From KING KONG (1933) and featuring Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham:
“Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.”
From KING KONG (1933) and featuring Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham:
“Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.”
DARIO ARGENTO’S DRACULA-ITALY/FRANCE/SPAIN-106 Mins. 2012
Directed by Dario Argento
Screenplay by Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani and Antonio Tentori
Based on the novel by Abraham Stoker
With this article I am not writing so much of a review as an admonishment to Dario Argento for his ‘re-shaping’ of Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire. Think of it as an ‘open letter’, so to speak.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the guy who directed Suspiria? You remember Suspiria; a classic of giallo cinema that every self-respecting horror fan has in their collection; you remember it, right? How about the other excellent films you’ve made in your career; do you recall any of those? The trouble is I don’t think you do. If you did then you would understand just what a travesty of filmmaking your ‘re-telling’ of Dracula truly is. Before I air my gripes I want to tell you in a nutshell how bad this movie is: Your version of Dracula is so bad that you have actually managed to make a worse vampire film than Vampirella. Let that sink in while I go into detail.
Let’s start with the sets. The set of a movie is, like the acting and the effects and make-up, a part of the illusion. A good set can transport the viewer into the world that encompasses the film, be it a dystopian future world or Middle Earth. With the sets of Dracula I got the impression that they were nothing more than cardboard walls and bad matte paintings. There is no illusion of reality; no fantasy. I’ve seen better sets in a Uwe Boll film.
How about the effects? What the hell is up with the effects? Did you even hire someone to do the effects; or did you slap a few names onto the credits and use Adobe Photoshop instead? You cheap old bastard, that’s exactly what you did, isn’t it? How else could you explain such atrocious CGI? Naked woman who look as flat as paper when shoved across a room, spiders that look as dimensional as notebook paper, gaping wounds as convincing as a tattoo; anything to cut a few dollars off the budget, right? I can dig that. After all, I buy generic.
I notice that you have once again cast your daughter, Asia Argento. You’ve even managed to show her breasts for a decent amount of screen time of which I secretly have to thank you for as they are quite lovely. However, there’s just something creepy to me about a father photographing his daughter’s bare breasts. But then, actress Marta Gastini as Mina pours cold water over them. You know what cold water does to nipples, don’t you? That makes it beyond creepy, Dario.
A few quick complaints before we come to the end:
Rutger Hauer looks like he wore the same clothes that he wore as Niall Brigant in True Blood.
Was it me, or are the accents all over the place in this movie?
A giant praying mantis? What the hell?
Finally, we come to Dracula himself. Did you even bother to audition anyone for the role; or did you just pick a name out of a hat? Thomas Kretschmann is as convincing as Dracula as the late Gary Coleman would have been as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Dracula is depicted in the novel as a warrior, a prince. You and Kretschmann have reduced him to a lovesick puppy that sneaks around disguised as a rat, spider, cockroach or housefly listening in on conversations; only throwing in a blood drenched temper tantrum when you realize you’ve turned him into a pussy.
I know that there has been a steady decline in the quality of your filmmaking over the years. I had always hoped that you would come to your senses and deliver one more masterpiece for us all to rave about. After Dracula, I have come to the conclusion that it’s too late for that.
Disappointed and dismayed,
Written in Blood
Now here is the same article in Italian, thanks to Google translate; if it’s wrong then blame Google and not me.
Con questo articolo non sto scrivendo tanto di una revisione come un ammonimento a Dario Argento per il suo ‘re- shaping ‘ di vampiro iconico di Bram Stoker , Dracula . Pensate a come una ‘ lettera aperta ‘ , per così dire .
Correggetemi se sbaglio , ma non eri il ragazzo che ha diretto Suspiria ? Si ricorda Suspiria , un classico del giallo cinema che ogni auto che si rispetti fan dell’horror ha nella loro raccolta , lo ricordi , vero? Come per le altre pellicole eccellenti che hai fatto nella tua carriera , ti ricordi una di queste ? Il guaio è che non credo che tu fai. Se così fosse , allora si dovrebbe capire solo ciò che una parodia del cinema vostra ri-raccontare ‘di Dracula è veramente. Prima di aria miei difetti io voglio dirvi in poche parole quanto male questo film è : la versione di Dracula è così male che si è effettivamente riuscito a fare un film di vampiri peggio di Vampirella . Sia che affondano nel mentre io vado nel dettaglio .
Cominciamo con i set . Il set di un film è , come la recitazione e gli effetti e make-up , una parte dell’illusione . Un buon set in grado di trasportare lo spettatore nel mondo che comprende il film , sia esso un mondo futuro distopico o la Terra di Mezzo . Con i set di Dracula ho avuto l’impressione che fossero nient’altro che pareti di cartone e matte painting cattivi . Non vi è alcuna illusione della realtà , non fantasia . Ho visto gruppi migliori in un film Uwe Boll .
Come circa gli effetti ? Che diavolo è in su con gli effetti ? Hai assumere anche qualcuno per fare gli effetti , o hai schiaffo alcuni nomi sui crediti e utilizzare Adobe Photoshop , invece? È a buon mercato vecchio bastardo , che è esattamente quello che hai fatto , non è vero ? Altrimenti come si potrebbe spiegare come CGI atroce ? Nudo di donna che guardano piatta come carte da gioco , quando spinse in una stanza , i ragni che sembrano dimensionale carta di notebook , ferite aperte come convincenti come un tatuaggio , nulla di tagliare un paio di dollari fuori bilancio , giusto ? Posso scavare quella . Dopo tutto, io compro generico .
Ho notato che avete ancora una volta lanciare la vostra figlia , Asia Argento . Sei anche riuscito a mostrare il seno per una discreta quantità di tempo sullo schermo di cui ho segretamente devo ringraziarvi per come sono piuttosto bella. Tuttavia, c’è solo una cosa raccapricciante a me su un padre fotografare il seno nudo di sua figlia . Attrice Marta Gastini come Mina versa anche l’acqua fredda su di loro . Sai cosa acqua fredda fa per capezzoli , non è vero? Questo lo rende al di là raccapricciante , Dario .
A poche lamentele veloce prima di arrivare alla fine :
Rutger Hauer come Van Helsing sembra che indossava gli stessi vestiti che indossava , come Niall Brigant in True Blood .
Era me , o sono gli accenti dappertutto in questo film ?
Un gigante mantide religiosa , che diavolo ?
Infine , veniamo a Dracula se stesso . Avete anche la briga di ascoltare qualcuno per il ruolo , o hai semplicemente scegliere un nome da un cappello ? Thomas Kretschmann è convincente come Dracula alla fine degli anni Gary Coleman sarebbe stato come Kareem Abdul – Jabbar . Dracula è raffigurato nel romanzo come un guerriero , un principe . Tu e Kretschmann lo hanno ridotto a un cucciolo malato d’amore che si insinua in giro travestito da topo , ragno , scarafaggio o mosca ascoltare le conversazioni , ma solo gettare un capriccio intrisa di sangue quando ti rendi conto che lo hai trasformato in una figa . Se ho voluto guardare vampiri figa sarei guardato Twilight.
So che c’è stato un calo costante della qualità del vostro cinema nel corso degli anni . Avevo sempre sperato che si sarebbe venuto a vostri sensi e fornire un altro capolavoro per tutti noi di entusiasmante . Dopo Dracula , sono giunto alla conclusione che è troppo tardi per questo , Dario . Il tuo tempo è passato .
Deluso e scoraggiato ,
Scritto in Blood
The first time Van Helsing (a Dutchman in the novel) has actually been played by someone from the Netherlands.
Rutger Hauer plays Van Helsing in this production, he previously played Dracula in Dracula III: Legacy (2005).
One of the biggest differences with Bram Stoker’s original novel is that this version’s plot takes place entirely in Transylvania. Stoker’s work moves the action to England.
The first time Dario Argento has worked in 3D.
0 out of 5 Blood Drops.
Thomas Krestschmann also appears in King Kong and Open Grave.
Marta Gastini also appears in The Rite and Io & Marilyn.
Asia Argento also appears in Land of the Dead and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.
Rutger Hauer also appears in Batman Begins and Flesh+Blood.
BIG ASS SPIDER-United States-80 Mins. 2013
Directed by Mike Mendez
Written by Gregory Gieras
As a critic I’m supposed to point out all the things that are wrong with a movie like Big Ass Spider!, but where’s the fun in that? I didn’t watch Big Ass Spider! with the intention of ripping it a new spinneret (that’s asshole in spider talk); I watched it with the intention of having fun and laughing and that is exactly what I did. If you watch this movie and think that it’s stupid and a waste of your time then you may have to check yourself for a sense of humor. Big Ass Spider! is Big Ass Fun! and that’s all there is to it.
Greg Grunberg is light on his feet and funny as hell as exterminator Alex Mathis. “Spiders happen to be my specialty. I become a spider to catch a spider”, he says; making a Lecteresque sound to make his point and to let the viewer know that this is going to be one odd movie. But as funny and in on the joke as Grunberg is, he doesn’t hold a candle to Lombardo Boyar as Jose Ramos, security guard and impromptu assistant to Alex. “I will be the Robin to your Batman…the Tonto to your Lone Ranger…the John Oates to your Daryl Hall!” It’s no surprise that Boyar steals every scene that he’s in.
The major point that director Mike Mendez and writer Gregory Gieras are aware of is that if you’re going to make a movie about a Big Ass Spider! terrorizing Los Angeles then you are going to need a girl for Alex, our hero, to save. That girl is Clare Kramer as the sexy (yet determined) Lieutenant Karly Brant; blonde, beautiful, tough and kissable. She’s the right hand man-er-woman to General Braxton Tanner (is that a name with titanium balls or what?), played by Ray Wise in what may be his most scenery chewing role to date.
Big Ass Spider! is filled with inside jokes; some of which I caught and some which I didn’t. I noticed references to Aliens, Cloverfield (I think), and King Kong (of course) as well as pokes at a few viral internet sensations of the past few years (“Hide yo wife, hide yo kids ’cause there’s a Big Ass Spider! on the loose!”). I’m sure that there are tons more; maybe someone with a sharper eye than mine can tell me what they are.
The bottom line is that Big Ass Spider! is a laughable love letter to giant monster movies. It never once takes itself seriously and neither should you. In fact, if you can’t sit back and laugh at Big Ass Spider! then you may need a swift kick in the ass (that’s spinneret in human talk).
As one of many inside jokes, producers Shaked Berenson and Patrick Ewald doubled for lead actors Greg Grunberg and Lombardo Boyar. Three of these shots ended up used in the final movie.
Character ‘Handsome Jogger’ was replaced last minute to a cameo by legendary Lloyd Kaufman who was visiting Los Angeles at the time.
If you buy Big Ass Spider! at Walmart be forewarned: you may have to look for it under the title BIGGEST SPIDER! with the A-S-S overlapped by G-E-S-T. Apparently Walmart doesn’t like anatomical references.
Greg Grunberg also appears in Hollow Man and Star Trek.
Lombardo Boyar also appears in Gone in 60 Seconds and Gia.
Clare Kramer also appears in Bring It On and The Rules of Attraction.
Ray Wise also appears in Robocop and Jeepers Creepers 2.
Jessica Lange is a beautiful woman. Now mind you that I don’t mean that she was a beauty at the age of 27 when she was unceremoniously undressed by that over-sized and amorous ape King Kong (1976); nor do I mean that she is a beauty now at the age of 64 and going strong in her third season of the hit FX series American Horror Story. No, what I mean is that Jessica Lange is a beautiful woman, period.
Born April 20, 1949 in Cloquet, Minnesota, Miss Lange decided to forgo a scholarship to study art at the University of Minnesota to travel to Paris to study drama. She was given her big break when she was cast as Dwan by producer Dino De Laurentiis in the aforementioned remake of the 1933 classic King Kong. Not stopping at one film, Jessica went on to star in films as diverse as All That Jazz (1979), Tootsie, for which she took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (1982), Frances (1982), Music Box (1989), Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear (1991), Blue Sky, for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award (1994) and Tim Burton‘s Big Fish (2003). Besides appearing in American Horror Story, she has appeared on the small screen in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1984), A Streetcar Named Desire (1995), Sybil (2007) and Grey Gardens (2009).
It is with great pleasure that I present to you the Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Month for December 2013: Miss Jessica Lange.
Had a long term relationship with actor Sam Shepard (1982-2009).
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#64).
Beat Meryl Streep for the role of Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams (1985), according to Streep. Streep said it was one of the few if not the only role she ever went after. Then later said that she couldn’t however, imagine the movie without her (Lange).
Her performance as Frances Farmer in Frances (1982) is ranked #85 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
“It took Sydney Pollack a long time to get me to do Tootsie (1982). I asked myself if I wanted to play some frothy, ditzy character after I had just done Frances (1982). Obviously, I’m thrilled that I did.”
“All through life, I’ve harbored anger rather than expressed it at the moment. Once I started on Frances (1982), I discovered it was literally a bottomless well. It devastated me to maintain that for eighteen weeks, to be immersed in this state of rage for twelve to eighteen hours a day. It spilled all over, into other areas of my life. I was really hell to be around.”
KING KONG-New Zealand/United States/Germany-2005
Despite the fact that it is incredibly long and excruciatingly overacted in certain scenes (thanks to Jack Black), Peter Jackson’s King Kong is every bit the love letter to the 1933 original that he intended it to be. Aided by amazing performances from Naomi Watts and Andy Serkis, Jackson has made a film that is every bit as ambitious as his monumental Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is a far cry from his earlier efforts such as the darkly funny and immensely gory Dead Alive, the brilliantly written Heavenly Creatures and the painfully monotonous The Frighteners; the latter being a film I personally feel that Jackson should keep off of his resume.
As with the original the main core of the story is the same; boy meets girl and does everything he can to make her happy and to protect her, eventually giving his life for her. Of course now would be a good time to mention that the ‘boy’ of the story is a fifty-foot tall gorilla; but I get a feeling you already knew that.
I tell you what; let’s talk about Kong. More to the point let’s talk about the man who brings him to life, Andy Serkis. There has been controversy as to whether what Serkis does in roles like that of Kong or Gollum could be considered acting. Let me put it to you this way; if not for Serkis and the incredible range of emotions he displays in these roles, Gollum and Kong would merely be an exercise in CGI excellence. With him, they are every bit as real as the human actors they coexist alongside.
I will say, however, that Serkis has a lot of help from Naomi Watts in her role as Ann Darrow. I mentioned in my review of The Ring that Watts does amazing things with her eyes to express emotions and that is never more evident than in King Kong. Watts and Serkis play off of each other brilliantly.
Now comes the biggest question of all and that’s how’s the action? After all, this is a movie about a big damn ape protecting a beautiful young lady from the perils of the jungle, so it had better have action aplenty. Well, fear not, for I will go on record and state that the battle between Kong and the V-Rex is one of the most amazing fight scenes ever filmed. It is rivaled only in scale by the melee between the Bride and the Crazy 88’s in Kill Bill, and the Spider-man and Doctor Octopus train battle in Spider-man 2. It is that damn good.
Moving on to the weaker points of the film of which there is only one. I can forgive the excessive length of King Kong. What I cannot forgive is the mugging and overacting from Jack Black. Black would have done good to have watched Robin William’s performance in One Hour Photo to see how an otherwise hyperactive actor can deliver a subdued and amazing performance. I wonder if Peter Jackson knew what he was getting into when he cast Black.
So, is King Kong a keeper? Well, all I can say is that if I were a beautiful blonde woman in some scary jungle, I’d sure want that big gorilla having my back. That is, as long as I don’t have to put out. I’d dodge that bullet by telling him I’m saving myself for marriage.