Cinepub


Review: Valentine by Jamie

A Special Valentine’s Day Review of the 2001 film, Valentine



Top Ten TV Characters: Part 1 by Jamie
Top 10 Television Characters
Yes it’s time once again to delve into the world of cinema’s little brother, the greatest tool of communication know to mankind, until their youngest brother the internet was born, television. TV, as the kids call it, has been there for our species for some time now. It’s helped us to view man walking on the moon, the fall of the Berlin wall and an endless stream of outrageous acts carried out by morons on thousands upon thousands of reality TV shows.
TV has also delivered some of the greatest characters from fiction in modern times. The very nature of television means that we can become incredibly attached to those heroes and villains that inhabit  the flickering box, more so than movie characters simply because we spend so much time and, in some cases, so much of our lives with them.
Now for a rule that I decided to impose on myself. I’ve decided that I’m only allowed to choose one character from each series. If I didn’t then this list would probably be made up by far few shows than I should and that would be stupid. Also no animated characters. They’ll get their own list. So with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list.
10: Mike Nelson – Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still a very little know show in the UK which I think is a damn shame. Too often in this country we accuse the Americans of having no sense of wit, that their comedies are often boorish and low brow, though the tide has definitely been changing. Still this could all have been avoided if we’d only had MST3K since it’s beginning. The story is a classic one: A working class guy gets blasted into space on the Satellite of Love as part of an experiment by an evil genius to force him to watch bad movies. He builds a few robot companions in order to stave off space insanity and help him endure the cinematic shit fest that he is forced to watch.
The role of the human aboard the Satellite of Love was originally played by Joel Hodgson who managed to escape about halfway through the shows run. His place was taken by Mike Nelson, a hapless temp who the evil Dr. Forrester and his assistant TV’s Frank decide to send to the satellite as a replacement.
Now, my choice of Mike as my favourite character may be controversial among some long time MST3K fans but there seems to be a general consensus that your favourite host is generally the first one that you see and we in the UK only got the shows after Joel’s departure. Now I’ve seen many Joel episodes since thanks to the DVDs but Mike was my first host and will always be my favourite.
There’s something undeniably likeable about Mike. He’s a likeable, if sometimes dim-witted and naive fellow, without the technical expertise of Joel. There’s no doubt that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to build the ‘bots had he been the first one sent up. He’s just more of a regular Joe who suddenly finds himself in this ridiculous situation and he just tries to go along with it. And that’s great.
9: Dave Lister – Red Dwarf
From one working class schmuck stuck in space to another. Curry and lager loving Liverpudlian Dave Lister finds himself as the universes sole surviving human being after a radiation leak on the mining ship Red Dwarf causes him to be kept in stasis for 3 million years. His companions are a hologram of his former bunkmate, the insufferable Arnold Judas Rimmer, an evolved cat known simply as The Cat, a mildly senile super computer named Holly and, eventually, a neurotic service droid by the name of Kryten. (And eventually Kristine Kochanski as well but for the purpose of this piece I’m gonna kinda overlook those episodes.)
Lister is interesting as a character mainly because he’s lazy, slobby and a bit of a dick but in general eminently likeable. You can’t help but feel sorry for him because he finds himself in a universe where all of his best friends are dead, the love of his life is dead and the only company he has are a cast of misfits who all have as deeply flawed personalities as himself. Despite this Lister tries to make the best of a bad situation, possibly the worst situation one can find themselves in, and he seems to remain cheerful and optimistic even when things look there worse. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning that Lister was part of one of the funniest conversations ever committed to film:
8: Victor Meldrew – One Foot In The Grave
Victor Meldrew was the voice of anyone who ever got annoyed at anything. The grumpiest man in Britain, Victor’s annoyance at the smallest of inconveniences only seemed to worsen the situation to such a degree that it would often spiral off into the superbly surreal which would, of course, merely make Victor angrier and angrier much to the chagrin of his long suffering wife Margaret.
Victor’s lot in life wasn’t helped by the people who surrounded him such as Margaret’s friend, the mildly insane Jean Warboys and the insufferably cheerful neighbour Nick Swainey. And so it was that Victor Meldrew could have been just another nasty, old bitter git.
But he wasn’t. What made Victor a truly great character was that people could emphasise with him. He generally tried to do the right thing only to have the situation rapidly decline on him. He genuinely cared for his wife Margaret and would seem quite upset whenever she lost her temper with him. In fact I think it says something about the two characters that Victor would always become frustrated with the situation but rarely his wife whereas Margaret would often become frustrated with her husband when she couldn’t take anymore of his complaining. And I think people did feel sorry for Victor whenever Margaret got pissed off with him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that he was that way, it just seemed as though the world transpired against him. Besides it’s not many TV characters that had flowers left for them at the location of the scene where they were killed. That certainly says something about the impact Victor had on the British public.
7:

Yes it’s time once again to delve into the world of cinema’s little brother, the greatest tool of communication known to mankind, until their youngest brother the internet was born, television. TV, as the kids call it, has been there for our species for some time now. It’s helped us to view man walking on the moon, the fall of the Berlin wall and an endless stream of outrageous acts carried out by morons on thousands upon thousands of reality TV shows.

TV has also delivered some of the greatest characters from fiction in modern times. The very nature of television means that we can become incredibly attached to those heroes and villains that inhabit  the flickering box, more so than movie characters simply because we spend so much time and, in some cases, so much of our lives with them.

Now for a rule that I decided to impose on myself. I’ve decided that I’m only allowed to choose one character from each series. If I didn’t then this list would probably be made up by far few shows than I should and that would be stupid. Also no animated characters. They’ll get their own list. So with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list.

10: Mike Nelson – Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still a very little know show in the UK which I think is a damn shame. Too often in this country we accuse the Americans of having no sense of wit, that their comedies are often boorish and low brow, though the tide has definitely been changing. Still this could all have been avoided if we’d only had MST3K since it’s beginning. The story is a classic one: A working class guy gets blasted into space on the Satellite of Love as part of an experiment by an evil genius to force him to watch bad movies. He builds a few robot companions in order to stave off space insanity and help him endure the cinematic shit fest that he is forced to watch.

The role of the human aboard the Satellite of Love was originally played by Joel Hodgson who managed to escape about halfway through the shows run. His place was taken by Mike Nelson, a hapless temp who the evil Dr. Forrester and his assistant TV’s Frank decide to send to the satellite as a replacement.

Now, my choice of Mike as my favourite character may be controversial among some long time MST3K fans but there seems to be a general consensus that your favourite host is generally the first one that you see and we in the UK only got the shows after Joel’s departure. Now I’ve seen many Joel episodes since thanks to the DVDs but Mike was my first host and will always be my favourite.

There’s something undeniably likeable about Mike. He’s a likeable, if sometimes dim-witted and naive fellow, without the technical expertise of Joel. There’s no doubt that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to build the ‘bots had he been the first one sent up. He’s just more of a regular Joe who suddenly finds himself in this ridiculous situation and he just tries to go along with it. And that’s great.

9: Dave Lister – Red Dwarf

From one working class schmuck stuck in space to another. Curry and lager loving Liverpudlian Dave Lister finds himself as the universes sole surviving human being after a radiation leak on the mining ship Red Dwarf causes him to be kept in stasis for 3 million years. His companions are a hologram of his former bunkmate, the insufferable Arnold Judas Rimmer, an evolved cat known simply as The Cat, a mildly senile super computer named Holly and, eventually, a neurotic service droid by the name of Kryten. (And eventually Kristine Kochanski as well but for the purpose of this piece I’m gonna kinda overlook those episodes.)

Lister is interesting as a character mainly because he’s lazy, slobby and a bit of a dick but in general eminently likeable. You can’t help but feel sorry for him because he finds himself in a universe where all of his best friends are dead, the love of his life is dead and the only company he has are a cast of misfits who all have as deeply flawed personalities as himself. Despite this Lister tries to make the best of a bad situation, possibly the worst situation one can find themselves in, and he seems to remain cheerful and optimistic even when things look there worse. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning that Lister was part of one of the funniest conversations ever committed to film:

8: Victor Meldrew – One Foot In The Grave

Victor Meldrew was the voice of anyone who ever got annoyed at anything. The grumpiest man in Britain, Victor’s annoyance at the smallest of inconveniences only seemed to worsen the situation to such a degree that it would often spiral off into the superbly surreal which would, of course, merely make Victor angrier and angrier much to the chagrin of his long suffering wife Margaret.

Victor’s lot in life wasn’t helped by the people who surrounded him such as Margaret’s friend, the mildly insane Jean Warboys and the insufferably cheerful neighbour Nick Swainey. And so it was that Victor Meldrew could have been just another nasty, old bitter git.

But he wasn’t. What made Victor a truly great character was that people could emphasise with him. He generally tried to do the right thing only to have the situation rapidly decline on him. He genuinely cared for his wife Margaret and would seem quite upset whenever she lost her temper with him. In fact I think it says something about the two characters that Victor would always become frustrated with the situation but rarely his wife whereas Margaret would often become frustrated with her husband when she couldn’t take anymore of his complaining. And I think people did feel sorry for Victor whenever Margaret got pissed off with him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that he was that way, it just seemed as though the world transpired against him. Besides it’s not many TV characters that had flowers left for them at the location of the scene where they were killed. That certainly says something about the impact Victor had on the British public.

7: Father Ted Crilly – Father Ted

On the remote wasteland known as Craggy Island there live three Catholic priests and a tea obsessed housemaid. The oldest priest is Father Jack Hackett, a foul mouthed, violent alcoholic who rarely leaves his fetid chair. The youngest priest is Father Dougal McGuire, a man-child who professes to having no belief in the afterlife and claims to believe in Darth Vader more than he does in God. The third is Father Ted Crilly. Ted is a man who’s plans for fame and fortune are ruined by those around him and ultimately by himself.

Ted came to live on Craggy Island as punishment for some event in the past, something about some charity money that was ‘just resting in his account.’ Ted’s ultimate goal is to leave Craggy Island the troglodytes who inhabit far behind him and set up a parish somewhere like Las Vegas or Los Angeles. This never comes to pass, however, in part due to the immense disdain his immediate superior, Bishop Brennan has for him. Also, much like Victor Meldrew, Ted’s problems often start as something small and mundane but as the episode progresses these things tend to spin out of control until it all comes to an crescendo, generally leaving Ted worse of than he was when the episode started.

Like many on this list, Ted is likeable despite having a seriously flawed personality. He’s greedy, cynical, pessimistic and sometimes takes just a little too much delight in getting back at others, particularly when he wins a Golden Cleric resulting in a speech which last for hours and is full of distain for all those who have ‘fecked him over’ in the past. Ted’s likeability is probably increased by the fact that in the strange and surreal world of Craggy Island, he’s probably the most normal person there is, making him something of a reality anchor for the viewers.

6: Bernard Black – Black Books

Bernard Black is the epitome of characters who we like despite massive personal failings. He’s an alcoholic, pessimistic, argumentative misanthrope who isn’t happy unless he’s drinking wine or insulting someone. For some reason he owns a book shop despite his apparent loathing of everything to do with owning a shop. The only thing Bernard really likes about his shop is his books and the fact that, as his own boss, he can drink whenever he wants.

He’s abusive towards his assistant Manny Bianco, who’s biggest crime seems to be having  a cheery outlook on life, something Bernard apparently abhors. There’s also the fact that Manny tries to help Bernard around the shop, once selling every book which infuriated Bernard as it meant he had to deal with the distributor and order more books. Despite this it is shown that on the occasions Manny left Bernard to his own devices, either by quitting or running away, Bernard was reduced to even more of a mess than normal, barely able to function on a human level. The only other person in Bernard’s life is his best (and possibly only) friend, Fran Katzenjammer. The two share a number of similar characteristics which aids them in getting along, namely smoking and drinking.

Like all of the great arsehole characters in television, Bernard has a softer side which occasionally shines through. He has shown that he shy and awkward around women, he develops a certain jealousy and possessiveness whenever Manny finds other friends to hang out with, he’s certainly intelligent, though he generally seems to do nothing with his intelligence, and obviously loves reading and he genuinely seems to be scared or confused by the outside world, choosing instead to hide from it in a drunken haze inside his shop. It is also revealed that his general outlook on life may have been caused by an incident involving an old fiancée.

Well that’s it for now. Come back for more tomorrow. Laterz.



Last Year In Film: The Love Guru by Jamie
I’m not a big fan of self-help gurus, a bunch of people who, it seems to me, manage to convince people that the path to true happiness involves buying all of their books and other assorted products. So I thought I might get something out of Mike Myer’s film “The Love Guru” especially considering that one of the first jokes features his character Guru Pitka holding up one of his books entitled “If you’re happy and you know it, think again.” Excellent, I thought. This might turn out to be a fine satire on the whole self-help guru phenomena. Sadly I was wrong. What could have been a quite promising concept quickly descends into a string of sex jokes clearly left over from the Austin Powers movies.
That’s really the problem. If you’ve seen the first two minutes of this film, you’ve pretty much seen all you need to see of Mike Myers’ performance in The Love Guru and probably most of his good lines within the film. These first two minutes actually made me laugh a little but it all turned out to be a deception. It’s exactly the same formula as in the aforementioned Austin Powers series but somehow they managed to sustain themselves throughout three films, although they were becoming kinda stale by the third and were probably saved by the inclusion of Goldmember and Michael Caine as Austin’s father.
Unfortunately The Love Guru probably suffers from following those films but Myers really has no one to blame but himself. Of course people are going to compare this to Austin Powers, it’s filled with exactly the same jokes except this time it’s the fourth time round and there are no familiar characters to draw us in from the beginning. Speaking of reusing jokes from old films, there was one point in this film that really, really pissed me off. Pitka is sitting in a car with a hockey player whose relationship he’s trying to fix. The hockey player is bobbing his head along to some rap music when Pitka changes the radio station and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ begins to play. Myers mugs to the camera before quickly changing the station. It’s almost as though he knew this film would be shit and was reminding everyone that he was in ‘Wayne’s World’ and at least that was awesome. Well, yes, yes it was awesome but it certainly doesn’t need to be associated with this cinematic abortion.
So what kind of jokes can you expect from the Love Guru? Well, there’s Pitka getting hit in the mouth with a piss-soaked mop, Pitka gets a broken pool cue shoved up his ass which he proceeds to sniff and merriment ensues, Pitka’s Indian house boy prepares a meal called nuts in a sling which consists of two nuts wrapped in dough causing them to resemble a scrote and the whole film pretty much culminates with two elephants fucking, a clumsy yet puerile sight which seems an apt metaphor for this film. Oh and lets not forget the hilarious running jokes like the hilarious Indian names such as Tugginmypudha, Cheddafrumunda and Hathasmalvena and increasingly poor book titles.
What of the rest of the cast? Well there’s the woefully underused John Oliver as the Guru’s agent named >sigh< Dick Pants. Seriously, John Oliver is a damn funny, funny man. I listen to his and Andy Zaltzman’s pod cast, the Bugle every week and it’s hilarious not to mention the fact that he’s one of the funniest correspondents the Daily Show has ever had. Speaking of the Daily Show, the film is somewhat saved by the inclusion of Daily Show alumni and star in his own right, Stephen Colbert playing a recovering drug addict hockey commentator. Even the aforementioned elephant fucking scene is saved somewhat by Colbert’s casual commentary on the incident not to mention a rather funny line early on in the film regarding an attack on Dame Judi Dench. Yes, Colbert may be the only person to walk away from this film unscathed.
The film also stars Jessica Alba who doesn’t leave much of an impression, Mini-Me, who annoys me so much at this point that I refuse to remember his real name or look it up, is there to provide midget based humour. Ben Kingsley appears as the cross-eyed, pissing and farting Guru Tugginmypuddha… Really, Ben? First Uwe Boll and now this… what happened to you, man? You used to be cool. Then there’s Justin Timberlake who, much like Matthew Lillard in Dungeon Siege, I can’t really be made at because he takes his character the French-Canadian, Celine Dion loving Jaque ‘Le Coq’ Grande to such an over the top extreme that he just kind of amuses you. Good for him.
There’s also plenty of cameos such as Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer, real life guru Deepak Chopra, Morgan Freeman’s voice, Kanye West and Mike Myers. Yes, Myers actually had a cameo in his own film as himself. I can understand why some people called this film ‘utterly self serving’ though in the end it probably won’t do much to serve Myer’s career. Maybe he’ll do some more serious work. I honestly believe that there’s probably still time to change direction for him to avoid the unfunny path that Eddie Murphy has decided to take. Poor Eddie Murphy’s career. It will be missed.
There is one thing I will give Myers credit for, he does seem to have a knack for amusing musical numbers and in The Love Guru we are treated to sitar based versions of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ and The Steve Miller Band’s ‘The Joker’. Maybe it’s just me because I certainly like the sound of the sitar and The Joker is one of my favourite songs of all time, but I certainly found these scenes watchable. And it’s because of these scenes, Stephen Colbert and Justin Timberlake that I give The Love Guru one and a half pint out of five.
Anyway, I feel I’ve certainly written far more that this film deserves so lets get onto the Razzie worst picture nomination round up. Did The Love Guru deserve to take home the award? Well, I can see that maybe people had higher expectations of this and were sorely disappointed when they finally saw it, especially considering the cast but honestly, I think you can guess which film I think should have won this prize. Yes, no surprises but I honestly think Disaster Movie should have had this one wrapped up. The only reason I can think as to why it didn’t win is that maybe the comitee deciding the result came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t a film merely a collection of things that happened which someone accidentally filmed and distributed.
So that is that then. I can finally go back to watching good films. Next category is Best Actor which has only two films that I haven’t already reviewed. Great. Guess I’ll be back to shit films before I know it. Huzzah.

I’m not a big fan of self-help gurus, a bunch of people who, it seems to me, manage to convince people that the path to true happiness involves buying all of their books and other assorted products. So I thought I might get something out of Mike Myer’s film “The Love Guru” especially considering that one of the first jokes features his character Guru Pitka holding up one of his books entitled “If you’re happy and you know it, think again.” Excellent, I thought. This might turn out to be a fine satire on the whole self-help guru phenomena. Sadly I was wrong. What could have been a quite promising concept quickly descends into a string of sex jokes clearly left over from the Austin Powers movies.

That’s really the problem. If you’ve seen the first two minutes of this film, you’ve pretty much seen all you need to see of Mike Myers’ performance in The Love Guru and probably most of his good lines within the film. These first two minutes actually made me laugh a little but it all turned out to be a deception. It’s exactly the same formula as in the aforementioned Austin Powers series but somehow they managed to sustain themselves throughout three films, although they were becoming kinda stale by the third and were probably saved by the inclusion of Goldmember and Michael Caine as Austin’s father.

Unfortunately The Love Guru probably suffers from following those films but Myers really has no one to blame but himself. Of course people are going to compare this to Austin Powers, it’s filled with exactly the same jokes except this time it’s the fourth time round and there are no familiar characters to draw us in from the beginning. Speaking of reusing jokes from old films, there was one point in this film that really, really pissed me off. Pitka is sitting in a car with a hockey player whose relationship he’s trying to fix. The hockey player is bobbing his head along to some rap music when Pitka changes the radio station and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ begins to play. Myers mugs to the camera before quickly changing the station. It’s almost as though he knew this film would be shit and was reminding everyone that he was in ‘Wayne’s World’ and at least that was awesome. Well, yes, yes it was awesome but it certainly doesn’t need to be associated with this cinematic abortion.

So what kind of jokes can you expect from the Love Guru? Well, there’s Pitka getting hit in the mouth with a piss-soaked mop, Pitka gets a broken pool cue shoved up his ass which he proceeds to sniff and merriment ensues, Pitka’s Indian house boy prepares a meal called nuts in a sling which consists of two nuts wrapped in dough causing them to resemble a scrote and the whole film pretty much culminates with two elephants fucking, a clumsy yet puerile sight which seems an apt metaphor for this film. Oh and lets not forget the hilarious running jokes like the hilarious Indian names such as Tugginmypudha, Cheddafrumunda and Hathasmalvena and increasingly poor book titles.

What of the rest of the cast? Well there’s the woefully underused John Oliver as the Guru’s agent named >sigh< Dick Pants. Seriously, John Oliver is a damn funny, funny man. I listen to his and Andy Zaltzman’s pod cast, the Bugle every week and it’s hilarious not to mention the fact that he’s one of the funniest correspondents the Daily Show has ever had. Speaking of the Daily Show, the film is somewhat saved by the inclusion of Daily Show alumni and star in his own right, Stephen Colbert playing a recovering drug addict hockey commentator. Even the aforementioned elephant fucking scene is saved somewhat by Colbert’s casual commentary on the incident not to mention a rather funny line early on in the film regarding an attack on Dame Judi Dench. Yes, Colbert may be the only person to walk away from this film unscathed.

The film also stars Jessica Alba who doesn’t leave much of an impression, Mini-Me, who annoys me so much at this point that I refuse to remember his real name or look it up, is there to provide midget based humour. Ben Kingsley appears as the cross-eyed, pissing and farting Guru Tugginmypuddha… Really, Ben? First Uwe Boll and now this… what happened to you, man? You used to be cool. Then there’s Justin Timberlake who, much like Matthew Lillard in Dungeon Siege, I can’t really be mad at because he takes his character the French-Canadian, Celine Dion loving Jaque ‘Le Coq’ Grande to such an over the top extreme that he just kind of amuses you. Good for him.

There’s also plenty of cameos such as Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer, real life guru Deepak Chopra, Morgan Freeman’s voice, Kanye West and Mike Myers. Yes, Myers actually had a cameo in his own film as himself. I can understand why some people called this film ‘utterly self serving’ though in the end it probably won’t do much to serve Myer’s career. Maybe he’ll do some more serious work. I honestly believe that there’s probably still time to change direction for him to avoid the unfunny path that Eddie Murphy has decided to take. Poor Eddie Murphy’s career. It will be missed.

There is one thing I will give Myers credit for, he does seem to have a knack for amusing musical numbers and in The Love Guru we are treated to sitar based versions of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ and The Steve Miller Band’s ‘The Joker’. Maybe it’s just me because I certainly like the sound of the sitar and The Joker is one of my favourite songs of all time, but I certainly found these scenes watchable. And it’s because of these scenes, Stephen Colbert and Justin Timberlake that I give The Love Guru one and a half pint out of five.

Anyway, I feel I’ve certainly written far more that this film deserves so lets get onto the Razzie worst picture nomination round up. Did The Love Guru deserve to take home the award? Well, I can see that maybe people had higher expectations of this and were sorely disappointed when they finally saw it, especially considering the cast but honestly, I think you can guess which film I think should have won this prize. Yes, no surprises but I honestly think Disaster Movie should have had this one wrapped up. The only reason I can think as to why it didn’t win is that maybe the comitee deciding the result came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t a film merely a collection of things that happened which someone accidentally filmed and distributed.

So that is that then. I can finally go back to watching good films. Next category is Best Actor which has only two films that I haven’t already reviewed. Great. Guess I’ll be back to shit films before I know it. Huzzah.



The Vampire Double Feature: Let The Right One In and Twilight by Jamie
17/02/2009, 6:52 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ah, Vampires. I’ve always liked the undead, blood-sucking little bastards. Wow, Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise the word undead. That’s unexpected. Anyway, blood drinking monsters have existed for as long as civilisation but the suave, pale seducer that we know as the vampire today has only really been around since the 19th Century and is most famously portrayed in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.
In this day and age, Vampires are not just some of the most popular movie monsters but also some of the silver screens most popular sympathetic characters. They symbolise the gift and curse of immortality, the inherent loneliness of living forever, the harsh truth behind the fantasy. They also represent a dark side to our sexuality, a very real, forbidden predatory nature with the act of penetration replaced with the biting of the neck and the drinking of the blood.
So with that in mind, let’s get into today’s two reviews, the 2008 Swedish language film, Let The Right One In and another 2008 film, this one in English, Twilight. Let’s begin with Let The Right One In.

Directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist of the same name, Let The Right One In, tells the tale of a 12 year old Swedish boy and his blossoming friendship with a 200 year old vampire.
Set in the 1980’s, Oskar is a young troubled boy, bullied at school, who spends his free time alone stabbing trees. It’s whilst doing this that he first meets Eli, someone who has recently moved into the area with a man who is apparently her father. She only comes out during the night and has an odd choice of clothing for the freezing cold weather.
Over time their friendship grows, cemented in the fact that they are both outsiders with no friends but each other. They begin communicating with each other by banging on the wall between their rooms when they can’t be outside together. Their relationship eventually reaches a point where Oskar decides to cement their relationship by cutting their palms and mixing their blood. At this point Eli cannot help herself and so her secret is revealed to Oskar.
This is about all I’m willing to reveal about the plot. I honestly cannot express how much you owe it to yourself to see this film. It manages to tell a sweet, romantic story between the mortal and the immortal, whilst balancing it perfectly with the acts of horrific gore that Eli must perpetrate in order to survive. It also touches on some of those familiar vampire themes mentioned earlier, particularly the loneliness of the immortal soul but it also manages to place equal emphasis on the loneliness of the mortal in this relationship as well.

And so to the second film in this double feature, Twilight, another vampire film based on a novel, this time the wildly popular 2005 first novel in the series of the same name and tells the tale of a seventeen year old American girl and her blossoming romance with a 108 year old vampire.
The story begins with Bella Swan moving from Arizona to Washington to live with her father since her mother and step-father are going on a bit of a road trip. At school she makes a few new friends and becomes interested in an apparently young man by the name of Edward Cullen. It seems at first that Edward is repulsed by Bella but a few days later he saves her life when she’s nearly hit by a van, apparently making use of super speed and super strength. A few days later Bella figures out Edward’s secret.
In the sake of fairness I’m going to leave any revelations about the plot there, though this certainly isn’t a film you need to see in the same way as Let The Right One In. I was however surprised by it. I wanted so much to hate this film. It seems, though I consider my self politically liberal, when it comes to movie monsters I’m deeply, deeply conservative. I want my zombies slow and numerous, my werewolves to be vicious, instinct based killers and my vampires to be fanged and to worry a little more than sun burn if they go out in the daytime. And for the first part I did hate this movie. I felt cheated that after 45 minutes I’d seen more compost than blood and more dress shopping scenes than on screen kills. In fact most of the first half of the film seemed to be made up of awkward, furtive glances across a school cafeteria but in the second half of the film things pick up a little with an awesome special effects-laden baseball game and finally a little bit of violence.
Once more the main theme of this film is loneliness and accepting the fact that the immortal can find companionship in a human, but it also explores the relationship between the predatory nature of the vampires and how they regard humans, their prey, which I thought was a nice touch.
Overall I have to say I did enjoy Twilight. I’d definitely recommend it for a rental when it comes out on DVD and depending on the special features, I might even consider adding it to my collection. I mean, hell, I own The Super Mario Bros. movie on DVD and I don’t enjoy that at all.




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