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Posts Tagged ‘Near Dark’

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

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, BUT WILL BE CLEARLY MARKED.

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.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE 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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POLL: Which is your favourite Kathryn Bigelow film?

Posted by LiveFor on March 11, 2010

She’s just won the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar for The Hurt Locker, but which is your fave film by Bigelow?

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Back to Frank Black – Lance Henriksen on Millenium

Posted by LiveFor on February 8, 2009

The good people over at Back to Frank Black have got a campaign going to get the great actor Lance Henrikson (Aliens, The Terminator, Near Dark) back on a big or small screen as Frank Black in the excellent Millenium. They recently posted the first part of a three part interview with the man himself (some highlights below).

Head on over and show your support. I always felt Lance was a superb actor (if you didn’t know he was going to be the original Terminator and went around with foil on his teeth with James Cameron to get the studios interest) and should be in a lot more classic movies.

BACKTOFRANKBLACK: Do you think the return of Frank Black is a possibility? Are you still interested in playing Frank again – you were very optimistic at the conventions this past year.

LANCE HENRIKSEN: Yeah, I know, I would absolutely love to do it and I really think it is a possibility, but it’s really up to Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter.

BTFB: If Frank Black and Millennium returned in some form, what would be your preference in the form it would return and why?

LANCE: A movie would be very different. With a movie you have an end in sight – you can gear your energy for it, but when you have a [TV] series that goes on for ten and a half months – there is no way to really have that “end in sight” because you know you’ll be coming back next year. It’s very tiring.

BTFB: So would a movie be ideal?

LANCE: Yeah. Ideally.

BTFB: Can I just ask you about Frank’s gift? Another fan favorite for debate. Chris has said on the DVD it was originally intended in season one to be simply a depiction of Frank’s intuition, yet even in season one there is a flavor of something more mystical going on. Were you briefed on this possibility?

LANCE: Well let me say this: you know how a great chess player works, right? They study, they study, they study – they know all the moves of different great chess players? I always felt Frank Black had morphed into a person who put abstract loose ends together in his head in a way that other people couldn’t. He could take threads of an idea and they would suddenly appear to him almost a linear story. In other words, walking into a room he would see pieces of a puzzle like a great chess player and he would string them together. And that’s what I always thought – that the Gift was intellect and intuition – not psychic. I don’t know how you would describe a psychic actually – I couldn’t describe one – except a gift from God, like Moses talking to him or a luminary or some stuff. To me, it was something much more.. kind of pragmatic.

I always felt Chris understood that I didn’t want to judge anybody. I didn’t want Frank Black to be a judge or a puritan who sat on the edge of “this is good/bad”. No Gift would work in your brain if you had judgments going on. The Gift was only about discovering the intent and the function of what was happening.

Discuss in the Forum

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The Random – Tim Burton, Thor, The Unborn, Noah’s Ark, The Beaver, Near Dark, The Crow, Terminator 5, The Phantom Legacy

Posted by LiveFor on December 15, 2008

Actor Alan Rickman spoke briefly about Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland and its revolutionary mixture of stop motion, live action and animated footage… (full details)

“No. It doesn’t interest me at all” says Daniel Craig about rumors of him playing Thor in the Kenneth Branagh-directed Marvel comic adaptation… (full details)

Odette Yustman says that filmmaker David Goyer was talking about doing a prequel to the upcoming horror The Unborn which would further develop her character’s relationship with her mother (Carla Gugino)… (full details)

The success of Twilight has lead to Platinum Dunes essentially ditching their plans to remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 vampire western classic Near Dark reports Empire.

The Wrestler filmmaker Darren Aronofsky says that he has a major film star attached to his planned Noah’s Ark project but won’t reveal the name. They have a script and a graphic novel version of it is in the works right now…” (full details)

Kyle Killen’s The Beaver, about a despondent man who finds comfort in a beaver hand puppet, has topped the 2008 Black List – an unofficial compendium of the “most liked” screenplays of the past year… (full details)

Platinum Dunes is going forward with an as-yet-untitled supernatural thriller about satanic cults by scribe Scott Kosar (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). Fuller tells Sci-Fi Wire that the story follows a college girl investigating her brother’s death and finds a satanic cult is responsible. She soon infiltrates it, “gets involved and gets in way over her head.”

Stephen Norrington (Blade, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Death Machine) has signed on to both write and direct the “reinvention” of The Crow. “Whereas Proyas’ original was gloriously gothic and stylized, the new movie will be realistic, hard-edged and mysterious, almost documentary-style,” Norrington said.

The Halcyon Company, who currently owns the franchise rights to Terminator, has already greenlit the fifth film in the Terminator series, following the currently in-production Terminator Salvation.

Bruce Sherlock, a producer of The Phantom (starring the legendary Billy Zane), is set to bring the character back to the big screen for a sequel, and film it entirely in Australia. The Phantom Legacy is the new film and it doesn’t sound like it’s a sequel, perhaps more a remake. “[It will focus on] the Father/Son relationship, and what it means to be The Phantom…The film will be set in the present day and will deal with the concept of destiny.”

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