Byzantium

byzantium (1)

The vampires who keep coming :: Ever since Byzantium released, I have been looking forward to watching the same, and it is only much later that I had a chance. May be Byzantium is not a movie for everyone or most of the normal people, and the multiplex owners seems to have realized it even before the movie had any chance to grace the theatres – I guess they would have done the same with Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles if released in this decade without Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. My desire for a good vampire movies has rarely been given wings and neither did any possible werewolf love, thanks to the pathetic creations like Twilight and Mortal Instruments which have used the supernatural beings in a terrible manner, forcing me to abandon any thoughts of watching movies with vampires in it – saying no to vampire stuff was never that easy before. There was also Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters which seriously contributed to the same (it at least had the stunningly beautiful Zoey Deutch, unlike the Twilight series), only turning itself to a funny movie whenever it was really serious. Then I had to watch Byzantium, and that made me come up with a few points why I loved this wonderful movie.

1. Byzantium is the best vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles of 1994, belonging to the same class as the 2010 movie Let Me In (or Let the Right One In) and slightly better than the less appreciated movie of 1997 – Vampire Journals.

2. Byzantium is a good thing to have if you did accidentally put your head into Twilight or Mortal Instruments, as it has that ability to bring you back to love the supernatural and the vampire yet again; thus the antidote you will need.

3. The movie stands right between Let Me In and Twilight, with a romance that has a teenager falling for the very old teenage vampire girl, but with all the creepiness of the former, and no bloody exaggerated romance like Bella vomits on Edward Cullen.

4. The bloodsucking is given a new dimension with the use of nails, while we have been looking at bites all the time – coming from the same director who gave us Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, I was expecting something new like that.

5. The story has two female protagonists, a mother and daughter who are vampires who are always on the run, and mystery that surrounds them if unfolds in such a beautiful manner that you can’t stop thinking about it.

6. There is a code among these two vampires, as one of them only feeds from the weak and the dying, sending them to eternal joy from the world of pain, and the other one feeds on those who attempts to take advantage of the weak.

7. There is no turning the other into vampire by biting, and the vampirism of this movie is something that is gained by being prepared to sacrifice one’s life – only by being ready for death can one achieve eternal life – now that is no usual evil vampire stuff.

8. The use of flashbacks is beautiful, and they come up with something every now and then as the story of the present moves on. It is never without its captivating ability, and the background story is a big boon for this one.

9. Saoirse Ronan is an awesome young vampire who has complications with her mother who never ages, and makes them go around the world. Her words and the pain that she narrates with it, are striking; and then there are her eyes and the way she stares.

10. Gemma Arterton as Clara Webb is wonderful with her ability to survive, from being the subaltern among all due to one bad decision of her life, she keeps making the right decision, and supported by her beauty and charms, she thrives; looks more beautiful than ever.

11. Jonny Lee Miller’s Captain Ruthven is a as close to a dreadful villain as possible, one who unfortunately for the viewers, is not seen in the present, but with those flashbacks, he is responsible for all that the mother and daughter are now, a man of pure evil.

12. Sam Riley’s Midshipman Darvell also has a certain amount of charm, being the man who could have avoided this plight, but was not given the opportunity by the young lady. This depiction shows him as a man in pain and helplessness which he tries to hide.

13. The movie has a haunting atmosphere right from the beginning to the end, and there is no real happy side to it. There is some brutal telling of the story which is dark and with abiding sadness, but still not that horror or tragedy that one would expect.

14. Byzantium is incredibly powerful in its dealings with the supernatural as well as the human side. It has a huge darkness element in each of its characters, which is surely more than any sign of goodness we see in this movie.

15. There is a river of blood which flows down through a waterfall and meets the sea, while birds make strange sounds a fly away, as dark clouds fill the sky – that moment of transformation which is an awesome moment of visual splendor.

16. The movie has successfully captured the feeling of being alone and different with the daugher, and that of being mistreated and punished for no crime of oneself with the mother, and there is so much beauty in how it is shown.

17. There is a certain amount of contrast being made, with the humans and the vampires, with all the humans in the movie being either good and weak or evil and strong, just the vampires being in the middle of all these with no specific side.

18. The cinematography is too beautiful in this movie, and every time we look at it, we see a beautiful world created with a suiting surrounding, and lovely looking people around, as the two leading ladies steal the show.

19. The past and present comes together, and when it is finished and the mosaic is complete, we have a finished product which is nothing less than a poetry which we were told to complete during our school days.

20. I quote from the movie: “My story can never be told. I write it over and over, wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak: the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw the pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it“.

The final Vampire Bat touch :: I believe many of us might have thought that there is nothing new to come up with the vampires, unless Anne Rice gets younger and come up with some new book or Suzanne Collins moves into some kind of futuristic vampire science fiction story. But this movie proves otherwise. Even with slight drag and often lacking in big surprises, this exquisite movie successfully battles the popularity of stupid vampire romance for teenagers, and leaves us hoping that it had a better release around the world. Neil Jordan once again scores, this time, without the help of a novel. Well, how can one expect the Vampire Bat not to like a vampire movie which has some intellect and imagination associated with it? *Meanwhile, I have reached twenty posts of the story @ The Divine Epic (http://divineepic.wordpress.com/) and I hope you all can have a look my fiction work 😀 As I have separated the story into four separate timelines, I believe that it will be easy to follow if you click on each timeline and read the story instead of going ahead right from the beginning to last post 😉

Release date: 28th June 2013
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Warren Brown, Thure Lindhardt

byzantium copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Shadows

darkshadows (16)

✠ The rating given to this movie might shock a few mortals, but as this blog written from the Vampire Bat’s perspective, he has decided to take control to fulfill his partially broken promise to that Count who lived as a recluse inside a coffin in a castle. Yes, the Vampire Bat doesn’t broke promises, or rather doesn’t break anything other than may be, his own teeth – blame the root canal offers from local dentists in that case. To add to it, the Vampire Bat shall write this review on a Wednesday, as he was born on such a day. He is mentally depressed after writing a test, and after asserting what he had found out that each and every other person of his world wants the questions from the syllabus while he wants the same from outside. May be he never belonged to the world of humans, and should rather fly away one day. But the depressing side is that he can’t fly – so he will write a bloody review about one of his favourite vampire movies, and undoubtedly his favourite blood sucking movie of 2012. Yes, this is that movie.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? Its time Barnabas Collins gets his due. He is one of those few vampires who could see McDonalds and feel the presence of Mephistopheles. He is our saviour against Twilight and Mortal Instruments creatures of pseudo-darkness.

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. I love that scene when he sees M for McDonalds: Over 1 billion served. He was accidently quite right about the fast food and the beverages being the demons who suck the soul out of our insides, leaving us nothing of much use. Twilight and Mortal Instruments are the result of the same fast food, as they mess up our brain rather than the stomach.

Count Dracula: So what do you think about this vampire and his family? I did feel the presence of other wonderful forces of the supernatural right from outside the theatre where it was showing – I was wandering around in the mist until I crashed on the wall of that place, it was not good for my fangs, but still felt good for the presence.

Vampire Bat: Barnabas returns 196 years later, after feeling the wrath of unrequited love from a witch, Angelique Bouchard who cursed him into a bloodsucker, killed his parents and also forced his true love to commit suicide. She is a witch who curses his family and gets him buried alive in the middle of a forest, takes over his family business and puts his descendents into ruin. The worst thing is that the witch is still alive, using her magic to identify herself as her own descendants. This love has always been so overrated, right?

Count Dracula: Yes, even with me it is the same. I already feel a lot of love for Angelique Bouchard. Eva Green is that good, and I still can’t forget The Dreamers. I can remember my first infatuation with a witch already. Why would he not return the love baffles me. Whom does he have instead?

Vampire Bat: There is Bella Heathcote taking rebirth, from Josette du Pres to Victoria Winters. She appears as if an enchanting fairy vampire, not as some random Bella. But the two characters you will surely love are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carolyn who asks “are you stoned or something” to which the recently risen Barnabas says “they tried stoning me dear, it did not work”. To add to it, he calls a lava lamp “pulsating blood urn”, and the crane as “a giant dragon with millions of teeth and a thousand shining eyes” – you have to love him. His seriousness is awesome!

Count Dracula: I have felt that myself, rising from the grave and seeing the world different. I know you feel the change each and every day. The world is indeed to fast, and I am sure that most of us hope that each and every day we go to sleep, we never wake up again. I wish for the sunlight to disappear, and you hope for the day to end, and there is not much different in how we see the world, and we are as outdated as Barnabas Collins; it is just that we have no lover witch.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that, and Dark Shadows makes sure about the same. Moretz is wonderful in the movie, and the way she says “I’m a werewolf, okay? Don’t make such a big deal over it” to her mother, and always special mention needs to be for Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Meanwhile, if you don’t like Bella Heathcote in this movie, you have to be blind – not that closing of eyes you do with sunlight, but the real blindness of the physical world.

Count Dracula: You make the point there. I have read about the many faces of Johnny Depp too, and I shall not doubt him at any moment. This face is my favourite indeed, and then comes that Jack Sparrow followed by the crow-carrying head in The Lone Ranger. Then comes Sweeney Todd and The Hatter – who won’t love Alice in Wonderland by the way, and they were two special characters. I am not going to count the faces of such a versatile actor, as that won’t even please my coffin. Instead tell me more about Eva Green.

Vampire Bat: Her character has angel in her name and some strange love which keeps her in the attitude that “If I can’t have you, my love, I’ll destroy you!” – not that much of hatred as she keeps him alive; should be too much admiration. She tries everything she can, but true love finally wins – not really a surprise, isn’t it? Eva Green is fantastic in the movie, as she is beautiful, charming and perfect as the pretty witch. The cast itself is the real strength of the movie. With such awesome names involved with it, who would not wish to watch this movie? The comedy is also well done.

Count Dracula: That sounds like interesting stuff. A vampire movie with all of these? That should cure me from the death strike which fell on me with Twilight and Mortal Instruments. I shall have a new life of blood. You should have reviewed this one much earlier – remember how long ago I had told you to do the same?

Vampire Bat: Despite the good box-office returns, the ratings haven’t been good with it. I would think that it is the result of an anti-vampire sentiment and possible cruelty which has been unleashed on vampire movies due to terror which was Twilight and all the sequels that followed tried desperately to destroy man’s faith in vampires. No wonder Byzantium didn’t release at this part of the world. There is only one chance for us to reclaim that lost faith, or rather two – release a movie from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or create the much needed sequel to this movie which has left a good chance for another story by the end of it.

Count Dracula: It is much needed, that is for sure! These undead creatures are bothering me too much just because they had to watch Twilight. Even the wolves no longer listen to me – they think I am going to wear their skin as clothing and call myself a werewolf. See how these movies are badly affecting my children of the night. We need that, or I might have to turn my whole castle into a one big coffin.

Vampire Bat: There is less hope for both of them. The problem about having a Vampire Chronicles movie is that nothing can live up-to the awesomeness of Interview with the Vampire. The scope of a Dark Shadows sequel is less, due to the lack of need and the not that positive critical reception. One day, we will take over as official undead reviewers with bad teeth, and then we can change the whole thing.

Count Dracula: Then we shall stick with this Barnabas as the vampire hero of this century so far. The last century’s control was disputed, but for this one, it has become pretty clear, the only challenge being from Selene and the next closest was indeed Rayne, but they were rather the heroines who enchanted us. I shall pray for the rise of more vampire in movies and literature which are as good as Barnabas.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, especially as you have not much to do, and all the souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you, especially the dark shadows if you got what I meant.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Johnny Depp in his new avatar, and then due to the good work put into it by Eva Green with great support from the rest, especially Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Here, we have that true vampire comedy movie which adds almost every ingredient correctly, thus making this a great choice, and the reason why you need to go back in time and check the theatres.

✠ I don’t know about that television show or soap opera on which this movie is based, and that might not be necessary, but if you love vampire flicks and bloodsuckers in literature, you will like Dark Shadows which keep the worlds of Twilight and Mortal Instruments away. Even if you don’t care much about the same, the comic side of the movie will keep you interested. Still, there is so much seriousness underneath striving for true love, which makes this a wonderfully layered movie. I am pretty sure that whatever you like and wherever you are from, most of you will at least like this one as an average movie, and there are not many places where you can have this much vampire fun along with looking at such a great cast. Behold the beauty of the shadows of this movie, and you might end up loving it along with Bella Heathcote. This one won’t even make Count Dracula think twice, and in that case, long live Barnabas Collins, who has survived a witch’s love and watched his own dark shadows in a coffin for such a long time.

Release date: 11th May 2012
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller

darkshadows copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.