5 items from 2016
Summer just officially started just a few days ago, so Halloween is months away. Perhaps a great way to get us cooled off, to put us in a Fall state of mind, would be to pay a visit to one of the oldest horror movie icons: the vampire. Everyone’s aware of how scary those fanged fiends can be, but you may have forgotten how funny they are (intentionally, of course). Movie audiences have emitted nervous laughter ever since Max Schreck emerged from the shadows in the silent classic Nosferatu. And certainly there are bits (and bites) of humor (mostly comic relief supporting players) in 1931’s Dracula and Mark Of The Vampire, both with Bela Lugosi. It wasn’t until 1948 that he was in an all out farce (though the Count is never lampooned) in Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein. After Hammer Studios brought back (in full gory color) the bloodsuckers ten years later, »
- Jim Batts
Shoot is underway in Berlin on The Lives Of Others director’s third film.
German sales agent Beta Cinema has reunited with the Oscar-winning director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on his third feature, Werk Ohne Autor [Work Without Author], after having handled international sales on his debut The Lives Of Others in 2006.
In psychological thriller Work Without Author, young artist Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) has fled to West-Germany, but he continues to be tormented by the experiences he made in his childhood and youth in the Nazi years and during the Gdr-regime.
When he meets the student Ellie (Paula Beer), he is convinced that he has met the love of his life and begins to create paintings that mirror not only his own fate, but also the traumas of an entire generation.
- email@example.com (Martin Blaney)
Back before “The Sopranos” — well, actually, just as “The Sopranos” was midway through its first season — a movie comedy came out that presented the idea of a gangster who goes to see a psychiatrist as just about the most nutty, screw-loose hi-larious concept in the world. Even after six seasons of “The Sopranos,” the notion behind the Robert De Niro/Billy Crystal comedy “Analyze This” still sounds kind of funny, and it’s no trick to apply the same basic joke to certain other…professions. A gladiator seeing a psychiatrist. A superhero seeing a psychiatrist. Donald Trump seeing a psychiatrist. (Well, okay, there are limits to plausibility.) So how about a vampire seeing a psychiatrist — or, better yet, a vampire going to see the Op (original psychiatrist): the man himself, Sigmund Freud? Are you laughing yet? Or, if you’re one of the few people who will go to the new Austrian movie “Therapy for a Vampire,” are you spitting up the comedy equivalent of a blood clot?
We’re in Vienna in 1932, and the monster in question who seeks out Freud’s help is Count Geza von Közsnöm, a Romanian bloodsucker who is bored, bored, bored with his vampire wife, Elsa (Jeanette Hain), because the two have been married for, like, centuries. Can anyone relate? (Nudge, nudge.) Count Geza is played by Tobias Moretti, who in profile does look a bit like Bela Lugosi, but mostly he resembles a debauched Mike Wallace. He’s a very civilized and depressed aristocrat, who has become so jaded by his lifestyle that he has an assistant go out and draw blood from victims, which he then guzzles out of a flask. Dr. Freud (Karl Fischer) has no idea that he’s treating an undead neurotic, and therapy, as it turns out, doesn’t do the count much good. He’s too much in thrall to his lost love from hundreds of years ago, who he thinks has been reincarnated in Lucy (Cornelia Ivancan), a bohemian model who’s having relationship issues. Her artist boyfriend, Viktor (Dominic Oley), insists on painting her as a blonde — and, indeed, seems to be getting ready to go full “Vertigo” on her.
If a diagram were the same thing as a script, then “Therapy for a Vampire” might be a smashingly silly lark. But as written and directed by Daniel Ruehl, the film is a blueprint of mild anemic kitsch. It’s an undead comedy without the blood of experience coursing through its veins. The count and his wife, who you might say are at each other’s throats, each pair off with one half of the young couple. Elsa, whose undead style consists of wearing a Louise Brooks bob (though it looks more like a Louise Brooks wig purchased in a costume shop), latches onto Viktor and insists that he paint her portrait so that she can see what she looks like. (Mirrors weren’t doing the trick.) And the count woos Lucy with that whole “Come and be a creature of the night! You will live forever!” routine. The best thing in the movie is Cornelia Ivancan. She’s got a real bloom — a glow of misbehavior. No one will let Lucy just be who she is (Viktor wants to change her hair color, the count wants to change her mortality), and “Therapy for a Vampire,” to the extent that it has a theme, is a feminist anthem. If only it weren’t such a cheesy, thinly written, badly lit one.
The notion of an old vampire couple coping with the anomie of the ages owes an obvious debt to Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive” (2014), which was an infinitely more textured — and funnier — movie. The way this all plays out in “Therapy for a Vampire” brings it closer to being a bloodsucker version of “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).” Call it “The Plasma Colada Song.”
- Owen Gleiberman
Driven by a Transylvanian aesthetic (by way of 1930s Vienna), Therapy For A Vampire never hides its intentions of piggybacking off the success of What We Do In The Shadows. From jarring arterial geysers of blood to a lively score, David Rühm’s standalone feels like a spiritual continuation of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s hilarious vampire mockumentary – intentional or not. Both movies deal with human/vampire interactions, both contain silly gags involving vampire mythos and both are cheekily light-hearted. Yet, only one succeeds at being a consistently funny genre satire, and the answer to which one it is shouldn’t come as a shock.
Spoiler alert: it’s not Therapy For A Vampire.
Rühm’s tale follows two sets of lovers who cross paths – one couple undead, the other fleshy humans. Local waitress Lucy (Cornelia Ivancan) and her painter companion Viktor (Dominic Oley) have hit a bit of a rough patch, »
- Matt Donato
When you’ve been married for centuries, it can be difficult to keep your marriage fresh. A bloodsucker seeks psycological counseling in Therapy for a Vampire, a new horror comedy hitting theaters this month.
Synopsis: “Vienna, 1930. Count von Kozsnom has lost his thirst for life, and his marriage cooled centuries ago. Fortunately, Sigmund Freud is accepting new patients; the good doctor suggests the Count appease his vain wife by commissioning a portrait of her by his assistant, Viktor. But it’s Viktor’s headstrong girlfriend Lucy who most intrigues the Count, convinced she’s the reincarnation of his one true love. Soon, the whole crowd is a hilarious mess of mistaken identities and misplaced affections in this send-up of the vampire genre, proving that 500 years of marriage is enough.”
- Derek Anderson
5 items from 2016
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