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Movie Reviews – Bass Ackwards

Movie reviews this week looks at the charming road trip movie Bass Ackwards.
It stars Linas Philips as Linas ( you realise a movie might be a tad biographical if the lead actor has his real first name), it also stars John and Gema Philips, Linas’s real life parents as themselves.

We meet Linas as he videos a wedding, speaking and video the people at the wedding, alternated with flash backs of when Linas was a kid, and his affectionate and adorable family.

Linas is currently staying at a friend’s place, but inevitably his friend and girlfriend would like some privacy, so Linas moves out, and starts working at a Alpaca Llama farm, run by a wonderful Alpaca farmer played by Bill Green, who has a classic 1976 converted Volkswagen mini, Linas falls in love with the moment he sees it; that is a source of constant amusement throughout the movie, especially when Linas tries to get people to pass by him as it is way too slow.

He decides to go on a road trip, to New York and visit his parents, using the classic mini, and asks his on-off girl friend Georgia played by the gorgeous Davie-Blue if she would like to come along. It turns out Georgia is not quite sure if she wants to continue a relationship with Linas. There is an amusing scene, where Linas phones up Georgia and asks her to come over, whilst she is at home with her current boyfriend, she makes an excuse and meets up with Linas, unbeknownst to her, her current boyfriend follows her, he sees her coming out of Linas’s flat, and when she leaves, attacks Linas without a word being said.

Linas seems to be a very friendly individual, and even offers space on his car for someone to sleep in, Jim played by Jim Fletcher, who just happens to knock on his window whilst he is asleep and asks if he can come in (it would be pretty rare for anyone to do this), and throughout the movie Linas exemplifies himself as someone willing to help anyone regardless of his own circumstance, as an example, a young boy steals a toy in a shop and runs off, but the shop keeper spots him, and he is about to call the police in front of his alarmed mother, when Linas steps in and says he was just about to pay for it, he duly pays for it, and saves the boy and his mother a lot of trouble.

Linas and Jim continue their road trip together, with Jim going to New York in order to spend time with his daughter, as it is his turn for his daughter to stay with him, as is the agreement with him and his ex-wife. At first you wonder if Linas has made a terrible mistake, giving a lift to someone who seems anxious at best, and says he has hardly had any sleep in the last few days; if this is heading towards a disaster Linas is going to regret.

Bass Ackwards is a charming movie, and once the end credits are shown you realise it was a family endeavour.

Movie reviews is filled with great reviews of feel good movies like these.

Linas with the classic Volkswagen Mini the inspiration for the name of the movie and you can see why

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 7/04/2010 10:27:00 AM

Movie Reviews – Wonderful World

Movie Reviews this week looks at the romantic drama Wonderful World. This is a unique look at the often repeated love tale. It stars Matthew Broderick (Godzilla), as Ben Singer, a Proofreader at a big firm, who is a little disillusioned at how his life is turning out so far.

He used to be a children’s entertainment singer, who released an album, that is now forgotten folklore, but now he is a Copywriter, which has left him a little empty, he is also divorced, and in his regular meetings with his daughter, Sandra played by the lovely Jodelle Ferland (The Messengers) for their regular get together, you realise he is out of touch with her too.

There is some escape and companionship for Ben, in the form of his mesmerising flatmate from Senegal, Ibu, played by Michael Kenneth Williams (The Philanthropist), through their regular fights at chess (which Ibu always win), we find out that Ibu is much more interested in helping Ben find romance, even offering to be his wing man.

Matters come to a dramatic turn of events, when Ibu, who is diabetic, collapses, while Ben tries desperately to get him to the hospital, only to find that his car has been towed, it turns out an angry neighbour had Ben’s car towed away as he felt it blocked his access to the road.

Although they arrive at the hospital, Ibu slips into a diabetic coma, Ben is asked if Ibu has any next of kin, Ben recalls he often talks about his sister, Khadi played by the gorgeous Sanaa Lathan (Alien Vs. Predator, with an equally impressive African accent), so Ben sends her a message that her brother is not well. She comes to America, and she is just as charming and full of sincerity as Ibu. Ben inevitably falls for her, there is a comical scene where Khadi does a custom to contact her ancestors to help Ibu get better, after doing some of the rituals, Khadi suggests they close their eyes, Ben assumes she wants a kiss, only to be fended off that the ritual is not complete, and they must leave the room.

Wonderful World is a love story with a modern day audience in mind, with its theme appreciating the diversity of humanity.

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with great reviews of good films recommended to view.

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 6/23/2010 02:10:00 AM

Movie Reviews – The Hurt Locker

Movie Reviews this week looks at the Oscar-winning, hard-hitting Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker.

It stars Jeremy Renner (28 weeks later) as Sergeant First Class William James, an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) bomb disposal expert, who has been sent into Bravo Company, at Camp Victory. We join the movie as Staff Sergeant Matt Thompson played by Guy Pearce (Memento) along with Sergeant JT Sanborn played by Anthony Mackie (Half Nelson), and Specialist Owen Eldrigde played by Brian Geraghty (Bobby), are attempting to disarm an IED, that has been put there to kill and maim as many civilian and military personnel as possible, Thompson is the bomb expert while the other two soldiers are to watch for any problems, i.e. anyone interfering and to keep the people relatively safe.

Unfortunately things do not go as planned, and James soon joins Bravo Company. However his innovative or carefree (as his fellow soldiers regard it) methods at bomb disarming don’t go too well with Sanborn and Elridge, there is a memorable scene where Elridge tells one of his commanding officers, after he asks how he is doing, he says that his team leader is inspired, and mentions sarcastically that his team leader is going to get him killed, the commanding officer, mentions that he shouldn’t be having these kinds of thoughts, that war is a one in a lifetime opportunity, as Elridge looks distantly, the audience cannot help wondering at the indirect sarcasm in that statement, as Elridge tells asks him if he knows what it is he and the other men do every day, his commanding officer states that he has had his time on the field, to which Elridge sarcastically asks “Where was that…Yale“?

Matters come to a heated exchange when James attempting to disarm a bomb, that is extremely complicated, removes his bomb suit, so as to get comfortable, as he puts it “If I am going to die today I might as well die comfy“, even going as far as to throw away his radio as Sanborn constantly tells him that there are “too many eyes” watching them and they have to move.

We get a little glimpse at the difficult problems facing the military in Iraq, attempting to liaison with the local population (there is a charming boy who sells DVDs that has made friends with some of the soldiers; nicknamed Becks; who James gets friendly with over a game of soccer, and the ice is broken over his namesake, Beckham, but the boy states he is much better than Beckham), often meeting language barriers, and at the same time not trying to seem dictatorial, but requiring them to keep at a safe distance while they try and do their job.

The acting in the Hurt Locker is top-notch all the way, and the movie is shot almost documentary style, with close-ups of the soldiers and the mass of emotions they go through during many tense moments. You can see why this is the first movie to have a woman, Kathryn Bigelow winning the Best Director Oscar.

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies that are a must see.

Seargeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) in his bomb suit

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 6/21/2010 09:10:00 AM

Movie Reviews – Black and Blue

Movie Reviews this week looks at the beautiful drama Black and Blue.

It tells the story of Amber, a teen having troubles at home with her mother, a meth addict, and her mother’s boyfriend a violent drunk. We meet Amber at a music class, where she seem oblivious to the class, amidst the troubles she is having at home.

Soon afterwards she finds her mother unconscious from taking meth, and while her mother is recuperating in hospital, she is sent to stay with one of her relatives, but not before her teacher says goodbye to her with the gift of a lovely 1930’s classic guitar. It turns out the life her relative leads is no different from the life Amber was having with her mother, and in the middle of the night she takes her sole belonging, the 1930’s guitar and runs away.

Living on the streets Amber faces some of the dangers prevalent for anyone just made homeless, from the homeless people adamant she doesn’t take any of their sleeping spaces, to the dangers often faced by single teens on the streets, fortunately for her she is protected from a terrible attack from some homeless vagrants, by a couple of street musicians she saw early on in the day, one of them notices her guitar and asks her if she can play, she says she can’t and walks away. As fate would have it she soon befriends the street singers that helped her and their lead singer, namely Ryan played by Dennis Denicola, Teresa the lead singer of the group, played by another beautiful singer Carolina Hoyos, and Marco, played by Daniel Galo, Teresa notices the guitar she is carrying and asks her to play, she mentions she doesn’t really know how to play it, but Teresa insists that this is the condition if she wants to hang around with them; she must play, and as if on cue, she plays a beautiful melody and sings too, to the amazement of all, and no doubt the audience too. Amber is played by the gorgeous and very talented Christine Evans (she has one of those dreamy voices, that is reminiscent of Alanis Morisette).

Amber befriends a local blues singer Billy, played magnificently by Zach Harmon, who she first meets wanting to sell the 1930’s classic guitar to him to raise some money, Billy asks why on earth anybody would want to sell such a beautiful instrument, he fixes the loose strings on the guitar and plays a lovely song, and soon afterwards Amber asks him to teach her, which he is only too happy to do, it turns out Amber is looking for that father figure she has missed all her life, and Billy sees her as someone who needs guidance, which he is very happy to give.

Black and Blue is a beautiful tale of hope when all seems lost, both for Amber and her newly found companions. The songs and guitar melodies in Black and Blue are what makes this movie enchanting, and Christine Evans is a very talented singer and guitarist.

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies that are a must see.

The street musicians, from left Teresa (Carolina Hoyos), Amber (Christine Evans), Ryan (Dennis Denicola) and Marco (Daniel Galo)

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 4/20/2010 07:43:00 AM

Movie Reviews – War Eagle Arkansas

Movie reviews this week looks at the biographical drama War Eagle Arkansas.

This is a fairly recent biographical tale made for the big screen, that tells the story of two boys living in a rural community, War Eagle, Arkansas. The title might elude to it being a war story but it is far from it.

It is a story of a charming disabled boy known affectionately as “Wheels” played brilliantly by Dan McCabe (The Cake Eaters), and his best friend Enoch who has a speech impediment (played impressively well by Luke Grimes [Ryan in Brothers and Sisters]). Enoch lives with his grandfather better known as “Pop”, played by the stalwart Brian Dennehy (Gladiator).

Pop is trying to get Enoch a baseball scholarship into one of the best sporting universities around their area, and it soon becomes obvious to the audience that Pop seems to have regretted giving up his dreams of being a major baseball star and staying in War Eagle, and he doesn’t want that for Enoch, but you are not quite sure if Enoch dreams are to leave War Eagle.

The friendship of the two boys is so close, that at the first few scenes you automatically assume that they are siblings, spending as much time in each other’s company as possible, and Enoch even gets to say the last word to Wheels, after his mother Jessie played by the ever brilliant Mary Kay Place (Adalene Grant in Big Love) gets him ready for bed.

Pop is in charge of the local baseball team, and in his attempt to get Enoch a baseball scholarship, pushes him as best as he can, as he sees it there is nothing in this town, to keep him there. Apart from baseball, there is an allusion to watching wrestling on TV, and one can’t miss the obvious focus on Jerry “The King” Lawler, and can see the symbolism he represents as someone who made it out of war Eagle, Arkansas. There is the usual romantic interest as Enoch has the hots for a lovely girl, Abby played by the surprisingly young looking Misti Traya, and there are a few embarrassing moments for Enoch as he summons the courage to ask Abby out, but of course his speech impediment gets in the way, unless Wheels is by his side to speak for him, and in one painful scene, where Enoch tries to do it alone without Wheels, he leaves in a rush, as the words cannot come out and a few of Abby’s friends can’t help but giggle at his attempt. When he does eventually ask her out, the audience will feel the loneliness and pain Wheels feels, on a life he aspires for but is not realistic of seeing come true.

War Eagle Arkansas, is an endearing movie of two boys, and their friendship as they decide what path their lives are going to take, and they seek advice from the sole preacher at this close knit community, Jack played by James McDaniel (Lt. Arthur Fancy in NYPD Blue).

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies that are a must see.

Enoch (Luke Grimes), with his friend Wheels (Dan McCabe)

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 4/15/2010 04:43:00 AM

Movie Reviews – The Slammin’ Salmon

Movie Reviews this week looks at the comedy The Slammin’ Salmon.
The Slammin’ Salmon is one of the most craziest comedy movies you will see all year
, absolutely hilarious from beginning to end.

It stars Michael Duncan Clarke (The Big Mile) as Cleon “Slammin'” Salmon also known as “The Champ”, a retired former heavy weight boxing champion, who has opened a restaurant The Slamming Salmond, where customers are waited on by a very competitive crew of waiters.

The fun begins when Cleon tells the restaurant’s manager Rich Ferrente played by Kevin Heffernan (Beerfest), that he owes 20,000 dollars to a Yakuza friend, and Rich must make 20,000 dollars tonight from the restaurant’s takings or he will be in for a rollicking.

Rich in his panic conveys to the staff that there will be a prize for the waiter that generates the most cash that night, and competition begins amongst the waiters, Nuts played by the hilarious Jay Chandrasekhar (Beerfest, The Dukes of Hazzard), who normally takes his medication or else he turns into his alter-ego Zongo (and you just know somehow he is going to forget to take his medication), there is an absolute classic scene, where Nuts/Zongo is trying to serve a salmon to one of the customers, but in his mind all the customers at that particular table are cats, he thinks he is lovingly holding the salmon while the cats all feed on it, while he asks “what does it taste like”? But in reality he is forcefully shoving the salmond down the throat of an unfortunate customer.

One of the waiters Connor played by Steve Lemme (Beerfest), used to be the main lead on a TV show CFI Hot Lanta (an obvious parody of CSI: Las Vegas and its spin offs), but he lost his job, and embarrassingly has to go back to waiting tables at The Slamming Salmond, but ofcourse his colleagues especially Guy played by Erik Stolhanske (Beerfest), can’t wait for tidbits on others stars in the show, such as Morgan Fairchild who makes a guest appearance as herself.

Mia played by the gorgeous April Bowlby (Two and a half men), is in ballerina school, and aims to win the prize as the waiter able to bring in the most cash, but she is about to get involved in an accident that might ruin her chances entirely. The chef Dave played by Paul Soter (Beerfest), has got his socially awkward twin brother Donnie (also played by Paul Soter) a job as a waiter, and he is also thrust into the competition, but is soon corrupted by Connor, who equally has eyes on the prize, as well as Tara, played by the gorgeous Cobie Smulders (The L Word), a medical student, who along with trying to fight for the prize, has to prevent Nuts from turning into Zongo, by making sure he takes his medication.

The Slammin’ Salmond has superb acting, with all the cast in the movie having excellent comedy timing especially Michael Duncan Clarke as the ominous boss, and the movie has great cameos, notably from Sendhil Ramamurty (Dr. Suresh in Heroes) as Marlon Spencer who has brought his girlfriend Samara Dubois played by the gorgeous Oliva Munn; to propose to her, but is about to get into a spot of bother with the engagement ring.

The hlarious cast of Slammin' Salmon from left: Nuts (Jay Chandrasekhar), Guy (Erik Stolhanske), Mia (April Bowlby), Donnie also as Dave (Paul Soter), Tara (Cobie Smulders),Connor (Steve Lemme), Cleon (Michael Duncan Clarke), and Rich Ferrente (Kevin Heffernam)

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 4/11/2010 02:14:00 AM

Movie Reviews – Uncertainty

Movie reviews this week looks at the thriller Uncertainty.

It stars the gorgeous Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Kate and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) as Bobby, two young couple, going about their normal day who decide on the toss of a coin whether to spend 4th of July at the home of one of their parents or together, the movie follows them as they spend it together, when they happen to find a mobile phone at the back of a taxi, against suggestions from Kate to hand the phone over to the driver of the taxi, Bobby refuses, and tries to be the good Samaritan, by calling random numbers on the phone, telling them he happens to have found the phone at the back of a taxi giving his name and personal mobile number, as well as his address, to contact him so he can return the phone.

Soon afterwards someone calls saying they will arrange to pick up the phone from Bobby’s location, and that they will be identified in a red shirt, while Bobby says they can identify him as he is wearing a yellow shirt.

It turns out that some shady characters are dead set on getting the phone, and much to Kate, and Bobby’s horror, the fellow who came in the red shirt is shot in broad day light, while someone else phones Bobby on the same phone telling them his name is Dmitri claiming that the phone is his and he wants it back.

The young couple flee for their lives, as the assassin scans around looking for who the man in the red shirt came to meet. The first instinct of the couple is to rush over to the nearest police station and report what has happened, and to mention that it has something to do with the phone they found at the back of a taxi. Whilst at the police station they begin searching on the Internet with the names the know in connection with the phone so far, and happen to come upon some information that the phone might contain some financial figures to do with the lottery, and it could be worth several millions in the right hands.

The couple begin to wonder what on earth is so vitally important on the phone that someone is prepared to kill for it, and they decide to send a text message to Dmitri (switching on the phone for a short time as they are worried they may be some kind of trace on it) with an anonymous email account to email them on (so they can check it publicly), where they ask for $500,000 to give back the phone.

At first the man calling himself Dmitri, refuses stating this is his phone, and threatening them, Bobby calmly tells Kate he will pay, while Kate says it doesn’t look as if he is prepared to pay, however the last email sent from Dmitri says he will pay, and the young couple set about trying to find a safe location for them to meet.

What sets this movie apart is that it follows two different alternate scenarios, which the viewer sees simultaneously, instead of Kate and Bobby happening to find the phone at the back of a taxi, they alternate scenario is that they visit Kate’s parents home to celebrate the 4th of July, where Kate’s mother Sylvia played by Assumpta Serna (Henry the VIII) is trying to talk some sense into Kate’s sister Sophie played by the gorgeous Olivia Thirlby (Juno), and Bobby tries to impress Kate’s mother, father and very close knit family, amidst some interesting news the couple haven’t yet found the strength to let Kate’s parents know about.

Uncertainty is a very interesting movie of cat and mouse, with superb and energetic performances from the brilliant cast.
Movie Reviews is constantly updated with great reviews of good movies that are a must see.

Lynn Collins (Kate) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Bobby) about to toss a coin

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 4/09/2010 12:37:00 AM

Movie Reviews – The Blind Side

Movie Reviews this week looks at the Oscar winning biographical drama The Blind Side.
It is an absolutely charming story, of Leigh Anne Tuohy played by the lovely Sandra Bullock (Speed), and the story of her adopted son, and you can see immediately why she won the best actress Oscar.

She plays a conservative mother in a very nice and well-off neighbourhood, who sees Michael Oher played very convincingly by Quinton Aaron, one rainy night walking aimlessly, she asks her husband Sean played by Tim McGraw (Four Christmases), to stop the car, she asks him where he is heading seeing he is just in a t-shirt in the pouring rain, he says he is going to the gym, she asks him again why he is going to the gym, and tells him the gym closed a while back, and for him not to lie to her, he says he is simply going there because it is warm.

Prior to this, we are told the story of how Mike got into the school in the first place. The coach at this Christian school, Burt Cotton played charmingly as always by Ray McKinnon (Randy and the Mob) had been approached by a fellow to allow his son into the school, as well as Mike, the coach sees Mike and the man’s son playing basketball and sees the potential of Mike making them famous on a sporting arena, so convinces the board that it is their Christian duty to let him in. However in class Mike seems distant minded, and all the teachers are worried as he seems the slowest in the class, except for one particular teacher Mrs. Bower played the lovely Kim Dickens (Hollow Man) who notices Mike remembers the majority of what the teachers are saying, as he is able to describe in his own words the grasp of what it is they are saying, but may not necessarily write it down as eloquently as they wanted. As all the teachers are discussing Mike’s ability one day, wondering if he can write, Mrs. Bower shows them a note that Mike had written that had been thrown in the trash, speaking of his sadness and what the teachers expect of him, to do all the work alone.

Leigh asks where he lives, his parents, or grandparents, Mike shakes his head nonchalantly, and Leigh amazingly takes him to her home, with a mild confrontation with her husband as to how long Mike is going to stay, he asks “This is just for the one night“? Where Leigh nods absentmindedly, but the expression on her face is already thinking of much longer term.

Mike gets along with Leigh’s two children, her son S.J. played very impressively by Jae Head, and her daughter Collins played by the adorable Lily Collins, Leigh asks her how she would feel if Mike moved in with them permanently, she nonchalantly agrees, and when Mike is asked how he would feel moving having Leigh and Sean as his legal guardians, he smiles and thought he was already part of the family.

The Blind Side turns out is a very beautiful movie, of acceptance and love that a young man needs, and the struggle one woman faces with social services, her social circles, and the community in trying to make one boy’s life better, and what makes this movie even more amazing is this is a true story.

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with good reviews of great movies that are a must see.

Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) sitting with her adopted son, Mike (Quinon Aaron)

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 3/11/2010 07:07:00 AM

Movie Reviews – An Education

Movie Reviews this week looks at the charming biographical drama An Education.
It stars the lovely Carey Mulligan (Bleak House) as Jenny, a very bright sixth former, on her way to studying English at Oxford, currently studying her A levels during 1961.
She is pushed by her well meaning father Jack, played with a great deal of melancholy by Alfred Molina (Dr. Octavius in Spider-man 2), and her supportive mother Marjorie, played by Cara Seymour (Hotel Rwanda), you can tell immediately from his demeanor that this is a little biographical if not the entire movie, there is a scene that gives an idea of how far things have changed where Jenny’s boyfriend drives up to a black family waiting on the pavement playfully picks up one of the kids and takes them into an apartment, on returning Jenny asks how he knows those “Negroes“?.

As Jenny goes home one day after a cello lesson, a mysterious stranger David played by Peter Saarsgard (Jarhead), offers her a lift, well in fact he offers her cello a lift, saying he is worried such a lovely instrument would be damaged in the rain, and he wouldn’t want her to jump in the car with a complete stranger, so she can walk while he drives. As a flirtatious teenager surprised at the attention she agrees, and after a short while walking and talking she enters the car and is dropped promptly at her front door.

He is charming enough, and soon he starts to stop outside of her school, and the inevitable romance commences, at first viewers may be a little perturbed why an older man would want to date a young school girl, but after sometime you do realise David does genuinely care for her. Surprisingly seeing he so well cultured, Jenny’s father agrees to the liaison, then of course it is 1961, and he sees his daughter’s options are either excelling academically and going to Oxford, or meeting a very wealthy and cultured individual, and being looked after, as he puts it “He wouldn’t want you if you were thick“.

David somehow manages to convince Jack to allow him to take his daughter on weekend trips, along with his friend Danny played by Dominic Cooper (The History Boys), and his girlfriend Helen played the gorgeous Rosamund Pike (Surrogates, there is a sarcastic scene where all four of them are in Oxford, and Danny mentions the dread of having to suffer for three years here, where Helen agrees, when in actuality Rosamund Pike did go to Oxford), and even to Paris.

Jenny after sometime sees the rigmarole of going to school and studying hard only to find a boring job and be in it for the rest of her life, as too depressing and she confronts her headmistress played by Emma Thompson (I am Legend), after it is found that she is dating an older man; that could interfere with her education. She states during this confrontation that her stance of leading a studious and boring life to get into Oxford only to enter into a studious and boring job for the rest of her life has to be justified, for future students who may have the same questions.

An Education is a brilliant and well made movie, and you can see immediately why it has Oscar nominations protruding throughout, especially for it’s main character Jenny played by Carey Mulligan.
Movie Reviews is constantly updated with excellent reviews of great movies that are a must see.

Jenny (Carey Mulligan) in Paris with David (Peter Saarsgard)

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 3/07/2010 04:12:00 AM

The Vampire’s Assistant

Movie Reviews this week looks at the enjoyable teen fantasy Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. Regardless of the strange title of this movie, it follows in the vein of Twilight, as a few teen fantasy movies have tried to emulate since the massive success of Twilight and it’s sequel New Moon.

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant stars Chris Massoglia as Darren Shan, a well meaning, high achieving teenager, pleasing his parents, and doing well at school, however his best friend Steve played by Josh Hutcherson (Robin William’s son in RV) is regarded as bad company for Darren notably by his parents, and he is given an ultimatum after getting in trouble on account of Steve, to never see him again. As with any typical teenager feeling the need to rebel (there is a funny sequence where his father tells him, what is expected of him, college, job, family, repeatedly in that order, until Darren sees himself repeating those words to his own child).

While the two friends are hanging out, a mysterious limo drives by and out of it comes a flyer for a circus show, entitled Cirque Du Freak, hence the title of the movie, Steve as typical as the antagonist in a movie challenges Darren to come with him and attend it. It turns out Steve has a fascination for vampires, while Darren on the other hand has a fascination for spiders. On attending the Cirque Du Freak show, where a parade of circus freaks are shown for the audience’s amusement, notably a woman who can regenerate limbs, Corma Limbs played by Jane Krakowski (absolutely hilarious in 30 Rock), and Evra the snake boy, played amusingly by Patrick Fugit, as well as a monkey girl, Rebecca played by the adorable Jessica Carlson, there is a lovely scene where Darren asks her what her “freakishness” is, and she states bluntly she is a monkey girl, pauses for effect and states she has a tail, and stares at him for any hint at ridicule.

While watching one of the performances of a certain Larten Crepsley played charmingly by John C. Reilley (Step Brothers), Steve recognises him from one of his vampire books, and assures Darren he is a vampire, interestingly Larten overhears the two boys and gives them a warning not to spread mindless gossip. Darren on the other hand is fascinated by Larten’s spider, and after the show, breaks into his room and steals it; but not before finding Steve pleading with Larten to make him a vampire whilst hidden in the same room. Larten and his friend Gavner Purl played by Willem Dafoe (Spiderman) refuses, and after Larten tests his blood, he quickly spits it out and says Steve has bad blood. It turns out that there are two types of vampires, that have chosen different paths, the Vampaneze who prefer feeding and killing humans, and the others who do not, but prefer to hypnotize them, then feed on them.

Darren takes Larten’s spider, and the next day at school, while Steve assumes he is talking to his locker, Steve opens Darren’s bag and reveals the spider, which eventually bites Steve. With Steve facing imminent death, Darren goes back to the Cirque Du Freak and asks Larten if he has an antidote for the spider’s bite.

A mysterious character called Mr Tiny played by Michael Cerveris (he has one of those faces that seem strangely familiar but not quite sure where), who has the power to bring people back to life, has been looking forward for a conflict between the Vampaneze and the others for sometime, and he sees it in the destiny of the two boys, he would like Darren to join the Vampaneze, but Larten on finding about this, realises that there might be more to the boy than meets the eye, he tests his blood, and agrees to make him a half-vampire, i.e. being able to go out in the sun, and do his errands for him, however Larten’s girlfriend Madame Truska played by Salma Hayek (From Dusk Till Dawn [for a second recalling From Dusk Till Dawn one would expect her to be one of the vampires, but here she is a member of the Cirque Du Freak as a fortune-telling bearded lady]), urges Larten not to turn Darren into a vampire, after having a premonition. Darren initially reluctant finally agrees to this in order to save his friend’s life. Larten then tells him he can no longer stay with his family and so he must die (or at least give the impression he is dead).

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is an enjoyable fantasy movie with numerous characters that should be developed even more in a sequel or two, and even though the name might emit tales of horror it is a more a teen romantic fantasy than anything else.

Movie Reviews is constantly updated with outstanding reviews of good movies that are a must see.

Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly) with Darren (Chris Massoglia)

Posted By Mr D Stevens to Movie reviews on 2/22/2010 06:32:00 AM