Based on the anime of the same name, “Blood: The Last Vampire” isn’t exactly a terrible film, but it’s pretty bad considering it was actually given a theatrical release. Set in the 1970s, the story follows a half-human/half-vampire demon hunter named Saya (South Korean film star Jeon Ji-hyun, now going by the stage name Gianna) as she tracks down the head bloodsucker who murdered her father. When her undercover identity is blown by a military brat (Allison Miller), however, she’s forced to play babysitter as she prepares for the biggest battle of her life. I’m not exactly sure how Miller continues to get work, because although she has a much better understanding of the English language than her Asian co-star, she fumbles over her lines like she’s the one in need of a dialogue coach. That might be forgiven if the special effects weren’t so noticeably low-budget, but between the CG blood that sprays out of every character and the gargoyle-like creatures that the vampires transform into, this film has B-movie written all over it. So why the generous rating? Because in the right hands, this could have been a half-decent movie. The stylish swordfights alone make “Blood: The Last Vampire” more entertaining than it should be, but it’s still only worth seeing if you’re a fan of the anime.
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Okay, so a lot of things have changed in this country with regards to attitudes towards gays, but just how will America deal with the envelope-pushing antics of Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest creation? “Brüno” has already offended a few in the gay community, but is also certain to be utterly avoided by America’s sadly larger homophobic community. As far as I’m concerned, just how this obviously risky material will fare is anyone’s guess, since from all accounts “Brüno” is no cuddly “Will and Grace” or “The Birdcage” and really puts its confrontational money where it’s transgressive mouth is, however comically presented. It’s R-rating has been deemed by Roger Ebert and many others as “very, very hard.”
Reviews are positive, more or less, but critics are somewhat divided. Ebert liked it a lot. Owen Glieberman awarded it a fairly rare A-. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker, however, was less amused and trotted out a variation of the “queerface” meme some were concerned with a few weeks back. On the other hand, as I’ve discussed at my other blog home in another context, Lane’s statements are often, to be extremely easy on him, ill-informed. Joe Morgenstern, on the other hand, makes his point simply enough: he doesn’t think it’s funny, just kind of gross.
Hollywood Reporter box office prognosticator Carl DiOrio is fairly high on the film regardless, calling about $30 million or more for the Larry Charles directed stunt comedy. Pamela McClintock, his opposite number at Variety is saying it should debut in vicinity of Baron Cohen’s prior out of the box hit, “Borat,” at somewhere near $28.5 million. Apparently, the logic here is that Cohen’s now far greater fame will be canceled out by subject matter/content that some audience members who liked the earlier film may just want to avoid this time around. There’s obviously general agreement about the numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one proved the prognosticators wrong either by making a lot less or a lot more money than expected.
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It generally isn’t a good sign when a trailer contains the words “from one of the producers of,” but if you like your movies covered in the blood of the undead, then “Blood: The Last Vampire” is just what you’re looking for. Watch the trailer now!