Most of the time when you hear a vampire movie is being made, you don’t ever think it will ever get any Oscar buzz. In the case of Anne Rice’s novel turned movie, Interview with the Vampire, that’s a different story. Winning best score and art direction, even
Two regal and noble vamps.
nominating Kirsten Dunst for best supporting actress, this movie cleaned up for a drama about blood suckers. With an all star cast including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Antonio Banderas, what woman could resist the allure of at least two hunky men? For me, I couldn’t resist a movie spoken in Old English (Shakespeare style).
At the start of the film, we encounter a reporter (Christian Slater, supposed to be played by River Phoenix before his untimely death) following an interesting man with long hair. Before he knows it, he is cornered by what he finds to be a vampire from the late 1700’s. His name is Louis (Brad Pitt, french pronunciation) and instead of sucking his blood dry, he tells him of his story. How he was turned and why he is here, now, telling him all this.
Is Jumanji what tainted this wonderful performance from Kirsten the child actress?
It all starts when Louis loses his wife and child, feeling as if he is a soulless human, wandering through the world in a cold daze. Seeking any means of escape, he encounters Lestat (Tom Cruise), a malevolent vampire who wishes to fulfill his wish, but not in the way he thought. Becoming companions, Lestat teaches Louis the way of the vampires and encourages him to enjoy the new life he has now. But Louis’ problem is that he still feels human with compassion and sympathy, not wanting to live a life alone, in the dark. Forever.
The movie moves through to the present day, skipping a few decades here and there, a century or more until we come to the point where
Brad Pitt is talking to Christian Slater. It’d be interesting to see Louis enter the 20th century, but the movie was 2 hours long as it was. It covered all the important parts of a period piece film, with elegant and regal outfits galore. The music I didn’t notice as much (sorry those who won an Oscar for the soundtrack) but I was more swept up with the look and feel of the film. Elegant, but always with that underlying element of death.
I had tried to catch this movie earlier, but I’d only seen snippets of it. I always came in on that depressing scene with Kirsten Dunst and I was like, “I gotta check this movie out.” Sitting down to an elegant (not Underworldy) film about vampires, I had no idea what to expect. Anne Rice, another woman who wrote about vampires? Pleasantly surprised was the end result.
I really liked all the performances in the film. I think that, and the writing/scripting for the film really set it apart from other vampire movies. You felt like they were humans first, and you forgot that they were out in the dark all the time. The language is poetic and fluid, and seems to slip off their tongues as if it was first nature. Tom Cruise (although people may shit all over his attempts as an actor for his beliefs in Scientology) was ballin’ in this film. He’s one of those actors that you know it’s him, and you’ll always see him as Tom Cruise and not the character he’s playing. But by god, he can deliver a vengeful rage of a line or something just as emotionally stirring. He’s a very
engrossing actor and needs to be given credit for it. Beliefs/opinions needs to be separated from a body of work. They have nothing to do with each other.
As for the rest of the cast, they all did just as well. Brad Pitt (other than a Fabio looking vampire with long hair) is emotion filled and a likable main character. That’s what he usually is. Kirsten Dunst was a phenom as a child actress in this movie, playing the adult in children’s clothing, Claudia the vampire. You know those performances where you see it and you think, “That girl was in Spider-Man with a snaggle
Vampires you can fall for.
tooth…” That’s a “wow” performance. Antonio Banderas, you don’t see him that much anymore these days (other than Nasonex commercials). But I appreciated his accent all the same. The Hispanic Schwarzenegger. Rico Suave.
With a great cast and some spectacular settings, who wouldn’t believe this was a well done period piece. And I love a good period piece. This film deserved awards and it really focused on the humanity of the vampire. People didn’t like The Queen of the Damned in the mind of Anne Rice, but we’ll see what I have to say on the matter… 8.5 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: 2 hours long, accent, adult in a child's body, all-star cast, Anne Rice, Antonio Banderas, best art direction, best score, best supporting actress, blood suckers, body of work, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Claudia, companions, compassion, costumes, Creole, depressing scene, elegant, element of death, emotionally stirring, empathy, engrossing actor, enticing look and feel, Fabio looking, feels human, fluid, French, great locations, great performances, great writing script, Hispanic Schwarzenegger, humanistic, hunky men, Interview with the Vampire, Kirsten Dunst, late 1700's, Lestat, life story retold, likable main character, live alone, Louis, Louisiana, malevolent, Nasonex commericals, novelist, Old English, Oscar winner, outfits, period piece, phenom child actress, pleasantly surprising, poetic, regal, reporter, Rico Suave, River Phoenix, Scientology, Shakespeare, snaggle tooth, soulless human, Spider Man, The Queen of the Damned, The Vampire Chronicles, Tom Cruise, Underworld, vampire movie | posted in Movies
In what was considered Jet Li’s breakout American performance, I was a bit disappointed. (I personally though Lethal Weapon 4 really showcased a lot more skills…) The plot is just a crude, urban sampling from Romeo and Juliet. There were minimal stunt/fight scenes. Overall it wasn’t as action packed as the cover had led me to think. I guess I should’ve
An awkward couple?
expected half-assed amounts of martial arts from the director of Exit Wounds, Doom, and Street Fighter. Thanks a lot, Andrzej Bartkowiak…
Let’s just examine the plot to get a what bothers me about this movie. Two warring families. You have the Sing family, led by Ch’u Sing (Henry O). Then you have the black family led by Issak O’Day (Delroy Lindo. He’s that intelligent black man you see in a lot of films as a stock character actor. The smart version of Ving Rhames.) O’Day? What kind of last name is that for a black mafia family? And when have black gangs ever organized like the mafia in the first place? Weird…
This is the second time in a film I’ve seen a guy throwing a girl around…
So yes, I get the two warring families with Jet Li and Aaliyah in the middle. They don’t really love each other at first and you never get that onscreen chemistry from them. Never even a kiss. Just a hug. What I find weird is that they shot the kiss scene (that could’ve been placed anywhere in the film) and they chose to cut it out. Racist anyone? The screeners said it was awkward… Hmm…
Anyways, Jet Li is Han Sing, escaped from a high security prison in Hong Kong. He creatively escapes during one of the cooler fight scenes in the film, but how does he escape the country and make it all the way to Oakland? There is a real lack of police interference in this movie… Aaliyah is a beautiful young actress who (after watching this and The Queen of the Damned) really was taken too quickly from the
It’s all about the shades for Wong.
silver screen. She wasn’t like other R&B actresses onscreen who kinda flaunted their sex appeal. She came across as the cute girl next door you could believe and fall in love with. (Not so much in The Queen of the Damned, but just as good in that movie too.)
A beautiful and tragic young actress.
So Jet Li makes it to Oakland to discover something fishy going on with his father’s gang enterprise. His brother Po (Jon Kit Lee) has been murdered and Han Sing is on the case to find out what happened. (He used to be a police officer. Jackie Chan anyone?) The two star crossed lovers meet (if you can call them lovers) and their families war around them. With some betrayal and only the slightest bit of martial arts, this movie comes to its conclusion: happy ending.
But it wasn’t such a good ride to the happy end. Coming from a 2000 film, the ghetto speak was tired and old. If I had watched it when it had came out, I might be saying something different. But all the dawg’s and yo’s really wore on me… especially when the Chinese gangs used that slang, AND if showed up in
Some of that minimal martial arts.
their subtitle translations for some strange reason… I don’t think they have that kind of slang in the Chinese language…
And how racist this film was! It wasn’t just the speech, it was the music. Sure you have an all star cast doing the R&B hits for all the black gang scenes, but when it comes to cutting over to a scene with Jet Li or someone in the Asian gang, classical oriental music. The clangs and bows of what every person in America hears when they go into a Panda Express. There couldn’t be an infusion or anything more original for both gangs? This movie just seemed like a compare and contrast of races. The only crossover was that some black gang members miraculously knew proper Karate/Wushu form for no reason. Fancy that…
Get your head around that…
The acting was fine and I had no major complaints about that. But for some reason, and I don’t know how to put it into words, Anthony Anderson (co-star of some of the Scary Movies… and Kangaroo Jack…) just rubbed me the wrong way. He wasn’t funny, and seeing him get his ass handed to him by Jet Li just seemed satisfying… Overall though, the whole movie put me in a sour mood. I’ve seen better from Jet Li. This movie is one of those Asian/American films that takes the whole action/martial arts thing for granted. It sickened me a little bit. It was just too dated for me. They should’ve changed the title too… Romeo Must Die? More like A Vague Racist Action Movie About Building A Football Dome. There you go, all fixed. 4.3 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 2000 film, Aaliyah, all-star cast, American cinema, Andrzej Bartkowiak, Anthony Anderson, Asians, beautiful young actress, betrayal, black family, breakout performance, Ch'u Sing, Chinese gangs, classic oriental music, co-star, compare and contrast races, crude plot, cute girl next door, dawg, Delroy Lindo, disappointing, Doom, Exit Wounds, expected better, football dome, ghetto speak, Han Sing, happy ending, Henry O, high securtiy prison, Hong Kong, intelligent black man, Issak O'Day, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Jon Kit Lee, Kangaroo Jack, karate, lack of police presence, Lethal Weapon 4, mafia family, Martial Arts, minimal fight scenes, murder, music, no kissing scene, no onscreen chemistry, no real love spark, O'Day family, Oakland, Panda Express, Po Sing, police officer, R&B singer, racism, racist film, Romeo and Juliet, Romeo Must Die, rubbed me the wrong way, Scary Movies, Sing family, slang, sour mood, star crossed lovers, stock character actor, Street Fighter, subtitles, The Queen of the Damned, tired and old, too outdated, tragic death, urban, Ving Rhames, warring families, yo | posted in Movies