Monthly Archives: June 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Some men are just too interesting to die.

I really really wanted to like this movie. I adored the book and the premise is just fantastically out there that you have to go in with a great sense of humour and an open mind. I tried, I really did. But I just couldn’t get into it.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – it’s pretty obvious what the movie is about. Abraham tries to save a slave boy from being whipped by his dad’s boss, Barts. Abraham’s dad stops Barts and gets fired. The boss demands Dad Lincoln to pay his debt in full immediately, but Dad Lincoln refuses and Barts muses that there’s more than one way to collect a debt. You see Mom Lincoln reflected in Barts’s sunglasses. That night, Abraham witnesses his mother being secretly attacked by the boss, who is a vampire. She later dies. Fast forward like 10 or 15 years and the older, adult Abraham is in a bar. He’s getting drunk enough to pluck up the courage to kill Barts, the vampire who killed his mom. Well, he’s not sure exactly what Barts is, because Abraham had been so young when his mom died, he didn’t understand what he saw. He knows that Barts killed his mom somehow, but he’s vague on the details. He’s accosted in the bar by Henry (the always sexy Dominic Cooper), but Abraham shakes him off and goes after Barts. Hiding under a dock, he witnesses Barts talking with a man and woman. They leave on a boat and Barts turns to go as well. But Abraham shoots him. It doesn’t take, because duh, he’s a vampire. Barts taunts Abraham, who flees into a nearby shack on the dock. There he sees a naked dead woman, her throat covered in puncture marks. Abraham reloads his gun and shoots Barts point blank in the right eye. Barts falls to the docks and Abraham takes off, tossing the gun in the river. When he looks back though, Barts is gone. Barts reappears in front of Abraham and morphs his face into this gross thing with black veins and needle teeth and the bullet still in his eye. He attacks Abraham, who is luckily saved by Henry. It is pretty cool when Henry tosses Barts up the building and through the roof. Nice bit of CGI.

Abraham wakes up in Henry’s house. Henry explains that vampires exist, there’s a secret war, blah blah blah, join us, it’s not about vengeance, yadda yadda. Henry puts on some sunglasses to go outside, but Abraham stops him and agrees to be a VAMPIRE HUNTER. Then there’s some pointless scenes where Henry’s training Abraham. Henry also reveals that the man and woman Barts had been meeting were the head vampires, Adam (I also find Rufus Sewell very attractive) and his sister.

Now a vampire hunter, Abraham moves to another city and gets a job as a store clerk. Henry sends him letters that have names of vampires that need to be killed. But Abraham is still fixated on killing Barts. He also falls for a local girl, Mary. She’s already engaged (to Alan Tudyk in an all too short cameo! I also adore him), but breaks that off for Abraham. Abraham eventually kills Barts, who reveals that Henry is a vampire too. Abraham goes to kick Henry’s ass and Henry explains that he had been a vampire hunter in life until Adam killed his fiancée and turned him. Since vampires can’t kill each other, Henry has been recruiting humans to hunt and kill vampires for him. Abraham decides he can’t do this anymore and quits, going into politics. He puts his silver tipped axe away and vows to fight with words. There’s another huge time jump to his presidency and the first rumblings of the Civil War.

What Abraham doesn’t know, and Henry informs him, is that the vampires have been using the slaves as food for years. With Abraham being elected and vowing to free the slaves, then the vampire food source will dry up. The bad vampires can’t let this happen and instigate the Civil War. It’s time for Ol’Abraham to get out his axe and kick ass.

Eh. The movie moved way too fast in many areas and then just way too slow in others. The speed and sudden slow pacing of the movie made it feel very disjointed. I really couldn’t get into it. When something interesting starts happening, it ends too fast. The subject matter demands that you go ridiculously big or just go home. It just took itself too damn seriously. I wanted an undercurrent of ‘we know this is a nutty premise, but we’re having fun doing it!’ I didn’t get that. I got ‘this is a movie about Lincoln, we should be serious. With vampires. Somehow.’ Some slapstick scenes (when Abraham runs in on Henry and a prostitute) felt really out of place. I admit I did love the conversation when Abraham tried to explain to Mary that he was a vampire hunter. She just thought he was kidding and if some guy said the same thing to me in that awkward way, I would too. But it felt out of place. Hell, their whole courtship felt like it was ripped from some sappy Austenesque rom com and stuffed into a vampire movie that didn’t realize it needed to be more ridiculous.

The beginning shot of Washington now, slowly morphing back into the Civil War era Washington, was really well done. Although the scene where he’s chasing Barts through the horse herd was poor looking CGI.

The guy playing Abraham looks a hell of a lot like Liam Neeson. It was somewhat distracting.  His makeup was weird too because it made his face look fake. It looked like he had a lot of prosthetics on his face and was overly made up. He wielded a mean axe though. I did like the scenes of Abraham attacking vampires.

Also, the movie never explains why vampires always wear sunglasses. It’s supposed to be because their eyes are red or something, but it just shows them going around in shades and never explaining that it’s easy to spot a vampire because he’s wearing sunglasses when most people don’t. If I hadn’t read the book I would have wondered about that.

I don’t know much about the Civil War. Well, enough to talk intelligibly about it, but I could have sworn that Abraham and Mary had more than one kid. And there were more historical inaccuracies I just couldn’t quite put my finger on, but I knew there was something off.

Also, **SPOILER** because I read the book, I know Abraham’s supposed to turn into a vampire and become the secret presidential vampire. I had been kind of really hoping to see this at the end but maybe it’ll be in the deleted scenes.

I tried. I wanted to love this. I was so excited to see it. But it just wasn’t worth it.

1 profiterole out of 5.

ATM

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ATM

Go talk to her.
I can’t.
Why can’t you?
Because I left my balls at home…
Oh no, not again…

What a crappy crappy terrible movie. It was just so bad, the characters were laughable and beyond unrealistic and the whole damn thing made no sense. I think it’s supposed to be some kind of psychological horror/thriller but I can’t even classify it as a bad comedy, it’s so awful.

Movie opens up with some guy in a dark room with what appears to be drafting plans. He grabs a parka with a big fur lined hood and leaves.

Corey and David work together. Emily is the hot blonde in the office and she’s leaving so David decides to make his move at the office Christmas party. He offers her a ride home so that she won’t have to take a cab and the dialogue of them realizing they like each other is just ridiculously laughable. NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT. Not even in a cheesy romance movie. Maybe a cheesy teenage angsty romance story some 12 year old writes, but I don’t think that’s what they were going for. Corey is a huge douchebag. David goes back to the party to grab his stuff and tell Corey to get another ride home, but Corey decides that David should drive him home. David is such a spineless weakling that he agrees. Corey becomes the annoying third wheel in the car and demands the doormat David to pull over so that Corey can get some cash to buy a pizza. David pulls into a deserted parking lot where there’s an ATM structure. He parks far away, forcing Corey to walk in the cold to the ATM. When in there, Corey realizes that his card doesn’t work, so David comes in to take money out on HIS card for douchebag Corey. Emily, fed up with waiting in the car, goes into the ATM to figure out what’s taking so long. She also takes David’s keys, but can’t figure out how to lock the doors and also, for some inexplicable reason, leaves her purse IN AN UNLOCKED CAR IN A DESERTED PARKING LOCK AT 1am. WTF.

So David takes out some money for Corey and the trio turn around to leave the ATM and see a man, the guy at the beginning in the parka, standing next to the car. David and Emily worry he’s a robber, and Corey wants them to just go out there, but then they see a guy with a dog in the lot too. Parka Man sees the guy and runs over and beats dog guy to death. The dog runs away, perfectly safe and that’s the best part of the whole movie. The dog gets away.

Then it’s just an hour or more of complete idiocy. There’s three of them. THREE. And ONE guy outside. They could rush him, or hit him with the wastebasket or any number of things in the ATM structure. Hell, if they go out and run in different directions then someone would make it! But nooooo, they just stay inside and bitch. Oh, and they don’t have their cells because David’s ran out of power, Corey left his at the office and Emily left hers in the goddamned purse she left for some reason in the car!

Spoilers (if you actually care, because I sure as hell don’t): Parka Man kills a security guard, busts the car so they can’t get out and is doing some weird shit to the back of the ATM building, where they can’t see him. He turns out to be some kind of serial, I don’t know, sadist, I guess, who sets up crazy situations and then makes it look like the victims (David, Corey and Emily in this case) are the psycho criminal murderers and robbers. In this case, he tampers with the ATM camera so it seems like the trio had been trying to break into the ATM and killed some innocent guy (who admittedly, they did kill by accident because he came in to use the ATM and happened to be wearing a big parka like Parka Man), and that David then killed everybody else. Also, how damn stupid were they? They wanted to set off the fire alarm so that the cops and fire trucks would come and save them from Parka Man, but instead of grabbing one of the big posters off of the walls, rolling it into a tube and setting the end on fire, they put a bunch of paper in the wastebasket, set those papers on fire and have to figure out a way to get the wastebasket up to the ceiling. Parka Man also traps them in the ATM with David’s car and then, having chiselled his way in through the back, shoves a hose through and starts pumping water in to the ATM. The front door still opens a crack, people! The water will STILL get through that crack! And Emily is just a waste of space, the total lump that stops anything from getting done. She keeps saying ‘Oh, I can’t go out there, don’t leave me, just stay here’ or some variation, blocking any possible escape or plan that has even a shred of common sense.

What a total waste of time. It was just completely unrealistic. Yeah, you have to take movies with a grain of salt and know they’re not going to depict exactly what might happen, but this was just completely out of THIS reality, past the NEXT one and maybe existing in the fourth or fifth reality down. I was just rooting for the Parka Man to kill all three of them so that the movie could end.

2 empty mustard packets out of 5 jars of chocolate frosting.

Stake Land

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Stake Land

Can you shoot? You shoot me, I’ll fuckin’ kill you!

A great, great, very different movie. It’s a heart warming teenage coming of age story… but with bloodthirsty VAMPIRES!

Martin’s family is killed in front of him by a vampire. A man, known only as Mister, kills the vampire and, at Martin’s dad’s pleading, takes the teenage boy in as his sort of apprentice. The US has been overrun with a vampire plague, and these aren’t your cinematic suave or sparkly vampires. They are mindless killing and eating machines, like zombies, but they only want your blood. The country has collapsed and Martin and Mister are trying to get to Canada, where the very very severe winter weather might provide protection from the vampire hordes. Mister is a master vampire killer and apparently rather famous. He pays for supplies with vampire teeth. He teaches Martin how to kill and survive in the new wilderness. They have Mister’s car to travel around in, and it’s kitted up pretty cool to withstand vampire attacks.

On the way to New Eden (as Canada is now known), they run across a nun being raped by some weird religious nuts in robes. Mister kills the rapists and they take the nun under their wing. The nuts turn out to be part of some crazy cult, the Brotherhood, who think that vampires are god’s work and their leader is the father of one of the rapists Mister killed. The Brotherhood catches the trio and take the nun as a slave. Mister is left without any weapons in a dark forest overrun by vampires. Martin escapes the Brotherhood camp, and using the skills Mister taught him, makes it back to their car. Mister is already there, having somehow killed all the vampires coming after him. They leave, though Martin mourns the nun, left behind in the camp. Mister, being a very pragmatic and commonsense kinda guy, points out that the camp is heavily armed and attempts to rescue her would get everyone killed. So the two move on.

They pick up a heavily pregnant girl at a survivor camp. She’s also heading to New Eden and hoping to have her child in less vampire infested surroundings. They also find a former Marine holed up in a Port a Potty. They save the Marine from being killed by vampire Santa Claus (A vampire in a Santa suit, but you don’t get to write that everyday!). The four of them decide to ambush the Brotherhood and catch the leader. They tie him to a tree and leave him for the vampires. In a fortified settlement, which is almost a normal town, they find the nun, who escaped the camp. The happy reunion is broken when the Brotherhood, angry that the town is not following the Brotherhood’s fundie crap and hunting Mister in revenge, drop vampires into the town. The vampires are killed, but not before townspeople die too. The newly formed group of 5 leave the town, continuing on their trip. But then their car breaks down and they have to start walking…

What a wonderful movie. It’s very different. I wish more people had seen it. This type of inventiveness seems to be the exception in movies. Martin is the main character, not Mister. Mister makes me think of Harvey Keitel and he’s a man you want on your side in a bar fight or against 6 blood crazy vampires. I do like how it shows the frightened teenage boy at the beginning, terrified out of his mind at the sight of a vampire chowing down on his baby sibling and then the capable teenage boy calmly and expertly fashioning stakes and weapons after having escaped an enemy camp. The sight of vampires no longer paralyzes him. There is lots and lots of gore, blood, violence and killing. The vampires look pretty gross too. They remind me of the Reapers in Blade II, but more gross, and, well, decayed. The movie doesn’t follow movie conventions either. ANYONE is fair game and could die. And some do die, especially those you think will make it. And they die quite horribly and bloodily. I was very surprised at a particularly gruesome and horrible death because I really thought that character would survive. That type usually does in any movie. But not in Stake Land. I admit I was horrified when this character died (you will be, too), but wow, you have to give kudos to the director and writer for their ballsiness.

This movie isn’t about the vampires, the blood, the gore, or the end of civilization. It’s about Martin. Mister is his mentor, protector and father figure. But, like any parent, Mister won’t be around forever and Martin needs to become self sufficient and an adult. Even in a vampire infested world, Martin needs to grow up.

5 scoops of raspberry sorbet out of 5.

Insidious

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Insidious

You don’t understand. I’m scared for Dalton. I’m scared of this house. There’s something wrong with this place. I’m not imagining it. I can feel it. It’s… it’s like a sickness. Ever since we’ve moved in, everything’s just gone wrong…

You think our house is haunted?

I don’t think it. I know it.

This movie just blew me away. I was amazed a Hollywood type horror movie could actually be good horror! I know it’s not really a big Hollywood budget blockbuster but it’s the best horror movie Hollywood has put out for a while. I heard when the writer was writing he had a list of every horror movie cliché taped above his desk, so that he could consult it and make sure nothing he did was falling into those cliché boundaries. And it shows.

Josh (the very awesome in this Patrick Wilson) and Renai (the also very awesome in this Rose Byrne) have 3 young kids, 2 sons and a baby daughter. They’ve just moved into a new house. The younger son, Dalton, hears a weird noise in the attic and goes to take a look. He’s climbing a ladder when this weird crackly noise is heard and Dalton falls. His cries bring his parents, who cluck over him about how dangerous it is up here and take him downstairs. As the trio heads back downstairs, something is seen moving in the shadows. The next day, when Josh is trying to wake up Dalton, they discover he is in a coma. The doctors say it’s a weird coma, that there’s no physical reason he’s sleeping. He’s just sleeping. The grieving parents take Dalton home in hopes that familiar surroundings will eventually wake him up.

Weird stuff starts happening. Renai seems to be the one who notices, mostly because she’s at home more than Josh. Her sheet music disappears and reappears. In a terrifying scene, she hears something in her baby daughter’s monitor, a creepy voice starting out softly but eventually rising in anger and screaming that it wants something. Renai runs up to the nursery, but sees nothing. The older boy complains that Dalton walks around a lot at night and it scares him. The front door opens itself at night, setting off alarms. I think the most scary scene in the house is when the front door alarms goes off and Josh goes to check. While he’s looking, Renai sees someone pacing on the balcony outside of their bedroom window. Suddenly, the person is IN their bedroom. It’s a very tall man with long black hair and a trench coat. His face is gray and he’s definitely dead, I think anyways. Renai had seem him earlier, hanging out by her daughter’s crib. He looks at Renai and she screams for Josh, but the tall man runs at her and grabs her. She’s still screaming and when Josh runs in, the man is gone. Renai begs to move. And Josh, in an awesome departure from the usual Hollywood dumb horror movie husband, actually agrees.

The new house seems bright and airy. Dalton is still in his coma, but Renai hopes that now that they are out of the previous house, he will recover. Her mother in law is helping her unpack and is amazed when she sees a photograph of Josh. Apparently he dislikes being photographed. Renai feels better and happy in this new house. She puts some music and goes outside, happily taking out garbage, not noticing anything amiss in the laundry room or that the music she put on has suddenly changed. When she happens to look in her windows and sees a child dancing. It’s NOT HER KID. She runs inside and the mysterious child has disappeared. She goes to look for him and he jumps out of a closet and runs past her, making her realize that it has happened again. The look on her face is heartbreaking in its despair and Rose Byrne is just fantastic.

So it’s not the house that’s haunted. It’s Dalton himself who’s haunted. Josh’s mother sends someone who can ‘help,’ and the woman, Elise, is a psychic, with two sidekicks who provide comic relief. She reveals that Dalton can ‘astral project’ his soul around. He thinks he’s dreaming, but he’s actually travelling through psychic planes while leaving his body, empty and vulnerable behind. Dalton has apparently gone too far and got lost or something and his body is now an empty vessel. Dead spirits and demonic entities are circling around the empty body, hoping to get in there and claim the body for themselves and be able to exist on the physical plane. This ability is inherited, and Josh, though he has blocked it out, was an astral projector as a child. His mother is likely one too, and she describes dreaming that she was in their new house and saw a black shadow with long arms standing above Dalton’s bed and when asked what it wanted, pointed ominously at the comatose Dalton. When she’s telling the parents this, Josh’s mother looks up to see this demon from her dream standing behind Josh and screaming at her. That was quite the jump, I gotta tell you! Josh had been terrorized by an evil old female spirit as a child. His mom shows Renai and Josh a very frightening progression of pictures of the young Josh, showing a creepy female in full mourning dress as a distant shadow, who got closer and closer to the young Josh as time went on. Apparently, Elise helped Josh get rid of the old woman ghost but he passed his talent to Dalton.

Josh is totally in disbelief. Renai at this point, having seen everything, believes completely and thinks they should try anything to get Dalton back. This also marks a subtle change in the movie. Before, Renai was the focus character, but now it’s Josh.

The parents, Elise and the sidekicks attempt to contact Dalton but are thwarted by multiple entities crossing over and attacking them, including the tall man and the demon, who manages to temporarily inhabit Dalton’s body before being removed.

Now, mostly a believer, Josh is the only one who can save Dalton. He must travel to the other planes, find Dalton and bring him back. While doing so, he has to avoid the dead spirits and demons so that they will not take over his physical body while his consciousness is off looking for Dalton.

An amazing film. The actors were just incredible and perfect in their roles. I completely believed Rose Byrne as the distraught and desperate Renai and Patrick Wilson as Josh, the skeptic who loves  his wife enough to humour her by moving out of a ‘haunted’ house, no matter how crazy he thinks the idea is. The demon is always announced by a weird crackly noise that sounds like dry bones being broken. It’s very very creepy and effective. I love this movie and I would recommend it to any and all. Also, I had no idea Tip Toe Through the Tulips could be so goddamned menacing. There are also a lot of hidden little bits that are scary and that you don’t notice at first. This was definitely a movie that made me jump a lot. And damn, that was an ending I was not expecting.

Spoilers: I think the baby daughter is an astral projector too. I think the tall man targeted her, but maybe she is too young to be taken. Certainly I think that was his voice over the baby monitor. So the parents (well, one of them anyways) are going to have to go through this again. Also Josh, that was so not the time to attempt to grow a spine. I do wonder what happens to living people who get lost in the astral planes and their bodies get taken over. Do they just wander around until they turn into one of the parasitic spirits? Is (MASSIVE SPOILER) Josh going to attempt to take over the baby girl? I know there’s a sequel coming, so that could be it.

Just awesome.

6 fried coconut milk squares out of 5.