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Seth Grahame-Smith Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Seth Grahame-Smith Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Karen Posada

By

2012/06/22 at 12:00am

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

06.22.2012 | By |

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I was willing to go into ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ with an open mind, which is a hard thing to do since the premise itself it’s laughable. It certainly does have some good action scenes and even the way the storyline is weaved in with some of Lincoln’s real life facts draws you in. Unfortunately, it is very easy to pick at the good things this movie has to offer, because despite those few things the film just falls apart and goes from a horror/ fantasy film to a comedy in a dark setting.

 

This two hour long film begins with Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) reading his diary starting with his childhood, where after a horrific encounter with a vampire he’s left wanting vengeance. Fortunately for him just when he gets the guts to face the deadly vampire, he’s saved by Henry (Dominic Cooper) who teaches him the skills for him to really succeed at this task. He leads a somewhat solitary life until he becomes a shop clerk at Joshua Speed’s (Jimmi Simpson) store; where he meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Lincoln decides to focus on politics in order to end slavery, but little does he know that his political actions will enrage the vampires even more than his hunting, especially Adam (Rufus Sewell) the clan leader.  

 

The vampire hunter bit has potential; but inserting a very important historical character is what mainly ruined the film, since it obviously takes seriousness out of it. Although the weapon of choice, an ax, is a bit silly it works in a comical and yet powerful way. The vampires are scary, because they are a combination of humans and monsters, different from the ones we are used to seeing, but some of the vampire rules are changed here and I don’t think that worked. The action scenes are engaging but towards the middle of the film they begin getting a bit ridiculous, specially the horse-chase scene.

 

I went to a screening of the film in 3D and although it worked at times, in some of the scenes the dust flying around was very distracting. Walker has a strong character throughout most of the film, but he fails miserably in one of the scenes where he’s beat up and he can’t remember his eye is swollen shut and opens it continuously; which means he clearly needs to brush up on his acting. Cooper does a convincing job as the hunter’s guide, and Sewell always knows how to play a hate-able bad guy.

 

My biggest problem with this film is that although they tried to mix in fantasy with facts and it worked in some level, it also mocks Lincoln; it definitely makes an interesting point about slavery amongst some good quotes but it’s unsettling and a bit offensive. The story sort of works for the first hour but it falls to pieces, making the public laugh with ridiculous scenarios. I believe this summer has better action movies to watch than a vampire hunting wanna be superhero president.  

Karen Posada

By

2012/05/09 at 12:00am

Dark Shadows

05.9.2012 | By |

Dark Shadows

Anyone would say that director Tim Burton has decided to jump on the vampire bandwagon, as he decided to take ‘Dark Shadows’ a popular gothic soap opera from the 60’s and make it into a movie; an idea that might bleed into a couple of extra projects under the same theme. Burton of course made this his own, using a vibrant darkness aka his signature style all throughout it. There’s no denying that he’s a master of his art and that can be seen in the beautiful sceneries, costumes, make up, and even special effects. Thanks to Burton’s talent as well as strong acting the semi hollow storyline and the silly romance don’t manage to ruin the movie.

 

The film is set in Maine, it begins with the Collins family history from 1750 when they left Liverpool to settle in the New World, to make and spread their wealth. All goes awry for this successful family when a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) becomes infatuated with young Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp). Unfortunately, Barnabas falls in love with Josette DuPres (Bella Heathcote); vengeful the witch curses the family and anything they touch. Her worst offense is turning Barnabas into a vampire and locking him away as punishment. He’s freed from his imprisonment almost two decades later in 1972; where he surfaces to find that although his family name still lives on, it has fallen into ruins. He joins his remaining descendants: Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz) and David (Gully McGrath) who’ve hired a live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter). Together Barnabas hopes to bring his family name back to its former glory.

 

The first thought after seeing a picture of this whole cast together in costume was, “here’s a quirkier version of the Addams Family”, and they are not far from it. The film encompasses the TV series it is based on well as it took its formulaic elements: the paranormal, including vampires, witches, ghosts, werewolves, and even time travel.  It’s clever to put a wealthy proper man turned vampire from the 1700’s to explore a life during the 1970’s, one of the most peculiar times in history. There’s some chuckles along the way, plenty of references to stuff from the 70’s, jokes full of double meaning, sexual tension and an interesting yet unmoving cameo by Alice Cooper. There’s things that threaten to harm the gothic coolness of this movie, such as a childish love story, a “sexy” hormone charged teenager, a storyline that doesn’t seem to follow a clear pattern, ending with a culminating yet easy solution that’s somewhat anti-climatic and desperately dramatic. I will blame most of the corniness of the film on the fact that this is based on a soap opera.

 

Depp has satisfied many fans dreams by playing a vampire and he does it masterfully, this being his eight collaboration with Burton, it’s easy to see how comfortable and natural they are together. Green was fantastic at being evil, sexy and powerful all at once. Pfeiffer delivers a balance between the odd and the normal, and although her acting is strong at times it merely feels like she’s delivering lines. Bonham Carter, Burton’s partner and one of his favorites, plays a similar role to those in most of his movies.

 

Some of the jokes are a little forced and the previews have given away too many of them, some also seem to want to satisfy the PG-13 audience. On the other hand, there’s scenes that are taken too far and although I know Burton is a master of the macabre, my least favorite is Depp slapping a woman more than once, no matter how evil she is I was uncomfortable viewing it.  

 

It’s understandable that trying to bring a beloved gothic soap opera, which lasted for about 5 years, to the big screen is a challenge. If the project is developed on to make a couple of extra chapters, this could help fill in some of the holes in the story such as the vampire’s “new” love interest background as there are still some questions. The humor although at times silly, helped the story move along and perhaps I’m missing some things since I never saw the soap opera. I was able to over look the flaws of the film being distracted by what Burton does best, which is use his darkness to create a mysterious, elegant, beautiful and attractive film. I also enjoyed seeing Depp as a vampire; he was charming and naively funny. This duo hasn’t managed to achieve the greatness they have before in the last couple of their films together, and this one can be added to that list; but yet this is still a fun enough movie to watch with your older kids.   

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