SPECIAL FEATURES F
DVD GEEK FACTOR 6
(OUT OF 10)
For those of you who saw Twilight and got pissed off at the lame vampire activity, try this twisted bloodsucker film from director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy).
Song Kang-ho gives a haunting performance as a priest infected with vampire blood after a transfusion. Things get difficult for him when he gets the urge to kill and eat, seeing as he's a man of the cloth. Further complicating matters is a young woman (Kim Ok-vin) who has a carnal interest in the priest. Things get real crazy when she finds out the priest's problems and eventually becomes a vampire herself.
Chan-wook uses vampirism as a platform for all sorts of satire involving marriage, religion, love and mothers-in-law. The film is far from a standard treatment of vampires (no fangs), and it becomes funnier and more bizarre as its two-plus hours tick away. The movie is mostly a psychological thriller, but that doesn't keep the director from staging some incredible set pieces, such as a nighttime chase atop buildings, with vampires hopping from one locale to another.
Ok-vin is especially good as the trapped woman who finds herself unleashed after "turning." Her performance is easily one of the year's best, but I'm thinking the abundance of blood and sex in this film will probably keep the featured players out of Oscar contention.
The movie is long, and it almost feels like a vampire film and a sequel stuck together. It certainly has an epic scope, and when it's over, it seems like the first half was another movie. It's actually a good feeling, because Chan-wook does a superb job of changing the tone as his movie progresses. While the film's beginning is quiet and introspective, its finale is as insane as horror films get.
With this film, Chan-wook continues to prove that he is one of the world's most innovative and daring directors. There has never been another vampire film like Thirst, and I doubt there ever will be.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get nuthin'! Normally I don't give a grade when a disc lacks special features, but there really isn't a reason why this DVD shouldn't offer up some supplements. Good movie, but "Boo!" on the overall disc presentation.
Public Enemies (Blu-Ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B+
DVD GEEK FACTOR 8
(OUT OF 10)
Director Michael Mann worked hard to make his film about John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) look authentic, using the actual locations where Dillinger broke out of prison, got shot and killed, etc. It's funny that he took so many liberties with actual history considering his attention to some of the physical details.
Yes, many things happen out of order, according to history, but you'll find yourself forgiving the inaccuracies, because the movie is so damned good. Depp inhabits the role of Dillinger so well that it's hard to imagine anybody else playing the part. Christian Bale co-stars as FBI agent Melvin Purvis, one of the men who hunted Dillinger down, and Marion Cotillard plays Billie Frechette, Dillinger's main squeeze. Billy Crudup steps into the role of a young J. Edgar Hoover.
This is one of the year's best-looking movies, and Mann's use of sound (especially during the shootouts) is phenomenal. His use of real locations like the Little Bohemia Lodge (the site of an epic Dillinger gun battle) must've been a major rush for the actors, and it looks terrific onscreen. No doubt: Mann is one of the great visual directors of the last 30 years.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Depp gets Oscar consideration for his work here. As of now, his is certainly one of the better acting performances of the year.
SPECIAL FEATURES: An excellent commentary by Mann, during which he offers up focused details about everything in the movie (with very little chit-chat). You also get the Blu-Ray feature U-Control, which gives you the option for picture-in-picture details as you watch the film. Plenty of documentaries round out this decent disc package.
SPECIAL FEATURES B-
DVD GEEK FACTOR 5.75
(OUT OF 10)
Charlyne Yi stars in this combination documentary and narrative film about her quest for true love. At the film's center is a romance between herself and Michael Cera (playing himself). There's been some confusion regarding whether Yi and Cera have ever really dated, but their moments in the movie are clearly staged. They are kind of cute; Yi and Cera actually have chemistry and charisma onscreen. They both have a shyness about them, combined with acerbic wits.
I was surprised to read recently that their long-rumored romance was, in fact, made up. Say it ain't so!
The format of the film is a little muddled, but the charms of Yi and Cera make it worthwhile. Segments in which Jake M. Johnson plays the director of the movie are a little strange.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes, bloopers, making-of docs and musical performances by Yi are interesting enough.