Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assisstant

“This has to be one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. You know how there’s a multitude of online sweepstakes out there, where you fill out a webform and then promptly forget about it cause no one ever wins? Well I actually won the grand prize in one of those. I remember entering, but I cant remember how I even came across it. Most likely linked off IMDB news or something. Anyways, I got a private screening of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant for “”200 of my closest friends”” with an appearance by Chris Massoglia, who plays Darren (the vampire’s asst).

The past week has been such a blur. I got the call last Wed at work. At first I thought it was the landlord calling to yell at me like they had the day before. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked once I found out what the call was actually about. At first I was told this would be happening at the end of the month/early next month. Okay, I can work on getting 200 people in a couple weeks. Then I find out late Thur that is happening in 6 days. Enter panic mode.

Ultimately I managed 20 guests, which actually worked out quite well. Some of my usual gang was there as well as some peeps I hadn’t seen in a while. And since we were a small group, we scored VIP concessions–meaning we could have as much free food as we wanted. Once we were there I was kinda in person wrangling/running around mode, so I couldnt quite take full advantage of that. But I know some of the others had fun trying to see how much candy and popcorn they could carry. One of many reasons why this was one of my most surreal days _ever_.

And having the auditorium to ourselves was prolly the most fun part. Its something I’d always wanted to do. I seriously have been wanting to own a theater someday so I can do things like that. It was great knowing we could relax and have fun (for some reason everyone found the term Vampinese hiliarous each time it was said), like it was a movie night home at the Hellmouth, but with a bigger screen and better accomodations over all.

Meeting Chris was really cool. Although, this is one of those situations where I really wish I was a better conversationalist. He signed two posters for me (there were two different styles) and posters for the majority of my friends there. Also managed to grab a picture with him. He’s such a sweet kid, I just kinda wish that portion of the evening hadnt been so rushed.

As far as the movie itself, it was such campy goodness. The intro gave me a total Lemony Snicket vibe (between the music and the opening sequence). And overall it felt like A Series of Unfortunate Events crossed with the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, without Joss Whedon’s killer dialogue. It had a bizarre mix of cheese and darkness that worked surprisingly well.

Such a fun cast (John C Riley, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, Patrick Fugit, Michael Cerveris etc), even if some of the bigger names only appeared briefly. John C Riley is one of my favorite actors because of his range. He’s done award winning films like Magnolia and Chicago, but also mixes in some Will Ferrell flicks. From the trailer I was a bit worried about him in this one, but it turns out it was just that the dialogue was cut strangely in the preview. While he wouldnt have been my first choice actor to play a vamp, he pulled it off rather nicely–dark but just approachable enough to make him a likeable character.

I also found the choice of freaks to be quite interesting, but Im not entirely sure what I make of that. They were definitely creative and different, but few of them could not have existed without some computer graphic help, which just sorta pushed the boundaries of belivability a touch too far.

Also worth mentioning, as someone who is an avid vampire fan, Im always curious about the mythology and rules surrounding vamps in a different ficticious universe. This one definitely gets points in that area. Some creative new stuff while still remaining true to a lot of the core vamp lore. Im just not so sure about the superspit thing.

Very fun movie, though I think the whole experience was definitely a postive factor. I would’ve definitely enjoyed it either way, but I might not have been gushing quite so much otherwise. But I really hope the next set of books gets movie-fied as well. And since I just finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Pygmy, I guess tomorrow’s a good day to head over to Borders to pick up the first book or two in the series.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n (its really a solid 3, but it gets bonus points because the whole experience was awesome)”

Law Abiding Citizen

“I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I wont argue that it was a quality movie, but it was very much a Dawn movie. It was dark and suspenseful and intruging, though I woulda upped the action just a bit.

One thing that made it fun is I love rooting for the bad guy. No I dont root for him as a rule (ie I still pick John McClain over Hans Gruber, as awesome as he may be), but I like when your leading charcter is an antihero. It was murkier than a Dr Horrible situation (where the main guy is clearly the “”bad guy”” but in the context of the story, he’s the hero you support) but I love that. The whole time I was behind Gerard Butler’s character, wanting him to get his revenge and get his statement made. Although, Jamie Foxx wasnt as evil as the trailer made him out to be. And there was a point where I was a bit torn about who I wanted to win and how.

Side note cause I get distracted by shiny things. This “”light rain”” that I see falling outside my window is starting to look like heavy slushy snow. Sorta like God dumped out a pina colada Slurpee over Boston. Guess I made it home just in time. Lately I’ve taken to going to the theater in flip flops, so I can take ’em off and put my feet up on the bar or empty seat in front of me. Walking, er wildly running, back home I realized the flip flops weren’t such the best idea today. Sorry, back to the movie.

Loved Gerard Butler, even if his American accent was a bit dodgy. And given how his previous and recently release morally gray action film, Gamer, turned out I did kinda have zero hopes for Citizen, which prolly helped me like it so much. I’d been kinda scared for Jamie Foxx career wise cause from the outside this movie looks waaay beneath an Oscar winner. But he totally owned the role and I think his reputation should still be in tact. Huh. Just noticed Oscar nominee Viola Davis was in this too (and the lightbulb goes on in my head). Also really liked Leslie Bibb. She’s also had some questionable career choices, but I loved her strong, smart character.

Definitely recommend it if this type of movie is your thing. It aint gonna win any awards or nothing, but it at least earns high marks from me.

Law Abiding Citizen – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Where the Wild Things Are

“I’ll start off with the obligatory disclaimer that I dont recall ever reading the book (if I did read it, I dont remember). So I dont know how the movie follows or measures up to it. With that out of the way, I found the movie really boring. It had a really promising start. The low close up camera angles and Max’s imaginary antics brought you right into a kid’s world. But then, soon after he got to the island of the Wild Things, there wasn’t much happening. I’d dropped by phone about half way thru and spent the rest of the movie obsessing over picking it up. Thats how much the movie held my interest.

There were some redeeming qualities. My favorite wild thing was Alexander, voiced by Paul Dano. I definitely perked up a bit everytime he was around. And the wild things themselves were really well done. The costumes were built by The Jim Henson Company and were a combination of animatrionics and computer animation. I also loved the kid, Max Records. He was equal parts adorable and tough and gave a really heartwarming performance. Loved Catherine Keener as always, but she didnt particularly feature much.

Other than that, there’s really not much else to say. It was a lot of Max and the Things running around playing. Minimal conflict. Plot didnt seem to be headed in any particular direction. It was just flat.

Well this gives me a chance to introduce my movie rating system. I’ll just be using it on theater movies (so none of the AFI ones). The scale is up to 4 rock hands (\m/). A lot of times I’ll rate stuff on places like Flixter that have a 5 scale. That fifth point is reserved for _really_ awesome stuff like Aladdin. And as a rule, I need to have seen something at least twice in order to award it a fifth point. Also remember, this is entirely my opinion. I dont claim to be any real expert, just someone who enjoys movies. That said…

Where the Wild Things Are – \m/ \n

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

“First things first, check out my Halloween costume this year. Makes sense I pick something from out of an AFI film 😀

I must have been waiting for today for about six years. It was definitely freshman fall when I first saw the awesome that is Boondock Saints. Someone was watching it in the lounge of 1E. This was before I really knew movies, and I figured that if I hadnt heard of something, it prolly wasnt worth knowing. But I sat and watched anyway as I would for countless movies over the next four years. I \m/ loved it. And I wasnt even familiar enough with Boston at that point in time to fully appreciate it. I acquired the DVD soon after and have watched it so many times since, including every year on or around St Paddy’s Day. I even have one of those jackets with an outline of the bros holding guns on the front and the prayer on the back. I wore it every day for two years until the zipper broke.

Way back then, there was an IMDB page for Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. I’d check it every couple of weeks, and the release date got pushed back and back. Then one day, the page was gone. I nearly cried. Then I didnt really think about it after a while. Fast foward to a few months ago, I hear whispers of All Saints Day. Without expecting much, I searched for the IMDB page and holy \m/ it was fully fleshed out, with a cast and synposis and release date and everything else that proves a movie is legit. I did a happy dance.

So now we finally get to the day where I get to see this \m/ movie. I was filled with equal parts anticipation and apprehension. Would it be one of those sequels that surpasses the original like Dark Knight (which I knew was extremely unlikely) or would it pull a Matrix and be bad enough to taint the original (very much within the realm of possibility). Verdict: closer to the Matrix end of the spectrum, but not that bad.

I think Troy Duffy was just trying way to \m/ hard. There were too many awkwardly placed one-liners. The need to reference every iconic moment and relive every joke felt very forced. The pacing was very slow. It kinda felt like he was also trying to build the boys’ bad-ass-itude as much as possible, but really, they dont need any help. Simplicity would have been a much more effective route.

It wasn’t all bad. The action scenes were fantastic, prolly the best part of the whole thing. It was the same scheme as last time, lotsa cool slo-mo shots, and walk thru’s with the detective narrating. And while most fell flat, there were a couple of well placed lines that were hi-\m/-larious.

The MacManus boys themselves were great, as expected. (Im still very much in love with Murphy MacManus) And I adore Billy Connelly as Il Duce, aka Daddy MacManus, and while it was interesting to get his backstory, I really care more about the boys. Clifton Collins Jr. appears in yet another movie this year. He was kinda annoying, and not as endearing as Rocco ended up (his character was kinda the replacement Rocco). The big disappointment was Julie Benz. She’s usually one of my favorites. I mean c’mon she was Darla in the Buffyverse and she’s on Dexter. But she attempted a southern accent. Big. Mistake. She had a chance for a really bad ass, tough as nails, femme fatale character and I really couldnt stand her. Kinda sad.

Overall, worth a watch if you’re a fan of the Saints, but dont go in expecting too much.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day – \m/ \m/ \n