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Lost Girl (2010)
I love this show
After seeing the wretched show Bitten I have a renewed appreciation for Lost Girl. Despite the unfortunate way Lost Girl is advertised it is not what many may think. It's an intriguing urban fantasy in the vein of Dresden Files. It has strong, well-written female protagonists who are actually likable and with well developed and realistic personality types. I strongly recommend Lost Girl.
The show deals with the misadventures of a woman who discovers she is a part of the world if the sidhe (faery folk) and is pressured to choose a side in a battle between Light vs. Dark. She chooses her own path and takes it upon herself to work as a sort of private investigator, protecting innocent people from the cruelty of the supernatural world. The main character, Bo, is a great deal like a cross between Harry Dresden and Thomas Raith from The Dresden Files.
I was also pleased to see one character who could take on the form of a literal wolf as opposed to the obnoxious TV and movie trope of the bipedal man-wolf..
Who am I supposed to like?!
Bitten: Mid-season review: Who am I supposed to like?! I'm currently at episode 6 of watching Bitten and what should have grown on me has grown annoying.
I'm starting to dislike the show #Bitten. All the characters are losing likability especially with that cruel teeth ripping out and the graphic details we get of it later. Whoever wrote this knows very little about wolf nature to think any wolf could torture another wolf or render it unable to hunt like that, I'm speaking of natural, real wolf nature, obviously. Even when there is a challenge for alpha they don't usually... NEVER mutilate each other as "punishment." Animal instinct for wolves is actually usually fiercely protective of it's own kind.
I usually like wolves but right now the "heroes" are disgusting me...
I was watching because I liked that they take actual wolf form but now every character disgusts me on some level.
And then there's the mother issues and subtle sexism. "There's only one reason a woman would know moves like that." And "There's two" as if that's a GOOD response that?! And then it turns out, yes, there is "That" reason why she knows those moves because God forbid a WOMAN be into self-defense or be in the armed forces or know those moves for anything other than that she was a victim or wants to prevent herself from being a victim. When was this written? 1952 in Middle America or the Victorian era? No, Victorian female protagonists were less whiny! I'm sorry... I am trying to like it. I want to like it but the more I think about it the angrier I get.
I'm not a troll. I came to the IMDb board defending the literal wolf transformations as being true Germanic and French folklore weeks ago but now the writing is turning my stomach.
I think I'll stick with Lost Girl, despite what some people think of Lost Girl because of how it's advertised, it actually knows how to make likable female protagonists.
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Fun and respectful to the source material (despite what people think)
Disclaimer: I write this review on nearly two and a half days without sleep and functioning on two cups of black tea.
I just watched I, Frankenstein and in all honesty... It's not bad.
First let's start with Adam. The scarring and hair was better in the 1790s flashbacks. Why the Hell did they change that? He looked more like the literary version in those scenes. There was even the nice touch of dark rings under his eyes. They should have kept him like that, maybe a little paler. And for God's sake don't give him "sexy abs." His physical strength should be surprising, not obvious. Also they should have done some cheap trick photography to make him taller. They were able to make Luke Goss look eight feet tall in the Hallmark mini-series inexpensively so why does he look roughly ordinary human height here? He should have been kept abnormally tall. Focus on the height, not the muscles. Slender, corpse-like would have been fine.
Adam's personality is pretty true to the book. He's bitter at the world. Longs to be human even though he tries to hide it because he thinks it's impossible. He's lonely and angsty and this is just right for the character. It's cliché now but The Frankenstein Monster was always this way. He can't help it. It's in his nature. And he clearly feels guilt for what he had done to Victor and Elizabeth. He was very remorseful.
Adam is broody and tragic and speaks well, not that annoying slow stroke-like speech they give him in the 1994 film and the Danny Boyle play.
He also had the full head of hair at the moment of his creation like in the novel. Pause here to think about how ridiculous the concept of the flat head truly is over all, how someone could creact life but not a decent skull cap. This is also why I don't care for the bald versions of the Frankenstein Monster. Mary Shelley said he had long black hair. Victor studied metaphysics, alchemy, and sorcery. So why impose modern brain surgery in there? If he can stitch a body together he can't add hair? It's actually anti-realistic that he couldn't get a simple thing like hair right but he can create life.
My biggest qualm (and this might be petty for some) is when our "Genius" scientist Terra says that in the 1790s no one would have known how to harness electricity. I guess she's never heard of Benjamin Franklin and his Lightning rod theory about conductivity? Somehow it's more realistic to get electric eels in Bavaria to create life then to use lightning? The Mary Shelley novel goes out of it's way to describe Victor seeing lightning strike a tree at age seventeen and being in awe at it's power. He chose an attic to do his work. And when he brought his creation to life, though the explanation as to how he did it was left vague, it was storming that November night in the novel. This is one thing the older films got right. Lightning was likely involved.
And the writers should have seriously checked their history about when harnessing electricity was accomplished. Mary Shelley knew about Erasmus Darwin (who died in 1802) and his theories on electricity..
They also made Victor Frankenstein too old. In the novel he was seventeen when the idea hit him. And twenty two or twenty four when he brought his creation to life. He was a university student at Ingolstadt. His father was only in his forties. His youngest brother was barely six. Victor was young!
The dialogue and plot were predictable. I guessed the entire story in advance. And I have qualms about the beings of "Good" being forbidden from love considering how Corinthians goes on and on about it being the greatest virtue and closest thing to God.
I liked it. It was cheesy fun and the first monster mash to have a version of the Frankenstein creature close to what Mary Shelley described. They should have kept his 1790s look for the bulk of the film though.
I liked that the gargoyles had a lair in a castle and then a clock tower. That is a nod to the Disney TV series Gargoyles, which I loved as a kid.
I also like the nods to the classic Frankenstein films. Frankenstein must be destroyed, The hallmark mini-series, the Off Broadway Frankenstein musical in 2010. Dark Shadows, The Bride, Life Without a Soul, The 1931 Frankenstein film, The Bride of Frankenstein, The original novel... All these things are referenced. Even the annoying 1994 version that too many people think followed the novel is referenced with the eels. It's sad how many Frankenstein purists won't give this film a chance to see these lovely nods to previous Frankenstein incarnations. You can tell someone who loves previous versions had a hand in this but there is an irrational rage and hatred against this movie that I, someone who loves Mary Shelley's novel, cannot fathom.
I would definitely watch it again. And yes, I will buy it on DVD. I hope the lost scene of the unfinished mate, Eve, is on the disc version.
I give this film a 7.5 out of ten. It could be better but it could be a lot worse and it was fun. And the first cheesy action fantasy to use the Frankenstein Monster even roughly from the novel.
Black Sails (2014)
This show, Black Sails, is surprisingly good. I had not expected Black Sails to be a Treasure island Prequel. The commercials had been misleading and did not indicated that this would have any connection at all to the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. Now I'm eager to see what will happen with John Silver and when and how he loses his leg. They advertised this all wrong, in my opinion, it was a pleasant surprise to find out this was a semi-historical prequel to a work of classic literature. I have only seen the pilot episode so far but I like the way it is going and hope the intrigue and atmosphere continue to intrigue me.
The Velveteen Rabbit (1985)
This animated adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit is my favorite version of the classic story. I used to watch this version of The Velveteen Rabbit on VHS tape all the time as a child. The Faery Queen's song makes me tear up, even now. This is a beautiful, and very under-rated version of The Velveteen Rabbit. I have fond nostalgic memories of this version of the story. And now that I'm older I can appreciate Christopher Plumber (the only good thing about Dracula 2000) providing the gentle narrations. And I love the Chuck Jones style humor of the toy soldiers with their small subplot about being jealous of the toy rabbit.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
It's not that people don't like Westerns... It's that this is a bad one
First let me begin by saying it is NOT (contrary to popular belief) that modern audiences don't like Westerns or cannot appreciate The Lone Ranger. It's just that this is a really, really bad movie.
Tonto is insane. He is a caricature here that deeply disrespects Native Americans. He was driven insane and now he "trades" taking valuable things and swapping them for garbage when the owner is not looking. He keeps his dead pet bird mounted on his head and periodically tries to feed it. That's not funny. It's just sad. He's not likable. He's mean and it's disrespectful to the original Lone Ranger story. Tonto was useful, intelligent, and ...even kind in the original Lone Ranger. This Tonto is heartless.
Also the "new" meaning for Ke-mo sah-bee is just cruel. "Wrong brother" is constantly telling him "Your brother should have lived and not you" even after they become friends. That's not funny. That's mean spirited.
Tonto's behavior through the whole thing, insane or not, did not sit right for me. He bashed the hero's head with a shovel when he started to wake up after the deaths of the rangers and had no qualms about burying a man a live. And then after a horse (yes, a horse) persuades him to help the lone ranger he drags the man's body, deliberately through horse droppings. (Ha freakin' ha.) And the joke is addressed later when the hero smells his own stinky hair.
Tonto calls the villain a Windigo which isn't even from the Right native American tribal folk belief. Windigo is of the North East folk belief, the complete opposite side of the continent! Skin walker would have been more acceptable. Someone mixed up Skin walker (yee naaldlooshii) and didn't think anyone would notice. Whatever happened to the promise that this version would be more respectful of Native American culture? Helena Bonham Carter shows up as a madam with an artificial leg that is actually a gun. Did I mention the villain likes to mutilate people and or eat human body parts? Because... You totally need that in a Disney film.
It's like watching Tim Burton's spouses run a muck.
There's a ridiculous scene where a boy throws The Lone Ranger a silver bullet from the speeding train and he catches it, one handed, while on horse back. And they never properly explain that those silver bullets are used to represent how valuable life is and The Lone Ranger's promise not to kill but only wound and only in self-defense from the original stories. He also never drank or smoked either. Oh, yes, and he also ends up the love interest of his dead brother's widow here, only days after his brother's death...
So you see, those that think The Lone Ranger failed because people don't like Westerns anymore have it wrong. It's not that we can't like Westerns. It's just that this is a bad, bad movie. Watch the old black and white ones, they're free on Hulu and surprisingly more respectful to Native Americans...
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Rise of the Guardians is a sweet, strange, and highly imaginative movie for people of any age. My one regret is not seeing it when it was in the cinema last year. It's not at all what I expected. It has action but no real violence. It talks of the importance of childhood virtues such as wonder, hope, dreams, memories and fun. And there seems to be a surprisingly spiritual overtone. There is humor and ample creativity. The film was beautifully made and Jack Frost is a sweet and endearing protagonist. I think this is a highly under-rated movie that deserves more attention than it has received. And if you like it the film is based on the children's' book series The Guardians of Childhood.
Insulting, pandering, condescending, and lacking in creativity
Where do I begin? When I first started watching NBC's Dracula I thought it might be fun. Considering the little tidbits that had already leaked out I figured it would not be great but maybe it would be fun, sort of a guilty pleasure. And those first two episodes provided that even though there were things wrong with it.
The thing I hated most was how Jonathan Rhys Meyers was actually proud that they had removed references to stakes and garlic and all of Dracula's traditional shapeshifting powers and the power to summon storms and wind. Why is the idea that Dracula could turn into a bat, wolf, and mist suddenly shameful? Less than twenty years ago these were powers we associated with Dracula without question. Now you only find them in cartoons and parodies. Why? why are all vampires portrayed now as nothing more than super strong pretty boys, with heightened senses and the ability to run fast. And even his senses don't seem that heightened in this incarnation. I have seen many versions of Dracula and this, quite simply, was the weakest, physically speaking.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers went as far as to mock Romanian accents in his interviews and brag how his Dracula was more of a Howard Hughes or Citizen Kane type. Have I mentioned this Dracula puts on a bad fake American accent for his persona of Alexander Greyson? I thought I could stick with it. I thought it wasn't so bad but then came episode three. Episode three pushed me into hatred for this show.
Now in this version Dracula isn't proud of his connection to the knightly Order of the Dragon. Now they are an Illuminati type group and apparently they turned Dracula into a vampire as a form of punishment. Because... you know... fanatical illuminati groups often do that... But this isn't so bad. I have seen worse origins for Drcaula before such as Dracula 2000.
Dracula has been sleeping with the vampire hunter Lady Jayne (who somehow has no idea that he is Dracula, by the way). And while she is dozing after they have been intimate he hears a voice calling "Sire... Sire... help me... sire..." So Dracula takes up a torch (because apparently he can't see in the dark now...) and follows the voice. Before we go any further just know that you cannot convince me that torch was for our sake, the viewer. I have seen too many well done and well lit vampire films where rooms that are supposed to be black to human eyes are quite easy to see. And they never had to sacrifice a vampire's night vision before just for the viewer. Even the 1960s Dark Shadows never considered doing such a thing. Dracula finds the imprisoned vampire and she begs "Kill... me..." She has clearly been tortured. Dracula kisses her hand and with clear normal tears (Because people have forgotten portrayals of Dracula and blood tears LONG before True Blood) running down his face, he stands there, cracks his fingers for some reason (seeing some vampire claws would have been cool right now but they took those away from him too...) and he crawls right back into be with Lady Jayne.
Traditionally if you make Dracula cry that usually means something terrible is about to happen, that he is about to rip someone apart. This is true in novels, TV, and film but alas, not here. This is the ultimate moment in which he did NOT feel like Dracula.
Now previously on the show Mina and Jonathan had a fight because he wanted her to be a proper wife and give up her dreams of being a doctor. Guess what Mina does in this episode? She apologizes to him! Why!? Bella Swan was more feminist than this! Back in 1979 in Frank Langella's version of Dracula, Lucy (actually the Mina character as in that film the names were reversed) was a suffragette. She gave lectures on how women were not chattel and even scolded that version of Dracula for hypnotizing someone. She charmed Dracula in that version, asking him to dance with her right in front of her fiancé. Dracula admired her boldness, that is what he fell in love with in that version. Why is it a version that is nearly thirty five years old is more feminist than this?! Oh, Dracula talks Jonathan into getting back together with Mina. Why!? He's competition! And then he brags to Renfield about doing a good deed.
So, no traditional powers, no traditional Dracula temper, and he puts other mens happiness before himself. This is the man who supposedly fought The Ottoman empire? We never see him feed really. Every time he lunges in for a kill we never actually see it happen.
I have seen many versions of Dracula. If you want a good contemporary version of Dracula read Fred Saberhagen's Dracula books. Even Buffy vs. Dracula was more respectful to the source material in regard to Dracula's look, behavior, and powers.
I am tired of the cookie cutter pretty boy vampires all being alike in personality and powers. I miss Dracula as Dracula! This isn't refreshing or new. It's pandering to the new, six or so year old cliché. At this point seeing a traditional Dracula, THAT would be new and refreshing.
As I said, I have seen many versions of Dracula. And this is in the bottom five... of the worst Dracula incarnations out there. That's down there Dracula 3000 and Dracula: the Dark Prince (not the good one with Rudolf Martin, the 2013 version).
This is no Dracula. And Jonanthan Rhys Meyers should be ashamed, not bragging, about the traditional Dracula abilities he so proudly demanded be stripped from the character.
Victor Frankenstein (1977)
Beginning cynically. Why is it people assume if it's made forty years ago it must be accurate to the book? The Count Dracula mini-series with Louis Jordan, so many people praise as being more accurate than the Gary Oldman film yet it's not. It makes Mina and Lucy siblings, it combines Arthur and Quincey, Dracula did not de age... But I diagress... On with this.
Begins fairly well enough. It follows the book for the most part. It changes how the creature got the journal, how his hair looks (though it is long). Justine is left out entirely. Neither Victor or his creation are portrayed that sympathetically here. I think that's why I prefer the 2004 Hallmark version because you can see the mistakes they both make, the cruelty they both have, and yet you can also pity both of them.
This version is not bad but it's slowly paced. It's odd. The 2004 Hallmark Frankenstein (which is a bit more faithful to the book in regard to how the creature looked and maintaining all the characters) is three hours yet this hour and a half version feels longer. It would also have done well with a better budget.
Oh, one thing that I was very happy about is that they remembered Victor Frankenstein had not made the creature with pure science. He had studied books on alchemy and the occult, magick, Agrippa and Paracelsus. He even discussed homunculi. Very few versions acknowledge that there may have been alchemy and even magick in the creature's creation. Few people realize this was not an anti-science "Don't meddle in the affairs of God" story. The creature would have been fine if he had not been rejected by his creator. It was about parental responsibility, judging by appearances, forgiveness and how revenge brings no peace. Those were those were the real lessons of Mary Shelley's story.
This version is not bad but I still strongly prefer the 2004 Hallmark mini-series of Frankenstein.
This isn't a bad Frankenstein but the 2004 version with Luke Goss remains my favorite. I am happy this version exists so it's not a film I regret watching. I don't think there is any film I truly regret watching. There are just some films I feel better about being in existence than others because of what effort goes in to them. This tried to be true to the book but the 2004 Hallmark version with Luke Goss simply did it better.
Also it was a little hard for me to get used to the light haired creature. He was so much like the book, including hair length, save for the hair color. It's a petty detail but it stood out for me.
Something about it was a little dry, a little dispassionate. It's not horrible, just weak. Like the BBC play version of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
At least they tried to follow the book.
Dracula: The Dark Prince (2013)
Review written as I watch: Okay, so I'm watching Dracula The Dark Prince. No, not the good one from 2000 starring Rudolf Martin or even the Hammer film called Dracula: Prince of Darkness. This shares the name of the Rudolf Martin film but that is a far superior movie.
In here we have a blond Fobio-esque Dracula. The opening is a crude reenactment of the opening of the Gary Oldman movie. The problem I have with it is he renounces God after finding out his own men killed his wife. Why? Why renounce God? It makes no sense here. No one said she was damned.
It's Leonardo Van Helsing. A Medieval / early Renaissance (though this looks more Dark Ages) Van Helsing... No wonder there are idiots out there who think Van Helsing defeated Dracula in the middle ages instead of the 1890s.
Renfield is an intelligent councilor of the kingdom. Dracula ruled a Principality you morons. It's in your Title DARK PRINCE! The 2000 film with Rudolf Martin... Where for art thou, Rudolf?! Your film of the same name was actually good! I got used to Dracula as a blond in Dracula: The Series (90s version) because I figured he had adapted to look Yuppie-esque. There's no reason for him to be a blonde here yet it looks like they actually went out of their way to make him blond, not that it was just the actor's natural color, but that they went out of their way for it.
NBC's Dracula is suddenly looking good...
"There is word of slayers" seriously? This sounds like a bad role playing game gone wrong.
I'm glad he has the mobile shadow but why does it have wings? I guess to show he's "demonic". Oooh! Because, you know, being an immortal blood sucker who can shapeshift and control the weather just isn't enough these days.
The Light Bringer is the cane from the Cain and Abel story? "It was used to slay the innocent and so it was transformed into God's weapon." How does that even make sense?! God was angry about Abel's death. Why would he grant the weapon that did it powers? And Dracula is descended from Abel now because you know they had to trump Dracula 2000 deciding he was Judas somehow. What's next? Dracula is Adam? No, he's Satan himself! Seriously, why can't Dracula just be Dracula? Why do they keep having to add religion to the idea of an immortal war lord? Why does the man Leonardo VAN HELSING have an Italian accent? An Italian with a Dutch name in ...fifteen hundreds? His accent... it's inconsistent. It hurts.
Why is it every cliché movie and books make the mysterious West wing? Beauty and the Beast, Jane Eyre, Dark Shadows (TV series) and now this.
(Confused) Van helsing from Italy has a tricorner hat. WHAT YEAR IS THIS!?? They gave Dracula's wife the name Erzsébet like Elizabeth Bathory or perhaps the name they used for his first wife used in the Gary Oldman movie (her real name was lost to history, only the second wife's name is remembered).
So... Our young male hero (not Leonardo Van Helsing) is a thief because he's descended from Cain and all descendents of Cain are doomed to be criminals. How does that even make sense? And Dracula is descended from Abel so they are destined to kill each other. ...Seriously?! Oh, God, isn't this over yet? ...I have an hour left.
The Light Bringer (the weapon that killed Abel) and can now only do good can only be used by a descendant of Cain even though they are... predestined to be criminals. This doesn't make sense. And yet again, Dracula is descended from the innocent one, Abel. Shouldn't this be reversed? Well, the three female vampires are trying to seduce Alina (the apparent reincarnation of Dracula's wife even though it looks like we're no more than ten years after her death!).
"Slayers do not drink alcohol" yet the Demon Slayer village is heavily stocked with booze and has a tavern, where Leonardo Van Helsing has to take the bottle away from our hero in training...
And a wench had to be sent back with another bottle of alcohol...
Nosferatu in this means to be only half-turned into a vampire and to suffer. And means "unclean." Nosferatu means unfinished vampire?! No, call that a dhampir or if it must be so bad, then ghoul, don't do that to the word Nosferatu!! Nosferatu in the Dracula novel was used to mean "not dead" which just means VAMPIRE! Period. Dracula called himself a Nosferatu. ...My poor head. Why change what Nosferatu means?!
Dracula just bit his wrist and I realize he's supposed to be pouring blood on his wounded man but though I can HEAR it pouring there's no blood. Someone ACTUALLY forgot the computer generated blood in this scene! It just looks like he's holding his wrist and shaking it every so often over this guy as his wounds miraculously heal but it was clear he bit his wrist. They actually forgot to add the blood in post production.
Dario Argento's Dracula 3D is better than this.
Why does the holy relic / weapon make static noises? The Dracula actor isn't that bad, I can tell he's doing all he can with this mess.
What a surprise (sarcasm) that it was Renfield that killed the princess all along. ...Why was a Romanian named Renfield? When Renfield gets stabbed in the neck he tips his head back and screams before it even hits him.
Alina's fingerless gloves are obviously modern...
I think I am fully prepared for the NBC version now, which I was already dreading...