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Monday, August 22, 2011

Jerry is a great vampire name and everything is better sans Matty Fresh (spoilers)

Since yesterday was my birthday and sort of a DIANA APPRECIATION DAY, period, I decided to skip my usual Sunday post and go right for the movie reviews for this week. To that end...

Who else went to see Fright Night specifically for David Tennant in leather pants and wound up pleasantly surprised at the entire venture? That is actually a damn good comedy-horror film. I saw the original one (at some point in undergrad) and didn't really remember a thing about it other than that it was funny, and I wasn't expecting some grand splash since remakes usually suck, but yes, Fright Night is actually quite a fine movie. The pacing is good, with an interesting set-up involving McLovin, ahem, Ed Lee (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a go-go dancer named Doris, and some adorkable homemade videos, and then Jerry (Colin Farrell) blows up the Brewsters' house, forcing Charley (Anton Yelchin), his mom Jane (Toni Collette), and his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) into a bizarro alliance with Midori'd-out stage magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant, in leather pants. Also in underwear, silk robes, and cute jeans). For a reasonably campy and done premise (who doesn't know far more than they want to about vampires at this point?), the actors and pacing of the script make Fright Night way better than it should be. Yelchin, Farrell, and Tennant are reliably awesome; Yelchin as a still-awkward nerd done well who knows what color "puce" is, Farrell as the vamp next door who ALSO knows what puce looks like; and Tennant as an over-the-top liqueur-swilling stage magician who knows vampires are real but likes to drink that knowledge away. Farrell in particular I found pretty spectacular. In terms of "who do I want to look at?" Tennant wins every time, but the way Farrell played his Jerry, as a slouching, grinning, truck-driving dudebro of a vamp, was just fucking fun. It's clear all the way through that Jerry knows Charley knows and he doesn't give a damn, because he's a 400-year-old vampire who can afford to play with his prey. Another way in which Fright Night wins is that it didn't let itself get bogged down in backstory. The audience is assured that yes, Jerry is a vampire, yes, he is very old, yes, there is some sort of vamp mythos, but that's it and that's all we need. Jerry is evil, Charley's family is remarkably swift to believe him (I mean, Jerry does blow up their house. They kinda have to believe him), and the action doesn't stop until Jerry's a heap of ash and Charley is finally getting laid. A couple of fun cameos are present too: the original Jerry, Chris Sarandon, as a motorist drained dry by his 2011 counterpart; Lisa Loeb as McLovin, sorry, Ed's mom (wut); and Dave Franco as a bullying classmate of Charley's. You'll always be Greg the pants-pissing soccer player to me, Dave. People don't forget.

And then there's the Glee 3-D concert movie. Yes, I made my friends take me to see both a vampire remake and a schmaltzy teen musical extravaganza. I have great friends. The Glee movie is exactly what you would expect: by turns totally glorious and totally overwrought. The cast are pretty great live, though I'm sure at least SOME of the sound got tweaked in production, and they only did one song that I really hate (hint: it's an original piece), balanced out by lots that I love ("Don't Stop Believin'", "Teenage Dream", "Valerie", "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", and the pure heart of "Sing It" almost makes me forget that RPF about Grant Morrison and My Chemical Romance exists). The lack of Jenna Ushkowitz is pretty dire--she only gets minutes of stage time and a few opening lines in "Born This Way"--and the overabundance of Lea Michele to be expected. The music is intercut with clips of the cast in character backstage, as well as three mini-storylines following fans of the show. In all, the film is an overproduced, saccharine explosion of sound, confetti, and mile-long smiles. Everything I wanted, pretty much. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEE.

1 comment:

Ain't No Mo No Mo said...

Anybody who will argue that Doctor-Rose is way, way, way better than Doctor-Amy-Rory is all right in my book. :)

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