Bleh with Barry

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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

How Depp is Your Love Or What About Dark Shadows…

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While the title of this post calls up “How Deep is Your Love” by the BeeGees circa 1977, this post actually addresses the characters that Johnny Depp has played recently. I have went on this rant several times in the past few weeks with many, many people… What can I say, I’m a ranter. But back on topic, I am getting really tired of seeing Johnny Depp in quirky roles wherein he plays enigmatic characters that are awkward and silly… He’s a much more talented than the things that he has been doing lately.

I have come to the conclusion because it seems every time I turn around he is doing something with Tim Burton or someone else that requires him to be this over the top character… The most recent is his role of Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows remake, direct by Tim Burton. While most of the films that Depp’s odd personae appear in Burton films, this is not always the case… but this one appears to be in line with all the other Burton films.

Here another of these roles comes into play… While I am going to go see the movie, being familiar with the original Dark Shadows, I am concerned that Depp and Burton may have weirded-up the characters in the story making it more Beetlejuice and monster menagerie… Again, I don’t know, but I do know that Depp will be a strange character indeed from the trailer… We will see what will happen… Here’s hoping that this other Depp performance with Burton won’t be overly weird, even though I’m feeling that it might due to his other recent movies (Alice in Wonderland, The Rum Diary, and others…).

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Written by uncannynerdyguy

March 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Romero and Post-Romero Zombies as Gothic Antagonists and the Sublime

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Recently, in my Spectral and Sublime Gothic Literature class, we had a discussion in which the majority of people agreed that the gross-out, bloody zombies of modernity could not render a Gothic tale because they lack the element of the sublime which makes them the enemy that is foreboding yet one that you want to embrace you in some way. While on one hand, I do agree that in the traditional sense of the Gothic, the Romero-type zombie does not make one want to come to it and be converted into the path of the zombie (unlike the vampire which can be a very Gothic because they are unapproachable and sublime all at the same time). However, as I watched a marathon of The Walking Dead, I came to a conclusion that more than just the zombies exist as the supernatural, antagonistic elements of the show itself that does produce a Gothic tale of sorts.

By Mark Marek Mark Marek Copyright Mark Marek Photography ©2007 URL: Zombie Walk Picture Gallery – Full Coverage with Video on Alberta Stars (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

To begin to deal with my ideology of the Romero / Post-Romero Zombie Gothic, I think that it is important for me to explain how I see the zombies begin to act as a sublime element within the movies, television shows, and comics in which I feel the Gothic exists rather than the norm of just horror. Whereas the zombies themselves are a representation of horrific / gruesome element of the sublime creature / person within a Gothic novel, they additionally represent the figure of death that comes into play in many Gothic tales. However, this death that they represent is not the beautiful death that one may identify with the Gothic notion of the sublime. Zombies represent a gruesome kind of death or undeath because they are not genuinely alive or undead with all their faculties and personalities about them like a vampire or a ghost, yet (and this is where it gets complicated in my mind) in many zombie movies, novels, etc., there is usually talk of “opting out,” as they call it in The Walking Dead.

While the zombies themselves are not what one would call sublime, this natural death to end human suffering in the zombie filled world takes up this sublimity. The humans themselves by “opting out” or committing suicide, usually from a gunshot to the head, create an air of the sublime in the natural death that does not happen as a result of being bitten or waiting to be bitten (cause let’s fact it… it’s only a matter of time in a zombie filled world). The beauty that natural death represents in this isolated and inhospitable world holds a certain air of that sublime that they want but what they are afraid to get because it is suicide. Moreover, this suicide sublimity also provides a stark contrast to the gruesomeness that is the zombie, walking till either starvation or some outside force takes them down. The need to be truly and definitely dead rises to conflict with the zombies.

Then, the nature of the sublime that exists within the modern zombie movie, television show, novel, etc. becomes a triangulation of sorts from humans to zombies / undeath, from zombie / undeath to natural death, and from natural death to

By Mark Marek Mark Marek Copyright Mark Marek Photography ©2007 URL: Zombie Walk Picture Gallery – Full Coverage with Video on Alberta Stars (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

humans. Thought the zombies themselves do not equate a form of death that can be considered sublime, the full equation of death that they and the natural death paralleling them represent the sublimity of the Gothic. As the concept of gruesome death in the form of the zombies overruns the world in zombie stories, the desire to have a natural death without the possibility of a sub-par undead resurrection plays at the corner of the survivors minds, even before a zombie literally plays with and eats their brains.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

March 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Avengers Assemble…. on May 4th!!!

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A few days ago, a new trailer for Marvel’s The Avengers came out and got me excited for the summer of 2012. While this summer does not look to be as huge as last summer for Marvel, this movie represents the culmination of several past movie events and the work of several past summers. Needless to say (and I’m saying it again here), I’m excited to finally see what Joss Whedon, Zak Penn, and the actors have created with the movie. However, I have some apprehensions that I hope will be a null and void point when I finally watch the movie.

1) The star power of the cast as a whole is quite scary for a movie of this magnitude. I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing. Honestly, to this point, all the characters have functioned and embodied the characters in much the way that I would have hoped that they would. I will even admit that Chris Evans as Capt. wasn’t that bad… and I didn’t have high hopes for him in that film. However, when you put too many big stars together, it sometimes seems that the product they give isn’t necessarily the best thing that has ever been… There are many examples of this in moviedom memory (Be Cool (2005), Shark Tale (2004), and there are many more… you know these) that fail from their inception… I’m hoping that this is not the case with this movie simply because Joss Whedon is at the helm. From his television shows, he has proven that he can work well with ensemble casts. Here’s hoping that he can deal with the egos of the big league.

2) Speaking of people in the film, I’m also concerned about Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner… I don’t know that he can bring the understated nature of the intelligent Banner to life… When I heard that Edward Norton wasn’t coming aboard for this movie, I began to think that it might be better just to eliminate the Hulk altogether (and I know that he is a part of the Avengers… I just don’t know about Ruffalo). Honestly, I just don’t find Ruffalo to be the right actor for the part because he doesn’t look like the Banner type… You can put glasses on some one but this does not indicate intelligence… we’ve seen many examples of this. While I think that Ruffalo will do an alright job as evidenced by his acting cred, I just don’t feel like he will be a good Bruce Banner for me…

3) Storyline to bring them together… While I am excited that it looks like Loki will be the main villain, I am concerned as to how they are going to finally bring them together. They have been doing this all along, but I worry that things will not work together as well as what it should…

Still, even with these apprehensions in mind, I look forward to seeing movie at a midnight showing on May 4th. I will be there (not in costume… I’m a fan boy… but yeah…) and waiting to be bewitched by the characters one more time. Seeing Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Capt. America, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow and all the other characters come to life once again and as a group will be awesome. All these individuals have made great movies on their own, so they should be able to bring some of that charisma as a group.

As Loki says in the trailer, “How desperate are you that you call on such lost creatures to defend you?”

For me, I’m desperate to see how these “creatures” come alive once again.

Dracula: My Hypothetical Movie Casting

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Today in the Gothic Literature class I’m in, we started our discussion of Dracula by Bram Stoker. While we did the usual discussion of Jonathan Harker’s uselessness, Mina Murray’s man brain, Dracula’s foreignness, and the many ways in which one can read the text, we additionally talked about the four prominent movie adaptations of the book:  Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), Horror of Dracula (1958),and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). However, after listing these movies, we discovered that an adaptation of the novel hasn’t come out in the past 20 years that even tries to be faithful to the original story (there was the ill-fated Dracula 2000 with Gerard Butler… but yeah…). So we were tasked with casting a movie if we got the opportunity to pick anyone to be in our version of said hypothetical movie. Therefore, my list that I am posting below was born. I think that each of the actors that I’ve placed in certain roles would be able to bring a certain truthfulness to the movie that would resound well with the novel itself. Moreover, I know that some of my choices are a little odd, but I feel that each of the people that I picked would something to the characters that would make them memorable in some way. I hope you enjoy thinking about this as much as I did. 🙂

Dracula Cast List

Dracula— Michael Fassbender

Jonathan Harker— James McAvoy

Dr. Seward— David Tennant

Lord Arthur Holmwood— Matthew MacFadyen

Quincy Morris— Robert Downey Jr.

Abraham Van Helsing— Ian McKellen

Lucy Westenra— Rachel McAdams

Mina Harker— Gemma Arterton

Renfield— Andy Serkis

Bride #1— Kiera Knightly

Bride #2— Natalie Portman

Bride #3— Claire Danes

I have my reasons for placing certain people in certain roles. Moreover, I know that some of them could occupy many different roles in the grand scheme of things.

Tale of the Body Thief the Movie, or “Oh God, Please Don’t Let It Be Another Queen of the Damned”

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By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today on Anne Rice’s facebook page, she announced that Imagine Studios have gotten the rights and are developing a Tale of the Body Thief (TOBT) movie based on her book first published in 1992. On her page, Rice said, “Nothing makes Lestat happier than making news! Here’s the Hollywood Reporter story on Imagine optioning Tale of the Body Thief for a motion picture, with more names and details.” While I am excited by the prospect of a new vampire movie based upon one of Anne Rice’s books because I love the intricacies of the vampire world, I am additionally apprehensive as a result of Queen of the Damned (2002) starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend, which was awful… just awful… especially when compared to the success of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. However, this movie could see a return to that of the first film with Cruise and Pitt which might be a good thing, but there are somethings that might need to be thought about / changed.

1) The scope of this film will be relatively more focused than that of the book Queen of the Damned (QOTD). While the movie of Queen of the Damned resembled nothing of the book that Anne Rice wrote other than character names… and some chosen events, the book of TOBT takes place with very few characters actually taking part in the full of the action (mainly Lestat, David Talbot and, Raglan James). Moreover, if the adaptation does not lend itself to compression of other novels… whereas in the QOTD, this book and The Vampire Lestat were condensed into one movie that didn’t even reach the two hour mark… please….

2) Whereas QOTD (the book) is filled with intricate subplots and creates a new vampire mythology that the filmmakers didn’t seem to want to deal with and used multiple characters to narrate the complexity of the story (again filmmakers didn’t deal with), TOBT is pretty straightforward in terms of its plot. SPOILERS: Lestat being bogged down with his life… undeadness…. vampiric nature… decides to off himself in the desert,

By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

which doesn’t work considering he gobbled up a lot of Akasha’s blood (making him as powerful as most of the old ones…). So, he gets an offer from Raglan James to switch bodies for a day… Lestat, being the brat prince that he is, cannot resist the chance of being human and agrees. Long story short, James won’t give back Lestat’s body, and Lestat and David must fight for it to get it back. Pretty easy to follow and streamlined…. one would hope that it would not be hard to plot… all I’m saying…

3) Most of the book deals with human Lestat rather than a passel of vampires. In QOTD, a crap ton of vampires appear due to many circumstances surrounding Lestat’s music, the Queen’s rising, and story time / planning session with Maharet. Thus, it would be difficult to get the characters right considering that by Rice’s third book we know a lot of the characters that are cavorting very well… Also, the additional problem of the vampires themselves and the powers they have institute themselves. In TOBT, however, Lestat is a human most of the time, and David is too. Thus, this should be a moot point… yet, I somehow still believe that it can be screwed up… possibly with a flashy action scene on a freeway in California, involving a car chase with human Lestat and Raglan James in Lestat’s body…. Ugh…

4) A new Lestat would be nice. While Tom Cruise does a serviceable job as the evil, non-complex Lestat from the first movie (i.e. Louis’s perspective of him), I don’t know that he could do the truly complex nature of Lestat as a stand alone character very well. Additionally, I hated Stuart Townsend’s portrayal of Lestat…. I feel that he did not carry the brat prince charm and the overall charisma of the character (this could be because it was a horribly written movie… “You’re a vampire?” line from the goth / punk / glam band member complete with southern twang comes to mind). Maybe we could see someone bring a little class to the role… also remember too that there have to be two Lestats in this film which complicates it… the one real body Lestat and the displaced body Lestat. This adds another level to the difficulty of casting this film… (God help me if I see Johnny Depp put into one of these roles either… I couldn’t stand to see a quirky Lestat with Goth make-up and weird hair… I just couldn’t…). I think that they should cast someone who is naturally blonde too… that’s just a pet peeve of mine…

5) Well, I haven’t really got a five… I’m not going to lie… if this purported film turns out to be anything like the QOTD movie, I might have to hurt someone… yeah… possibly Ron Howard since Imagine is his production company…

So there you have it, I look at this with much apprehension, but I am also hopeful that Lestat will once again get to live big on the theater screen… Hopefully, this reincarnation of Lestat (whenever the film may be released) will be better than the best that we have at this point. I look forward to the film and to Anne’s new book that will come out later this month.

Nine’s Unusual Way

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So, I’m just going to say from the beginning that I’m not familiar with the musical Nine. I know that it has been on Broadway recently with Antonio Banderas, Laura Benanti, and others leading the charge. I know that a movie version has been released with Daniel Day Lewis as the main male lead and Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and others as the women who surround him. Honestly, that’s about all I know… I haven’t done my research on this one yet… I will be doing research in the next little while to rectify this hole in my knowledge, but I thought it important to share a beautiful song from the show with you all.

The song is called “Unusual Way” and has been performed by various of the Broadway elite due to its significant lyrical and musical themes of love, longing, and loss… Moreover, its haunting melody sticks with you as the simple but clear lyrics illustrate what it “means to be me looking at you,” as the song itself says. The version I am leaving you with is performed by Laura Benanti (an actress that I knew more for her comedic role in Women on the Verge) and Antonio Banderas. Early on, Benanti’s character professes what it’s like to be the person in a relationship where they appear to be codependency of sorts on another who does not necessarily need them. Her voice is both beautiful and haunting (I know I’ve already used this word earlier… don’t shoot me over it), and when Banderas joins her, his harmony solidifies the emotion of the piece as their voices blend perfectly… So I leave you with “Unusual Way.” I hope you enjoy.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

February 1, 2012 at 2:07 am

Pondering Gothic / Vampire Songs for my Class

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I am in a pretty cool graduate class if I do say so myself. It’s called “Spectral and Sublime: The Gothic Tradition,” which is offering me the chance to read fun things like Dracula, Jane Eyre, Carmilla, and many more stories (a lot of them dealing with vampires that are my favorite). While the books themselves are pretty awesome, the professor also asked us to think of some songs that are related to the Gothic or to vampires. So I have been on the interwebs looking for songs that I feel represent these two aspects; however, the few songs that I have here are only a smattering of what I’ve found… and what may be locked away in the deep recesses of my mind.

The first is “Moon Over Bourbon Street” performed by Sting. This song is about the vampires that appear in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles with an emphasis on Lestat. In the song, it is imagined Lestat is going down Bourbon St. in New Orleans with the moon high overhead and existing much as vampires do: stalking their prey and enjoying the immortal life.

The second song was played during the credits of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992). Performed by Annie Lennox, “Love Song for a Vampire” is beautiful and chilling and embodies the emotions of love and loss that seem to be common themes throughout the whole of the film. Moreover, it’s easy to hear how Annie Lennox continues to get work singing for films as she is a sultry siren.

Finally, “I Would Do Anything for Love” performed by Meatloaf and written by Jim Steinman is not a song that is particularly Gothic or vampire-y in a lyrical or musical sense. However, the video itself is quite Gothic with the large architectural feature of the gloomy mansion and the fact that the he is a monster that is in love with a beautiful young damsel. Additionally, he is transformed in the end by the power of their relationship (mayhaps… this is really unclear to me). The fact that he will not do something for love also makes it interesting to a large degree.

Vampires, the Gothic, and music mixing makes me a happy camper because they are all things that excite and interest me. However, I do not think that this is even the tip of the iceberg for these kinds of songs. And to any readers out there, I would appreciate any suggestions that you might have to help me compile songs for my professor’s list.