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Vamps (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 3, 2012 by  



Hilarious, fun and cheesy but yet in a good way… filmmaker/writer Amy Heckerling has made us laugh with her films such as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Clueless” and she will definitely make you laugh in “Vamps”, a comedy film parodying vampire films/television series.   Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Vamps, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Vamps

FILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 93 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Anchor Bay Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Violent Images, Some Drug Material, Sexual Content and Language)

Release Date: November 13, 2012

Directed by Amy Heckerling

Screenplay by Amy Heckerling

Produced by Maria Teresa Arida, Adam Brightman, Stuart Cornfeld, Molly Hassell

Co-Executive Producer: James Belfer, Peter Fruchtman, Kevin Ragsdale, Mike Shevell, Noel Tyra, Lance Vervack

Co-Producer: Marek Gabryjelski, Anna Rozalska

Associate Producer: Lee Kramer, Brock LaBorde

Music by David Kitay

Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt

Edited by Debra Chiate

Casting by Amanda Mackey Johnson, Cathy Sandrich

Production Design by Dan Leigh

Art Direction by Erick Donaldson

Set Decoration by Ron von Blomberg

Costume Design by Mona May

Starring:

Alicia Silverstone as Goody

Krysten Ritter as Stacy

Dan Stevens as Joey

Richard Lewis as Danny

Sigourney Weaver as Cisserus

Wallace Shawn as Dr. Van Helsing

Justin Kirk as Vadim

Malcolm McDowell as Vlad

Zak Orth as Renfield

Marilu Henner as Angela

Scott Thomson as Erik

Todd Barry as IVan

Kristen Johnson as Mrs. Van Helsing

Goody (Silverstone) and Stacy (Krysten Ritter) are addicted to the night life, clubbing, hooking up and always looking for the next thrill, all the while keeping a big a secret-they happen to be modern-day vampires. But even with lifetimes of dating experience behind them, the duo realizes they still have a lot to learn about love when Stacy unexpectedly falls for the son of a vampire hunter, and Goody runs into the man of her dreams from decades earlier.

It has been awhile since we have last hard of Amy Heckerling, the renown director for creating popular films such as “Clueless”, “Loser”, “European Vacation”, “Johnny Dangerously” and most notably for her directorial debut with “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.

While Heckerling has been busy with directing and writing for television series, in 2012, the filmmaker went to work on a vampire comedy known as “Vamps”.  Instead of going the same route as many other vampire films, Heckerling injects humor and life about two vampires who don’t want to suck on human blood but enjoy the good life.

The film reunites Heckerling with her “Clueless” actress Alicia Silverstone, 16-years later and the film features a talented cast which includes Krysten Ritter (“Confessions of a Shopaholic”, “She’s Out of My League”, “What Happens in Vegas”), Sigourney Weaver (“Aliens”, “Avatar”), Dan Stevens (“Hilde”, “Dracula”), Richard Lewis (“Robin Hood: Men in Tights”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Anything But Love”), Wallace Shawn (“The Princess Bride”, “Toy Story” films), Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”, “Easy A”, “The Artist”), Marilu Henner (“Taxi”, “L.A. Story”), Zack Orth (“Romeo + Juliet”, “Music and Lyrics”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), Justin Kirk (“Weeds”, “Angels in America”) and Kristen Johnson (“3rd Rock From the Sun”, “Bride Wars”).

And now the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment in November 2012.

“Vamps” revolves around two friends, Goody (portrayed by Alicia Silverstone) is a vampire who has been around since the mid-1800’s and remembers the ’20s and the ’30s of New York City as her golden years, but to keep up with her young friend Stacy (portrayed by Krysten Ritter), who was turned into a vampire back in the ’80s, Goody tries to be youthful and learn the lingo and fashion of today’s world.

Both socialites love to have fun by going to the local vampire bar and hanging out with their technological savvy human friend Renfield (portrayed by Zak Orth) but unlike other vampires, they don’t suck on human blood, nor do they attack humans.  In order to feed, both work at a company that captures rats in the city and they feast on the animals for blood.

But Goody is a kind and compassionate vampire and she has taught Stacy how to use her abilities for good and for Stacy, she is happy to have a good friend like Goody watching over her and giving her a second chance at life, having been a drug addict in the past.  But both Goody and Stacy must follow the direction of her stem (the person who turned her to a vampire), the vampire queen known as Ciccerus (portrayed by Sigourney Weaver).

While the two try to live normal lives (knowing that they can’t partake in daytime activities), both attend their local vampire meetings (with other vampires who try to live normal lives) and Stacy attends college, taking night classes with Joey (portrayed by Dan Stevens).

When Joey invites her to his home, she is ecstatic.  But she suddenly finds out at the home that Joey’s last name is Van Helsing, the family descended of vampire hunters.  And his parents Dr. Van Helsing (portrayed by Wallace Shawn) and Mrs. Van Helsing (portrayed by Kristen Johnson) are aware that she is a vampire and may try to hurt her.

Meanwhile, Goody sees her old ex-boyfriend Danny (portrayed by Richard Lewis) from when they used to do anti-war protests in the late ’60s.  When Danny is shocked to see someone that looks exactly like the Goody he knew back in the ’60s, Goody tells Danny that she is her daughter.  While it’s a shock for her to see Danny again, Danny is busy trying to take care of his wife Angela (portrayed by Marilu Henner) who has terminal cancer.

But as the two try to enjoy their lives, Ciccerus is on a killing spree and the vampires start to worry that the vampire queen may give all vampires a bad name.  And to make things even more difficult, what happens when both women must reveal to the men that they are actually vampires.

VIDEO:

“Vamps” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen presentation 1:78:1).  The picture quality for the film is actually quite wonderful as skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep and while the special effects were a bit cheesy at times and sometimes certain green screen utilization of New York City backdrops look a bit fake, these imperfections actually work for a film such as “Vamps” as the film is somewhat parodying vampire films/series.

But scenes in New York City look fantastic and for the most part, “Vamps” is a film that looks great on Blu-ray!  I didn’t notice any artifacts, banding or DNR issues while watching the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Vamps” is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  The film features crisp dialogue and because the film is primarily a dialogue-driven film (with a short action scene at the end), it’s primarily front-channel driven.  I didn’t really hear surround sound utilization throughout the film that caught my attention but for the most part, dialogue is crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Vamps” comes with the no special features.

I absolutely love Amy Heckerling films.  Not only does she capture the life of adolescents with efficacy but she is able to craft films that are hilarious and fun!

“Vamps” is a film that is so cheesy, but yet so hilarious, you can’t help but laugh and be entertained by it.

Right off the bat, I just loved how “Vamps” takes a storyline of vampires and injects it to a storyline of two New York socialites.  But the twist is not only are these two vampires but you have Goody, who tries to act young but having grown up in the 1800’s and experience the good life of the early 1900’s, she is wise woman that is over a 100-years-old but never reveals her true age, even to her good friend Stacy.

As for Stacy, she’s a woman stuck in the ’80s.  She is also very naive and takes everything Goody says as golden.

But these two women are just so fun to watch because they are unlike any vampire you have seen on film and television.  Sure, there are shows like “Angel” where the protagonist tries to feed on animal blood, but with “Vamps”, what is hilarious is the way the two handle their vampire life.  From picking up dead rats and plopping a straw into them, how these two young women try to have a “good morning” sleep with soil in their coffins yet trying to take care of their skin with moisturizer and most importantly, trying to live a socialite life by venturing into bars and just having fun.

Also, as a cinema fan, you can’t help but love Goody’s taste in silent films and films of the ’30s.  With images of silent films to the playing of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” or even seeing the famous “eye” scene from Luis Bunuel’s “Un Chien Andalou”, for a film that is so fun and kitschy, you just don’t expect to see these films show up as clips throughout the film.

And the film also has its fair share of talent from the past such as Sigourney Weaver, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Lewis, Wallace Shawn, Marilu Henner, etc.  And these talents are not wasted on screen.  Sigourney Weaver’s as a vampire queen is just hilarious and fun to watch, especially at the end.

But there is also some scenes that have you do a second take because there is someone doing something crazy or foolish in the background.  For instance, during one vampire meeting, a woman in the background can be seen trying to gnaw on a rat.

The film does have violence, I suppose if you call it that.  There are body limbs that are featured and severed heads, but the way they are presented is hilarious.  For example, one pizza delivery person who is pretty much found scattered all over an alley and found by police, the face of the man is just hilarious.  The violence is never shown as scary at all, if anything, you just feel like laughing.

If anything, Amy Heckerling has created a comedy that is meant to be kitschy and an interesting take on the whole vampire genre, but does it her way, with her humor and for the most part, I enjoyed the film!

While the Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, unfortunately there are no special features included.

Overall, fans of Amy Heckerling films will surely want to give “Vamps” a try.  As long as they know they are about to watch a film that is not meant to be taken seriously but for those who have an odd sense of humor and just wants to sit back and laugh because of the ridiculous situations that are presented in throughout the film.  “Vamps” is one of those, so cheesy but yet so entertaining films that you find once in awhile.

Hilarious, fun and cheesy but yet in a good way… filmmaker/writer Amy Heckerling has made us laugh with her films such as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Clueless” and she will definitely make you laugh in “Vamps”, a comedy film parodying vampire films/television series.   Recommended!






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