Tag Archives: Patrick Fugit

The Vampire’s Assistant: A Film That Truly Sucks

Vampires Assistant

About a hundred million billion years ago, I went to see a Halloween-themed movie called Trick or Treat, which was about a kid who brings a dead rock star back to life by playing one of his records backwards. The film had no “name” actors, minimal special effects and was a huge cheesefest, but compared to a new film I saw in preview last night, elaborately titled Cirque duFreak: The Vampire’s Assistant, it was the greatest piece of cinematic horror known to man.

Like much of the currently hyper-popular Vampire fare (Twilight, True Blood) The Vampire’s Assistant is based on existing material – in this case the popular teen-oriented Cirque duFreak series of novels by Darren Shan (which is also the name of the film’s lead character). I’m all for people getting in the vampire game as long as they’ve got something tasty to bring to an already crowded party. But the main problem with The Vampire’s Assistant – the plot of which revolves around the Vampire head of a traveling freak show, and a naive teenage boy who agrees to become that character’s “half-vampire” assistant in exchange for saving his best friend’s life – is that it can’t seem to figure out if it wants to be a lightweight “Disney Family Channel” comedy for kids, or a violent, bloodthirsty vampire epic for adults.

This inability to really sink its teeth into a firm identity culminates in a film that’s a perplexing cross between Dracula and Dawson’s Creek. John C. Reilly – who rarely makes a misstep – stars as the Vampire Mr. Crepsley, and the cast includes many recognizable names such as Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, Orlando Jones, Patrick Fugit and Jane Krakowksi, who all do their best to work with a weak script and minimal to non-existent direction by Paul Weitz (American Pie). The three teen leads, however, are played by unknowns and I must say, with the exception of Josh Hutcherson, who played Darren’s best friend Steve, the talent pool is ridiculously shallow. Actor Chris Massoglia as Darren, in particular, has all of the onscreen charisma of one of my socks.

Although the audience laughed during quite a few scenes, it felt like the kind of forced or “canned” laughter you’d expect to hear plugged into a TV sitcom. The one line that extracted a serious belly laugh from me was where (Not a Spoiler) Hutcherson’s character Steve bends down over the coffin at Darren’s funeral and whispers, “I hate you so much for leaving me here with these idiots.” Too lame and directionless for adults and too scary/gory for kids, I’m not sure who the target audience is for The Vampire’s Assistant. But I sure will be curious to see if it sinks or swims at the box office opening weekend.

Cirque duFreak: The Vampire’s Assistant Opens Nationwide on Friday October 23rd

Movie Recommendations: One to See and One…Not So Much

This Movie Sucks

Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando Wallow in Self Loathing in Last Tango In Paris

How many times has this happened to you? You read glowing reviews or hear endless hype about a supposed Cinema Classic from the ‘60s or ‘70s that you’ve managed to never see, either because you were too young/not born yet when it was initially released or it’s never been available on DVD before, or maybe just because you sensed it was not going to be your thing.But after years of people telling you how great this film is, you figure it must be at least worth seeing, since it was nominated for an Academy award for Best Picture, or so-and-so won a Best Actor Oscar for his role or whatever. So, you add the film to your Netflix queue and get all excited when it arrives because you are about to see the Greatest Movie Ever Made! But after all the years of anticipation, it just ends up being aggressively terrible and sucking wildly. That’s how I felt when I wasted over two hours of my life that I’ll never get back watching what is certainly one of the most overrated pieces of pretentious Art House crap ever put to film: Last Tango in Paris.

Last Tango in Paris was released in 1972 and earned a scandalous X rating at the time, due to the film’s controversial, “highly erotic” and sexual subject matter. But let me tell you something: the only thing shocking about this movie is how bad it is. While there’s quite bit of (female only) nudity, which gets pretty boring after two hours, there are exactly three sex scenes, two of which involve no nudity, and one of which is a rape scene. The two main characters, played by Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, speak in improvised non sequiturs throughout most of the film and they usually end up sounding like a couple of mental patients. Although the acting is pretty decent, both characters are largely unlikable. On the up side, the street shots of Paris are lovely. Here’s why I think Last Tango in Paris (which even now mysteriously carries the NC-17 rating) was ever rated X: full-frontal bush shots. Because you know how offended Americans are by pubic hair. The best part of the entire film is the last scene, where Schneider’s character shoots Brando in the gut. If you haven’t seen the film yet, don’t read that last sentence.

Great Movie!

Shannyn Sossamon, Patrick Fugit and Shea Whigham star in Wristcutters: A Love Story

A film I can recommend is a new release called Wristcutters: a Love Story, starring Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon and Tom Waits. Wristcutters is dark comedy about what happens to suicides in the afterlife. For a movie in which every character has, as they say “offed” themselves, it manages to be hilarious, intelligent and, ultimately, really sweet. I loved it. If you live in NYC Wristcutters is playing at the Quad Cinema on 13th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.