CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT – COMING ATTRACTIONS
By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: The Circus. MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES walk by cages of lions, tigers, gorillas, and other wild animals.)
MICHAEL ARRUDA: So here we are— attending your family reunion.
L.L. SOARES: Very funny. Nah. It’s feeding time, and I’ve signed on to feed the animals.
MA: Really? What are you feeding them?
LS (takes out salt and pepper shakers and shakes them over MA’s head): You.
MA: Ha ha. Good one!
LS: I’m dead serious.
MA: Well, lucky for me, we’re not at a normal circus. This here is a vampire circus! (Caged animals suddenly sprout fangs and start sipping blood from liquid dispensers mounted on the sides of their cages.)
LS: Who knew!
MA: And we’re here at this bloodsucker’s circus because the first weekend of December, there isn’t anything of note opening at the theaters, so we’ll be treating our readers to a DVD review, of the weird Hammer Films movie, VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1972).
VAMPIRE CIRCUS is one of the stranger Hammer vampire movies, made at a time when it seemed Hammer was releasing multiple vampire movies each year. It’s also one of Hammer’s more erotic vampire films, if I remember correctly. I’ll be looking forward to taking another look at it.
There’s not a lot of star power involved with this one. No Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee on hand, but the director, Robert Young, is still actively making movies today.
LS: I remember seeing stills of this one as a kid in old issues of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine, and really wanting to see it. I eventually did, but it’s been awhile. And Synapse Films put out a very nice Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack a year or so ago. This will be a good one to revisit, for old time’s sakes.
MA: Yes, VAMPIRE CIRCUS is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray—as well as streaming video—so there are plenty of opportunities to catch this one.
LS: On December 9, we’ll be back at the theater, as we’ll be reviewing TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (2011). Ahh, a British espionage thriller, with the talented Gary Oldman as George Smiley. I’m not a big fan of spy movies, but this one sounds interesting.
MA: Yeah, this one looks like a neat Cold War spy thriller, and I’m really looking forward to it, even though I have to admit, I don’t like the title at all. Sounds like a bad nursery rhyme.
LS: You don’t like the title? It’s based on the classic novel by John le Carre!
MA: Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, stuck his thumb inside a pie. Awful.
But I almost always enjoy Gary Oldman. Plus the stellar cast also includes John Hurt, Colin Firth (THE KING’S SPEECH, 2010), Toby Jones, and Mark Strong (KICK-ASS, 2010). With a cast like this, I’m expecting a lot.
It’s directed by Tomas Alfredson, who directed LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008), with a screenplay by Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor, based on the le Carre novel of the same name.
All in all, I have some high expectations for this one.
On the other hand, on December 16, I’ll be reviewing the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes sequel, SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011). While I really enjoyed SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) and bought into the Downey Jr. interpretation of an action- oriented Holmes, I can’t say that I have high hopes for the sequel.
LS: Me neither, which is why I’m not reviewing this one. You’re on your own buddy!
MA: Gee, thanks.
LS: Actually, I didn’t see the first one so I’m not all that interested in this one. Although it was cool to see in the trailer that Noomi Rapace will have a major role in it. Noomi played Lisbeth Salander in the original Swedish film version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009).
MA: Again, I liked the first one. I thought Robert Downey Jr. made for a fun Sherlock Holmes, as he brought along his Tony Stark/Iron Man pizzazz to the role, and he shared good camaraderie with Jude Law’s Dr. Watson. The two actors generated some neat chemistry together.
But SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS is a sequel, and most sequels just don’t compare to the original. I’ve seen the trailer for this about a million times and feel I’ve seen the entire movie already, so that hasn’t helped, and since it’s a sequel, it probably means there will be more action, more subplots, and fewer things that make sense. While I’m not dreading this one, I don’t expect it to be all that good.
Guy Ritchie’s directing it, and he directed the first one, and it’s written by Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney, two newcomers who did not write the first one.
LS: On December 21, we’ll be reviewing THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011). What a funny coincidence, since the star of the original film is in the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I have seen all three of the Swedish films based on the books by Stieg Larsson, and enjoyed them a lot, but I guess an American version of the series was inevitable. Since David Fincher is directing this one, I am very curious to see how it turns out. Fincher has given us everything from SEVEN (1995), to FIGHT CLUB (1999), to THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010). My first reaction is to say that since the Swedish films are so good, there’s no need for an American remake, but if anyone can bring something new and interesting to this movie, it’s Fincher.
MA: I’m looking forward to this one. I’ve enjoyed all the trailers I’ve seen for it, as it looks like it’s going to be a very stylish mystery thriller. I haven’t seen the Swedish version, so this one will be fresh for me.
Steven Zaillian wrote the screenplay, and he has a bunch of screenwriting credits, including the Steven Spielberg classic SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993). It also has a great cast, led by Daniel Craig, and also features Stellan Skaarsgard and Christopher Plummer.
LS: And don’t forget Rooney Mara, who will be taking over the role of Lisbeth Salander!
And just in time for Christmas, I’ll be reviewing the new horror sci-fi movie THE DARKEST HOUR (2011). This is the closest thing to a horror movie that’s coming out in December, so I’m looking forward to it. Invisible aliens attack the Earth for our energy and are able to smash humans to atoms if they get too close. How do you fight such an adversary? I guess we’ll find out.
MA: Since this one is opening at Christmas, I won’t be available to see it, and I can’t say that I’m feeling too bad about it. It looks like yet another alien invasion story. Frankly, I’m tired of this plot, as there have been a lot of these tales on the big screen the past couple of years.
So, that wraps up December. Also, as the year winds down, look for our annual BEST OF and WORST OF columns on our picks for the best and worst movies of 2011.
LS: Have a good weekend everyone, and we’ll see you soon with our review of VAMPIRE CIRCUS. Speaking of which (turns to MA). What blood type are you?
LS: Just wondering. Just in case someone I know is a picky eater.
(Behind MA a giant gorilla with massive fangs sticking out of its mouth looms in the shadows).
© Copyright 2011 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares