s Q, except he got some poontang, unlike his Bondian counterpart.

I bet Stephen Sommers thought he was being really clever with all the little in-jokes and references to other movies. Oh yeah, that’s never been done before. The black and white opening sequence was just annoying. Yes I’ve seen the Indiana Jones movies – I get it! Oooh…look! Baby vampires hatch out of Gremlin pods – or were they Alien pods? Van Helsing turning into Were-Wolverine with admantium claws was just fu-freakin-hilarious! NOT! And were those Jawas working in Dracula’s laboratory? I know it was supposed to be campy and fun, but it was just forced and treacly. Van Helsing is the new Batman and Robin.

I could take the film’s nonsense in stride until the ending. OH. MY. GOD. I have never seen a gayer ending to a movie. Ever. It was the gayest gay that ever did gay. I usually admire a film that is brave enough to kill off one of the main characters…but why did they have to give it the Lion King ending? Why? After 132 minutes, the audience deserves better.

On the brighter side, I did get to see a teaser for Seed of Chucky and a trailer for Soul Plane – so I guess my $7.50 wasn’t totally wasted. Even so, do not watch this movie. Ever.

 

Underworld

Blade + The Matrix + An American Werewolf in London – originality = Underworld.

As a general rule, I usually like vampire movies. I’m not picky – they don’t even have to be an original take on the whole vampire mythos – I’ll still usually give them a passing grade. Unless they’re boring as hell – like Underworld. It wasn’t a bad film outright, but it wasn’t a particularly good one either. It just didn’t go anywhere. The plot line kept screaming out “there’s a twist coming!” When the “twist” finally came – it wasn’t really a twist at all. It was obvious and contrived, almost like one of those dorky Vampire role-playing games that were so popular when I was in college. (Coincidentally, the creators of those dorky role-playing games are suing the creators of Underworld for copyright infringement. As I stayed far, far away from Vampire: The Masquerade in college, I have no idea if the suit is warranted.)

Kate Beckinsale does nothing for me. She’s not a bad actress, nor a good one. Her latex outfit was going for the Trinity Look, but instead she looked like Uma Thurman’s stunt double in The Avengers. (That’s not a good thing.) And why was her hair always wet and tangled? It was raining throughout the movie – but are vampires afraid of hairbrushes?

A few more quick questions about the movie…There’s only one vampire bite in the whole movie. One. And it’s at the tail end. What the hell? What’s the point of a vampire movie without some good biting scenes? And why can Selene see her reflection? It doesn’t advance the plot one iota – so why change one of the basic tenets of vampire lore? And why are Michael and Selene in love? They have about as much on-screen chemistry as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. (Those who have seen Eyes Wide Shut know that I mean zero chemistry.) And they don’t even know each other? I can see Stockholm Syndrome on Michael’s part, but what could Selene possibly see in Felicity’s boyfriend?

The only interesting character in the whole movie was Lucian, the Lycan (cutesy slang for werewolf) Leader. Although he was a bit slimy looking, he seemed the most otherworldly…and at least he seemed passionate about what he was doing.

Not only is a sequel already in the works, but a prequel is coming as well. Spare me. I’ll save my moviegoing dollars for Van Helsing. There was more action in the trailer for Van Helsing than in the entire length of Underworld. Too bad Kate Beckinsale is also in Van Helsing – she’d better not fuck it up!

  

The Midnight Hour

I rarely review TV movies – in fact, this is my first – but as this was one of the formative films of my childhood, I thought I’d break the rules a little bit.

Halloween 1985. I was in 4th grade at Holleman Elementary. All my friends had seen the movie and it was a source of constant speculation for weeks. “What exactly had Vernon Nestor done that was so bad?” “How come Sandy was the only one not decayed?” “So Lucinda is a witch AND a vampire?” “What is wrong with Mary? Phil is so cute!” It was even the subject of my obsession for years afterwards, mostly because I had taped it one subsequent Halloween. I even forced my college roommates to watch it – sadly, they were more impressed by the silly 80s commercials on my tape than the actual movie. Imagine my dismay when the tape finally gave out and busted. Of course, the tape was at least ten years old and had been watched hundreds of times – but I was seriously bummed. I think I had Transylvania 6-5000 and Earth Girls are Easy on that tape, too. Then comes the magic of DVD! Just last year, The Midnight Hour was released on DVD. Oh, I got it alright, it’s sitting there on my shelf, wedged between Meet the Feebles and Mortal Kombat.

Why in the world do I love this film so much? I couldn’t tell you. It’s cheesy and stupid. The plot is hopelessly romantic, yet tragic at the same time. There’s a crazy Thriller rip-off dance number. There are werewolves, vampires and rotted corpses everywhere. Wait, the more I describe it, the better it sounds…

Let me touch on the cast – TV all the way. The star is Lee Montgomery, the hottie from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. His buddies include Shari Belafonte-Harper (last seen on Babylon 5), LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow guy, Geordi LaForge, Kunta Kinte), Peter DeLuise (21 Jump Street!!!) and Dedee Pfeiffer (a bunch of crappy TV shows). Red Forman, as crotchety as ever, even makes an appearance as the Police Captain.

The soundtrack is just amazing. Actually, the soundtrack is what made think of doing a review. On the way home from work, I put in my new Guess Who CD and on comes ‘Clap for the Wolfman.’ How silly is it to write a song about a DJ? Not quite as silly as having that same DJ actually perform in your song. Anyway, that’s one of the cool songs in the movie, not to mention the fact that Wolfman Jack’s DJ-ness makes an appearance as well. Other songs include ‘Li’l Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Devil or Angel’, ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come,’ ‘Baby, I’m Yours’ and of course, the eponymous ‘Midnight Hour.’ Oh, and I forgot – ‘How Soon is Now?’ during a particularly nasty vampire attack – for years, I would freak out every time I heard it.

Below, you’ll notice quite a long list of accomplishments by the director, Jack Bender. I swear that I have seen at least half of those TV movies. He has also directed quite a few TV shows, from Eight is Enough to Beverly Hills, 90210 to Alias. And let’s not forget Child’s Play 3! The man is clearly an auteur…

There’s not much else I can say about the film, except to check it out.