Monday, August 31, 2009

More Vampires

A few weeks ago, Haunted House Writer brought you the top cinema/screen/tv vampires according to SFX magazine. Clearly Vampires are all the rage right now. So surprise surprise when a few days later I found that Entertainment Weekly followed suit and published their top 25. Again, I'm only going to post the top ten most interesting vampires that way I don't ruin the whole list for you in case you want to go see it, but there are some interesting similarities and differences from the last list.

But let's start with some honorable mention Vampires first why don't we:

1. Count Von Count--Sesame Street
2. Grandpa Munster--The Munsters
3. Brett Farve--Professional all jest but when the last article about vampires was written at Haunted House Writer, Farve was "officially retired," and now at the publishing of this article...through a very specific and almost unimaginable set of circumstances...against my better judgement and happiness....he is my starting QB on my fantasy team...

Digression over. List Begins.

19. Selene--Underworld
15. Miriam Blayluck and Sarah Rogers--The Hunger
14. David--Lost Boys
11. Graf Orlok--Nosferatu
8. Mr. Barlow--Salem's Lot
7. Angel--Buffy the Vampire Slayer
5. Bill Compton & Eric Northman--True Blood
3. Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
2. Dracula (Christopher Lee)
1. Lestat--Interview with the Vampire

Agree/Disagree? Anyone Missing? Anyone who doesn't deserve to be there? How do you feel about this list compared to the SFX list. Leave some comments and lets get a vampiric discussion going on in here!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Move Review: District 9

So all of the buzz circling around Distric 9 since it's release has been incredible. Tweets, status updates, blogs, and blurbs have all been raving that District 9 is the movie to beat. One said to "drop what you're doing right now and see District 9." All this being said, I went to see the movie with much anticipation.

To borrow from one of the best movies of all time, "This is Spinal Tap," if everyone is saying that this movie goes to 11, I would say that it only goes to a 10. Although the short review would have me say, Black Hawk Down with aliens.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of excellent things in this movie. This is the feature film debut of star Sharlto Copley who plays Wikus Van De Merwe (pronounced Vikus.) Sharlto turned in a wonderful performance of the mild-mannered, wanting to impress his boss and provide for his family type character only to be caught up in a movement that was larger than life. He really surprised me because when you first see him you think he's only going to be on screen for a short period of time but you soon learn that he is the main character and its a fact that makes you happy.

Additional strengths were the special effects. I mean it is Wetta, but still a sci-fi movie just always has the chance to go into "too cheesy mode." (Has anyone see the awful looking CGI for the Werewolf in the New Moon trailer?) That aside the aliens in this movie look phenomenal. The alien ship looks real. The alien weapons are amazing. District 9 is worth seeing alone for the electricity gun. ELECTRICITY GUN.

The one area of District 9 that made it so that it did not go to 11 is this: District 9 left a lot of loose ends and assumed that the audience knew as much as the characters. The point of the movie is that the aliens have been on Earth for 20 years. The movie we are watching is a documentary of how conditions and relations have evolved over the past 20 years. Therefore every character we meet within the film has 20 years of experience living with aliens on the planet Earth. That is not something we in the theater can comprehend as we have not experienced it.

However District 9 is presented as if we do have the same experience. There are so many opportunities where District 9 could have been given a little shot in the arm by explaining one or two things a little better. A little bit here and a little bit there makes for a lot of bit by the end. I'm talking about the "slice of life" moments as my one professor used to say. Example: Prawns are addicted to cat food = brilliant. More stuff like that, but there isn't a whole lot.

Let me attempt to illustrate the point by using the movie The Matrix. One of the most unique and revolutionary aspects of The Matrix is that the audience learns along with Neo. There is nothing that Neo knows that we don't (except Kung Fu.) Neo must analyze and process information about the matrix, agents, machines, sentinels, jacking in, Zion, the Oracle, etc at the same exact moment as the audience does. This is brilliant because the matrix is a foreign concept/world to the audience.

The world/concept of District 9 is even more foreign. There are aliens and it takes place in Africa. Even if you take out the aliens there is a lot about African culture and sub-culture that is just as new to most audience members but it is only lightly touched upon. I think just that a little bit of fleshing out could have helped bump this movie to 11. But this one little misstep aside, it still is a solid 10 and is definitely worth a watch.

Agree? Disagree? Let us all know by leaving a comment!
Also, after I posted my review, I found this review on Twitter....maybe I'm more qualified than I thought...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blink-182 Summer Reunion Tour

First: Apologies for the gap in between posts. Internships, spending time with loved ones and friend, fantasy football, writing, and a variety of other things have unfortunately kept me away.

Second: I know this post doesn't really jive with the theme of Haunted House Writer. I ask that you'll indulge me this one post as it has been five years since a band that has been extremely influential in the world of underground music has graced the stage and even longer than that since I've seen them in concert. Also, some of you who read this blog might be going to see them at a different show so perhaps this will be a good preview.

Venue: Hershey Park Stadium. August 12, 2009
Chester French, Panic! At the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Blink-182

CHESTER FRENCH: The concert was slated to start at 6:30. At 6:10 it started to shower just a little bit. At 6:15 it started to pour. Big, huge, drops. Most people went inside. We thought that the rain would pass and getting a little wet might help keep us cool in the 80 degree weather. Five minute later it started to thunder and lightning and ten minutes later, already soaking wet, I bought ponchos. Then I put all of our stuff, phones, wallets, in the little plastic bag that came with the poncho. I had a purse. I checked the time when I did that and it was 6:30. The roadies were covering the stage with plastic. Things did not look good. Around 7:00 we saw people heading to the stage, but it was not Chester French. It was....

PANIC(!) AT THE DISCO: Yes, Chester French (un)fortunately got rained out. Panic At the Disco took the stage adorned in tuxedos and suits. They played mainly stuff from "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out." They started with "Time To Dance," and Brenden Urie thanked the crowd for waiting and putting up with the "s***** rain." They played "Nine in the Afternoon," "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies," and a number of others including one from the up coming CD.

I don't know if it was the rain, or apparently a potential break up but the band didn't seem very into it. Panic At the Disco's myspace as of Monday only listed Brenden and Spencer as the two band members and Rolling Stone seemed to hint at this rumor. But there were four people there that kinda looked liked the normal band and people were leaving comment on the band's websites saying things like, "I'm so glad you didn't break up." So I don't know. Regardless of the reason and the conditions the songs were still good and it was a good time.

FALL OUT BOY: So Panic! At the Disco leaves the stage and it takes a long time for them to set up for Fall Out Boy. It was feared that another long rain delay would ensue. Stagehands rolled out big letters "F" "O" and "B" and placed them in front of the raised drum platform. About twenty minutes later the lights faded, the crowd went crazy, the FOB started to glow blue, and as if a heavenly sign that this band is somehow the chosen people, the rain subsides and some feint rays of sunlight graced the stage at the same moment as the band. Fall Out Boy opened up with "Sugar We're Going Down." Pete Wentz said it was easy to make the girls cheer for the band, but asked where his "dudes," were at. He also thanked the crowd for being in the rain and stated: "You'll be well lubricated for Blink-182. Fall Out Boy played favorites such as, "This Ain't A Scene, It's an Arms Race," "I Don't Care," "Where is Your Boy Tonight," "Saturday," "Dance, Dance," "Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown," and a couple others. The band also informed us that they aren't always about emo lyrics, eyeliner, and sitting in a corner crying about things. Apparently they are sometimes "fun dudes."

Patrick Stump has an amazing voice. Despite being live and despite singing in the rain, he still sounded as if it were of studio quality. It was appreciated that their set varied in songs from all four albums. The band was extremely into the show as was noted by their energy. Just as the final rays of sun finally disappeared and it was dark, Pete Wentz asked the crowd, "Do you want to hear 'The Breaks Over, The Takes Over,' or some super fun old stuff." Brendan Urie of Panic At the Disco was invited back to the state. The crowd cheered for "super fun old stuff," and believe it or not folks, with a stage doused in blue lights, Fall Out Boy, with Brendan on vocals, played "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and it sounded amazing.

The only sucky part was that Pete Wentz told us that due to the rain delays that they were playing a shorter set so that we could hear the entire Blink-182 show, which was awesome yet awful at the same time.

BLINK-182: As soon as the demi-gods, Fall Out Boy, leaves the stage, the rain lets loose again. Worse than before. Watching the clouds it seemed as if the storm we had before circled back around and hit us again, this time with greater ferocity and with lightning. I'm serious, those clouds were dark. There was another long delay. Stagehands were using squeegees to push water off the stage. We were soaked.

But finally a shirtless Travis Barker and shirted Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge take the stage. They open with "Dumpweed." I seriously felt like I was 16 again. Travis Barker, despite the plane crash, sounded amazing on the drums. As like the other bands before, Mark thanked the crowd for waiting in the rain and said, "since we're in Hershey, this must be Chocolate Rain." Mark then started jumping on the stage so that the water was kicking up behind him. He looked like he was 16 again.

The only problem I had with the Blink-182 set was that they played only from Enema of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, and Blink-182. The only songs they played from Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch were "Josie," "Dammit," and "Carousel." Kinda left me wanting a bit more in that department.

During the song "Down," Tom messed up and he apologized to the crowd. Then Mark asked the crowd, "Did Tom get a 'C' on that song, or did he completely fail at life, under God, and as a human being and let everyone down." The crowd voted for the later, but then Tom retorted, "Jesus wouldn't vote."

The best thing about the Blink-182 show was that they didn't change. It's been five years and they are still belching, making dirty jokes, and acting like Blink-182. Their music may have matured but they sure haven't and that's what makes them amazing. When Mark realized that the crowd had been standing in the rain for three hours he opened a bottle of water and then doused himself. Then during the next song he slipped and fell and knocked the bass out of tune. Tom thought everyone complaining about the rain and cold were wimps. But then he too complained and demonstrated how slippery the stage was when he put his guitar on the ground and slid it all the way over to Mark who picked it up and made the stagehand chase him to get it. It was nice however, to see Tom and Mark give each other a high five and hug to show that despite their differences they are actually amazing friends in an amazing band and they have put their differences behind them. If you have a chance to see this tour, do it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Theatre Preview: Revival of The Cripple of Inishmaan

Excitement abounds! It is the kind of excitement that hits both my theatre and horror buttons.

I've just learned that my favorite playwright, the brilliant Martin McDonagh, is having one of his shows revived on Broadway. It is the show The Cripple of Inishmaan and it is the story of Cripple Billy, a young man who everyone thinks is helpless, and his struggle to prove his worth to his rumor starved and backwards community. The Cripple of Inishmaan is truly a phenomenal play and its exciting that theatre goers will have the opportunity to see it live again. The Cripple of Inishmaan is coming to New York on December 18th and is being directed by Tony Award winner Garry Hynes (the first female director to win a Tony.)

Here is why The Cripple of Inishmaan also is slated under the horror section. Martin McDonagh is a master of suspense and psychological thrillers. McDonagh's plays dig deep, make you think, and hit you on some pretty disturbing mental levels. Although The Cripple of Inishmaan isn't as gory, dark, or as disturbing as some of McDongah's other works like The Pillowman or The Lieutenant of Inishmore, this play still hits some deep and disturbing peaks. The trials of Cripple Billy are quite harsh as he is literally looked down upon almost like a tumor in the community in which he lives. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to ruin it, but trust me, it will make you think about things that you don't want to think about.

Anyone else a fan of Martin McDonagh or The Cripple of Inishmaan? Share some thoughts, reviews, etc. in the comment section.

This post supported by Theatre Ticket Suppliers