Tag Archives: vampires

Underworld: Awakening

Where’s Michael? Where is Michael Corvin?

You may be wondering that yourself after you see Underworld: Awakening in theaters (if it still is…) The second I saw this movie was in development WITH KATE BECKINSALE, I got really excited. This beautiful English goddess needs no introduction. The face and star of the Underworld series ( I won’t include Rise of the Lycans) comes back with a more violent and sexy force in this movie. And, at 39 years of age, Beckinsale is looking wonderfully sexy and vibrant, despite the whole vampire/death dealer thing.

I would say this tagline of this movie is “Where’s Michael?” because it is the most classic line from the trailer. Yelling in the face of some unfortunate human, Selene just wants to know where her lover is. Is that too much to ask?

Where is Michael?

Apparently it was too much to ask to get Scott Speedman to return in this film. From the first moment you see him, you know something’s up. He seems CGI, and, in fact he is. Shown for an entire 30 seconds of screen time, Michael goes from badass hybrid to invisible hider. The original purpose of the film is to find him, but it becomes complicated.

This scene was sexy.

Here’s some context. The war raging on for centuries between the Vampires and Lycans has a new contender. The humans have entered the battle and have learned the weaknesses to decimate both sides. In a terrible twist of fate, Selene and Michael are captured and are being held in a laboratory under cryogenic (?) freezing for over 10 years. (Was it 10? The number was a bit fuzzy…) Upon being released by some unknown third party, Selene awakens to a world she is unfamiliar with. All that remains with her is her ability to kill, and kill well.

After some romp stomp destroying of some lab guards, Selene begins to get her wits about her. Realizing she is not in a position of advantage, she begins her quest in finding Michael. This is complicated by what she perceives to be visions from Michael’s own eyes being projected to her. She follows them and what she finds is a young girl. A hybrid young girl. With things thrown out of whack and nothing as it appears, Selene and the last of the vampires must fight in a world where there enemy is no longer the Lycans, but what would appear to be a lesser subspecies. Us.

Time to lace up.

I gotta hand it to the creators of Underworld. You take a 6 year break from Evolution with Kate and come back just as hard as the original 9 years before this one? You have to know some die hard fans are gonna watch it regardless. Me being one of those die hard fans of Beckinsale and everything Underworld really helped out. The first one becoming a cult classic solidifies any future work on Underworld and makes it all the more interesting when, yes, they suggest a 5th one. Bring it on.

There's some violence for ya.

I really gotta say though, this one hit hard with the violence. There’s really not a big break between action scenes, but some of the action scenes really drive the plot in an unusual way that I haven’t seen in many action movies. Removing the fight scenes from the plot is a way to entertain without bogging down the stylized violence, but this movie said, “Eh, why can’t we have both?” And I agree. There are plenty of successful action movies out there that can balance what the genre promises with a bit of good storyline. And the Underworld series is one of those.

But yes, there are throat slashing scenes, lots of bullet holes through Lycan carcasses, and, really, not a lot of sympathy for the Lycans in general. In a

The last hopes for the Vampires.

series that kind of set up this idea between supernatural being unity, Lycans vs Vampires probably won’t die anytime soon. With hybrids and the humans as the common enemy, I expected some teamwork, but this movie takes it in a direction that makes sense as well without the Vamycans combine. Although, as anyone knows who has seen this series, humans shouldn’t be a threat to these races, but it happens. I guess if Van Helsing can do it… Others can.

I love that suit. And those guns. Everything.

The acting in this movie was fine, but not the main focus/intent of the creators. Kate Beckinsale, instant loveable classic. At her age, looking that good, the mist rolling over her naked body. Chills. Stephen Rea kind of came out of left field for me. One of the most experienced actors in the movie, his villainous nature came as strange. One, because he’s one of those self-absorbed, nerdy villains without the ridiculously gothic quality of say Bill Nighy or Michael Sheen. Two, his son Quint (Kris Holden-Ried) had an English accent in this movie and Stephen Rea as his father, Dr. Jacob Lane, didn’t. Those little nuances can bother a person.

I mean, at some points in the film, there were accents when there didn’t have to be, and others were there should have been (I guess). Beckinsale sounds wonderfully elegant as Selene with her British accent, but with Eve (India Eisley) it came off as awkward. An 18 year old girl portraying a 12 year old girl (it was close) with an English accent, in a city that I feel was in America,

I just have to include this shot. Chills.

seemed out of place. But the girl did her job, despite some of her only experience coming from The Secret Life of the American Teenager (utterly horrid).

That was also something that struck me as odd with Theo James in this film. As with some other British newcomers to the silver screen, David (Theo James) showed a slight potential as a relatively important character in this film. Bringing back the classic whips from the last scene in the original Underworld, he delivered his lines with a British accent, in an altogether unconvincing way. Charles Dance as his father, Thomas, one of the last remaining bastions of the Vampire dynasty, did a fair job, but he wasn’t a Bill Nighy type of character. He made his mark though.

You did okay, Theo.

Before I wrap this up, just wanted to throw a little shout out Wes Bentley’s way. This guys was a simple character who released Selene from her cryogenic sleep and got none of the credit. I’ve admired Wes Bentley ever since American Beauty (…and Ghost Rider) and I feel he is an underrated actor. So I would like to give him a nod in this uncredited role in Underworld, even though he was dropped out a window.

It's about to get heavy.

So, all-in-all, Underworld: Awakening did justice to the Underworld series. There was a great deal of action, although no Michael, and a plot that satisfyingly gave a chance for an Underworld 5. A fabulous twist that I didn’t see coming progressed the overall plot and left me falling in love with Selene all over again. I would agree with IMDB’s rating of this movie of a 7 out of 10, but, as a huge fan, I’d bump it up to a 7.7 out of 10. Nice job.

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Fright Night (2011 Remix)

I gotta say I was not a big fan of this movie. I really didn’t know where this movie was coming from not having seen the original 1985 version and I didn’t know at all where it was going. With a cast of reputable kiddish actors lead by Anton Yelchin, I expected a bit more from this film. Souring the mood with a debilitating approach to lighting, this movie came at me from all the wrong places.

This is the story of a young man, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin). No longer the bullied in his high school, he has become the passive bully. He ignores his former friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and finds solace only in his airhead toolish friends and girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots. What a horrid name.) With Ed and their friend Adam (Will Denton, not all that important.) these three crusaders would L.A.R.P. and Dungeon Master themselves to death. They loved the

Colin Farrell was pretty dope.

occult and all these fantasy. And then one day, a vampire moves into town and starts killing.

I have to say I enjoyed the first scene of the film. Straight from a thriller horror movie, a boy is chased and killed along with his family by what appears to be a home invader. That was pretty intense and old schoolish. Always the suggestion and hinting at the supernatural. Then you find out it’s Adam. Feel a bit bad, move on. Ed ropes in Charley and is abandoned by the middle of the film. That’s the one part of the movie I felt they should have stayed on. Straying from the course and focusing more on the damsel in distress made the movie unoriginal. (or… followed the original 1985 version…) I loved Chris Mintz-Plasse in this movie. I hated him and everything else about Superbad. Go

Here's where the acting came from. And there's where the lighting went.

figure. But it was the friendship between these two and the fact that one needed the other just as much was what really struck a chord for me in this movie. And that only mattered for about 20 minutes. Screw that.

Then let’s get into how (okay it does relate to the original, but…) this movie resonates with Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire. That was some good Disney joint back in the day. That dad from The Nanny, he was killin that shizz. And now, beef up and hottify the vampire to the point of ridiculousness. Enter Colin Farrell as Jerry, the next door vampire. His sexual appeal (not to me necessarily…) and his sarcastic charm made him a perfect fit for this film. Seducing Charley’s mom (Toni Collette) was a different story.Trying to convince the world of a vampire that will kill you if you don’t play by its weaknesses was a great aspect to this film. (Just like in Orphan. Watch it and you’ll understand.)

...On pushing it that he did well in this movie...

…But going to see your childhood hero and finding him to be a fraud is not. This leads me to say that the second half (and only part of the first half) of this movie was disappointing. I need to talk about this because this chews at me. David Tennant may be a fantastic Doctor on Dr. Who. But I really hope anyone who saw this film for him realizes that he was terrible in this movie. He is typecast forever as a quirky, know-it-all character… like Dr. Who. I don’t watch Dr. Who. And, taking David Tennant’s acting in this film, it was lackluster. Below par. I’m sad to say that when I had heard rumors he was going to play The Riddler in the new Batman movie that I can’t wait to miss. Too bad, so sad. Truly.

I don't think you can defend yourself, little Miss Poots.

So Anton Yelchin goes to find Peter Vincent (Dr. Who) in order to get an expert’s help with his vampire problem. He’s a sham and swears and drinks all the time. He can’t help save the damsel and needs some convincing in order for the final showdown. And I won’t ruin the ending, but movie writers or whoever decides this has to stop assuming that you can call something a vampire and then say its not and call it some succubus subhuman ground creature. Not true. It’s not a vampire is it? And yet it follows all the same laws of defeating a vampire? Make up your minds…

Bring it on, Anton.

All-in-all, the only bright lights in this dark vampire world were Anton Yelchin(sort of) and Chris Mintz-Plasse. If they had focused on their friendship and not unnecessarily focused on Imogen Pootz, the dud. (this girl has been in 28 Weeks Later, the failed sequel, and Jane Eyre. Bet she wasn’t good in either…) I don’t understand the high school mood they were going for, and a lot of the lines and cinematography fell flat for me. A little more of a dynamic, over the top approach to this horror comedy may have brough out that comedy, because it was lost on me. 4 out of 10.


Immortals: My First 3D Experience

If you ever feel like having a stick of dynamite stuffed in your ear and detonated, see this movie. It won’t just blow your mind, it will blow your head off. From the same producers that brought you 300, here comes a slightly updated version. Based on the mythology of Theseus and the gods, comes an epic tale of one man versus a league of Hyperion’s horde. Combine the zero to hero life of Hercules with Theseus’ humble peasant background and subtract 299 troops and you have Immortals. Here’s the drawback to my plan. I saw this the day it came out and I was pumped. My birthday movie (Nov. 12th) and The 11.11.11 date release was epic. But… it was only in 3-D. Major crisis could not be averted.

And here is where I gripe about 3-D. There are logical reasons that Hollywood won’t acknowledge about the flaws of 3-D because of how much money it is unfortunately raking in. First of all, coming from generations upon generations (basically back to the 1900’s) who have enjoyed and watched films, these 3-D films look fake. The cheesy effect of things coming out at you from a film (i.e. a bow or sword) takes you out of the movie watching experience. Being constantly conscious of things popping out at you at all

The questing group. Nice.

moments of the film puts it in a realm of disbelief about what is being portrayed onscreen. The headaches it creates from an unprepared audience (and from those who must wear glasses beneath glasses, *ahem* me) and the cost headache it creates is just too much. And everything, even movies that hold next to no 3-D value/scenes, are released for the sake of money. That shouldn’t be what the film industry is about, but, alas, it is.

So, let’s talk about every single good thing about this movie, and then I’ll give you my one problem with the movie. Okay, here we go.

Henry Cavill as Theseus. Check out that butt-chin.

Alright, Henry Cavill as Theseus. In an action film, I, for the most part, forgive the acting of those involved. For most who view these movies, they know no Oscars are coming its way and its for the entertainment value. A movie that sticks to its genre/guns is something I truly appreciate. And Henry Cavill, a relative newcomer to films (first big thing, The Count of Monte Cristo, other notables, Tristian and Isolde and The Tudors) performs in what I would consider an above average performance. Not on par with King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) but a similar gusto. He may come from Jersey (the original) but that doesn’t make him a horrible person, this English bred actor delivers and will hopefully deliver in Zack Snyder’s new Superman film, Man of Steel. I really wish these superhero movies would stop though…

Alright, here’s something that might surprise you. I’m a big Stephen Dorff fan. This dude, despite starring more often in action films and such below the Oscar radar, he has won my affection. Let’s talk Blade. Deacon Frost, the head of the vampires. Witty and evil as most comic book villains should be, Stephen Dorff delivers as the best villain in that series. Luke Goss in the second, a close second. Feardotcom, another good one. A little bit of an underrated horror film, this held some of the inspiration for the Saw series if I’m not mistaken. Throw in World Trade Center and Public Enemies, and you have a character actor with some pizzaz. As Stavros, the longest surviving of Theseus’ homies, the comic relief emanates from him.

Stephen Dorff. What a master.

We got Freida Pinto for the sex appeal. I gotta warn you, a 3-D nude ass in your face is something quite strange. With a similar sex scene to 300 with the plot device of The Scorpion King (let’s see who gets that), this scene had me laughing because of how uncomfortably cheesy it was. Here’s someone I wasn’t familiar with. Luke Evans as Zeus. He played Apollo in Clash of the Titans (ironic, and also a sad film) and was recently a very similarly looking character in The Three Musketeers. I am looking forward to the new Hobbit film, something it seems Evans will have a small part in. So, as Zeus, Luke Evans delivers a very intense character who can theatrically deliver lines. Probably picked more for his youth than skill, I wasn’t really disappointed at all. (All the Greek gods are supposed to be redonkulously good looking, right?)

All of the Greek gods: Zeus, Ares (Daniel Sharman), Athena (Isabel Lucas, niceee), and Poseidon (Kellan Lutz) were all good in their roles. Chiseled bodys of gods (reminds me of 300…) and a brisk demeanor places them above the mortals. And then there’s the special effects. The fight scenes were brutal. Just check out Ares taking out all of those slave overlords like Gallagher. The spear throw and the bow use is pretty ridiculous. These surge of films (Troy, 300, and now Immortals) are really bringing back the badassness of the spear. Combine this with the most important factor, the director. Tarsem Singh is the amazing visual director of two amazing films, The Cell and The Fall. Especially in The Fall, I can really see the resonance this movie holds with its director’s predecessors. Check those movies out if you haven’t already.

Damn you, King Rourke.

Alright, the downfall of this film. Two words. King Hyperion. Also, and more importantly, Mickey Rourke. This Disney named fool needs to stay in obscurity and out of films. The person he has become because of the drugs and addiction has created a monster. I didn’t like him in Sin City, The Wrestler, or Iron Man 2. The only movie I like him is is Diner from way back in 1982. Back when he was a real person and not a shell of the man he is now. It’s quite a sad thing. Oh well, like all actors, he will fall someday.

With a basic, easy to follow plot of the quest, this movie creates amazing landscapes for fight scenes (including the Gate of Mordor) and a fight scene towards the end with the locked away Titans that will blow you away. Created after so many years, it was almost too long of a lull between Immortals and 300. This movie needed to happen and it delivered. Not exactly a copy off of 300, but well worth the watch. Just avoid the 3-D and you’ll be fine. Maybe even skip over the mind-addled mumblings of Rourke while he eats his nuts, but we’ll see. This movie deserves a 8.4 out of 10.

This scene was ridic.

 


Dance in the Vampire Bund: Sexual Twilight

 

So unfortunately for those of my friends who know that Dance in the Vampire Bund is awful, I still had to watch this show to determine just how bad it is. My girlfriend has only seen the nude child photos in the manga and, based on that small encounter, knows it was bad. If only I was as smart… Alas, I still watched this short 12 episode anime to see what all the fuss was about (and, as usual, Christopher Sabat, credited as C.T. Anger.)

This vampires and werewolves love dance that is

Like seriously, what is this?

Dance in the Vampire Bund is… interesting, if I could use any word. If I could use a more accurate word… weird. Creepy. Strange… Pornographic at worst. With such a small range of plot and characters that don’t necessarily change but come full circle, it was more of a laugh then a serious perspective on the age old tale of vampires vs werewolves and their touchy-feely relationships. Oh well…

This doesn't even border wrong. It jumps over it.

In this tale of woe, Mina Tepes (Monica Rial), the “Queen” of the Vampires is planning to reveal the existence of vampires and their desire to live hand-in-hand harmony style with the humans. How does she do this? Quiz/T.V. gameshow style. And some crazy shizz goes down. And people die. And she gets naked. What could be a better way to turn people off from this show?

As the show progresses we meet 3 main villains, a few werewolves, and our main werewolf and pro/antagonist, Akira Kaburagi Regendorf (Eric Vale, credited as Alpha Legrange) who has some freaky love interest with a girl at school, Yuki Saegusa (Alexis Tipton) and Mina… So, yeah, that’s going

This is what's wrong. Twilight won't even touch this.

on. Waking up naked beside a 12 year old girl who is also naked? What an interesting okay view of this taboo, because she’s an old vampire who is far older than Akira…

The show ends halfway through and kicks right back up again, and I’m not sure why… Is it because there was a real push for another 6 episodes? I’m really not sure, but I think (probably based on the manga) there was a need to bring Akira’s backstory full circle.

This is pretty legit...

With a few occaisional sob scenes and way too much boobage, this show is (and should be considered) another in a long string of pop culture spinoffs that should be attached to Twilight (not that that’s a bad thing… please, don’t ask…). With a dark element like Underworld (with very similar Lycan/Werewolf transformations) and a bondage element that is way out of this world/not cool, this show goes places most anime wouldn’t. I give a small ounce of credit to the artwork and sensuality of the drawing, but that’s about as far as that goes.

Other than Eric Vale and Christopher Sabat (One the father, the other the son in this situation.) and a decently not annoying girl voice by Monica Rial, there’s not really anything to say about the voice acting, even in its caliber. I did enjoy the Ayres bro.’s and their identifiable voices as

And there's this guy.

a young quiver voiced wimp (sad though) and a centuries old Chinese vampire, Chris and Greg do it again in what seems to be a string of melodramatic C-rated anime. (Not judging, just giving my opinion. Although, its a career and I like most of their stuff. They’re cool guys in person. Especially Chris with his liters of cola and Greg with his pink hair.)

So I send a sigh your way, Dance in the Vampire Bund. With all your potential, you tell an already told story with way to much sex. And mind you, child sex. No, the transformation sequence doesn’t make it okay. And nobody really dies. Which, okay, they’re vampires, but really? Even vampires have to die someday. And so did this show. 4.5 out of 10. 

Oh, and check this out.


Black Blood Brothers: More Vampires

This short little anime is a bit different from what I’ve recently been watching. Black Blood Brothers, better known as, basically, old vampires, is the story of, well, old vampires. Versus basically new vampires. It’s like Blade 2. This is essentially 12 episodes of an instance in the life of Jiro Mochizuki. He’s one of the old blood vampires that quelled the rebellion of the Kowloon Children at Hong Kong. Complicated backstory that is explained throughout the episodes. But this anime is basically about his return to Hong Kong, more specifically, the Special Zone.

Now this Special Zone is “special” because it is a safe haven for vampires. Of all sorts. Well, more vampires that are Kowloon Children. And this anime is about some Kowloon Children getting into the Special Zone. Unfortunately. Jiro is not initially allowed into the Special Zone, but he’s allowed “if” he helps quell a second rebellion. And this time, Jiro has his younger brother in tow. And with the help of a vampire mediator, we’ll

A handful of characters for you.

see what happens.

This vampire anime is a slightly different take on what it means to be a vampire. These vampires hate sun, but don’t necessarily die in it. They don’t like water either, and can die in it. They drink blood to replenish their powers, but won’t kill or turn humans who they suck blood from. Silver kills them for sure. And the humans utilize that to keep them in line. The only way humans (red bloods) can be turned into black bloods (vampires) is if vampires let humans drink a bit of their vampire blood. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. (Unfortunately not in this anime.)

J. Michael Tatum as Jiro.

But yes, this is the story of Jiro vs. the Kowloon Children. And Jiro is done by quite the voice actor. J. Michael Tatum, a voice actor I met at Anime Boston, voiced Jiro, the Silver Blade. He does quite the good job at an English accent, and that’s due to his speech therapist, an old English hag (Just kidding). Colleen Clinkenbeard voices Mimiko Katsuragi, the mediator between the humans (The Company) and the vampires of the Special Zone. Colleen does great work and voices good female characters, one of the best female voice actors that Funimation provides. Jerry Jewell provides the voice for Zelman Clock, a rather mischievous old blood vampire with an affinity for fire and a vehement tongue, the perfect combo for Jerry Jewell himself. Brina Palencia

Jerry Jewell. Nice.

lends her voice for a few episodes as Yafuri Chao, a direct descendant of the Kowloon King and quite the formidable opponent of Jiro. And, last but never least, Christopher Sabat lends a Piccolo like voice as Cain Warlock, another gruff supporting character of the many anime that Christopher Sabat performs in. And this is just half of a cast the lends itself to a

Oh. And they can walk on walls.

decent performance in a short vampire anime.

Now the animation/art direction isn’t necessarily my cup of tea (or blood, if you prefer), but it does justice for itself in its own way. It’s not shonen, and yet its not seinen (Check Basilisk for the reference.). This line that Black Blood Brothers blurs is where it loses me. And the way in which the anime isn’t long enough either leaves it something that it’s desperately missing. These characters have done things that we only hear about through recall. Not direct interaction. And this is where it should’ve been a longer anime. But, all the same, it’s decent in its scope and the way it deals with vampires. 6.3 out of 10.


Priest: Just as Good as Legion

I’d been waiting quite a while to see this movie with my roommate. Ian and I always get that excited feeling around our college finals when its time to take some time off and go catch a flick. And catch a flick we did. One of the best flicks of the year, if I do say so myself. Priest, another incarnation of Paul Bettany portraying the badass side of himself in real life, but in a movie. Like Legion, Paul Bettany’s character descends from his high throne in order to protect those around him. And this is the way that I like to perceive Paul Bettany. A man of the people. And it must be quite true.

Priest, to put it simply, is the story of a priest. But not any ordinary priest. This particular priest is of an order of priests that

Paul Bettany. He messed up that familiar.

was created for one sole purpose. To eradicate vampires. And not your everyday human-turned  vampires. These vampires are creatures, fearful of  light and hungry for human flesh and blood. And they can only be defeated by the light they fear or priests, the greatest super-weapons on the face of the Earth. And the priests have done this. Now in retirement in the “near future,” these priests roam the streets hated by their fellow humans for representing the state of fear they all once held.

But not is all well. The vampires were placed in “camps” in order to repress any more outbreaks. But they have risen in great numbers to attack the humans once again in their high-walled cities. Led by Black Hat (Karl Urban), these creatures will stop at nothing to kill every human on Earth. So, once Priest’s family has been assaulted and his daughter kidnapped, he must pick up his crosses once again in order to protect those he loves. With the help of Hicks (Cam Gigandet), and a fellow Priestess, (Maggie Q) this rag-tag group of vampire hunters must run against the clock in order to save their world. And do they? Well, please watch it and find out.

Nice tatoo.

Well, let me just say 50% of this movie is top-notch actors. Paul Bettany, it goes without saying. His dramatic, A-rated acting never fails to amaze me, despite whatever role he may take on. (Some of my favorites?: Knight’s Tale, Master and Commander, A Beautiful Mind, and, of course, Legion) And, in my opinion, Paul Bettany always gets better. Maggie Q gives a great supporting role as a fellow Priestess. Despite most of her role being focused on action, she brings a

Maggie Q. Always looks good walking away from an explosion.

dramatic/romantic element to the movie. Karl Urban, for the third time in his career, pulls of an action villain worthy of the movie. And Cam Gigandet, well… he’s just doing his own thing. Not anything special. And Brad Dourif (Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings) makes a surprise appearance as a vampire “cure” seller. All-in-all, Paul Bettany carries the acting load in this film.

Nice save. And nice movie.

The director Scott Stewart, is primarily a special effects guy. Other than Priest, he’s done (surprise) Legion. But his special effects really come out in this film. Probably why they released this in 3-D. But I really feel (although I’ve never read the graphic novel) that this movie does the graphic novel justice. Or I would hope that it did. I really thoroughly enjoy films like this, and I feel there will always be people out there like me that enjoy action films with a new twist. And it’s movies like this that really give me hope for a future of movies that don’t necessarily look promising. So thank you Scott Stewart and thank you Min-Woo Hyung, the creator of Priest, for bringing about what I looked forward to for 5 months. 8.6 out of 10.