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Near Dark, 1987 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on March 22, 2010

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein

Score: 6/10

Reviewed by pjowens75


I’m a sucker for vampire films. But I’m also a vampire purist and hold to the vampires of Bram Stoker and Nosferatu. I hold Anne Rice responsible for destroying the vampire genre by making them romantic figures. If she’d just left it alone after “Interview With The Vampire” (which I read and enjoyed), everything would have been fine. But somehow the notion caught on and now we have women of all ages (and some men too, I suppose) swooning over what should be an ugly, wicked, decaying, and thoroughly foul creature. But no matter what they’ve been made into today, one fact should always remain: they MUST kill to survive.

Kathryn Bigelow gets that right in her first film as a solo director, NEAR DARK. Using an imaginative script, some interesting camera angles, and recognizable actors, she put together one of my favorite modern vampire movies. It went nowhere at the box office, unfortunately, because it was up against LOST BOYS, an equally enjoyable movie that was more successful because it was aimed at a younger, hipper audience and had better marketing.

NEAR DARK starts out like a twisted classic love story: boy meets girl, girl bites boy, girl takes boy home to meet the family. In this case, the family that Mae (Jenny Wright) takes Caleb (Adrian Pashdar) home to meet is a family of vampires. And these are a far cry from the romantic figures we see today. These are cold blooded killers who rejoice in the mayhem they incite, especially Bill Paxton’s Severen (“Howdy. I’m going to separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don’t mind.”). Bigelow shows us the dark, ugly side of vampirism, where the main focus is to survive. And for that to happen, the family must kill.

So before they will accept Caleb into the fold, he must make his first kill. Of course Caleb is reluctant, and wants nothing more than to return to his father and little sister who, unbeknownst to him, are hot on his trail. And this is where the movie shines, showing us the contrasting, but equally strong ties among the two completely different families. The relationship between Caleb and his sister is strong and totally different than the relationship between Mae and “brother” Homer, a 50 year old man trapped in a 10 year old’s body. And the devotion of both father figures, both Caleb’s own real father, and the vampire family’s father figure (brilliantly underplayed by Lance Henriksen, looking remarkably like Keith Richard), shows an unspoken affection and possessiveness for their respective clans.

NEAR DARK is a fun, bloody thrill ride from beginning to end, and is well worth watching for everyone. However, there is one thing that prevents me from giving this a higher score, and if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it, go get it and watch it now. If you like your vampires cold, blood thirsty, and wild, you’ll love this movie.


Why, oh why, oh why, did Kathryn Bigelow choose to shoot herself in the foot with the outcome in this movie? After all the tension, after all the reflection on the downside to being immortal and having to kill for survival, we find that all it takes to cure vampirism is a simple transfusion. WTF?!?! Then why all the angst? Why not just have Jesse and the family walk into the nearest doctor’s office and say “Look, I don’t want to be a vampire anymore, so could I get a blood transfusion please?” One of the things that makes being a vampire so terrible and, yes, sympathetic, is that THERE IS NO CURE. In that one seemingly simple script decision, to cure Caleb and Mae with just blood transfusions, Bigelow takes away all the dramatic tension she spent the first 90 minutes building so masterfully. And, indeed, takes away the crux of the entire movie.

So in the end, despite being taken for an exhilarating, fun-filled ride down the long dark road to vampirism, we find that, in truth, we really have been “taken for a ride”.

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Reach – Music video directed by James Cameron starring Kathryn Bigelow, Bill Baxton, Lance Henriksen and Judge Reinhold

Posted by LiveFor on February 5, 2010

Before we get Cameron and Bigelow going head to head at the Oscars let’s head back to happier times when the West was wild, hair was big and all you needed to do to escape the law was to rock out and look cool. I honestly had no idea that this existed until today. Crank up the awesome. Avatar has nothing on this.

In 1988, Actor Bill Paxton and vocalist/guitarist Andrew Todd Rosenthal formed a short-lived rock duo Martini Ranch. They recorded and released just one album entitled Holy Cow, which included inputs from Devo members Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Casale and Alan Myers (all of whom contributed to the album’s hit “How Can the Labouring Man Find Time For Self-Culture?”), along with Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s as a back-up vocalist and actor Judge Reinhold is credited as a whistler on “Reach”. The video was directed by James Cameron, director of Terminator & Aliens. It is remarkably, the only music video he ever shot.

The video includes cameos from director Kathryn Bigelow, as well as Aliens and Terminator alumni Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser and Jenette Goldstein, Judge Reinhold, and Adrian Pasdar who had appeared in Bigelow’s Near Dark.
Source: Heat Vision

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Home Movie, 2008 – Movie Review – 31 Days of Horror

Posted by LiveFor on October 14, 2009

Director: Christopher Denham
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Cady McClain
Score: 8 / 10

This review by Darren Todd of The Automaton for my 31 Days of Horror

If watching The Blair Witch Project, Quarantine, or Cloverdale made you sick and ruined your enjoyment of the film, then you should probably skip this review. At least I mentioned that in the first sentence.

If you didn’t get sick – if indeed you like the style of shooting as I do – then Home Movie should be your next rental (or buy).

With only four actors (one of whom is Adrian Pasdar – Nathan Petrelli from Heroes), and a direction that is clear in the first five minutes, Home Movie really needs more than jump scares and creepy kids to keep it afloat, and it indeed comes through in a big way. While the camcorder style of shooting can give the film a less professional feel, Home Movie’s scenes are tightly crafted and feel very purposeful, which speaks a lot to the way in which it is edited. Though it only rings in at an hour and twenty minutes, I don’t feel gypped, but rather happy with how tight the scenes feel.

Too, there are a number of more subtle sight and sound elements that make a subsequent view a must, as you’ll inevitably be trying to put some things together at the end.

Mostly, despite the aforementioned predictability, the film stayed with me for some time, as I kept thinking about what facets of the plot might have meant. It is this complexity in a simple package that is untimately Home Video’s greatest appeal. Stacked against far flatter, jump scare horror films, Home Video proves much richer and more distrubing. Don’t think you’ll jump out of your seat so much as you’ll find yourself unable to sleep, which is the mark of great horror in my opinion.

Previous 31 Days of Horror reviews: The Thing, Vamp, Audition, The Fury, Blood Feast, Paranormal Activity, Braindead, Halloween, Friday the 13th Part 2, Martin, Fright Night, Zombieland

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Marvel’s Superhero Squad gets Krueger, Sulu, LaForge, Spike, Skywalker, Hercules and more

Posted by LiveFor on July 24, 2009

Check out the cast list for Marvel’s kids cartoon, Superhero Squad.

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men films) as Iceman
LeVar Burton (Ali, Roots) as Rhodey
Taye Diggs (Private Practice) as the Black Panther
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) as Dormammu
Greg Grunberg (Heroes) as Ant-Man
Mark Hamill (Star Wars) as the Red Skull
Lena Headey (Sarah Connor Chronicles) as the Black Widow
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) as Sif
Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Ugly Truth) as Stardust
Wayne Knight (Seinfeld) as Egghead
James Marsters (Smallville, Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as Mr. Fantastic
Jennifer Morrison (Star Trek, House) as the Wasp
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes) as Hawkeye
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Meet The Spartans) as Ka-Zar
George Takei (Heroes, Star Trek) as Galactus
Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gossip Girl) as the Valkyrie
• The cast is also joined by comics legend Stan Lee in a recurring role as the Mayor of Super Hero City

Some quality names there and should make it a lot of fun.

Source: Topless Robot


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