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Title: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)Director: Francis Ford Coppola Cast: Gary Oldman, Wynona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Billy CampbellDracula has been brought to cinematic life on more occasi...
Title: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)Director: Francis Ford Coppola Cast: Gary Oldman, Wynona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Billy CampbellDracula has been brought to cinematic life on more occasions than any other character. I mean sure there’s tons of James Bond movies, Frankenstein movies and Godzilla has its fare share of films (going on 28 as I write this)…but even more films have used the character of Dracula in one form or another. So it truly is one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history, period. So naturally, the question inevitably arises: which of these adaptations is the best one? You ask me, my favorite, bar none is Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the character. It’s just so epic, so classy, so operatic, such a well rounded production. But once upon a time, producers and critics thought the film would end up being a major flop. They even went as far as calling it “Vampire of the Vanities” in allusion to that other major box office flop Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), some deemed it too weird and violent for mass audiences. Test screenings led to Coppola editing about 25 minutes of gory bits; of course Coppola must have been shaking in his boots, I mean, another flop? Even worse is the fact that Coppola was hoping that this film would save American Zoetrope, his film studio, which was in bankruptcy. Was Bram Stoker’s Dracula destined to become yet another flop in Francis Ford Coppola’s career? "I...am...Dracula. I bid you welcome"All the negative pre-release buzz for Bram Stoker’s Draculawas not without merits. True, Francis Ford Coppola is one of the greatest American directors who ever walked the face of the earth, but Coppola is also no stranger to box office disasters. For example, One from the Heart (1982) lost a lot of money as did Tetro (2009) and these are not the only turkeys in his resume. Thing is that even though some of Coppola’s films don’t exactly ignite the box office, you can’t deny their artistic merits. I mean, I look at films like Tetro and Youth Without Youth (2007) and I am mesmerized by them, I love every second of both of these films, but I also realize they are not for everyone. I recognize how incredibly ‘artsy fartsy’ they are and how they can in no way be considered “commercially viable” films, but damn, aren’t they beautiful films when you really look at them? Same goes for many of Coppola’s films, and that’s probably what producers and critics feared would happen with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, they feared it would be another expensive, beautiful and artful flop. At the end of the day, awesomeness prevailed and so the film went on to make a hefty profit worldwide, saving Coppola and his studio in the process. I guess you can’t really compete with quality. A good film is a good film, and audiences recognized that in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Amongst the ever increasing amount of Dracula films, Coppola’s take on the character still stands at #1 for me for various reasons. The first reason is that it’s such a great production, I mean; here we have the cream of the crop in every single department. It’s not surprising that the resulting film is such an artistic tour de force; Coppola gathered amazing talent to bring his vision to life. Bran Stoker’s Dracula was such an exquisite film that it marked one of the very few occassions in which a horror film actually got some recognition by the Academy, the only other one I can remember was Silence of the Lambs (1991). Bram Stoker’s Dracula ended up winning three academy awards in the areas in which it excels the most: costume design, sound editing and make- up effects; but If you ask me I would have also given them the Oscar for art direction, because it excels on this as well, the sets are wow, beautiful, epic, like the old Universal Horror Films where everything was huge! One look at this film and you can tell it was done with great care and interest in making something that we’d never been seen bef
about 2 hours ago
Monsters very seldom enter the cultural lexicon anymore; this might be the primary example of successfully doing so this century. And the American remake is a rare example of turning out a very good, discrete version of an Asian film. As...
Monsters very seldom enter the cultural lexicon anymore; this might be the primary example of successfully doing so this century. And the American remake is a rare example of turning out a very good, discrete version of an Asian film. Aside from the fact that monsters just don’t grab mass audiences the way they used to, I think one reason this has caught on so well is the simplicity of the design. By nature, ‘iconic’ usually means basic. I think CGI has allowed people to create overly complicated beasties, which ultimately don’t grab the imagination the same way. The early Toho monsters are the most beloved, and hell, even the early stage original Pokemon, I think, sank into kids’ minds and hearts more than the latter, more complicated ones. Related PostsMonster of the Day #771 (Sep 13, 2013) Monster of the Day #770 (Sep 12, 2013) Monster of the Day #769 (Sep 11, 2013) Monster of the Day #768 (Sep 10, 2013) Monster of the Day #767 (Sep 9, 2013)
about 4 hours ago
The last thing I expected to hear at the beginning of a film produced by Crown International Pictures was the synth-tastic sounds of SSQ's "Synthicide" blasting on the soundtrack. Another thing I didn't expect was the sight of a helicopt...
The last thing I expected to hear at the beginning of a film produced by Crown International Pictures was the synth-tastic sounds of SSQ's "Synthicide" blasting on the soundtrack. Another thing I didn't expect was the sight of a helicopter zipping across the sky. I mean, since when did films produced by Crown International be able to afford helicopters? And I'm assuming they had more than one helicopter since the helicopter in the opening scene is being filmed from what looks like another helicopter. Complicated aerial photography and the music of SSQ?!? Something does not compute. You think that doesn't compute, eh? Wait until I tell you the name of the movie I'm currently writing about. What's that? Oh, you say you already know the name of the movie I'm writing about. Well, anyway, for those who don't, it's Cavegirl. It's been a dream of mine to watch a film that features nothing but SSQ songs on the soundtrack, and it looks like Cavegirl is the film that has decided step up to the plate to fulfill that dream. I repeat, Cavegirl is the film that has made my wish to hear non-stop SSQ music in a motion picture finally come true. Cavegirl. Sure, you can hear SSQ's music in The Return of the Living Dead. You can even hear it at the end of Beyond the Black Rainbow. Yeah, but Cavegirl is not only wall-to-wall SSQ, the film's score is by Jon St. James, and even Stacey herself has a small post-prehistoric role as the enabling girlfriend of a bully/asshole.In case you're wondering, SSQ (who started off just as "Q") was a music group who produced high-quality synth-pop in the mid-1980s. The band renamed itself Stacey Q shortly afterward, and released the worldwide smash "Two of Hearts." Of course, the focus had shifted to Stacey Swain at this point, but Jon St. James continued to write and produce her music.In fact, Stacey Swain and Jon St. James recently collaborated on a new Stacey Q album called "Color Me Cinnamon" (an obvious allusion to the name of Stacey's character from the television show The Facts of Life). I've listened to some of the new songs, and, I must say, they're pretty good; I'm partial to "Euphoria" and "Pandora's Box."I'm no behavioural expert, but you don't sound too pleased. What are you talking about? I was just giving you a brief refresher course on the history of Q/SSQ/Stacey Q. No, you don't seem too thrilled about the idea of watching a movie that is basically about a dork in a fedora who falls for a prehistoric blonde. I'll admit, it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. I mean, synth-pop and prehistoric times don't really go together; they're not a natural fit.However, any movie that kicks things off to synthy sounds of SSQ's "Synthicide" is okay in my book. Besides, I like prehistoric blondes. As Stacey is singing about her digital fix ("I gotta have my digital fix today"), we follow a helicopter flying over an arid landscape. Communicating with a nearby computer truck, the helicopter seems to be testing some sort of missile system. I don't know how this all fits into the plot a film called "Cavegirl," but I am somewhat intrigued to find out.Meanwhile, an anthropology student named Rex (Daniel Roebuck) is clumsily making his way to school on his bike. As he's doing this, you'll notice that a slowed down instrumental version of "Synthicide" is playing in the background.If you thought Rex's attempt to get to school was clumsy, you should see his attempt to ask Karen (Syndi King) out on a date. Let's just say, it doesn't go all that well. Instead of stammering nervously about food, Rex should have complimented Karen on the white scarf she had in her hair. Chicks dig it when you notice their accessories.In order to meet his obligation to Crown International Pictures, writer-director-cinematographer David Oliver has Rex accidentally wander into the women's locker room. How did he mange that, you ask? One of Rex's primary tormentors removes the 'wo' from the women only sign on the door. How he got in there does
about 6 hours ago
The marketing team behind Sony's remake of Stephen King's Carrie (trailer) decided to punk some coffee shoppers and the results make for great viewing. Sure, this kind of guerrilla marketing is nothing new, but since yesterday the views ...
The marketing team behind Sony's remake of Stephen King's Carrie (trailer) decided to punk some coffee shoppers and the results make for great viewing. Sure, this kind of guerrilla marketing is nothing new, but since yesterday the views are already over 3 million, so old tricks still pay off. About Carrie: The quiet suburb of Chamberlain, Maine is home to the deeply religious and conservative Margaret White (Moore) and her daughter Carrie (Moretz). Carrie is a sweet but meek outcast whom Margaret has sheltered from society. Gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Greer) tries in vain to protect Carrie from local mean girls led by the popular and haughty Chris Ha [Continued ...]
1 day ago
Damn, even in death the Japanese are perverts. Related PostsMonster of the Day #770 (Sep 12, 2013) Monster of the Day #769 (Sep 11, 2013) Monster of the Day #768 (Sep 10, 2013) Monster of the Day #767 (Sep 9, 2013) Monster of the Day...
Damn, even in death the Japanese are perverts. Related PostsMonster of the Day #770 (Sep 12, 2013) Monster of the Day #769 (Sep 11, 2013) Monster of the Day #768 (Sep 10, 2013) Monster of the Day #767 (Sep 9, 2013) Monster of the Day #766 (Sep 6, 2013)
1 day ago
For those, like myself, that wish to have an impressive Jack O'Lantern but lack the knife skills!
For those, like myself, that wish to have an impressive Jack O'Lantern but lack the knife skills!
1 day ago
For this third installment of Pokémonth, the Unknown spells adventure! And very disappointing box office receipts.
For this third installment of Pokémonth, the Unknown spells adventure! And very disappointing box office receipts.
1 day ago
Cecil starts off October with the giant mutant bug movie Ticks!
Cecil starts off October with the giant mutant bug movie Ticks!
1 day ago
No movie has ever been able to sweep me up, take me outside myself, wrap me in its blinkered, effervescent, caustic, yet somehow forgiving mosaic of American individualism and its narcissistic underbelly more effortlessly than Robert Alt...
No movie has ever been able to sweep me up, take me outside myself, wrap me in its blinkered, effervescent, caustic, yet somehow forgiving mosaic of American individualism and its narcissistic underbelly more effortlessly than Robert Altman’s Nashville. It’s so alive, so hypnotic in its offhanded and overheard style of observation, so richly humored and casual in its connectedness—between its 24 major characters and all those whirling around them, but also between the world in which it was made and, curiously, the world from which we watch it now—that even its rough edges and contradictions (it’s a marvel of surprising visual beauty despite the fact that its lighting, by Paul Lohmann, is often crude and pedestrian) are crucial to its overall effect—they’re intrinsic to its soaring nature, to its status as an authentic, tempestuous satiric vision of this country, to what in fact makes it American. I think Nashville would make an inspired double feature on a program with Steven Spielberg’s 1941. Pairing it with Altman’s equally brilliant California Split might be too much of a bliss-out even for me, but the conversation between Altman and Spielberg's visions-- one microcosmic, one macro-slapstick, both of an America in transition, perhaps in free fall, teetering on the edge where national pride and confidence give way to the cacophony of community and the fear of the unknown, the road yet to be traveled, would be fascinating.Even after 38 years and God knows how many viewings-- 25? 30?-- the movie catches me off guard and thrills me in new ways every time I see it, and it’s the only movie since the art form began to mean something to me, around 48 years ago, that I’ve loved so much as to feel compelled to sit through it three times in one day, a side benefit of screenings for my University of Oregon film studies program during the fall of 1980. (Thanks, Bill Cadbury!) Seeing it Friday night, projected on 35mm for the last time before its premiere on Criterion Blu-ray in December, the movie continued its revelatory spin through the course of my adult life, embracing me with its loose-limbed confidence, its vision of a world where optimism and defeat are mutually exclusive but can often coexist in the same moment, making meaning with each new apprehensive breath. Friday night the New Beverly Cinema was filled with like-minded admirers sitting among those who had never seen it on the big screen or perhaps never before at all. But we all marveled at this 38-year-old film, that it would still be so vital, would still have so much to say about the world in which we’re still struggling and exulting, in which pop culture still serves as an impetus for us to “keep a-goin’,” even as it sometimes provides too many distractions from the profound cares of our lives which insist themselves upon us entirely outside its influence.During each one of the multiple times I’ve seen it since 1975, it seems like I’ve always latched onto something new in Nashville, or been the recipient of thoughts, impulses, memories and connections that had never occurred to me before, often sparked by specific images or exchanges that I was certainly familiar with but which lead me to a different way of seeing them depending on where I was in my life at the time. There are many things I could say if I had more time. Instead, I'll let the images speak for themselves, with approximations of some of the thoughts that flashed in my head as those images passed by. Let me show you some of the things that stood out to me this past Friday night. "Be the first on your block to marvel at the magnificent stars through the magic of stereophonic sound and living-color picture right before your very eyes without commercial interruption!" I've often wondered what young people make of this giddy bit of comedy, seeing the movie for the first time and being relatively nonconversant in the sort of TV advertisements being parodied here. It's one of my favorite of the ma
1 day ago
We've already seen a pretty great first clip from Xavier Dolan's excellent new feature, the thriller Tom at the Farm (review) and now lands a new trailer which provides an even better idea of what you can expect from Dolan's movie. Th...
We've already seen a pretty great first clip from Xavier Dolan's excellent new feature, the thriller Tom at the Farm (review) and now lands a new trailer which provides an even better idea of what you can expect from Dolan's movie. The first clip played heavily in the horror movie circle and the trailer pushes that sentiment even further, providing some of the Kubrick inspired overhead shots featured in the movie and mixing them with an assortment of music and images that hit all the right horror movie notes. Tom at the Farm isn't quite a horror [Continued ...]
1 day ago