Welcome to my website!
Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Bella and Edward marry in a long sequence of scenes that do not minimize the marriage ceremony in the least, and that focuses on their vows to one another.  It was a dreamy beautiful event (in large part due to Alice's efforts), complete with toasts by family and friends that revealed more about not just the happy couple, but about the guests themselves.

Jacob supports Bella finally in her decision to wed Edward, and they go off on a honeymoon of epic proportions.  I’d be happy with a simpler wedding if I could just have a honeymoon like this on an island paradise (but I’m already married, so just the trip to the island paradise will suffice).  Bella hit it big in that department.

What else she hits big, as you all already know, is becoming pregnant, something she and Edward are surprised about as much as I am.  Really?  How can this happen?  A vampire and a human creating offspring.

Even though a biological explanation is never forthcoming, it makes for a dramatic storyline.  Think about it.  What happens to a mother and child when their blood is incompatible, like in Rh incompatibility?  That’s when the mother is Rh-negative, the father is Rh-positive, and the baby is also Rh-positive.  This can cause serious health problems for the baby if the mother’s blood gets any of the baby’s blood in her womb because she may then create antibodies to kill the foreign blood cells. 

The mother is not at risk in Rh incompatibility, but what if it was reversed?  That would make Bella at risk for serious problems during the pregnancy.  Good drama here.  The other storyline is everyone who is aware of the pregnancy gives Bella advice on what to do.  What that results in is a not so subtle discussion of abortion and a woman’s right to choose.

I thought the preceding episodes of Twilight set up the story in Breaking Dawn quite well.  I told the members of my screenwriting group I was watching these films, and some were, shall we say, amused?  But I am really enjoying this story, which comes as no surprise in a way because I really love movies.  Even if you don’t particularly care for the storyline of vampires and werewolves, I would think you would appreciate the cinematography and the attention given to the sets, costumes and acting that went into this saga.

Breaking Dawn - Part 2 comes out in November as I mentioned in my previous post, and I will have to admit, I am now one of those who are quite interested in seeing the final episode in the theater.  I was at the movies not long ago (The Bourne Legacy which I’ll review later on) and there was a large banner proclaiming a Twilight marathon would be coming soon.  Sitting in a theater for eight hours would stress my body, especially if it was not stadium seating, so I would opt for recommending you have your own marathon at home with Netflix.  And come back in November for my final review of Twilight.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

It appears my questions at the end of my review of The Twilight Saga:  New Moon have been answered in this next installment of The Twilight Saga:  Eclipse.  This movie featured a riveting story with plenty of action segments to further the adventures of Bella, Edward and Jacob.  I was sitting on the edge of my chair it so engrossed me.  Much to my delight, the “good” vampires’ stories were further revealed here.  We find out how Rosalie and Jasper became vampires, what their hopes and fears were, how they really feel about their present existence, and their individual stories just serve to further strengthen our connection to the vampires’ plight.

The evil vampire Victoria seeks to destroy Bella, placing her in danger yet again.  Her father Charlie, unaware of the world Bella inhabits, is worried about the danger of teen pregnancy, just like all other dads of teenage girls.  He is aware of a monster/murderer law enforcement is tracking, but makes no connection of this to Bella or Edward or to Edward’s family.  Charlie has an awkward talk with his daughter about sexuality and pregnancy, a not so subtle plug for saving yourself for marriage.  As an adult viewer though, and knowing that Edward is a vampire, a detail Charlie has not been told, I wondered:  Would vampires need to use condoms?  They’re the undead, neither living nor dead; they’re cold as ice, a fact emphasized in this movie when Edward is compared with Jacob, a warm blooded living creature. How could a vampire conceive a child?  I think traditionally in the vampire legends, the exchanging of blood makes new vampires, not vampires having sex with each other and little baby vampires being born.  I’ll apparently find out the author’s solution to this paradox in the next movie, The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn: Part 1, as the Netflix sleeve states:  Not long after immortal soul mates Bella Swan and Edward Cullen say “I do,” a strange sensation begins to build inside Bella’s burgeoning belly.”

Seems like a story flaw there, but I’ll reserve my judgment.  Thus far I think Bella is making a huge mistake sticking with Edward.  Jacob is a much more compelling, feeling person.  I award kudos to special effects for making the huge, powerful werewolves’ eyes so expressive.  It makes it easy then to stay connected to Jacob even when he’s transformed.  It’s interesting to me how Bella is not afraid of any of the werewolves towering over her when in wolf form.

I didn’t remember when I began watching Twilight that Part 2 of Breaking Dawn would be coming out in theaters on November 16th.  So I’ll be able to watch one of these Twilight movies on the big screen, the way I really love to watch movies.

As Halloween approaches, are any of you planning on hosting or attending a Halloween party?  Any costume contests?  Will you dress as a werewolf, or a more traditional monster?  Comment and let us all in on your inspirations.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Dracula (1931)

I took a break from Twilight to watch the 1931 classic movie Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi as the infamous vampire from Transylvania.  A nightmare of horror! proclaims a vintage movie poster featuring Dracula with a young female victim.  But I wasn’t so much horrified as intrigued by this early film of the vampire genre.  I wasn’t sure I had ever seen it, and if I had, the years had faded it from memory.

Bela Lugosi certainly defined for moviegoers worldwide the quintessential vampire.  Numerous vampires since have copied his entire walk, his talk, his mannerisms, the look of his makeup and cape.  Would Bram Stoker, author of the 1897 novel, have approved of Lugosi’s Dracula?  I think he would have.  Unfortunately, he had already passed away nearly 20 years prior to this film’s release.

The director, Tod Browning, had previously had a very successful career in silent film and I think that experience lent itself well to the story of Dracula.  There are often long silences, no music even, which gives a somber mood to the events as they are revealed.  Also, there is no blood and gore, which should please some of my readers who may be disgusted by the violence in film that seems to dominate theaters today.  We don’t even get to see the telltale puncture wounds on the victims’ necks.  Dracula comes in for his meal, and the scene cuts to another.  I didn’t mind.  It’s an easy watch, only 75 minutes.  My disc from Netflix included some commentary, and something to note is that a Spanish version of Dracula was filmed at the same time as the English version.  They would film the English Dracula during the day, and once they were finished, the Spanish crew, actors and director came in and shot far into the night.  It is rumored that the Spanish version is even better, so that might be worth looking into.

The fascination with the vampire is evident in Lucy’s initial reactions to Dracula.  She is clearly drawn to him, the slightly dangerous and forbidden aspects of this stranger she hardly knows.  The cheesiest part is the bat flapping around, but it was 1931 after all.  The best performance (other than Bela of course) is Dwight Frye as Mr. Renfield.  His acting is genius.  I’ve never seen a more transformed character in any movie; his madness is absolute.

What little music there is at the beginning of the film is from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and seemed fitting to me for the introduction of the film’s opening credits that older movies always featured.  It was of course, black and white, and the cinematography by Academy Award winner Karl Freund lent an eerie and moody feel to the landscape, both in Dracula’s castle and then in England, where Dracula relocates.

I highly recommend this version of Dracula.  It really set the tone for all subsequent vampire movies, especially Bela Lugosi’s performance of the man in black.  If you enjoy the vampire genre, you will like this film that started it all.