Monday, May 20, 2013

Kiss of the Damned

Semi-serious question here - when the Coolidge gets their DCP installed, just how much of an upgrade will we notice over when they play a Blu-ray like they did for this midnight show of Kiss of the Damned? I'm presuming that they're installing 2K projectors - maybe they'll go 4K, but outside of the big chains, that seems relatively rare - which have roughly the same resolution as the 1080p24 movies encoded on disc, so I'm guessing it's some combination of higher-quality components, greater color depth, and much less compression.

I hope so, because this was definitely Blu-ray; there was a hiccup a few minutes into the first attempt to run the movie, bouncing us to the Oppo player's home screen. It wound up not being disruptive - the movie played without a hitch afterward - but seeing that does sort of change the calculus for whether walking forty minutes and then paying $10 to sit in a sparsely populated theater is a great idea (and actually paying $10, because MoviePass screwed up their listings again). Don't get me wrong, I like putting my peripheral vision to use, but that's not really what I like to see when I'm a sweaty mess from trying to get to a screening on time.

At least I was able to catch the last 66 home. Let me telll you, that bus at 2am is bizarre, just plowing through its route and barely seeming to cast a sideways glance at the stops where it is usually slowing to a crawl.

Kiss of the Damned

* * * (out of four)
Seen 18 May 2013 in Coolidge Corner Theatre #2 (After Midnite Fresh Blood, Blu-ray)

Sexy vampires are a problematic sort of monster; it's very easy for someone telling a story of these creatures to forget that they are monsters at all, getting lost in the beauty and grandeur of these eternally young men and women from another, perhaps more genteel time. Or they go the route of the movies that clearly inspired Xan Cassavetes's Kiss of the Damned, leaning far more heavily on the "sexy" than the "vampire". What makes this one perhaps more worth a watch than its skin-flick ancestors is that Cassavetes has her eye on what sort of monsters walk among the living as well as the dead.

Djuna (Josephine de La Baume) may be a vampire, but she strives not to be a monster. Right now, she's living in the Connecticut estate of Xenia (Anna Mouglalis) - a fellow vampire - where the maid (Ching Valdes-Aran) has a rare blood condition that makes her unappetizing, and there is enough wildlife to slake her thirst. Still, one can't stay cooped up all the time, and while making a trip to the video store, she meets Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia), a screenwriter renting a nearby house to work. They connect, she pulls away, he insists. Soon, Djuna's happier than she's been in decades - at least until her sister Mimi (Roxane Mesquida) shows up, needing a place to stay for a week before heading to vampire rehab in Arizona.

This may be a movie that takes the perspective of the long-lived undead who look at human beings as potentially interesting members of the lower classes, but it's still able to resonate with a living audience because every family or social circle has a Mimi. She's the vampire's vampire, disappearing for long periods and then showing up because she's tapped out, making noises about changing but blazing a path of destruction through the lives of the people who can't or won't turn her away - sometimes because she can't help herself, sometimes with malice aforethought. Cassevetes draws a fairly direct line between Mimi's behavior and alcoholism and other addictions at certain points, though it's less about the simple fact of her desiring something illicit than the patterns of behavior.

Full review on eFilmCritic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've seen the DVD player logo come up,too.

It kind of sucks paying $12 to see a screening on DVD you could buy down the road for around the same price and actually own the disc/download.

At the very least, the theater should:

A. Advertise that you aren't getting a DCP.

B. Try like bloody hell NOT to show the DVD player logo on screen. That's like rubbing it in your face, "Hey, you just paid $12 to watch home movies!"