Bitsie Tulloch, Marguerite Moreau and Tribeca Film Festival - Bitsie Tulloch, David Giuntoli, Marguerite Moreau Saturday 21st April 2012 2012 Tribeca Film Festival - 'Caroline and Jackie' Premiere - Arrivals
Sean (O'Neill) is helping his nerdy brother Davy (Geraghty) sell his collection of short stories through a series of bookshop readings. More importantly, Sean hopes to help Davy get over a breakup with his ex-girlfriend (Moreau). Yet despite having a girlfriend (Brox) back home, it's Sean who keeps hooking up with women along the way, including one (Gavigan) who quite likes Davy. Then Davy gets an anonymous call from the sexy Nicole (Aselton), and without ever meeting they develop an explicit relationship. Or maybe it's just phone sex.
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The Queen of the Damned stars Stuart Townsend as the vampire Lestat, a character first made popular in film by Tom Cruise in the engaging Interview With the Vampire. This time around, Lestat has risen from his slumber again, intent on making his mark. Tired of hiding in shadows, he starts a career as a rock star, much to the ire of his maker Marius (Vincent Perez). But the anger of the world's vampire covens is the least of his problems when his music awakens the mother of all Vampires, the all-powerful Queen Akasha (Aaliyah).
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But there is hope at your local video store -- Wet Hot American Summer, a hysterical spoof on 1980s pop culture featuring several members of The State, the sketch comedy troupe which had its own, brilliant MTV show in the mid-1990s. (Note to younger readers: That was before Cribs and The Real World were run in a continuous loop.)
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Never before have I seen a movie try so hard to be deliberately awful -- and succeed so wildly -- as "Wet Hot American Summer," a nickel-budget sketch-comedy spoof of early '80s teen sex-at-camp romps like "Little Darlings" and "Meatballs."
Created by veterans of cable "Saturday Night Live" knock-offs "The State" and "Upright Citizens' Brigade," it's a loose jumble of too-obvious jabs at the genre through stock characters in grossly under-rehearsed vignettes that are absentmindedly filmed and edited together without rhythm and apparently at random.
You've got your dorky virgin (Michael Showalter) making an ass of himself for the unattainable girl (Marguerite Moreau). She prefers the inimical, self-styled stud in the jean jacket (the under-appreciated Paul Rudd in the movie's only truly funny performance). He, in turn, prefers the company of your ubiquitous pubescent sluts in tube tops.
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There are enough holes in the legal minutia of "Runaway Jury" to keep anyone with a law degree laughing from beginning to end. But for the rest of us, this fast-paced thriller's twist-crescendo-ing plot and sharp performances should at least delay the feeling of being duped until after the credits roll.
Another popcorny courtroom concoction from a John Grisham novel, the movie is a sensationalized peek into jury tampering during a big-money wrongful-death suit filed against an assault-weapon manufacturer after a workplace shooting.
The film wears its politics on its sleeve: the rich, cigar-smoking, unrepentant gun industry honchos have hired an unscrupulous jury consultant (deliciously iniquitous Gene Hackman) with the high-tech means to dig up dirt and create graphic-intensive computer-screen portfolios on everybody who received a jury summons for the case.
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When the promising, recently deceased young R&B singer and actress Aaliyah is on screen in the title role of "Queen of the Damned," it's impossible to look away from her. She absolutely transcends the screen and fills the whole theater with her potent presence. Bewitching, viperous, powerful, beautiful, sensual and captivating in every sense of the word, she dominates this incongruous vampire flick with her chilling allure.
Seeing her talent burst forth like this makes the plane crash that took her life last year all the more tragic. But in watching "Queen of the Damned" the more immediate misfortune is that her last performance comes in such a bad, bad movie. With its disengaging shallowness and cardboard cutout atmosphere, you'd never know "Queen of the Damned" was based on an Anne Rice novel if the film's real central character weren't such a well-known ghoul as the Vampire Lestat.
As played by slinky Stuart Townsend ("About Adam," "Shooting Fish"), this Lestat is a vacantly bloodthirsty porcelain Goth-rocker who bears no resemblance to the lithesome, charismatically nuanced, unexpectedly mesmerizing version of the character that Tom Cruise inhabited in 1994's "Interview with the Vampire."
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