It's a new year and new disappointments await. But new movies also await, so I'm going to give this blog another round of attempts for a while. One thing I'll be doing is collecting ticket stubs again; I used to put them away in a photo album from '93 to '99 until I suddenly developed a sense of douchebag self-consciousness and stopped. God forgive me, I actually was kinda embarrassed by something so geeky. I've gotten over that bullshit a long, long time ago, so I'm doing it again. I'm also going to take a log of every movie I see this year (just for S&G's) and I'll post them in separate blog entries. I got the idea from people better than me, and I think it's an interesting idea and it might be fun (for me) to look at by the end of the year, should I make it that far without giving head to a double-barrel.
Anyway, here's the latest movie I watched at the theater. I think I'm going to start to refer to movie theaters as "the cinema" from now on, just because I like the sound of it and because I need to pretentious it up a tad more on this here blog. Daybreakers is the new movie by a couple of Fosters drinking motherfuckers called the Spierig Brothers. Their last movie was the zombie flick Undead and I'm sorry to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of that one, I'd have to put it under the category of Appreciated More Than Liked. Daybreakers, on the other hand, I'd have to put under the category of Pretty Fucking Sweet. The introduction titles are in muted red lettering over black screen, and if you're watching a genre movie with those kind of credits, you know what that means: this is gonna be a bloody fuckin' movie.
The movie takes place in the not-so-distant future, where some kind of virus or something has turned most people on Earth into vampires. I'm guessing it was some Patient Zero type of shit and he or she bit someone, and that person bit someone, and so on and so on. I'm not too sure because I noticed the movie was slightly out-of-focus and after the pre-credits sequence it was still blurry, so while everyone sits back and does nothing, I'm the motherfucker who has to jump out and run out of the auditorium to tell someone/anyone/everyone that the goddamn projectionist has to wake the fuck up. By the time I got back, the credits were long over and if there was a montage or Star Wars-style crawl explaining the situation in detail, I missed it. But I got the general idea.
So it's been like ten years since everyone started rolling like Nosferatu, and those who didn't turn were hunted down and farmed out into worst-case-scenario blood banks. They're put to sleep and hooked into machines that slowly drain precious precious plasma from their bodies. It's some Matrix-looking shit, and it must really suck to be in that situation. But then again, who knows, it might even suck more to be a fuckin' vampire. Sure, fuckin' Sam Neill's character would never admit it, he's busy going on about how awesome it is to be able to live forever now and stay the same age. He's the main dude of the company in charge of milking the comatose humans of blood (or maybe "blooding" is more appropriate?) and the idea is that eventually they won't have to use humans anymore because he's got his people working on a blood substitute. Well, eventually better fucking happen right now because they have only enough human blood to last another month, and after that's gone all the vamps are gonna start mutating into some nasty winged creatures. So, like I said, it might suck more to be a vampire. Holy shit -- I just realized I used the word "suck" three times in this paragraph and I wasn't being punny about it either. Give me a fuckin' cookie, people.
Sam Neill is on the motherfucker, he's got his best blood doctors on the job and the best of the best is played by Ethan Hawke, who is basically playing Ethan Hawke if he was a vampire. That is to say, he's a complete bleeding-heart liberal about the whole Vampire > Human equation. He refuses to drink human blood (I must have missed the part where it's explained what he drinks instead) and feels bad about all these poor rampant humans being rounded up and given the Capri-Sun treatment. So he's doubly desperate to find a blood substitute, because he wants humans to be left alone and because he doesn't want to turn into an ugly From Dusk Till Dawn vampire.
Of course, this isn't the entire plot because if it was, that would make this shit some kind of vampire version of And The Band Played On or something while weepy-ass Hawke furtively stares into microscopes and beakers. Nah man, this story soon gets into action territory and some really good shit as the blood starts to flow and flesh begins to fry. If you're like me, it's at this point that you ask yourself Can This Movie Get Any Cooler and it's right after that moment that Willem Dafoe shows up to answer that shit with a resounding Fuckin' A. I don't know how much is given away in the trailers or commercials because I haven't seen them. Come to think of it, I have no idea how I found out about this movie in the first place, all I know is that I looked up the listings for upcoming flicks and recognized the name Daybreakers, so I must have seen that shit somewhere.
Is David Goyer okay with this movie, by the way? I'm asking because the entire premise of Daybreakers is pretty much based on a deleted scene from Blade. It was supposed to explain how the vampires were going to get by if the villain's plan to turn everyone into vampires succeeded. Goyer then tried to writing it into Blade II but it didn't make the final cut, and finally he triumphed in having the blood farm idea placed in Blade Trinity, but since nobody but me and David Goyer liked that one, I guess it doesn't count and the idea is public domain, so the Spierigs were like "Crikey, we oughta make a film 'bout that, mate! Oy, put that didgeridoo down and pass me another Fosters and toss another shrimp on the barbie and put on Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles and don't forget to feed Dingo before he attacks the kangaroo again" because that's how Australians roll. Visually, the movie sometimes reminded me of Blade too, with the night scenes shot in a soft fluorescent lighting style that gives everyone a pale blue skintone, backed up with a production design that contrasts the pale blue with deep crimson. Okay, so it might be a tad derivative in the setup, but the execution is lots of fun and full of enough of its own cool original ideas that it balances out nicely.
This is mainly an action flick, but there are quite a few genuinely good scares and nasty shocks peppered throughout. I honestly didn't see a few of them coming and actually jumped -- and I hardly ever jump at these things. There are a couple that are lame and that's because they're those stupid fucking Boo! fake jump moments, where something jumps out and it's a fuckin' cat or something. It's weird, I can always sense a lame fake scare moment coming and I guess that's why I'm not a big jumper in the first place. The whole setting was pretty fascinating to watch, I would've loved to have watched a movie about this vampire world even without all the exploding bodies. I read a random tweet on Twitter from someone saying that the Underworld movies own this fuckin' flick, and all I can say to this unknown dude is I feel sorry for your mother. Underworld was a decent movie but way too fuckin' stretched out and long. Not this movie, this moves at a good pace and when it was over I kinda wished there was more to see, whereas with Underworld, I was a little glad it was finally over.
I liked the details -- both big and little -- of the vampire society. People still eat and drink, but blood is the main additive; for example, people line up at their local coffee joint for a nice hot cup of java mixed with O-Positive. I also liked how the vampires get around the whole daylight thing by using underground walkways that hook up to every house and building in the city, and automobiles are equipped with special windows that block out all that harmful UV. It was an interesting touch that some of the vampires in this movie are heavy smokers; since the only thing that can kill a vampire is sunlight or a stake in the heart, a nicotine-jonesing motherfucker is now able to tell Cancer to go fuck itself and get his or her smoke on. I understand the show True Blood kinda touches on this kind of shit, but I wouldn't know because I'd never watch the motherfucker and besides, I had to cancel HBO a while ago. On the plus side, they gave me a year of free Showtime and The Movie Channel so now I can rock the Splatterday double features like a mutha.
There used to be a time when there were low-to-medium budget genre pics like Daybreakers filling the cineplex, movies that may not have had the best special effects or biggest stars, but became hits simply by being Good Times. You don't see that shit so often anymore, now these kinds of flicks are either mega-budget studio tentpoles or ultra-low-rent SyFy Channel filler. So it's cool that Lionsgate is kinda making such movies their bread & butter, and hopefully Daybreakers will do well enough to let them produce more of these types of flicks. I'm sure they'll eventually pull a New Line and try playing with the big boys, and I'm fine with that as long as they don't lose their balls when it comes to making R-rated movies with a Capital Fucking RRRRRR. No shit, these guys produced Rambo, Punisher War Zone, Crank: High Voltage, and yes, even those fucking Saw movies. All those movies did not shy away from the red stuff, they never had a hint of trying to possibly go for a PG-13 like most genre movies do nowadays. Yes, I'm aware that they fucked over Midnight Meat Train and to a lesser extent, Blood Creek, but nobody's perfect.
The cast is good; with the exception of Hawke, Neill and Dafoe, these were all new faces to me. The guy who played Hawke's brother did a great job being an asshole; I think you're supposed to feel sorry for him toward the end but not me, man. Fuck that guy. Supposedly Mungo from Undead is here, and if that movie had made a bigger impression on me maybe I'd have recognized him. It's funny, I think I like Ethan Hawke more when he's doing genre stuff and not in the roles that scream I'm More Than A Pretty Face, I'm An AC-TOR. Whatever, I'm sure he finds this kind of shit beneath him. I wouldn't be surprised if he looks down on Explorers, so fuck that asshole.
I remember reading this book by Peter Biskind that was either titled Harvey Weinstein Is A Fat Fucking Bully Who Ruins Movies And Won't Stop Eating, or Down and Dirty Pictures, I'm not sure. Hawke was among the many actors and filmmakers interviewed and there was a bit where he was bitching about how his name is good enough for a studio to shell out $40 million if you want to make a cop movie, but they won't give a 1/4 of that to him and Richard Linklater to make A Scanner Darkly. I don't remember what my point is or if I had one to begin with, other than I think it's pretty funny that the movie did eventually get made, but they cast Keanu Reeves instead and Hawke got assed out.
Anyway, I dug this movie. It was fun, there was plenty of blood and action and suspense and all that shit. The filmmakers should've gone out of their way to throw a few titties in there for homeboy, but whatever, it's still good times. But there are no half-naked queer triplets that turn into werewolves, so unless your chick is awesome, she'll probably want to go see the other vampire movie. Sorry bro, it's the way of the world.
3 days ago