Monday, November 9, 2009

Shadow of The Vampire (2000) - A Taylor The Latte Boy Review

See, I can watch horror movies....well, kinda horror movies.
Shadow of the Vampire stars John Malkovich and Willem DaFoe as director F.W. Murnau and the star of his movie Max Schreck, respectively. Murnau is making an "homage" to Dracula (because the family of Bram Stoker won't sell him the rights to the book) and, wanting authenticity, he hires an actual vampire, played by DaFoe. Things go...awry when Shreck demands the lead actress of the film be his payment following the production.
Sometimes very funny, I thought the concept was original enough to keep my attention. The film never felt obvious or generic to me in where the story was going. I thought the supporting cast, including Catherine McCormack as Greta, and Eddie Izzard (yes, THAT Eddie Izzard, Ness) as Gustav, actors in the film within a film were great. Malkovich played...well, every other character Malkovich always plays. If I were to have one complaint about the film, it would be that it was dark. Real dark. I get that the film is supposed to take place at night, but for the most part I wouldn't call the movie as suspense-filled film. Babaloo and I watched this movie in the dark at night and I still had a hard time making out what was going on sometimes. Had we watched this film during the day, or in a well lit room, I don't know how we would have seen anything.
The standout here is DaFoe. It is clear why he was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the vampire Schreck/Nosferatu. Ghoulish, he chews up the scenery in a way that is compelling, sometimes very funny (on purpose), and with wild abandon. You can see that he really dove head first into this role, and you can see the beginnings of his portrayal of the Green Goblin in the Spider Man movies here. Even if you don't like horror movies (which I can barely count this one as), then you should see Shadow of the Vampire for Dafoe's performance alone.
I'm giving Shadow of the Vampire 3 stars and half a bag of popcorn.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ok, So The Next Cute Guy From A Pugs And Popcorn Movie Is....

I know he's a cartoon, but come ON! Dark hair, blue eyes muscles for days and he'll always show up to save your ass when you need it! Of COURSE he gets a nomination for Mr. Pugs and Popcorn!

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009)

Taylor: Now THIS is some nerd porn!
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is the latest direct to DVD animated feature released by DC Comics (now called DC Entertainment, I do believe.) The story, based on the first six issues of Superman/Batman comics, has the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel combating...well, just about everyone after President Lex Luthor (you heard me) declared a 1 billion dollar bounty on the Superman's head. While every villain comes out of the woodwork to claim the bounty, the World's Finest work together to not only clear Supes' name, but also prevent Earth's destruction via a Kryptonite meteor.
I was impressed with how close the writers stayed to the original source material. I have found that in the past the DCU films take an idea, boil it down to it's basic core and create a story that can be told in a 75 to 80 minute movie. S/B:PE didn't do that. It found a way to stay close to the story and only trimmed a minimal amount of fat, and reworked the story in a way that makes sense and could keep the viewer's interest. I loved seeing some of the panels from the comic almost seem to take life on the screen. I also loved that so many other characters from the DC Universe were able to play such pivotal roles. Many times in these movies, other characters appear in the background as easter eggs for fanboys like myself to notice and point out to our less interested friends. But here, each of the other heroes in the film, including Black Lightning, Power Girl and Captain Atom, all received a moment to shine.
Speaking of shining, can we talk about the animation? The art style of the film was beautiful, looking about as close to original story artist Ed McGuinness' as is possible! I've been a fan of McGuinness's style in the past, and while it would have been easy for the art team to ape him, or take his stocky anime style to an extreme, the characters were well drawn with clear lines and beautifully colored. so many of the original voice actors from the various series were on hand here, and as a fan of Batman: The Animated Series from back in college, I find it hard to hear anyone but Kevin Conroy as Batman, so when Conroy growls his first line in the film, you can't help but smile.
With a minimal amount of plot holes and some slight sense of disbelief (what happens when all the debris getting thrown around in metropolis hits the ground?), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is a great film not only for comic book fans like myself, but fans of animation and well crafted storytelling.
Taylor gives this film five pugs.

Babaloo: Yes comic book porn galore indeed.
I have never read the DC comics of Superman, Batman or any DC comic for that matter, and that was OK. The film was so entertaining I did not have to have read books from the series to understand. The story was fast paced and exciting enough to keep me interested. The animation was superb great style and wonderful drawn characters. Even though it had plenty of DC characters that would make any fan boy scream with glee. The writers seemed to still make the story solid.
My favorite part of the film was the fight scenes with all the vilians they could jam in there from the DC Universe. Then it happens....Taylor says "This is fucking cool!" I think I loved him a little more. :)
I give it 5 pugs out of 5