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Blinded by the Light
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Ah films about Vampires, you either get your blood thirsty crazy looking vampires or your calculated vampires whose thirst for blood is much more creepy than scary. Vampyr the film from Carl Th. Dreyer is really the creepy kind with its weird looking sets, surreal events and just characters whose emotions are conveyed through body language much more than by words. Dreyer somehow manages to get that dark underlying feeling all successful horror movies must have but in my opinion does not create any kind of masterpiece here, good, but not as perfect for me as some say this is. The story revolves a young man who is introduced to the world of vampires and the supernatural, as the plot moves on we see more about what they are and what they can do.
Dreyer uses a cast not very well known if not in some cases at all and puts Nicolas de Gunzburg in the lead role as Allan Gray the young man whose fascination with the supernatural takes him to a small inn in the village of Courtempierre. For me the best character is the village doctor played by Jan Hieronimko who was found on a Paris metro train of all places and cast into the film among many other amateurs. I feel that Hieronimko's performance is similar to others in this too, I mean the acting here is not exactly great, don't get me wrong it's not bad at all but sometimes they just move around a little sluggishly, reactions are sometimes over the top. Dreyer knows though how to use his actors well though, even if they aren't too believable, he does this in a spooky way and although they move around just a little strangely, at times that strange movement can be kind of freaky and used to nice effect.
Dreyer co-writes the film with Christen Jul and the script but in more specifics the dialogue is very well, not much there, but that is one reason this movie works so well. At such a short running time that this film is you can't be adding too much small talk, in fact this film dives into the plot very quickly indeed and it works well because it makes this so much more interesting, straight away you are hooked in on the story and that makes this at least very watchable. The film was not exactly met with positivity when it was first released and was considered a low point in Dreyer's career, the thing about this film though is that although I feel this is a little too clunky to be anything better than good, it is still well as I said, good, a must see for any fan of cinema or horror.
Vampyr is not the best horror film but it is as I can see considered a classic among it so I can't finish this review without recommending it. It won't make you jump, in fact it won't probably make you feel scared at all but that I feel is not what Dreyer is trying to convey, it is the surrealism of it that he tries to make you see and tells a story that is highly original and a very smart yet weird story. All the characters Dreyer creates are well done and although I mentioned the acting before it is fair to say they all do a pretty decent job at least all together as a cast. Oh and one more thing and this is pretty important really, the camera angles, Dreyer works extremely well with Rudolph Mate and they create a film that looks not just creepy, but also looks extremely surreal as well.
Star Wars has just burst back into life again, bringing with it new faces and old and a story that although familiar, is still epic. J. J. Abrams brings us back into the galaxy far far away and makes more than just a good little movie; he makes a great and massive film, filled to the brim with stuff to just simply enjoy. Now I'm not going to write this and pretend this is perfect, it has some mistakes I felt but they aren't massive really at all and in the big picture, this is very good indeed. The plot brings us new characters like Rey and Finn, Poe and BB-8 but then also those like Han Solo, Chewie and the Skywalker siblings who altogether make this a lovely experience to behold after so many years.
For me the first thing to really start to talk about properly is Abrams, the guy directs and co-writes this and really makes a very decent job of creating something we can all enjoy. I did feel maybe this could have done with a little more of a refreshing story, it hardly brings us a plot that is so original it's amazing, and yet even if it treads ground that isn't breaking at how good it is, it is still a hell of a ride in the mean time. The film of course has its good v bad element that all have become used to, obviously many films have a battle between the two but Star Wars has always made it feel different, this time being no exception.
So do the actors of old return in true legendary fashion, well pretty much yes actually, especially that of Harrison Ford as Han who yet again makes the role one to enjoy. There are plenty of scenes that hark back to the good old days of IV through to VI and mostly done in ways where in close dialogue they mention things from the past, something for the fans me thinks. You cannot miss out the new kids on the block here, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega who really lead out the procession of new people coming into the franchise and in a style where they don't feel overshadowed by the original cast. Boyega and Ridley feel right in their respective roles, they feel like they have always been characters in Star Wars, the film develops them into full blown pros by the end of it. Oh and I nearly forget to mention this guy, Kylo Ren of course played by Adam Driver who is pretty evil (sorry, lack of a better word), not going too much into the plot but although you might think before the film he won't be as good a villain as Vader, by the end credits you will see he competes with Darth Vader on quite a few levels.
I'm very happy they have brought Star Wars back, even if this is the seventh instalment it still needs this because Star Wars is just one massive thing that has countless potential stories to tell. Abrams truly starts things off for the new movies well, he doesn't start it off in a most perfect of perfect ways but I don't think anyone cares if this isn't 100% bang on; it is still a very good and great movie. Look out for the cameos in this movie, sometimes it's a case of knowing where to look or listening to the voice but quite a few familiar faces show up and it only goes to show how massive this movie and the franchise it belongs to is. Overall The Force Awakens is one film that betters the films directly before it and comes within reach of the first two of the originals which leads me to think that Star Wars films coming out in the future have a bright horizon.
Red 2 at first caught me off guard a little; there I was thinking that it wasn't so bad at the beginning and that maybe people dislike this a bit too much, I was wrong. The second movie in the series is one of high octane action of which some could say the quota is pushed up in this one but it fails to make much a decent original plot and wastes the possible decent action-comedy this could have been. I must say for the record that I pretty much didn't like the first film, it was mediocre stuff really and the same for me applies here although this is generally much poorer than the first movie. Yet again starring Bruce Willis as Frank Moses, this time we see the gang of retirees and friends chase down a missing nuclear device of which such a thing could wipe out millions of people. That synopsis I just gave is the whole reason this is disappointing to me, it goes for the most over the top and yet most over used storyline ever.
This time the movie throws in Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones (yes they seem to have been casting in Wales) and both are really kind of not used well but at the same time do at least bring personality. It's not that either does not bring skill to the cast, particularly Hopkins as Dr Bailey who does actually play the role very nicely but both are used to create incredibly basic characters and I wish this plot and its characters could have been more new and fresh. In comes a few people we saw from the first film and they do help the plot a little but overall nothing can be done to stop this being pretty dumb really, even the decent action is edited in an awful way which for me is one of the biggest mistakes of this movie.
Dean Parisot was not the right choice for this movie as director; from a film perspective he has made comedies before but his work is not a good effort for this. See getting a director for this kind of movie you would think the reasonable choice would be someone with a good background in comedy and action or possibly both but you get neither here, by no means does Parisot ruin this, but he doesn't do a great deal right. The two Hoeber's who wrote the first film write again and yet again it feels like a script that could look good on paper but comes out poorly on the screen, yet again like with Parisot they don't destroy the film, just make it below-par stuff.
Listen I'm not going to tell you to completely not watch this, with the first instalment I felt it was a film that a lot of people could enjoy but with this although I felt it wasn't as good, it still is far from terrible. I have to admit parts of this are not all bad and some bits if you take away what's going on in the story can be exciting, overall though just not a solid enough effort. Oh yes and one other thing that really for me didn't work was not only the bad guys in this, but also the way in which this movie seems to play serious a second after being silly, it just means that when an actual decent bit of serious acting comes in, a very basic joke either precedes or succeeds it and it just doesn't feel right. All in all a comedy-action that never quite even reaches the average heights of it's predecessor, try as it may it still just feels stupid and the cast is wasted on yet another pointless adventure.