Fright Night

EntertainmentMoviesKSWBChris SarandonVampires (supernatural entitiess)Roddy McDowallUSC

Walking in to the press screening, I overheard somebody sarcastically say “Oh boy, another movie in 3-D.”

I turned around and added, “Oh boy, another remake.”

If you’re going to take the 1985 cult classic and revamp it, this is the way to go. It was a great use of CGI and 3-D.

They got Colin Farrell, who seems to relish this role. I do wish they would’ve made him a bit more charming and seductive, instead of getting right to it.

Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse plays a similar character to his Kick-Ass role – going from nerd to bad guy.

Toni Collette (Sixth Sense) plays yet another mother; Imogen Potts (Jane Eyre, Solitary Man), another pretty face; and the two biggest surprises were Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and David Tennant.

Tennant plays a magician and “vampire expert” who would rather drink and chase his blonde assistants than chase vampires. How Russell Brand didn’t get this part is beyond me.

Yelchin, as the reformed nerd now hanging with the cool crowd, is an interesting actor that holds his own with Farrell and Collette.

I wasn’t expecting much, since director Craig Gillespie did Lars and the Real Girl (although I’m one of the few critics that didn’t care for that). He also gave us Mr. Woodcock. I was one of the few critics smart enough to avoid that.

Screenwriter Marti Noxon did I Am Number Four, so I wasn’t expecting much.

That made me pleasantly surprised by this playful film.

Las Vegas seems like the ideal location and they have a few funny jokes about the city. It just seems Farrell could’ve had more fun in there. Sure, he brings home a showgirl, but why not a trip to the casino?

At least they use the surrounding desert nicely at times.

There were some nice modern touches to this vampire tale. For example, a smart phone is used to figure out how to pick a lock.

The film had some good laughs, but wasn’t as clever as it could’ve been. I also think the movie needed some scary moments. You don’t jump out of your seat once.

Be sure to catch the Chris Sarandon (from the original) cameo. I missed it.

Oh, and easily the best named vampire ever (Jerry).

 

Side bar: I don’t usually go to the panels at Comic Con, but this year I went to the Fright Night one. Here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

All I remember about the original 1985 film was that it starred Roddy McDowall doing a lame, late night horror movie show with the name Peter Vincent (Price?).

The entire cast was there.

A few women whistled at Farrell, who had his shirt unbuttoned all the way down to his belt.

He talked about being a fan of some of the vampire movies he grew up with, including The Lost Boys.

A woman in the crowd with huge fangs asked Farrell if it was harder to learn how to tango or wearing the fangs.

I don’t remember what he said, but director Craig Gillespie talked about how much he loved the make-up and fangs in the original film and he wanted his version to pay homage.

Yelchin was asked about characters that are in sequels or remakes. He responded how fun it makes things when you’re doing research on the character.

Mintz-Plasse was asked about doing a Kick-Ass 2. He said he had no clue when they’d do one but that he’d really look forward to doing it. It seemed every other question a person in the crowd asked was about that movie.

And most people that asked Farrell a question wanted to start things off by saying how great he was in In Bruges. I wondered why there wasn’t at least one person that mentioned his amazing performance in Cassandra’s Dream or Ondine.

One guy asked if it was hard to go from playing a mean character in the recent Horrible Bosses. When Farrell said he didn’t hear the end of the question and asked him to repeat it, the guy said “…or have you ever stopped being one?”

The crowd all had a collective “ohhhhhh.”

Farrell laughed as he wiped his brow, saying “I’m glad I asked him to repeat that.”

He said about that role, “It was prop central. They gave me a belly and a ball cap.”

He sarcastically added, “It was the first time without my wig.”

One person asked if he could play any super hero, who would it be? He answered, “Well…I thought I was playing a super hero when I did Alexander, but it didn’t pan out.” He went on to explain that he didn’t know the history and back stories of many of the super heroes.

One person gave the backhanded compliment of telling Farrell that he likes his recent work a lot more than the early action pictures where he did things like being trapped in a phone booth. It was great listening to Farrell talk about how fame came to him quickly, and he lost sight of why he went to his first acting class in Dublin, or why he returned to that second one.

A few USC students asked Farrell a question just like one he spent five minutes answering, and Farrell talked about the good roles he’s gotten recently and how when he reads interesting scripts, his lips just start moving.

Mintz-Plasse told a great story about being recognized. He said “It’s fun, but the other day it was annoying. I walked into a 7-11, and I hear these guys loudly saying ‘It’s McLovin.’

Another said ‘No it’s not.’ I said to them ‘I can hear you guys. Yes, I’m McLovin. How you doing?’”

He ends the story saying “They walked out with one of them saying to the other ‘I told you it was him. You owe me five bucks.’”

Aside from being recognized, another problem with the stars attending Comic Con – even though rules state you’re not supposed to ask for hugs or autographs during the panels – one lady in the crowd yelled out for Farrell’s name tag. He took it off the table, and handed it to her. As people were applauding, he bent down to autograph it. At just that moment, the camera showed him from behind and everyone could see his butt. The crowd erupted in laughter, and he walked back to the table laughing.

Mintz-Plasse than told the crowd his name tag was available if anybody wanted it.

Farrell still had his head in his hands laughing, and finally looked up to say “I’m glad I got rid of those pimples this morning.”

TMI, Farrell, TMI.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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