Archive for November 10th, 2009

30 Days of Night

by on Nov.10, 2009, under Daily Review

30 Days of Night. I’ll tell you what I didn’t like about this film. No-one grows a beard. ‘30 days without growing a beard’ would have been a better title. That aside, the basic plot is a great one. Vampires head to a part of the planet where the sun does not shine for 30 days; Alaska. This is a winning plot and 30-days-of-nightI’m sure that’s all that was needed to secure funds whilst pitching for this film. The rest goes out of the window. The vampires are bland, obvious clichés with very little character. They spend the whole 30 days searching a small town and ripping apart their victims and celebrating in a primeval fashion. We get no reason for why they are there, where they have been before; any kind of history or backbone of character or reason. The human prey in this scenario all offer believable performances although, once again, obvious, stupid decision are made, constantly which jeopardise the safety of the remaining few. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, both good actors, try to lift this film, but it’s a difficult task and the script does nothing to help. Danny Huston is a great actor too and tries his best as the vicious leader of the vampires.

So what do we end up with? 100 ish minutes of snowy celluloid. An obvious script. 2 dimensional characters that we don’t really care for and a whole load of blood and gore for effect. The film looks good, filmed well and has a good pacing too, but it’s just the same old scenario of cat n mouse. As a popcorn action gore flick it works on a basic level, but I think they could have done a lot more with this. They had a great idea and blew it. Probably rushed out for a fast buck.

The whole vampire thing has been done to death, but recently there have been some very surprising entries which have offered fresh intellect to the genre. ‘True Blood’ and ‘Let the right one in’ spring to mind. 30 days of Night should have been part of this, alas.

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Queen of Spades

by on Nov.10, 2009, under Daily Review

Set in St Petersburg in Russia, 1800, an army officer overhears the tale of a Countess who sold her soul for the skill of playing cards (a Russian form of Snap), he stumbles QOSupon an antiquarian book store, discovering an old tome that fleshes out the story and leads him directly to the Countess. Through some chance encounters with her grand daughter, he attempts to get closer to the Countess who is nearing her deathbed. He seduces the grand daughter only to lose everything when he confronts the Countess at gunpoint, to release the secret of the cards. She dies of shock. From this point on, he is haunted by the old Countess and tricked into playing the game with some borrowed funds.

This is a lesser known British ghost story from the 40’s, which should be revered as a classic. Based on the tale by Aleksandr Pushkin, and renowned as being one of the greatest short stories. The film is nicely paced and has a great script and some of the best one liners I’ve ever heard. ‘We met whilst buying my grandmother canaries’ and ‘You’re planning a cold blooded seduction’ are two which made me smile.

It also challenges the traits of greed, dishonesty and regret. Is the Officer as bad a the Countess as his obsession was for the winning of the game and for finance, her’s was to disguise numerous affairs, the scarlet woman, although she prays for forgiveness.

The haunting scenes are also very well constructed, atmospheric and spooky to say the least.  Well worth a look.

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