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FB Movie Book Smackdown: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2010)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith

Publication Date: March 2, 2010

Published by: Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

Price: $21.99

Movie Adaptation – Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith. Release date: June 22, 2012. Studio: 20th Century Fox

I wanted to expand my reviews than have endless movie reviews. This new feature was inspired by a spirited discussion with the guys from The Film Cynics where Brian made a point about not reading the source material before or after seeing a movie. I chimed in that my love a particular book have been ruined by awful adaptations of it… (coughs) Running With Scissors. I thought that I would read books that have been or will be made into movies and give let them fight to the death.

The inaugural review goes to Seth Grahame-Smith’s follow-up to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies named Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The premise of the book is self-explanatory. There have been hundreds of biographies about out sixteenth presidents ranging from a slavery sympathizer to a closet homosexual. Why not the next best thing is to transform him into a lean, mean vampire-killing machine?

When a 500-year-old vampire by the name of Henry Struges commissions Grahame-Smith to transform the “six secret journals” of Lincoln’s lifelong battle with the creatures of darkness. Ever since, Abe was a little boy, he would question why his loved ones would be healthy one day and die the next day. He learns the bitter truth about the existence of vampires and makes a solemn vow that he would see each one of them dead. He is recruited by the same Henry Sturges to do just that. You are asking yourself, why would a vampire want to kill his own kind? You just have to fight that out for yourself. Let’s just say it’s about an impending war. It’s not what you think.

My interest was piqued when I saw the cover of the book, especially the back. The idea of the tall, lanky Abraham Lincoln being a badass vamp killer was awesome.

The problem is that he rarely killed as bloodsuckers in the book. He would have his acquaintances carry out some of his assignments for him. The main problem with the book is that Grahame-Smith felt restricted about retelling Lincoln’s life that is bogged down with facts that have heard before with sprinkling of stretched truths. It was like he was afraid to go balls out insane with it. It could have gone further.

My morbid curiosity about the damage of war or ravenous vampires would do to the human body kept my interest to read further. Even though there were sporadic kills in the book, the gory details about blood gushing out, beheadings, plunging axes into chest cavities or brains spilling out of skulls made me cringe and laugh with joy at the same time.

Final KO: Without seeing the movie, I can only hope that the movie was focus more on the killing and less with the facts. If the movie was like  Zombieland, than I would give the advantage to it.

Decision: ***1/2

Finding Nemo (2003)

If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny, and I know funny. I’m a clownfish.

— Marlin

The last couple of Pixar movies that I have reviewed, I had a lukewarm response to most of them. The creators are trying to have the action more grounded, but they always have to cock it up with putting kiddy stuff in it. Finding Nemo is the last great Pixar movie in my opinion. This #149 Move of All-Time on IMDb won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It was well deserved.

A clownfish, Marlin (Albert Brooks) moves his wife, Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) and their 400 eggs to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. When they get there, the community is threatened by a barracuda that takes Coral and almost of all of her 400 eggs, saved one.

Marlin tries everything in his power to protect his son, Nemo, perhaps overprotecting him. It’s understandable. Nemo is eager to go to his first day of school. Marlin is worried that the children are going to make fun of Nemo’s shorter fin, which they call his lucky fin.

His new friends want to explore the open ocean, which is forbidden. When Marlin comes to take Nemo away, Nemo wanted to be on his own. He swims up to a boat near by. Nemo is caught by the swimmers and taken with them.

Frantically searching for Nemo, Marlin bumps into the scatterbrain Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) to tries to take him to where the boat was last seen.

A shark sneaks up to the duo, Bruce (Barry Humphries). He brings the two into a Sharks Anonymous meeting with Anchor (Eric Bana) and Chum (Bruce Spence). Marlin sees a clue to help find Nemo. One of the divers drops his mask with his contact information on it. He needs someone that could read it. That someone is closer then he might think.

Nemo wakes up in a fish tank at a dentist’s office. Nemo meets the creatures that inhabit the tank Bloat (Brad Garrett), Gurgle (Austin Pendleton), Bubbles (Stephen Root), Peach (Alison Janney), Deb (Vicki Lewis), Jacques (Joe Ranft) and Gill (Willem Dafoe). A pelican, Nigel (Geoffrey Rush) pops by the office window to chat about the goings on at the office.

Nemo learns that he is going to be the pet of the dentist’s niece, Darla for her birthday. He has limited time to escape before he is torn away from his father forever.

The look of this movie is absolutely gorgeous. The effects of the water, the sun rays beaming into the water, the vibrant colors of the Great Barrier Reef were fantastic. The textures of the landscape made my jaw drop. I swear, I thought that some scenes were live action. At the end of the movie, I weep like a baby. I hate myself for crying. I’m a sucker to a final reunion. It’s not like I’m spoiling the ending. It’s obvious.

Judgment: If you want to watch the best Pixar movie of the Aughties, watch this .

Rating: ****1/2

Funny People (2009)

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Does your act just design to make sure no girl will ever sleep with you?

— George Simmons

Funny People is a movie that I was eagerly anticipating for writer/director Judd Apatow. Thoroughly enjoying his previous movies, I want utterly disappointed with this movie.

In the first trailer of this movie, the whole plot was spoiled. I thought, “What the fuck?” That knocked my rating down considerably.

Adam Sandler is playing a twisted version of himself by the name of George Simmons. A comedian that is unfulfilled by his life with the kiddie movies that he makes, the spacious mansion and he does not have anybody in his life.

He discovers that he has a form of leukemia. Coming to terms with his “death sentence”, he hires a struggling stand-up comic, Ira (Seth Rogen) as an assistant to help him write jokes.

George wants to get back together with the one that got away, Laura (Leslie Mann), but he is set in his ways that he won’t realize that his brand of humor drives people away.

The movie has some funny bits especially with Jonah Hill with his one-liners and Aziz Ansari. Most of the time, crickets were heard in the audience during most of the movie.

I was very bored with the film. I was looking at my shoes, scratching two week old mosquito bites, yawning and dozing a little bit. That’s not good.

Trying to mix comedy with drama doesn’t work. It was a real downer and not hopeful. Some of the characters were horrible human beings. You cannot root for them. I didn’t care about any of them.

George Simmons was fixated on the size of Ira’s cock and balls. The sexual puns and jokes were jarring. Overkill. Enough the cock, balls, sex and asshole jokes. Enough!

Judgment: This movie does not live up to its name. How ironic.

Rating: **1/2

Star Trek (2009)

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Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives, including yours. I dare you to do better. Enlist in Starfleet.

— Christopher Pike

I’m geeking out right now. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I was eagerly anticipating JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for some time now. When Paramount announced that the movie was going to be pushed back from December of last year to May of this year, I was afraid. Usually when a movie is pushed back, that means it is awful and in need of some changes. I was hesitant to see this movie.

Seeing the positive responses popping up. This film has a a Metacritic score of 83. That’s pretty good and it is currently by this post at #59 of Top 250 of All Time of IMDB. Being a Trekkies myself, I enjoyed myself with this movie.

Abrams does not waste any time. He gets right to the nitty-gritty with non stop action when the crew of the USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan vessel lead by Capt. Nero (Eric Bana), who is from the future.

The crew is evacuated when the Capt. Richard Robau (Faran Tahir) is killed and acting captain George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) orders everyone off the ship including his pregnant wife, Winona (Jennifer Morrison) that is giving birth to James. The ship is destroyed.

A quarter of a century later, we are introduced to the cocky and rebellious Kirk (Chris Pine) and emotionally suppressed Spock (Zachary Quinto). Kirk tries to pick up Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is a Starfleet bar when he gets into a fight with other Starfleet members.

With a bloody nose, Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) urges Kirk to enlist in Starfleet to carry on the family name.

During his training at Starfleet, he meets the hypocondriac Bones (Karl Urban). They become friends.

On a simualtion, Kirk and Spock meet and a heated exchange. News comes that the planet Vulcan is under attack by Capt. Nero.

The action focuses on the crew of Enterprise that also includes; Mr. Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

I can’t reveal what happens after that, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

I did have some problems with the movie.

  • It is mainly the lens flares. There must be five of them a minute. Sometimes the screen would be completely bright. It was so distracting.
  • I know that this is a re-imagining of the series, but Spock and Uhura hooking up? Fellow Trekkies help me out here.
  • I did not understand what the hell Chekov was saying half the time.
  • Some of the special were a little dodgy to me.
  • What it me or do the mention of Klingon anything raise a red flag to you?
  • The adolescent Kirk and Spock scenes did not work for me.
  • When we meet Sulu, he doesn’t know how to go into warp speed, but he could go to low impulse in the outer ring of a planet. Huh?
  • Lastly, the allegorical undertones that made the series was absent here. There was no subtext to the actions of Nero.

It was a solid movie overall. I was shocked when Winona Ryder came onscreen to play Spock’s human mother, Amanda Grayson or Tyler Perry being on of the council members of Starfleet. Also, Amanda Foreman that was on Abrams’ show Felicity played one of the crew members. The shout outs to the original series that got me gitty.

Judgment: If you want to have a total nerd-gasm in your seat, watch this movie.

Rating: ****

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