Let The Right One In vs. Let Me In

“Let Me In” is the 2010 American version of “Let The Right One In” a 2008 Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson. I watched “Let the Right One In” (to be referred to as LTROI hereafter) at home on a lonely night when I was in a weird mood and wanted a movie to match. It left an impression. I wasn’t sure how to feel about “Let Me In” (obviously to be referred to as LMI hereafter), directed by Matt Reeves. I referred back to my experiences of The Grudge, both the Japanese and the American version and since I found merits in both versions, I thought this would be a similar experience, so I tromped off to the movie theater, with some vague memories of how it was all going to go down.

After I watched the American version, I came home, and instantly sat down to watch the Swedish film. I was unsure of how I felt and that left me troubled.

The American version is faster paced, with many of the small side stories  (primarily to do with the neighbors) completely cut out. Also, it starts in media res and then cuts back to two weeks leading up to the event. This allows you to be shocked to attention so you can sit through the actual plot of the story before either gore or heart rending angst can be tossed your way to keep you interested. Maybe the American audience is just so inured to pain and horror in our movies that the producers didn’t think we could face up to the plot in its original order and at its original pace. If you are not the type of person who can sit through a number of scenes where nothing of import appears to be happening, then the US version is probably all you need to get from this story. However, the original invokes much deeper and more genuine feelings for the main characters. Continue reading

Repo Men: An Inflight Movie Review

Flying has become a bit more pleasant these days. Sure, you have to get to the airport ungodly early and are now in danger of a cavity search due to a concealed umbrella, but at the same time most international flights now have individual TV screens and a pretty decent selection of movies.

Repo Men is one of the movies that caught my attention as I forced myself to stay awake on a trip from the UK back home (screw jetlag, I’m not gonna let it make a subhuman out of me any longer than necessary). I read the quick summary and it sure rang some bells. The plot is basically about repossession of past due human organs, now why does that sound familiar? Well, maybe because of Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Since I am currently on a plane and therefore cut off from the lifeforce that is Internet data, I can’t tell which movie came first (obviously I found some internet now, and yeah, The Genetic Opera (2008) has 2 years on Repo Men(2010)). In either case, despite the similarity in plot line, they are completely different and both excel within their genre. Continue reading

Playing on the Edge of a Cliff

The Cliffs of Moher are apparently Ireland’s largest tourist attraction. And like the good tourists that we are, we got on the bus from Dublin and made the 4 hour journey over to the West side of Ireland to see the Atlantic from 700 feet away, vertically.

The Visitor Center is worth mentioning as it is in fact an enormough Hobbit burrow, built into a hill, so as to not mar the landscape. Inside is laid out in the flat sheets of stone mined from the surrounding areas.

The cliffs of Moher themselves are a true wonder. Extending as far as the eye can see, they are properly jagged with water endlessly working to erode the rocks from below. Continue reading

Simon Munnery’s “Self-Employed” via the Fringe Festival

This year I chose to take a trip to Scotland over the usual booze-fueled expedition to a Metal Music Fest somewhere in Europe. I grieved for a while, but a choice had to be made and I’ve never seen Edinbourgh (pronounced Eh-din-bur-row or even Eh-dn-bra), the capital city of Scotland. By happy coincidence we arrive in the middle of the Fringe Festival, which takes place there every year during the last three weeks or so of August.

The Fringe Festival itself deserves a few words of description. It is a smorgasbord of the arts, with theater, musical performances of all sorts, street performers and comedy galore. The whole city center becomes a collection of venues, where you can walk into a store to buy some pants and a performance may be taking place in their downstairs space converted for the honor. Street performances range from mimes, to musicians congregating in large bands with huge selections of instruments, to acrobats from all over the world performing feats atop 6 meter poles. Many of the events are free, and many of these free events are absolutely excellent. Most others are anywhere from 5-20 BPS (British Pounds Sterling), which is pretty affordable when you’re used to Broadway prices. And the best part, for me anyway, was that practically everything on the festival menu has a taste of comedy to it.

It was tremendously difficult to find a recent picture of Munnery, so here is the best Internet had to offer.

My absolutely favorite performance took place at The Stand Comedy Club. It was a performance/stand-up by Simon Munnery, entitled “Self-Employment.” We squeezed ourselves into a dimly lit basement with chairs, stools and tables scattered anywhere a square foot could be had. The stage was a few inches away from the tables of those in the front and a pull-down screen on the side of the stage promised some sort of a short film. Continue reading

HIM at Irving Plaza

Date: May 7, 2010
Venue: Irving Plaza
Bands: HIM, Dommin, We are the Fallen, Drive A

Instruments at the ready

I can’t remember when I first heard that HIM, the self-proclaimed “love metal” band from Finland, were making a return appearance to New York in support of their new album.  What I DO remember, is how I felt.  Ask anyone, and one of the first things they’ll tell you about me is that I’m a HUGE fan.  HUGE.  As in I proudly display 6 HIM-related tattoos on my person.  But being a HIM fan isn’t easy, because, same as most bands, HIM has had more than a few trying times. Both their last album (“Venus Doom”) and last NYC tour date left much to be desired.  So, even though I’d fallen in love with the new album (“Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice”), I was still worried about how the tour would play out after the previous disillusionment.  That’s not to say that I thought about skipping the show!  On the contrary, I bought a ticket as soon as I could and another ticket once extra dates were announced (there were three NYC dates in total, but this girl has gotten a little too old to withstand 3 straight days of rocking).  I knew the proof would be in the pudding and I was ready for a taste. Continue reading

Running into Classics: Around the World in Eighty Days

In my mad desire to prove some unspecified thing to some unspecified person, I have decided to run the New York City Marathon. I have made this decision several years ago, but failed to train for it for the past two years. This year my failure was not as great. I’m certainly not ready for anything as serious as 23.2 miles, but I’m getting there. What “getting there” entails is basically running for as long as I can, and so far, that’s about an hour and forty minutes. The problem with this is that I can only zen out for so long before I realize that not only am I in pain, but I am also bored. My brain has been rewired due to recent technology advances (a.k.a. the iPhone) and now expects constant entertainment. So I began to download audiobooks from the public domain, the ones that are out of copyright and where a nice amateur reads them for you and records it on their PC. This wonderful place is called Librivox.

That long-winded intro was meant to explain why all of a sudden I will be reviewing really, really old books, also known as classics. What’s the point of reviewing them? Hasn’t everyone read them already, isn’t this why they’re called classics? Everyone read ‘em and liked ‘em and kept on reading ‘em through the ages.  Well, I have doubts about our generation. We have too many new things to amuse ourselves with, and our desire for the next new thing definitely overcomes any interest we have in anything classical, since we all know it just means really, really old. So, I’ll try to bridge this gap a bit today by telling you, faithful reader, about Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. Continue reading

Bite Me: A Love Story — A review

Vampires have somehow become a very popular trend in the last few years, with everyone seemingly wanting to cash in on them. From “Twilight” to “The Vampire Diaries,” the undead have spread through the media and there is seemingly no escape from them. Christopher Moore’s latest book, “Bite Me: A Love Story,” also tells a story about vampires, but not in the traditional sense. No one in this book sparkles.

Finishing up the trilogy started fifteen years ago, which previously included “Bloodsucking Fiends,” and “You Suck: A Love Story,” Moore released “Bite me”  at a great time, with everyone wanting to read about vampires (more than pirates, or even ninjas). However, these are not your typical vampires. Yes, they will still die if exposed to sunlight, but they are not the old, romantic brooding types that everyone obsesses over. They are not hundreds of years old and trying to hide among the humans in their secluded castles. These are regular people who got turned and are living with it, one day at a time.

The story is mainly told through the eyes of Abby Normal, an underage goth girl that is, like all goth girls, obsessed with vampires. She serves as a daytime minion to Tommy Flood, a young writer from Illinois, and Jody, his girlfriend who happen to be vampires. The book mainly focuses on their group trying to figure out how to stop a group of vampire cats from killing all the homeless people in San Francisco. The plot, while ridiculous, serves as a vehicle for the character interaction, which is where Moore’s clever writing really shines. He writes dialogue which produces laugh out loud funny lines one after the next, without making it seemed forced. Continue reading