Thursday, May 12, 2005

Interview with the Vampire

Intro: I was in the mood for vampires and so I rented "Interview With the Vampire", which I heard it to be a very good movie and hailed one of the best vampire movies. Also, there are good stars like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas! I love vampires, and I would have never imagined Brad Pitt as a vampire!
This movie is based on a novel from the vampire series written by Anne Rice. It is more or less a vampire’s biography.

Summary: Daniel Malloy is a journalist, a collector of stories of people’s lives by interviewing them. In one interview, he discovers that his interviewee is a vampire with indeed a story to tell. This vampire, Louis (Brad Pitt), tells his story starting at the point he becomes a vampire, 200 years ago.
The young Louis has lost his wife and child and sees no reason to live on. However, he is lured by lonely vampire longing for a companion - the evil, dashing, charismatic vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise) - who bites him and turns him into a vampire. Now Louis has to learn to survive this way and accept unalterable the truth of vampire life: to survive, he must kill. Though Lestat teaches him the way of the vampire, how to move and how to hunt, Louis refuses to take a human life and constantly feeds off the blood of animals and the blood of those whom Lestat kills. At first, Lestat tolerates this, but soon he loses patience. Louis decides to leave his side, but the clever fiend turns an orphan girl, Claudia (Kristen Dunst), into a vampire to make him stay. The three becomes a sort of family and travel together, seeking for more of their kind. Dark events occur as Lestat’s intolerance grows for both Louis’ and Claudia’ habits – one refuses to kill while the other over-kills. Hatred grows within the vampires; they are no more one happy family…
Louis continues his haunting story – his meeting with other vampires, his acts of vengeance – telling it to the eager journalist. His story is truly one not to forget.

Comment: I really, really liked it a lot. A great film, truly lives up to the rumor of it being one of the greatest vampire movies out there. Simply makes me long to be a vampire, lol! No, despite my wishing, Louis advices strongly against it. Well, watch and you’ll get what I mean. Antonio Banderas looks creepy in this movie, I mean dead creepy. Brad Pitt looks alright, he always does. They both give a very fine performance, really very well done! Brad Pitt was indeed impressive, but I was most impressed by Tom Cruise. You know, every character of Lestat in Hollywood should be played by Cruise! Stuart Townsend did make a good Lestat in "Queen of the Damned", but I really find that Cruise gives the character the X-factor.
Story-wise, it is very fresh and just juicy. I have never seen anything like it. An experienced, lonely vampire finding – or making – a companion and then teaches this newborn vampire the ways of survival. They express in the movie the cunning, the passion and the fury of vampires. Brad Pitt’s character, Louis, is the vampire with the most emotion, his struggling battle between his damned, immortal side and his mortal emotions. If you are someone who loves vampires, you will be very, very impressed by this movie and I strongly recommend it.

Favorite Character: Definitely Lestat. Clever, street-smart, practical, cunning, dashing, charismatic and with a strong sense of humor, Cruise’s Lestat differs from the other Lestats that have appeared on screen in that he is much fresher and more light hearted instead of the usual going about using his good looks to seduce young women then drink their blood. I mean, I honestly love this Lestat! Although evil and cold blooded, he’s a good teacher (in an evil way) and a fun companion.
Tom Cruise looks so dashing with blonde hair. Well, he looks strange at first, but then I got used to his new look, and now I find him so ‘princey’! He certainly looks sexy in that 1700s suit. And those fangs, wow!
What I love most about Lestat is his great sense of humor and his charisma. Here are some quotes from him during one of his humorous moments:

(Louis, in his depression, has set his rich house on fire and is lying helplessly on the floor as the house burns around him. Lestat bursts in through the window.)
Lestat: Perfect! Just perfect! Just burn the place! Burn everything we own! Have us sleeping in the field like cattle!
Louis: You thought you could have it all...
Lestat: Oh, shut up, Louis! Mon Dieu (My God)! Come here.
(Louis has passed out. Lestat picks him up and pulls him out of the burning house.)
(After the burning. Louis comes around.)

Louis: Where are we?
Lestat: Where do you think, my idiot friend? We're in a nice, filthy cemetery. Does this make you happy? Is this fitting, proper enough?

(Seeing Louis finally taking his first bite, Lestat rejoices and picks up a corpse and dances around with it.)
Lestat: Aha! There's still life in the old lady yet!

(Walking through the streets of a young America.)
Lestat: Lord, what I wouldn't give for a drop of good old-fashioned Creole blood.
Louis: Yankees are not to your taste?
Lestat: Their democratic flavor doesn't suit my palate, Louis.

(Daniel plays the tape which has recorded Louis’ story.)
Lestat: Oh Louis, Louis. Still whining Louis.
(Lestat ejects the tape and turns to Daniel.)
Lestat: Have you heard enough? I've had to listen to *that* for centuries!

Also, Lestat’s favorite quote seems to be "I'm going to give you the choice I never had." and you might grin when you see when he uses that phrase. A ferocious killer yet a fun character, Cruise’s Lestat is truly is unlike any other vampire you would ever come across.

Personal Opinion: Although a good movie, a very good movie, it started going kind of down-hill when Lestat left the picture. It wasn’t a wreck though, just wasn’t as interesting as when Lestat was around, coz after him there was no one who delivered any funny dialog or had the same charisma as he did. But to me, this movie has one of the best endings. It left me grinning broadly.
My Rating: 4/5*

Racing Stripes

Intro: Racing Stripes is a very entertaining movie. Complete with a fun storyline, cheesy inspirational music and dialog, meaningful moral, cute talking animals, truly a movie for the whole family!

Summary: The movie is about a zebra who, when young, is accidentally left behind and found by a farmer – who was actually a great race-horse trainer until his wife died and he lost his will to train – who takes him home to his farm and allows his daughter to keep him. (You can only guess what name she gave him.) On the farm, Stripes (Frankie Muniz) meets the barnyard animals – a cranky Shetland Pony named Tucker (Dustin Hoffman), a wise old goat named Franny (Whoopi Goldberg), a simple-minded rooster named Reggie, and the deranged newcomer gangster-pelican named Goose who’s really a chicken who ducks. Well, Stripes grows up believing he’s a race-horse. He dreams to run on the track and take on the track’s famous champion’s cocky son, Sir Trenton’s Pride. With the help of his barnyard friends, the jumper filly, Sandy (Mandy Moore), his personal coach, Tucker and the farmer’s daughter, Channing, not to mention helping the broken farmer himself return to training horses and train Stripes, this spunky zebra sets his sights on the finish line to beat Pride and show the other race-horses once and for all. But the ruthless Sir Trenton won’t be taking that chance of letting his son be beaten by a zebra. After all, he was a champion, just like his father, and his father, and his father, for a hundred years since the founding of the track.

Comment: A fun movie to watch, keeps you entertained. Well, in my opinion, they put a little too much human emotions into the animals (like the horses’ private Blue Moon Races, and how the heck can a filly and a zebra hook up?), but still, it is fun to see the animals do what they do. The dialog will itch out from you a giggle or two. And the animals are very well trained, sometimes their movements actually go along with the dialog! I think Dustin Hoffman was perfect for Tucker. I love Tucker, he is so small and cute, I want him! The one I really love the most, though, has to be Sir Trenton.

Favorite character: Although Fred Dalton Thompson did put up a good performance as the fierce, jet black 1500 pound champion stallion, it is the horse which really gave the character THE factor. Beautiful, big, strong, majestic, the stallion used to play Sir Trenton is truly an absolutely amazing animal. See how he whinnies furiously and rears up in rage, the whipping of his ebon tail and the trashing of his hooves, the flaring of his nostrils and the glare of his eyes. When he gallops, just listen to the mighty beating of his hooves, you may even feel his hot breath at the back of your neck. Absolutely gorgeous! When this ruthless monster rears his handsome head, you’d better run for cover, coz he’s the boss of his very own gang of fearsome stallions, each one of them professional racers, bred to compete. If I were to ever get a horse, a horse like Sir Trenton would be my choice! You know, apart from Tornado (The Mask of Zorro), Sir Trenton is the most gorgeous black stallion I have ever seen on screen.

*Spoiler* Personal Opinion: Like every family movie, the star of the show always wins, thus Stripes does beat Sir Trenton’s Pride in the end and comes out first. Well, it is after all a movie, but had it been real life, a young zebra like that would never have beaten a whole track of pro race-horses. Beating one of two might be possibly, but not all! Especially not a stallion who’s been trained to hard and is descended from a long line of champions while this zebra is son of circus performers descended from a line of wild zebras in the plains of Africa, and all he has for training is a cleared dirt track through a corn field and a make-shift gate.
Okay, sure, he’s also got the greatest race-horse trainer in Kentucky and a Shetland Pony who’s trained his own share of host of champions, including Sir Trenton himself! But put Stripes beside even Sandy the filly whose affections he wins, even she stands taller than he does! And his jockey is a 16-year-old girl. In addition, he got pummeled by Sir Trenton and his entire gang only the night before the race. No way he would have recovered and run in such a short period of time.
Also, in my view, although some of the other horses cheated in the race, Stripes himself kind of cheated too, in a way. Those horses, well, Ruffshodd, to be precise, pushed him towards the rail. And Sir Trenton’s Pride’s jockey whipped out at him. (Pride didn’t do anything, though. He’s a meanie, but a fair-player.) Anyway, I say Stripes cheated too because he had off-track help. He had Goose in the air looking out for him, he had the two flies deliver messages from the air to Tucker, who then got them to pass advice, directions and instructions to Stripes to help him win the race. Also, those flies bit Ruffshodd on the buttocks, making the stallion rear painfully and throw his jockey off, thus getting disqualified – one competition for Stripes out of the way.
So although Stripes’ heart, will, training and perseverance did help him win the race, the win wasn’t totally 100% honest. The other horses never had any advice from anyone off the track, they had to think for themselves and follow their jockeys. Honestly, I do wish that Pride had won the race. He deserved it, seeing the training he put in and that mean lady (president of that track) made the trainers push him twice as hard and double his training. Also seeing how hard and tough Sir Trenton was on him and Pride’s defeat meant a hundred-year line of champions broken by a zebra. A real disgrace to Pride, I can’t see why he took it so lightly and even became nice to Stripes. Sure, he’s not a sore loser, that’s good, but I think he should have felt some anger and shame. After all, his father’s been drumming into his head since he was a colt that he has to win the championship. But that’s my view.
My Rating: 3/5*