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Archive for November, 2009

Twilight: New Moon (2009)

I am not ashamed to say that I have read all of the Twilight books and believe to this day that they are a great summer read that will in no way change your life.  So, I was eager to see how they were going to handle the second book on-screen, New Moon, given that it was the most angst ridden of the series.  Boy, was I disappointed.  My main quibble revolved around the way that the heartbreak of both Edward and especially Bella was handled in the film, with so . . . . many . . . . dramatic . . . . pauses . . . . I . . . . thought for a moment . . . . . that I was watching . . . . . an episode of . . . . . Star Trek.  It was such a dramatic moment in the book, that played so horribly on-screen.  Maybe you had to see inside Bella’s head to really appreciate what she was going through.  I wanted to feel so bad for her when she was left all alone in the woods, but it fell flat.  And don’t even get me started on the floating Edward.  I know that’s kind of how it was in the book, but it didn’t translate well on at all.  It just made me uncomfortable and once I was over that I just wanted to laugh.

The greatest thing that I learned from watching New Moon is that the ONLY way to watch it is on opening night (not the midnight showing, but the day of) with streams of pre-teen and teenage girls.  They are SO into it that you can’t help but enjoy yourself.  Every time a guy took his shirt off (which happened quite a bit in this movie), there was a great response involving screaming and laughter.  It was infectious and helped to make up for the lack of good acting.  And not as annoying as one would think.

The second half was much more bearable, especially the part with the Volturi.  I would love to know how many of you would have liked to see more of those creepy vampires?  Hopefully, they will incorporate them more in the next installments.  The last thing I will say is poor Jacob.  Myself and my band of brothers are tempted to put together a wesbite called Jacob is Duckie!  If you don’t get the reference, go rent Pretty in Pink.  2 and a half out of 5 monkeys.

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godsandmonstersThose who know me well know that I have a new obsession with The Bride of Frankenstein.  It all started back when I was teaching film to high school students and I was reflecting on what movies I should show in the horror unit.  That is when I truly reflected on the greatness of classic monster movies.  Sure, they are cheesy by modern-day standards, but there is a campiness too them that can be quite charming should you choose to embrace it.  Even though the Bride is only on-screen for about ten minutes, it is a glorious performance.  An icon that in my opinion that will stand the test of time.  This then led me to the desire to gain more knowledge about the director of the film, James Whale.

Like many creative personalities, James Whale was a conflicted individual, mainly due to his experiences during World War I.  The film Gods and Monsters, based on the book by Christopher Braum (originally titled Father of Frankenstein) uses fact and fiction to focus on the final days of James Whale. The fictional aspects of both the book and the film are used to philosophize on many of the mysteries surrounding the director, including his death.  For example, the character of the gardener ( Clayton Boone played by Brendan Fraser in the film) is created as an outlet for Whale (Ian McKellen) to deal with his demons.  James was openly gay during his career, a very unusual thing, especially during the 1920’s and 1930’s.  The film is rich with conflict and imagery, almost too much at times.  But what else could you do with such a complicated man, a war veteran, horror film director and gay man?  The film also comments on the humor that was purposely placed in the film by Whale, as a way of dealing with the morbidness of death.  Watch the Bride and you will see how true this really was.  Lastly, the highlight of the film for me was when they recreated the filming of Bride of Frankenstein, you felt like you were there on the set with Whale.  If you are at all interested in classic horror films and their history, I highly recommend that you check out both films.

The Bride of Frankenstein – 4 1/2 out of 5 monkeys; Gods and Monsters – 4 out of 5 monkeys.

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