Thandie Newton

Interview with the Vampire

Year: 1994
Directed By: Neil Jordan
Written By: Anne Rice

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  It doesn’t crack the top three but it falls into the immediate group that follows.  There are many movies I bonded with in my youth that helped me make it through the difficult times.  This is one of them.  This movie is about sadness and loneliness, about emotional torment, and a longing for something not quite understood.  It’s about feelings and frustrations I related to in my youth and it will always be important to me because of that.  I think the movie is well made, well acted, and tells a fascinating story.

I was fascinated by vampires before they became cliché in the aftermath of Twilight and True BloodThe power that comes with immortality and the ability to do anything is enough to infatuate any imaginative teenager.  This was one of my favorite movies and I went on to read the book, as well as the sequel The Vampire Lestat, I remember not liking the book for this film nearly enough but I thought the sequel was incredible.  I need to stress that I read these at a young age because there is something funny I will always remember about it.  When I was reading The Vampire Lestat I was practically unaware of things like bi-sexuality in men.  I remember telling people that the book was awesome but Anne Rice didn’t know anything about how men think and behave. In my youthful ignorance I assumed that because she was a woman she just had the wrong idea about men and how they are.  Naturally in adolescence I was under the hopeful and perverted impression that women might always engage in closer contact nonchalantly and done the things these men in the book did.  When I got older I realized that Lestat and Nicolas were simply French, and possibly homosexual.  I feel stupid about it now but still find humor in how unaware and ignorant I was then.

I think what makes this movie such a successful book adaptation is that the author wrote the screenplay herself.  I was a big fan of Anne Rice at one point and think her role in this film allowed her to enhance and alter the story in ways she hadn’t thought of before.  I have not read any of her work in some time and will admit that when I became enamored with her I was simply a fledgling reader.  It’s hard to give an accurate opinion about how I feel about her now but I thought she was awesome at one point.  I think she wrote a great screenplay to go along with a good book in Interview with the Vampire. I need to revisit it at some point as well but I remember The Vampire Lestat being epic and awesome.  I will eventually reread it one day and if you are a fan by all means offer words of encouragement to get me motivated to do it.  Talk me into it.

As far as the acting goes in this movie I think everybody did a great job but the best performance was given by the very young Kirsten Dunst.  She was only 11 or 12 when the movie was made yet gave such a powerful and compelling performance.  Her role was a hard one because she plays a character that reaches a very old age while trapped in the body of a child. I found myself wondering years later how she didn’t manage to utilize that talent more.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of her but I just thought we would see bigger things from her. I am no fan of Tom Cruise but can’t deny him when he is great.  If I remember correctly he was a big surprise being cast in the role and many doubted his ability.  I think he silenced most of his critics though, as he has continued to throughout his career.  I do not like him but even I have to admit he is damn good at what he does and is seemingly ageless these days. I am a fan of Brad Pitt but don’t think that he is really exceptional in this movie.  His story is the one being told and it makes him the most important character but I think he was out shined by the rest of the cast. I thought Antonio Banderas was great as the ancient and unpredictable Armand. I thought Stephen Rea was good as his main henchman Santiago too.  Christian Slater was on top of the world to an extent at this time and did a good job.  The role he played was initially intended to go to River Phoenix before his untimely death in 1993.  Keep an eye out too for a very young Thandie Newton playing the part of a beautiful slave.  She is such a beautiful woman who seemingly does not age; she has not graced the screen enough throughout her career.

I think this movie was a hit on all levels. Direction, writing, and acting were all top notch in my opinion and I think this is an awesome movie.  I think the eventual sequel that was made, Queen of the Damned, was possibly one of the worse movies I have ever seen and to this day don’t understand what anybody was thinking when they made it.  As a big fan of this movie I heavily anticipated the film as it was in production and have never been more disappointed.  I don’t know why they chose to make the third book into a film and not the second.  I had lost interest in the book series by the time I got to Queen of the Damned and didn’t know much about it, but had my doubts it could be as good as The Vampire Lestat. I don’t know why Anne Rice wasn’t utilized again as a screenwriter on the film but don’t know that it would have really made any difference.  The movie is notable only because it was filmed before the untimely death of pop singer Aaliyah. It was released post-mortem for her and did absolutely nothing to give her any kind of legacy.  Which is unfortunate because she had all the potential to become a really big star in her future.

This movie may be old news in today’s vampire madness but this is a real vampire movie.  I don’t pay attention to any of that crap put out these days.  Vampire are creatures of the night, they are killers, and predators.  Not something for a prepubescent girl to ooh and aah over.  Not only that, but the genre they have become today has just gone too far.  I didn’t read the book but need I say more than simply Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer? I think when we start rewriting history to incorporate vampires we are just reaching.  We can do better and I am just disappointed by what we have resorted to over the last several years.  True Blood is a stupid show that used to be OK and now I can’t stand it, the only consolation being that there is tons of nudity.  These days I am so sick of vampire crap I can’t stand it. 

If you find yourself equally as sick of vampires as me yet still want to watch a good old fashioned vampire flick then this is the movie for you.  It’s a good one that came out before vampires became overkill in the media.  This movie is important to me because of the nostalgic feeling it invokes for me but it is a great movie and more than worth your time as well.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Before Ryan would let me watch this movie with him, he made me read The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. It is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. I like her view of vampires. They don’t shine like effin diamonds in the sunlight, thank god. After reading that book we watched the movie, and I was blown away. I really love this movie. It is so interesting. I think for me it was better because you have to remember that this movie came out before the vampire craze of today. I still love it. You also get to see a little Kirsten Dunst kid vampire, which is awesome. She was amazing in this movie.

interview-with-the-vampire-movie-poster

The poster is kind of what you expect it to be for the time. I think the font is in the Trajan family, which really actually works. It has a dark eerie feeling which is nice and appropriate. Some of the text gets lost in the image and that always drives me crazy. But, overall…it’s not a bad poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Intolerable Cruelty

The Chronicles of Riddick

Year: 2004
Directed By: David Twohy
Written By: David Twohy

RYAN’S REVIEW

Of all the movies we own this one has always been the one people look to and give me that look.  The look that wonders if I really know what I’m talking about or if I’m no longer to be taken seriously.  I believe this is because it’s a Vin Diesel movie.  I would anticipate similar looks if XXX or The Pacifier were seen among our collection but that is not the case.  We do own both Riddick movies and I think they are an exception when it comes to Vin Diesel films.  This was the role that Vin Diesel was made for, but he does manage to ruin things every time he speaks.  What confuses me about Vin Diesel in the role of Riddick is why he feels the need to verbalize himself so much.  He tries to prove he is a badass by the things that he says and this is a mistake.  Diesel already looks the part. He is intimidating, powerful, and badass.  There just really isn’t the need to act so tough with ridiculous and pointless dialogue.  The movie would have benefited if Diesel had taken a page out of Schwarzenegger’s book from The Terminator and just looked tough and kept his mouth shut.  It’s Diesel’s over selling of his character and his bad acting that give this movie a bad wrap, because otherwise it’s a really good movie.

The movie works on a limited budget under the broad scope of Twohy’s imagination but he managed to make it look good all the same.  Twohy took the Riddick character from Pitch Black, which he also wrote the screenplay for, and wrote scripts for three sequels.  I really like the story that he came up with, and I still hold out hope that his other sequels will eventually get made.  The world he created with Chronicles isn’t the greatest science fiction world but I found it interesting and enjoyable.  He wrote a good story and filled it with a ton of action, and it’s the action that really makes this movie worth your time.  Vin Diesel may sound like an F-ing poser every time he opens his mouth, but when he starts fighting that doesn’t matter anymore.  Regardless how ridiculous he sounds when he says “I’m going to kill you with this teacup,” it’s still cool when he actually does it.  Colm Feore plays the part of the lead villain the Lord Commander and I actually found him really surprising in the part.  I don’t usually like him but he really was good as the supposedly unbeatable bad guy. Karl Urban plays the secondary villain, a role he was well suited for at the time. His star has been on the rise of late, he is actually starring in the upcoming Judge Dredd reboot and will be back for the Star Trek sequel. This wasn’t the best role in Thandie Newton’s career but she is such a beautiful woman I hardly think it matters.  Judi Dench agreed to play a part in the movie after Vin Diesel practically begged her to be involved.  He is apparently a big fan of her work and was determined that she be involved. There is also a number of other lesser known actors doing well in bit parts throughout this movie like Keith David and Nick Chinlund.

Now that I’m watching this movie again I guess I can understand why I get that look I mentioned earlier.  This movie does have its fair share of silly lines and campy moments but I still like it.  I guess I’d call this movie a guilty pleasure but at the end of the day I’ve just always been a sucker for a mindless action movie.  I can accept Vin Diesel’s ridiculous performance and the other flaws if the overall story and action make up for it and I think they do in this case.  This movie isn’t going to get a lot of critical acclaim and that’s understandable but there is still plenty of value in a movie that is just fun to watch.  I’ll admit this movie isn’t for everybody, but if you’re in the mood for something with good action that you don’t have to put a lot of thought into then this is the one for you.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Apparently, we used to watch this movie all the time in college. I don’t remember that. In fact, I barely know anything about this movie. I had to ask Ryan a million question about what was going on. Why are his eyes like that? Why are they running from the sun? Why do they steal souls? I was so confused. I guess this a good movie if you like fantasy and science-fiction-y kinds of films. I wasn’t extremely impressed, but I think it keeps your interest throughout. I can’t say you will remember what the movie is about 5 years later, but it is worth the time if you have nothing else to do.

Also, on a side note I know that a lot of women really like Vin Diesel, so that may be another plus to watching this movie. Myself, ehh..he may be pretty to look at but he is a terrible, terrible actor.

NEXT MOVIE: The Chumscrubber (2005)