Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review of Dracula [the novel]

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dracula, unlike Frankenstein, is a complete waste of time. Let me explain. Of the great and classic horror novels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a landmark work that is better than the movies it spawned in every way, and I thought Dracula would be that way, too. But I was wrong, and mostly because of the horrifically underwheming climax, which spoils the whole story.

First of all, the book is far too long and there are too many chapters that could just go since they're just reiterating that the characters are afraid. Okay, I understand that, but being that the book is told in journal entries rather than as a regular narrative, it gets tiresome to hear them complaining about the same thing over and over again. Half of that could have just been cut out.

Secondly, there's such great build up, but it's all for nothing. I mean, Dracula is killed in a single paragraph, and clumsily at that. The movies have done a much better portrayal of Drac's execution, and I expected that here, but no. Not at all. And you'll never guess just HOW he's killed. Needless to say, none of the movies that I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot, even bother to mimic this conclusion. Why would they? It's awful.

That said, as a big fan of gothic horror and also of the legend of the vampire, it's surprising to find just how much of the vampire legend grew from this very novel. Sure, there were vampire stories before Dracula, but none have captured the imaginations of so many people like it has. So as a study of the history of vampires in fiction, it's great, but as a story itself, it sucks.

Still, I can't advise not to read it. It's Dracula! It's a classic. Just don't expect much when it comes to the end of the story. Save yourself the disappointment.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

10 Movie Musicals That Don't Suck

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Hey, everybody. Check out my article on movie musicals that DON'T suck. Since so many of them do. Check it out here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Top Nine Favorite Movies of 2012 (Yes, Nine)

It must be that time of year again. That time when I release all my angst and fluids (Eww), fluids as in tears (Oh) talking about my favorite movies of the year. You may wonder why there are only nine entries here instead of ten. Well, being that I haven't seen Django Unchained yet, which I'm sure would make the list somewhere, I'm keeping it to an odd nine. I'm sure Django, if it's anything like Taranatino's last couple of efforts, would probably land at around five or six, so consider it landing there. As for the rest of these films, well, they're the creme-de-la-cream, the bees knees, the best of the entire year. You may disagree, and you're welcome to your opinion, but remember, I've seen thousands of movies and have awesome taste, so if not one of these movies made your list, then YOUR taste in movies sucks, not mine. Okay, now on with it!

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9. The Amazing Spider-Man

The greatest Spider-Man movie of all time, The Amazing Spider-Man is the first film in the web-head's cinematic career where I think the director got it all right. Andrew Garfield's casting as Peter Parker was perfect, and the action scenes with The Lizard were stellar. This movie actually FELT like Spider-Man. It also didn't stumble on corny moments like forcing Peter Parker to dance down the street, or embarrassing falsehoods, like the webbing being part of Spider-Man's DNA. This movie set it all straight. Not only that, but it was a genuinely good film. For an origin story, it was quick paced and different from the original trilogy to make it feel like a necessary substitute. I can't wait for number two. Bring on Electro!

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8. Argo

Argo is a phenomenal thriller (Though, I'm not sure I trust its accuracy) that fully proves that Ben Affleck is a better director than he ever was an actor. He has talent. What makes this film so enjoyable is that the "facts" come second to actually telling a good story, and it's a film that's as edge-of-your-seat exciting as it is comical--John Goodman and Alan Arkin are hilarious. Ar-go f**k yourself! 

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7. Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods is probably the most fun I've had all year in the theater, and it isn't surprising as Joss Whedon had a hand in writing this with first time filmmaker, Drew Goddard. And Joss Whedon is always fun. Taking all of the horror tropes and lovingly turning them on their head (Or is that making fun of?), Cabin in the Woods builds and builds to an outrageous climax that is unlike anything I've ever seen before. And as a fan of the horror genre, it was fun counting all the shout-outs and in-jokes that kept popping up. This movie was a blast. A sequel, please. 

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6. The Grey

Coming out super early in the year, I've had The Grey on my mind since January. You just can't shake a film like that out of your head. Featuring the scariest plane crash I've ever seen put to film, the movie tackles everything from survival to searching for God in Hell. It's unlike any other film I've seen all year, and it's also probably the most abjectly depressing. See more of my thoughts on it here. I gave it a much more thorough review.

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5. Lincoln 

Though I question its historical truth, Lincoln is an epic, honest-to-God great movie from Steven Spielberg that doesn't get too maudlin or fantastic. It's a perfect blend of both War Horse's melodrama and Schindler's List's seriousness. In other words, Spielberg hits that sweet spot of a commercially enjoyable, but critically important film that the Academy just eats up. I ate it up, too. Daniel Day Lewis was of course magnificent, and the pacing of this film is impeccable. Not once did I feel like it dragged on, which is quite an accomplishment. A thoroughly enjoyable movie. I just wouldn't count it as a history lesson. Some of it seemed pretty embellished. I don't know how much I trust.

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4. The Avengers

The Avengers is a landmark film in the superhero genre because it actually managed to pull off a collaboration of some of the biggest names of the Marvel roster. Honestly, after this came out, I couldn't help but believe that the sky was the limit for Marvel. Finally, the movies actually felt like the comics I grew up with. I was elated! That said, comics aside, the movie itself is just so much fun. Each member of the team feels like they get their moment to shine, but again, you can find out more of my opinion here, as I already wrote a review for that picture, too. I had a busy year. :)

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3. Dredd 3D

Dredd 3D may not have been better than The Dark Knight or The Avengers in terms of quality, but it's now become my favorite comic book movie of all time. I can't help it, I think of this movie pretty much every day. It was a good year to be a fan of comics, and Dredd 3D is my primary reason for saying that, since The Dark Knight Rises certainly disappointed. This movie made up for that cinematic stain. What made this film so memorable was the fact that unlike all other superhero movies, Judge Joseph Dredd never felt like a superhero at all in this film, which differs greatly from the bombastic original with Sly Stallone. In this movie, Dredd is just another cog in the machine who stands firmly behind his principles. He doesn't have to scream that he's the law, because he is the law, and that's it. His gun does the rest of the talking. Dredd 3D feels like a very grungy version of the original Die Hard and I love that it mostly takes place in a single area, just like this year's The Raid Redemption. Dredd's character never changes throughout the entire film, but that's what makes him so badass. I don't know, I could talk forever about this movie and I expect to receive it in the mail soon to review, so I'll post it when I get it. Stay tuned. I still have a lot to say about it.

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2. The Master

After Paul Thomas Anderson's last clear masterpiece, There Will Be Blood, I fully expected to be blown away yet again. But I wasn't. By the time I left the theater, I was left with more questions than feelings of excitement. I really didn't think I liked the film at all. But then, I thought about it, and I played it in my head again and again. I took a step back and really looked at it, just as Joaquin Phoenix's character looks at the window in the picture. Phoenix's troubled character tried to find something in the window and he only found himself. And that's what the film made me feel. I had a lot of self-reflection for weeks after I saw this movie, and for a film to actually make me feel lost in myself, well, that says a hell of a lot. I don't know if I could watch it again and again like I do with There Will Be Blood, but I think my initial viewing was enough. It's a film that truly sears and sticks with you. It's a masterpiece, just a different kind. It's art.

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1. Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is the perfect movie, and I don't say that lightly. It has it all. Just like pizza is the perfect food, this movie just has everything to offer. I laughed. A lot. I cried. In secret. (During Robert DeNiro's part telling Bradley Cooper's character how he just wants to spend time with him. That part had me dabbing my eyes). It made me feel awkward, and it made me feel uplifted. Honestly, this film has it all. I don't understand how this film isn't making more best-of lists, but it's not, and it's a shame. I think it's because it's more a comedy than anything else, but it's a damn good comedy with astounding pacing and a jarring style of direction that mimics the craziness going on in its two main lead's heads. Again, it's the perfect movie and my pick for the best film of 2012. Go see it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Total Recall [Blu-Ray]

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Here's my review of the recent Total Recall. That movie is balls. Check out my review here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

25 Pictures of Celebrities With Double Chins

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I can't believe they actually let me write this piece at Complex. Well, they did, and you can check it out here. It's 25 celebrities with double chins. Hope you enjoy it. I sure enjoyed finding the pictures for it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Last of Us Looks Sick. Siiiick!

Is anybody else as psyched for this game as I am? Sony has had a banner year this year, and I can't wait for this title. It's from Naughty Dog so it has to be good. Uncharted 3 was probably one of my favorite games of last year. This is gonna be awesome.

Monday, December 3, 2012

There Can Only Be One...Black Guy on The Walking Dead

Now, I love me some horror movies, and I've watched quite a few of them in my time. And for anybody who knows anything about the medium, it's been a running gag that if there's ever a black guy in a horror movie, he might as well be wearing a sign on his back that says "Kill me," because he's usually the first to go.

Thus is the genre.

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But The Walking Dead on AMC is an interesting case in that nobody is safe and even popular characters die on the show all the time. Just look at this season (Season 3) as an example. Two major members of the crew died in one episode earlier in the season, with one of them being very popular, and the other being, uh, Lori.

But let's get back to that popular character, because his death has brought an interesting trend along with it. Like Highlander, there can only be one, but by one, I mean black guy on the show. In The Walking Dead, it's usually obvious when that character is going to go because he usually gives some big speech or does something noble before he gets the ax (Or the bite, as is prevalent on this show). Don't believe me. Check this out.

Is season one, we had Morgan and his son. Don't remember him? How about now?
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Still no? How about now?

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Yeah, this scene where Morgan struggled with trying to build the courage to kill his zombified wife was a crucial reason why the first season was so great. So Rick stayed with the man and his son, and then he left. And then...well, we never heard from him again.

Enter T-Dog.

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Not long after Rick left Morgan, we got the "Aww, hell nawl!" spewing T-Dog to take his place. T-Dog, by the way, is played by a guy named IronE, and no, that E isn't capital by accident. His name is meant to sound like the word "Irony." I like to emphasize the E though, so it sounds like Iron E!!! Anywho, T-Dog was mostly a bungling black guy who dropped a key down a hole, and didn't do much of anything. That is, of course, until one crucial episode in season three, where he gave a major speech about why the new criminals they encountered should be trusted rather than kept as outcasts. This was obviously his death speech, because the sight of two black men on the screen at once was too much for the zombie apocalypse to handle. Oh, well, peace out T-Dog.

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Enter the next token black guy.

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Now, I don't even know what this guy's name is, but the fact of the matter is, he pretty much became an official member the day T-Dog died. And, spoiler alert, just last night, the guy who played Dennis "Cutty" Wise on The Wire entered the show clocking zombies on the head with a hammer, and, yep, you guessed it, forgettable black prisoner gets shot and killed protecting his new crew.

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Yep, there can only be one. Let's see how long this guy lasts.