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Friday, October 19, 2007

30 Days of Night, Lars and the Real Girl 

30 Days of Night:

The vampires in 30 Days of Night are a cross between George Romero’s zombies and a pack of hyenas. They possess the relentless inevitability of the former and the cruel intelligence of the latter. They are human, more or less, despite their mouths full of needled teeth and eyes as black as pitch. They appear to know English but prefer their own tongue, a sort of screeching hiss that carries for miles. And it is not enough for them that they kill; they toy with and taunt their prey, delighting as much in the fear they cause as they do in the blood itself. As movie monsters go they’re refreshingly evil. There’s not a drop of Lestat-esque angst about them; they’re psychopathic predators and perfectly fine with that, thanks.

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Lars and the Real Girl:

Watching Lars and the Real Girl is like watching a high-wire act. Any wrong move could lead to complete disaster. One wrong line, one over-acted scene, one tip too far into the direction of farce would be enough to send the whole thing crashing down. In a lesser film, Lars’ brother would simply remain hostile until the end. Or the townsfolk would be brightly-colored caricatures. The ending would be pure schmaltz. Lars himself would be laughable, or merely pathetic. Unbelievably, none of these things happen. No false note is struck. It’s a bit of a miracle.

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