Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Posted by sean On June - 11 - 2011

Daniel Radcliffe looks fondly towards the horizon, seeing a future career without Harry Potter.

 

My friend and I arrived at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre as avid Harry Potter fans amped to see Daniel Radcliffe shed his decade-long persona.  It was the first time either of us had been to a Broadway play and we had no idea what to expect.  From the moment we took our seats, the promise of an experience vastly different from any movie screening filled us with excitement that only intensified in the minutes before the curtain opened.  But as the orchestra began the 50’s jazzy overture, we were as yet unaware of how captivating the show was going to be.

 

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying fires on all cylinders from the opening number and continues to astound all the way through to the grand finale.  While it is fifty years since its inception and is filled with traits of that period, from the wardrobe to the character archetypes, it feels relevant now.  Amplifying the idea of “it’s who you know, not what you know,” it satirizes what is considered today a difficult field in which to get ahead and makes it the easiest thing in the world to ascend in as it follows J. Pierrepont Finch (Daniel Radcliffe) and his climb up the corporate ladder, using his charm, wit, and a handy self-help book from which the play derives its name.  Employing the book’s ingredients for success, Finch rises up in the ranks by gaining popularity with his co-workers and superiors, including company president J. B. Biggley (John Larroquette), while also attracting the attention of a lovely secretary and the boss’s conniving nephew.

 

Radcliffe sings and dances away all traces of the Boy Who Lived, fully embodying Finch’s youthful ambition to scale the mountain of business and reach its peak.  He has proven himself more than adept to handle the demanding task of a musical, shedding a bright light on his career beyond this past decade.  Also headlining the richly talented cast is John Larroquette, who is fun to watch as Mr. Biggley with his stern, yet goofy demeanor spliced with youthful vigor when performing his own numbers.  Making her Broadway debut, Rose Hemingway plays Finch’s love interest, Rosemary Pilkington.  She’s sweet and lovable as a woman who just wants to be with her one-and-only, and more than once, she delivers an entire musical number by herself and does so flawlessly.  Rounding out the main characters in Finch’s life is Christopher J. Hanke, playing the boss’s nephew, Bud Frump.  He is the epitome of a slimy, mischievous business man, even though he is performs poorly at his job while equally adept at sabotaging the jobs of others.  Hanke revels in his character’s devious, childish nature, delivering multiple laughs for every step he takes and every note he belts out.

 

Though as talented as the entire cast is, it’s director Rob Ashord who amazes the most with his ability to weave every bit of detail into a tightly-knit production.  How to Succeed works like one big clock as props maneuver in and out of the stage amidst complex routines from a vast crew of performers.  Ashord’s choreography fits each number’s subject in their own unique way and never feels as if the actors are only repeating the same thing over and over.  He incorporates simple, mundane activities, like organizing mail or getting coffee, into interpretive, yet wacky dance moves that feel like you’re watching a circus act.  One such number is Radcliffe and Larroquette’s duet about college football with their dancing taking the form of practice drill and game-winning plays.  Framing all of this is the work of the set and costume designers.  They managed to create a 1950s atmosphere with lavish outfits for everyone and scenery with multiple pieces sliding into the spotlight, from a desk to a three-story tall office interior, that keep a dynamic flow from one scene to the next.

 

As a fun and wonderfully immersive presentation, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a glass of good scotch.  It will pull you in, keep you laughing from the opening song, and when it’s all over, you will want to go back for another round.

- Sean

My friend and I

Drive Angry

Posted by ron On June - 7 - 2011

Like a used carsalesman Drive Angry promised something sweet but sold you a lemon

A man desperate to re-live his glory days of kicking ass and taking names escaped hell for one last ride to oblivion. Drive Angry was the perfect metaphor for Nicolas Cage’s acting career. Cage was once a bad ass Oscar award winning actor who starred in highly acclaimed films such as Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, and Moonstruck. Once his eccentricities got the best of him, he hit rock bottom and he’s taking any role that his agent can deliver in order to stay out of jail for back taxes owed. Unfortunately Drive Angry was not the fun ride that Con Air was destined to be. Instead, it’s about as exciting a film as Driving Miss Daisy.

Perhaps the bigger badass was Amber Heard whose character got punched in the face by her abusive boyfriend and thrown out the back window of a moving RV. Heard had the most fun as she threw more punches than Cage. Heard certainly got a better gig than her limited appearances in Pineapple Express, Zombieland, and Never Back Down.

Director Patrick Lussier was one of a whole generation of directors making movies inspired from pop culture films of yesterday. While he’s not the only one guilty of living off of his inspirations, he’s guilty of failing to take the genre a step further. Drive Angry was a faux Grindhouse film that tried too hard to milk a few camp laughs. When Lussier directed Cage killing bad guys left and right while having sex, someone should have shown him a similar scene in Clive Owen’s Shoot’em Up. Therein lies the problem with a lot of cinema today. There’s only an interest and not a passion to make something worthy of the time and money spent.

As the accountant, William Fichtner played the devil’s right hand man making sure that Cage paid his dues. While Nicolas Cage still has to pay for the debt he owes, the audience shouldn’t have to pay for this film.

Drive Angry rates as a flat beer baking in the summer heat.

Cheers,

Ron

X-men First Class

Posted by ron On June - 3 - 2011

Wouldn't have the same effect if Prof X & Magneto played scrabble now would it?

From Winter's Bone Jennifer Lawrence played Mystique who was not only the franchise's centerpiece but also the most developed mutant to date.


During a time of change, idealism collided with reality as young men and women charged with a gift to change humanity must decide to continue supporting it or establish a new world order in X-men First Class. Loosely based off the Marvel Comic book property, X-men First Class’s over convoluted spy plotted nearly overshadowed the tremendous performance of the Oscar nominated, Jennifer Lawrence as the shape shifter Mystique. Stuck between two mentors, a young flawed idealist Charles Xavier and deeply troubled fascist Eric Lehnsherr she struggled for acceptance not only in the world but also within her evolved species. Sounds familiar? She could easily be mistaken for a black woman rejected for the color of her skin amidst the talk for equality. By far, Mystique was the film’s most developed character and clearly the centerpiece of the Fox produced X-films to date. By the end of the film, she was no longer an unsure, timid girl hiding behind Xavier’s manipulative coddling but a sure, strong woman able to step from a shadow and make her own decisions. Racial prejudice has always been the strength and most relatable concept of the uncanny X-men. While Lawrence’s beauty still shined through blue make up and selectively minimal scales, the audience easily accepted the concept that her character should be as repulsive as a bad case of blue shingles.

What made the X-men property such a hot topic were the all too human flaws of these characters that made the film more identifiable with the source material. James McAvoy’s passive Charles Xavier jutztapozed against Michael Fassbender’s aggressive Erik Lehnsherr served as the film’s lynchpins. One character compensated for the other’s shortcomings as they challenged each other. The rest of the mutants were undeveloped. Havok, Banshee, and Angel Salvadore had no material from which to carve some kind of identity from. Gone Baby Gone’s Edi Gathegi’s talents were wasted in a character that should have worn a red ensign Star Trek uniform with with an X. Similar problem with Emma Frost. January Jones had no material to work with besides fetching Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw a sandwich.
Rose Byrne didn’t have a mutant power but she disappeared quite a bit. As Moria MacTaggert upgraded to CIA agent, we never got a good impression of what was her stake in this conflict. Where were her loyalties? It’s all a jumbled mess except Lawrence’s Mystique whose brief scenes with Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy were decent transition points before he dressed in a horrible Bill the Cat meets cookie monster outfit and piloted the Blackbird.

Director Mathew Vaughn created a sophisticated look of a film that didn’t feel like it was in the 60s outside of the JFK speech delivered. Much like the first X-film, every scene felt self-contained, while X-2 remained the strongest because it was one seamless story with an objective. The plot of the film was ridiculous involving a sub ran by well-dressed mutants plotting to start a nuclear war of divide and conquer. Only problem, what kind of world full of radiation would be worth ruling over? Slight oversight made the film falter in the last third especially in a scene where both the Soviets and USA fire ammunition on the beach thinking that it was the opposing side. Alas, it was all in an effect to construct one loud and impressive crescendo of a final conflict. While it might get a pass from non-comic book fans, fan boys who never needed a play book to keep up could easily see a gaping hole to its design. In the end, X-men First Class wasn’t so much about making a seamless film but a prelaunch that would attract old fans of the films and new ones.

X-men First Class rates as a decent tasting beer but nothing more than a cold one that is tasty but nothing I would want to do again.

Where's my straw goddam it?


Cheers,
Ron

The Rite

Posted by ron On May - 30 - 2011

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I mailed in yet another performance for a buck.

The son of an Undertaker tried to scam the clergy for free education but ended up getting more than he bargained for when he interned with an exorcist. The Rite was the perfect cinematic instrument of faith that served as an entertaining commercial for joining the ministry of faith. While it was based off a true story, battling demons had little to do with one’s relationship with God but it most certainly sold an entertaining lifestyle of traveling to Rome, taking classes in the apple store looking Vatican classrooms, and fighting demons under the Tuscan sun.

As the reluctant protagonist, Actor Colin O’Donoghue was more form than function. Taking the cloth to the GQ extreme, his pretty boy cynicism was an easy sell but he undersold the transition to a reluctant believer. Hiring established thespians, Anthony Hopkins, Rutger Hauer, and Toby Jones to serve, as lynchpins didn’t hurt either in trying to make the film more appealable. However, their roles are foreplay to the center of the story, which has to little do with faith and has more in common with the prequel to the Exorcist.

Converting the cynic is nothing new but the story telling and acting was fresher in 1408.

Jan Mikael Håfström, director of 1408, tried to tell a tale about the trouble in men’s souls but there’s just too much eye candy between O’Donoghue and Alica Braga. Like any story based off truth, too many distractions from Michael Kovak’s relationship with his father ended up making the story cliché on top of being formulaic. The camerawork repetitive and effects nothing of the extraordinary. In essence, there’s just not enough material in the Rite to substantiate it as a movie. Hence, there’s not enough to write about the Rite.

The Rite rates as a beer with no defining characteristics that would make you want to order another any time soon.

Cheers,

Where's my straw goddam it?

Ron

Somewhere

Posted by ron On May - 26 - 2011

Stephen Dorff struggles with anhedonia when his loving daughter Cleo is forced to live with him.

You’re rich, you’re repulsive beyond the crap you sell but do I know you?

As self-serving salesmen, today’s media seems to be focused on selling a lifestyle of Kentucky fried manic behavior but beyond the camera would most of America bite if celebrities really led monotonous, disconnected lives? Drawing upon her life experiences of living out of a hotel and traveling with her father, director Sofia Coppola captured the intimacy and existentialism of celebrities living normal monotonous lives in the movie Somewhere.

A script that relies on timing vague emotional nuances.

No stranger to growing up in Hollywood, Dorff played a crazed director in Cecil B. Demented.

Centered around the under utilized Stephen Dorff, he played Johnny, an actor who suffered from anhedonia. He didn’t get pleasure from anything until his daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning showed up at his doorstep. Caught up in the break out role he played in, he has to come to terms with his cell phone barking commands on where to go, how to be, and who to meet to continue his career. Clearly not comfortable with his Hollywood image, Johnny battled depression and hateful text messages that might or might not be delusions.

 

Lost in Translation displayed Sofia Coppola's strengths, the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Existentialism is the new religion in an age where people think of lifestyle first, salary second.

Coppola’s strengths are not in dialogue but in capturing emotion in very spatial intimate areas. In extended shots of silence, the audience has very little to work with but there’s an overwhelming sense of wondering what the character was thinking as time elapses. Every character was thinking something in the hotel but carrying on as if nothing was wrong. When the emotions do bubble up to the surface, it’s an awkward moment down to how it’s shot. The audience wasn’t even sure if that’s the right way to resolve the problem but Coppola did a great job at making it anti-climatic. People do not often carry on making a spectacle out of their problems. These conundrums of problems that every one acknowledges exists but does not react openly are a quality that she has made into an art form.

How to make a film most people won’t understand

For audiences who don’t like to work or feel uncomfortable in extended shots of silence, Somewhere might be a movie that came off pretentious. Therein lies the detached state of existence in LA and more specifically Hollywood. In that sense, Somewhere succeeded because individual will express their judgments regardless. The real question is how do the judged feel about living in own skins?

 

Somewhere rates as a fine wine, aged to perfection without any extraverted tasted but subtle with character.

Cheers,

Four loko latte' wha?

Ron

 

The Goonies

Posted by ron On May - 24 - 2011

Like tourists attempting to decipher the MTA Subway map, Mikey & the Goonies try to read a Pirate treasure map that has baffled experts for decades.

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis was solved in 1985

Their small town on the verge of foreclosure, kids race against time in hopes of uncovering buried pirate treasure in order to save not only their community but also their childhood. In 1985, Goonies was the greatest pirate adventure for kids. Inspired by the Errol Flynn era of swashbuckling, writers Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus managed to create a modern adventure that incorporated a childhood sense of wonder with Pirate legends but more importantly a sense of naïve desperation and motivation to these characters.

A Roller Coaster ride not meant to top itself but to ensure you had a good time

Director Richard Donner delivered a theme park ride that was one part Indiana Jones, one-part Pirates of the Caribbean, and two parts local water slide. The level of special effects weren’t just dated but vintage. It still served as part of the film’s charm even 26 yrs later. The look made the sets atmospheric but didn’t make the audience question the sense of sending kids to brave lethal booby traps and murderous criminals. It was supposed to be a fun film for kids despite having a use for a murderous Frattelli family as the main antagonist.

Not Quite the Brat pack of the 80s but more like the Outsiders

Anne Ramsey's scowls and brutal honesty delivered some of the biggest laughs

The youthful talents of Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jonathan Ke Quan, and the infamous Corey Feldman nurtured the script by delivering playful laughs. The audience had to be on board because there was a selling point for going through all this trouble to risk their lives without telling their parents. Like so many films in the 80s caricatures of jocks, geeks, and cheerleaders wore typecast outfits as part of a design. There’s even a mutant that somehow fit into the act. The film manipulated the audience but it retained the Spielberg value of nonjudgmental childhood naivety and compassion. At the bottom of a well, “Mikey” Walsh, played by Astin delivered the film’s geeky inspirational speech that served as the defining moment of the film. Like those flamboyant and bold buccaneers, they were outcasts as well. Despite all their geeky differences they accepted each other for who they were. Not even deadly booby traps and a bank were going to break that bond.

The toughest sell today is not necessarily making an ending happy or sad but a satisfying one

The poster child for pregnancy after age 70, Chunk was the last fail safe plot device in case you didn't get the point of the movie.

Like most 80s films, Goonies was a product of its time. The good guys won, the bad guys were punished, and no one was hurt. The film ended on a high note as it was designed to deliver entertainment. Hopefully, the audience understood that there’s a heart to this film that continues to make it revered almost 3 decades after it left theaters.

As cliché as it sounds, The Goonies easily rates a generous self-serving bottle of rum.

Cheers,

Where's the goddam Rum?!

Ron

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Posted by sean On May - 23 - 2011

Jack Sparrow returns in a new adventure as he sails the seas and treks through jungles in search of the franchise's lost sense of fun.

 

Disney takes another dip into one of their properties with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which sees the return of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he chases after the Fountain of Youth, and while it’s nice to see the charismatic trickster from the previous trilogy, he barely keeps this latest installment afloat with the burden of a convoluted plot bound together with mediocre action.

 

Disney sought to scale back on the fourth entry, slashing the budget while trying to get back to the core of what made, at least the first film, a fun, daring adventure.  An understandable approach if they didn’t want to foot the money to top the climatic whirlpool of At World’s End, but the attempt to return the series to its so-called roots leaves the movie seeming like its missing more than an abundance of CGI shots.  From the streets of London to the jungles of the Caribbean, the story follows Jack resuming his search for the Fountain of Youth.  Competing with him are his old enemy, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), under the banner of the British crown; his new nemesis, Blackbeard (Ian McShane), hoping to prolong his wicked life; and the Spanish, who serve little to the tale.  In the midst of all of these paths, On Stranger Tides musters a couple of entertaining scenarios, most notably an attack by ravenous mermaids that utilizes more tension than action to provide the thrills.  Unfortunately, scenes like that display the extent of the film’s creativity while the rest feels uninspired as if while looking at the script, Disney execs kept asking themselves “what can we do that’s cheaper?”

 

More damaging to the movie is the uneven focus spread over the different characters. Jack Sparrow steps to the forefront as the lead character but proves very quickly how you shouldn’t have too much of a good thing.  His first appearance had him balanced with Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, giving him plenty of screen time to revel in his inebriated nature without wearing out his welcome, but three movies later, his mannerisms are more predictable, and he now has to fill up more runtime with a retread of his usual quips and cons.  Ironically, this additional emphasis on him makes him appear less like the main protagonist.  With no crew and no ship, he has fallen in with the nameless deckhands and is basically just along for the ride.  For once, those who forget to say “captain” before his name aren’t wrong.  On the other hand, the film provides Geoffrey Rush’s alter ego with a new direction for him to explore as a man who has lost the most and is itching to settle a score.  Had the script delved a little deeper into the former foe, this might have been Barbossa’s story with Sparrow working off of him.  Beyond the rivals, Angelica has enough of her own charisma to clash with Sparrow’s, but again, there’s only so little of the 130 minutes to share.  More time with her past with Jack is instead sacrificed for Phillip, a young missionary, and his soap-opera affection for the mermaid, Syrena.  Meant to fill the romantic vacancy left by Bloom and Knightley, their arc garners little interest as Phillip woodenly delivers scripture-like words of adoration to Syrena that only have the power of freezing the film’s pace. Even less buyable is Phillip shouting at Blackbeard about his irredeemable ways, and while Blackbeard has the presence of a formidable villain thanks to McShane’s performance, the script undermines his vile reputation as it leaves the audience wondering why he doesn’t just kill the missionary whenever he opens his mouth.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is more disappointing than bad as it constantly shows signs of what could’ve been a better, tighter installment with the same amount of fun as the first movie, and for that, it is a warm beer.  It may be under the same brand you’ve enjoyed before, but it’s nothing compared to when it was fresh out of the cooler.

-Sean

Hobo with a Shotgun

Posted by ron On May - 23 - 2011

When a homeless man becomes too big of a problem, a small town mob boss brings in 2 bikers fresh from a Gwar concert

Disgusted by the corruption in a small town, a delusional homeless man romanticized a self-righteous killing spree in order to clean up the filth and safe guard a hooker with a heart of gold. Hobo with a Shotgun epitomized the grind house spirit with a shoestring budget, edgy dark humor, spaghetti sauce quality blood splatters, and a cast of characters without any redeeming qualities. Most importantly, Hobo with a Shotgun completed its course without any hope of a sequel, something that other imitators of this genre can’t commit to because of the potential reward of box office gold.

Could this be the unofficial sequel to Ex-CIA agent Nick Randall after hunting down Malak Al Rahim, played by Gene Simmons of KISS?

Director Jason Eisener followed through with his faux trailer back when Tarantino & Rodriguez’s Grind house double feature debuted in 2007. Tarantino admitted that Grind house was a humbling experience. It’s easy to understand why. Too much refinement loses the point of making a low budget film in the first place The spirit of grind house films was always derived from a handicapped budget generating clever improvisation that promote personality & laughs to win over the audience. In essence, digging deeper can lead to a greater upside. A fan of 70s revenge films and Troma independent films, Eisener succeeded in drawing from his inspiration and producing a film that conjured an impression without blatantly pay homage to them.

While Rutger Hauer lent his star to headline the movie and draw some buzz, it’s the performances of Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman who stole the show as a demented duo with no remorse for their victims. Studying manic behaviors of a young Tom Cruise and Christian Bale, over the top performances were appropriate especially in a facetious scene involving a school bus. A pop culture icon, Rutger Hauer still had a little left in the gas tank. Perhaps, he channeled his 1986 character Nick Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive. Similarly, an unhinged character who also went on a killing spree in search of Gene Simmons who played an Osama Bin Laden-eque character. Yes, a key member of the band KISS did in fact play a militant Muslim leader who for no reason blew up a few random spots in a small downtown area. To add more panache, a pair of scary looking Road Warriors dressed up in a medieval biker outfit dragging a coffin behind them also complimented the cast.

As Hobo with a Shotgun reached its bloody crescendo, the symphony of camp violence prepared the audience well for its final act. In today’s trend towards 3-D IMAX and overpriced tickets, it delivered the same amount of entertainment with modest production value.

Hobo with a Shotgun rates a shot of bourbon for it’s filthy sadistic guilty pleasures and amoral laughs.

Cheers,

Freshness!!!!

Ron

 

The Green Hornet

Posted by ron On May - 18 - 2011

Rogen plays his hand in the Super Hero biz. Unfortunately, it had less to do with crime fighting and more to do with hanging out.

In yet another tale of a bratty rich kid who was manipulated into reaching outside of himself to do some good, the Green Hornet was writer/actor Seth Rogen’s nostalgic tongue in cheek bromance to super heroes. Every super hero is a product of its time and the Green Hornet might be one of those heroes. While Gondry did a solid job updating the psychedelic look and massaging the awkward elements such as a minority manservant, it’s still set in Seth Rogen’s mind of naive LA suburb where drug lords are operating out of strip malls without an illegal Mexican or Asian in sight. It’s clear, Rogen was influenced by the 60s TV show of the Green Hornet but he took Britt to the low brow level of a dense buffoon. Britt never bothered to ask Kato why he’s rigging muscle cars with weaponry or what exactly he was doing for his father. Instead, he throws more money at Kato taking his word that he’s not a Korean drug lord using his dad’s money and company to fund his operation. Obviously all Asians including this writer are truthful and trustworthy right?

Let’s assume that Kato checks out. The bromance was 20 minutes too long with repetitious cool looking gadgets, bonding over beers, and jealously over fighting skills when it should have been spent on building up the nemesis for the Green Hornet, Christoph Waltz’s Bloodnofsky. Waltz did his best to work as a suave gangster without a cool nickname, reputation, or costume but his efforts are wasted. The plot was so shallow, there’s no rhyme or reason why his villainous character was doing what he’s doing.

The challenge of super hero films today caters towards motivations that have to be plausible enough for such an extreme or fantastical execution of a theatrical story. There’s very little to the Green Hornet that would require a pampered clown to get his hands dirty when he could have easily funded someone more competent to take care of the situation. Plot holes the size of the San Fernando Valley made the elaborate shoot out at Britt’s media empire HQ obligatory without any stakes raised. It was at that point the Green Hornet felt more like a theme ride than justice.

Wasted talents of a solid supporting cast and a visionary director rate the Green Hornet as a beer on tap that is drinkable but doesn’t quench my thirst for something fun.

Cheers,

Ron

Vampires that don’t Suck

Posted by ron On May - 17 - 2011

Despite a lackluster 14M opening, the disappointing Christ-Fu film known as Priest had me thinking about the recent demise of Vampire genre. It’s in worse shape than the Knicks under Isiah Thomas. Completely unwatchable. Bad scripts from horrible literature seems to be the mainstay. Hence, I felt it was my duty to throw you some recent material that should get you back into why Vampires are cool:

Relying more on suggestion and not beating you over the head, Let the Right One In let the horror creep into your soul slowly yet surely.

The Kids are alright
Let the Right One In shatters two preconceived opinions about vampire films. One, vampire films with kids can’t be taken seriously. Two, vampire films without excessive neck biting can’t work. It was one of the rare cases where the film does the novel justice. See it. Read it. Love it.

Through Pearl, we see the development of America through the eyes of the immortal undead and how it affects her marriage with a mortal and her hated archnemesis, Skinner


Sympathy for the Devil
Unless you’ve been living on another planet, writer Scott Snyder has taken the comic book world by storm in American Vampire. A tale of two different vampires who become undead at two very different times in the America. The reader gains a more intimate story about the changes these characters undergo not only within but also with the relationships they build. The sweeping changes as the characters around the vampires grow older has an interesting subtext. The story is not linear as we begin with the 1920s when Pearl is turned by her maker Skinner but then we see his story when the lawless old West was around. As we move forward in time to World War II, we also learn a little more about the past. Essentially, American Vampire is really about how they have played a significant hand at shaping America without anyone noticing but in a more intelligent, patient, thorough story-telling fashion that is mature and takes the subject matter seriously.

Thirst is a Korean vampire film that wrestles with losing your humanity.


If you saw Old Boy, chances are you familiar with Chan-wook Park’s strong work that challenges your sensibilities and constitution as human beings are pushed to disturbing brink of insanity. Thirst is a brilliant love story involving a priest who gives up his life to be a part of a study that could cure some strain of leprosy. He dies but is reborn with unique abilities not of ordinary human beings. Now, in a new life he’s challenged with trying to retain his humanity as his powers continually torture and tempt him to do things for his betterment.

A desperate man searches to save the woman he loves in a world he doesn't understand


New Blood
Written by Daredevil Noir’s Daniel Freedman, Undying Love is the story about a soldier of fortune who falls in love with a woman who is a vampire but the twist is, this comic book is faithful to the Eastern interpretation of Vampires. They’re not really blood suckers but rather soul suckers. Refreshing to see that not all vampires are not combat machines or stronger than 10 men.

Artist/Filmmaker Tomm Coker is no stranger to vampires. His limited palette but strong graphic visuals also breathed life into DC Vertigo title, Blood & Water about a man dying of a terminal disease presented with a solution with a price.

 

Unlike the film, there were no real protagonists in the Manga Priest. Just a cursed man on a suicide mission

 

The Confession

What made the manga Priest such a guilty pleasure to read was the Japanese take on Western culture. Hyung Min-Woo was obviously influenced by The Man with No Name, supernatural, exorcism, and science fiction as this tells the story of Ivan Isaacs who plots revenge for the slaughter of his family by joining an order designed to bring down the 12 fallen angels and Lucifer himself in the old West. Of course, such a multi-faceted book has flashbacks to the order’s origins from the Middle Ages to present day. While the plot falls victim to the “run the gauntlet” video game linear progression, it’s the unique look and intense imagery that is unmistakable and distinct. It’s too bad the movie didn’t utilize any of the same dynamics.

 

 

 

 

Hope this whets your whistle for vampires again. Till next time,

Where's my straw goddam it?

Ron

 

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Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief

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