Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Fright Night" Rocked!

Well that was a pleasant surprise.  I decided to take the chance and see "Fright Night" the other day.  I've yet to find out why the 2D version is in such limited release (as per my last post, I won't go to a 3D movie), at least in the area.  The second week of release has seen no change in area times.  So playing hooky one afternoon, I decided to go see a movie.

I didn't hold out much hope for the movie since I wasn't a huge fan of the original and trailers didn't lead me to think the remake would be an improvement.  I went for David Tennant and while he did an excellent job with the revamped role of Peter Vincent, the movie had even more to offer than that. The humor/creepy mix was just right and the pacing, not just the editing but the pacing of the acting, was really tight.  The characters seemed to have a little more substance than those in the 1985 version.  Where Chris Sarandon played Jerry as a suave, GQ-sort of vampire in the original; Colin Farrell played him as a sort of grown up, feral, Eddie Munster.  The original Jerry the vampire moved through the 1985 movie confident in his security even after Charlie Brewster discovered what he was.  He was one of the most powerful beings on earth, possibly hundreds of years old.  What could suburbanites possibly do to him?  The 2011 Jerry had no such delusions, prowling through the film, his attention fixed on the person in front of him yet his senses open to any other threat that might be in the vicinity.  (There was a neat little cameo by Chris Sarandon for a little Jerry-on-Jerry crime).

There are of course the usual "oh come on!" moments.  But you can forgive the movie those trespasses because in general it's so entertaining and even managed to heighten the tenseness in the concept at the core of the original: How do you get people to believe that the guy next store is a vampire?  Of course it helped in this movie that Jerry had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

David Tennant was great as Peter Vincent.  The original character, played wonderfully by Roddy McDowall, was a nostalgic take on the sort of once famous actors who turned to whatever work they could scrounge up after their fame had faded. In the case of the original, as host of a sort of Creature Features TV show that played the movies which had brought him such fame.  Such a character probably wouldn't resonate with 2011 audiences, many of whom have never seen the sort of “Fright Night” television film fests that the character was relegated to hosting.  The character of Vincent was ramped up a bit for the remake: a young, flashy, successful Las Vegas magician who none the less had a story arc that might prove useful as a springboard for a sequel.

So all in all, not a bad time at all.  The question is might there be a sequel?  And if so, will it be released in 2D at all or will finding a viewable version be as arduous a quest as killing a vampire.

My vendetta against 3D continues.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Fright Night" 3D BS

I am not a fan of the original “Fright Night” released in 1985.  The concept was neat and I loved Roddy McDowall's portrayal of the has been actor Peter Vincent, but generally, it didn't do much for me.  So a remake of this movie isn't something that exactly calls to me.  What does call to me, however, is the chance to see David Tennant on the big screen in the revamped role of Peter Vincent.  In this movie, the character of Peter Vincent isn't a has-been actor but rather a hack Las Vegas magician, though probably just on the cusp of has-beenness. Might be pretty fun to see what he does with the role.

But I will not go to see it in 3D.   Hollywood has been having a love affair with 3D that frankly puzzles me.  A few years ago I saw “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 3D  (because it was the only version out by the time I got the chance to see it) and $9 is already pretty pricey to see a movie.  I don't really want to pay $3 extra to wear a set of glasses that a line of greasy kids wore before me, and sit through two hours of glaucoma vision just for the sensation that a rock being thrown towards the camera is heading straight for my head.  I can get that sensation walking down the street, (but that's a topic for another post).  Perhaps I'm fairly easily amused, but when I go to see a movie, I'm more concerned with crazy things like acting, directing, plot.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I like special effects.  I just like to be able to see them clearly.  That’s why I was so irritated when I went searching for movie times for a 2D version of “Fright Night” and discovered that the only showing available this week at one of the few conveniently located theaters (i.e. theaters located on the road that takes me from one job to the other and then home) was at 1:25 p.m. The 3D version, however, had several versions to choose from at this particular theater while at other nearby theaters, 3D was the only version playing.

Why would the studio limit an audience to a movie like that?  As appealing as I might find David Tennant, unless he’s in a porno movie, I’m not going to see a 3D version of a movie he’s in (l like my Tennant crystal clear) so they've lost out on a sale with me.  Oh sure, $9 is a drop in the bucket but I can't be the only one who refuses to see a movie in 3D.  Enough people deciding against seeing a move in 3D would have to eat into the profits slightly. You’d think wider releases of both versions would lead to a big box office take.  Why would they schedule the 2D version in such extremely limited release?
Yet 3D seems to be the wave of the future.  They’re even going back and 3D-afying older movies like “The Lion King.”  Kind of like higher-tech colorization.  The 3D craze, however, puts me in mind of that wonderful sketch from the SCTV universe "Dr. Tongue's Evil House of Pancakes” as featured on the low budget "Monster Chiller Horror Theater" hosted by Count Floyd. When it comes to sitting through 3D, parody of it is as far as I want to go.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blood, Sweat and Tears

or, "My Experience With Writing Vampires Most Wanted."  It's a book destined to become a cult classic as well as the glue that will, in later years, hold the fabric of society together.  While in this blog I plan to write on any number of things in a variety of ways, the next several months might prove to be a bit vampire heavy.  From the moldy, to the sparkly and all the corpses in between, the book is a celebration of vampires in all their glory.  But it's more than that for me.  It's a celebration that I made it through the process which on some days seemed determined to lay me low.  This is my second book (the first being Chicago's Most Wanted) and hopefully won't be my last.  Despite the blood, sweat and tears, however, it's pretty damned exciting and I'd like to romance that a bit.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some vampire fiction to find a home for.  See you in the next post.