Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil

It’s a tale as old as film: hillbillies vs. the outside world.  It has been seen many times over the decades: “Beverly Hillbillies,” The Texas Chainsaw MassacreDeliverance, and scores of other movies and TV shows.  Yet, never before has it taken the twists and turns that Eli Craig’s Tucker & Dale vs. Evil takes the trope.

The film begins with a news story about a crazed killer in a cabin.  After the cameraman and anchor are slaughtered by a monstrous person, the film cuts to a car full of obnoxious, preppy college students.  The students are off to the wilderness for the usual drunken, drug-fueled debauchery for which college students are famous.  Having realized they forgot to bring beer, they decide to find a store wherein they meet the film’s unlikely heroes.

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Lebine) are two hillbillies who are heading for their newly-purchased, fixer-upper vacation home (coincidentally the former home of the famed fictional Memorial Day Massacre mastermind).  At a backwoods general store, they run into the group of preppy college students.  Dale takes a shine to perky co-ed Allison (Katrina Bowden) and, with Tucker’s coaching, attempts to approach her, much to the horror of the girl and her friends, particularly hillbilly hater Chad (Jesse Moss).

At heart, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil has more in common with Disney’s Beauty & the Beast than other movies in its genre.  Here, let me explain.  We’ll cast the roles as such: Dale is the Beast, Allison is Belle, Tucker is the castle’s staff, Chad is Gaston, and all of the other co-eds are the impressionable townspeople.  After rescuing Belle from nearly drowning, the Beast and his staff spend a good chunk of time convincing her that they’re all suffering from misconceptions about each other.

Meanwhile, Gaston has riled up the townsfolk with tales of terror about hillbillies.   His mother narrowly escaped the Memorial Day Massacre that cost the lives of his father and their friends.  Hillbillies are dangerous and terrible folk who are to be feared and reviled.  Therefore, these two particular hillbillies must be stopped and Belle must be rescued at all costs.  After all, he and Belle are perfect for each other and destined to be together, even if she disagrees vehemently.

Okay, see what I mean?  Totally Beauty & the Beast right there.

Here’s where it really diverges from the rest of the slasher movie genre.  Gaston leads the townsfolk on a series of disastrous rescue attempts that result in hilarious and gruesome accidental deaths.  Beast and his staff perceive those accidents as some sort of bizarre series of suicide attacks.  After all, what else could they possibly be?

The climactic showdown in this movie is filled with hilarious revelations, Chekhov’s chamomile, and surprising sweetness.  This is one of the few movies I’ve seen that successfully juxtaposes bloody deaths with moments of adorableness.  It’s a horror movie with the biggest heart I’ve ever seen, proving that one can find beauty in some of the most unexpected places.  Even in a pile of corpses.

Tingler, The

Ladies and Gentlesirs, a declaration: William Castle, the producer/director of this motion picture, was a genius filmmaker who was decades ahead of his time. Oh, many a critic and historian have made mention of his dazzling showmanship and marketing acumen. Such as during the initial screenings of The Tingler, when Castle equipped seats with extra-large Joy Buzzers, to provide that “tingling” sensation; or in the final act, which actually takes place in a movie theater, and the lights go out. Vincent Price starts telling the on-screen audience (and, by proxy, us) to “SCREAM! scream for your LIVES!” On top of that however, Castle was still an effective director, who was able to elevate incredibly banal stories into effectively creepy pictures.

Case in point: The Tingler is about a spinal parasite that feasts on fear, and can only be destroyed by screaming. Yep, that’s the entire premise right there. And yet, Castle was still able to craft an edge-of-your seat picture, especially in two memorable sequences, one of which involving a splash of bright red blood in an otherwise black and white picture.

Of course, when we screened it at our event, we discovered an entirely different plotline at work. While director Castle, writer Robb White, and star Vincent Price would have us believe this is a horror film about a large spinal parasite, we found that the film was actually about something else entirely:

The Female Orgasm, and the invention of the G-Spot Vibrator.

Before I continue, allow me to present this dialogue exchange:

Price: Well, it affects some people like that. Did you notice how rigid she became just before she fainted?

Coolidge: She Always Does. It’s interesting.

Price: Because she has no vocal chords, she can’t release her fear tensions vocally as we can. So they continue to mount, until at last, she can’t endure it.

Exchange the word “fear” for “sexual,” and you have an entirely different story going on here. Conversations like this go on throughout the movie, permeating every aspect of the script:

Price: Her unreleased tensions grow so great…that she goes into a Psychosomatic Blackout!

Hell, one of the villains in the story is a woman whose primary crime is that she doesn’t love her husband anymore and is sexually independent. That’s about the gist of it…until she tries to kill her husband, of course; which even then is mostly laughed away as a prank.

As the story continues, a “tingler” is eventually extracted from a human host and put on display for the audience…revealing it to be a rubbery millipede that resembles nothing less than a “toy” intended for a woman’s pleasure. As we watched, our audience speculated that the irresponsible Mad Scientist (and yet somehow not just the protagonist, but actually the “hero”) played by Vincent Price went on to design the first prototype of said device, raking in millions.

All that aside, we're left with the final question: Is The Tingler a “good” movie? That depends on how much you appreciate 50’s low-budget horror. However, if you’re hosting a Vincent Price Cavalcade Event, this film is a surefire winner on all levels.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Three years after the aptly titled Freddy’s Dead: the Final Nightmare (1991)NoES fans were chomping at the bit for the inevitable return of their favorite slasher.   As such, when New Line announced that not only was Freddy coming back but Wes Craven, the creator of the series, would be returning to direct, the fans rejoiced at the prospect of the film series’ return to form.  A chance to get back to the formula that made it great.  Then, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare premiered in theaters and they all collectively cried, “Um…what?”

Heather Langenkamp stars as “Heather Langenkamp” as Wes Craven offers her the part of “Heather Langenkamp” in “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” all the while she and her son Dylan (Miko Hughes) are being haunted/hunted by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) with nary a teenager in sight.  Confused?  That is because Craven has gone all meta-textual on us.

The film takes place in the “real world” in which the NoES series are films.  As it turns out, evil incarnate can be captured like a genie in a bottle if a storyteller can create a persona so rotten that “evil” enjoys staying in the story.  However, if the story ends, evil gets bored and starts to roam once again.  “Evil” has enjoyed being Freddy Krueger for so long that it is not ready to give it up yet and takes steps to ensure that another movie is made.

Wow, that sounds even more ludicrous than when Craven explains it in the film.

This is not a great film.  This is not even a great horror film.  The scares are few and far between.  It plays more like a psychological thriller/child endangerment film than the slasher gore-fest fans of the series had come to expect.  However, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is an incredible coda to the NoES series.

Filmed ten years after the original, New Nightmare shows the audience a vision of what the people that made one of our favorite horror films are up to and how their involvement in the seminal work affected their lives.  At several points in the film, Langenkamp is directly how she feels about violence in film now that she is a mother and she, like others in the film industry, do not have an easy answer.  It is interesting how the Freddy character in this film acts as a surrogate for the audience: he does not want the films to end and refuses to see Langenkamp as anyone other than Nancy Thompson.

And can you blame him?  Langenkamp is just great in this movie as is Robert Englund, who always knows just the right amount of weird to put in every performance.   Craven made it easier for him by redesigning Freddy to look even more sinister than before.  Nothing says “I like to hurt little children” more than a black leather trench coat.  All the while, there are cameos from former cast members, homages, and other easter eggs placed throughout the film.

Like I said, this is not a great film.  It does not stand up well on its own.  However, it is a great ending to the series and helped Craven test drive a lot of the ideas that would be developed to great effect in Scream (1996).

Cats

In 1981, Andrew Lloyd Webber brought Cats to West-End.  A year later, the musical saw its Broadway debut where it played until 2000.  Loosely based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, it seems to be mostly a showcase for really attractive people to prance about in spandex to soaring show tunes.  In 1998, it was filmed for television. With makeup and lycra, the tales of the various cats were brought to the screen, directed by David Mallet and produced by Webber.

Technically, the plot is centered around a bunch of cats (Jellicle specifically) that have gathered for their yearly ball.  Woeful and mischievous, they dance and sing about their antics and life stories. At the end of the gathering, the cats’ leader, Old Deuteronomy (Ken Page), chooses one to ascend to the Heaviside Layer.  There’s also a subplot involving Macavity (Bryn Walters), a cat criminal, but really, not too much goes on plot-wise.  Plot’s not the point here.  Who’s looking for plot when there’s hotness dancing in spandex?

At this point, I must remark on some of the, uh...particulars of the costuming in this production of Cats.  I’ve seen pictures from the original stage version and will say that I’m grateful for the advances in synthetic fabrics over the years.  While sitting and watching Cats with my mother for this review, she pointed out something she found odd.  For as sexual as people say that Cats is as a production, she remarked that everyone looked fairly androgynous--the men especially.  I watched for a moment and found my gaze straying crotchward...

She was right!  They look like Ken dolls!

I for one expect more penis in my theatrical production.  You can’t hide anything with spandex, and I have to confess to being impressed that they managed to effectively neuter the men...impressed and disappointed.

Having never seen Cats performed live, I can’t compare it to the stage show, but I can mention there are a number of things that the filmed version does that wouldn’t be feasible in a theatrical production.  It’s mostly a bit of flash and dazzle, but it certainly adds to the fun of the show.  What also adds to the fun is just how wholly committed to being cats the cast is.  The cast features a number of theater legends , Ken Page and Ellen Paige ; and also includes John Mills , now departed veteran of stage and screen.  For those huge geeks at home, you’ll be amused to know that Femi Taylor is in this production as Exotica.  Taylor is most “famous” for playing Oola, the unfortunate Twi’lek slave girl in Jabba the Hut’s lair who meets a crunchy end in The Return of the Jedi .

All things considered, Cats is great fun to watch, especially if you’ve consumed some sort of mind-altering substance.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any on hand, but I can say with some authority that the randomness in this particular production lends itself to a night of heavy drinking.  The tunes are catchy, the cast performs well, and you can end the night debating the symbolism of the Heaviside Layer.

Cat’s Eye

The pre-CGI era really makes you think.

Take Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye for example. There is very little post-production. If you see it, it was done in front of a camera, which means that the feline protagonist that guides us through a series of three stories is actually imperiled throughout this movie. First he's chased by Cujo, then he’s nabbed and put in a room with an electrified floor.

Cut to Mr. Dick Morrison (James Woods) arriving at the waiting room of “Quitter’s Inc.”, where our hero, let’s call him General, is being held.

Dr. Vinny Donatti  (Alan King) demonstrates the nasty room on our four-legged friend for Mr. Morrison. I’m not exactly a member of PETA, but really? Donatti claims that in order to get Morrison to quit smoking, they’ll put his wife in the electrocution chamber, and each time he smokes something else bad will happen to his family.

So. . . how does this work if you’re single?

But this isn’t about the people! It’s about General! Some bad things happen to the Morrisons, but the cat escapes the lab and finds his way to Atlantic City and crosses paths with Cressner, a gangster who bets on anything. He’s played by Kenneth McMillan, yes, Baron Vladimir Harkonen himself.

Cressner makes a wager that ex-tennis pro (the weirdly ageless Robert Hays) can’t walk around the ledge of his high-rise penthouse. The hero cat finds the whole affair distasteful, but just watches with an expression that’s between bemused and concerned on his feline face.
The Tennis Pro gets the upper hand and makes Cressner walk around the building. He plunges to his doom, so our hero cat begins hitchhiking again to Wilmington, North Carolina, where Drew Barrymore has been psychically beckoning him the whole movie.

Barrymore names him General officially, and her mom hates him immediately-but that's because she doesn’t understand that the brave General is here to save her daughter from a breath-stealing goblin. This part of the movie drags on, because we’re ready for the big showdown. But first, said goblin kills the family parakeet (presumably through some sort of sexual assault judging from the awful laughter) and very nearly gets Barrymore.

General is, of course, not havin’ it, and frightens the beast off.

Barrymore’s mom, of course, blames the cat based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence and ships General off to another lab where he’s marked for termination. He triumphantly escapes to the pulsing electronic score provided by Alan Silvestri, and even as he hauls ass through traffic and a thunder storm, the goblin is fast approaching. Hurling himself down the chimney, General arrives in the nick of time, ready for an epic battle of good and evil!

Cat Vs. Goblin

General wins and the Barrymore family learns a valuable lesson: when a random animal wanders into your house, assume it’s there to protect your child from supernatural monsters.

This movie’s pretty great, overall. It’s got just the right amount of 80’s cheese, and since our main character doesn’t speak a whole lot of English, half of the humor is in the cat thinking what fools these humans be.

Cat People

After the triple werewolf feature of 1981: An American Werewolf in London, Wolfen, and The Howling, Lycanthropes were a little played out.  Hollywood, in their infinite creativity decided that the world was ready for the next big thing: Werecats!

Director Paul Schrader’s Cat People is a remake of the 1942 film of the same name-in the sense that they have the same title and they’re both about werecats. That’s about it.  Nastassja Kinski plays Irena Gallier, an impressionable young virgin who has been recently reunited with her long-lost brother, Paul (Malcolm McDowell).  After Paul suspiciously goes missing the day after Irena moves in, she wanders around New Orleans, feeling drawn to the zoo.  There she meets Oliver Yates, played by quintessential 80’s sex symbolJohn Heard, who seems to be dating Alice Perrin (the lovely Annette O’Toole).  This begins something a love triangle between the three, which is really nothing compared to the primary love triangle between Oliver, Irena and…Paul?

That’s right!  Bucking the trend of ever gorier 80’s horror, Schrader creates terror out of America’s two favorite subjects: furries and incest!

Is everyone finished vomiting?  Splendid.

As it turns out, the Galliers’ suffer from one of the worst forms of therianthropy this side of Michael T. Weiss in The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)-who literally melted into a puddle from which a werewolf leapt out (Not. Even. Kidding.)  The Galliers come from a long line of cat people who transform into black leopards every time they engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is not a cat person.  After that, they can’t transform back unless they kill someone.  So you see, there are only two cat people left in the world and they just happen to be brother and sister.  It is not as if Paul would want to have sex with Irena (you know, this girl ) if he didn’t have to.  Honest!

When Schrader is not trying to make this the horror equivalent of a Zalman King film, Cat People is hilarious-starting with the completely out of place juggling scene with Irena and Paul.  The pronunciation of names becomes a major issue throughout the film between Ruby Dee’s Female, pronounced “FEEmolly,” and Heard’s refusal to pronounce the name Irena as anything other than “EYEreena.”  Noted environmentalist and cinematic doofus, Ed Begley, Jr. makes an appearance as a fellow zookeeper who manages to get his arm bitten off by a caged leopard.  And then there’s “Cat-vision!”

In the end, Cat People is about a girl’s journey into womanhood and ,the decision to embrace her sexual power and all the responsibilities that go along with it, or to abstain from a world of forbidden pleasure.  Basically, it’s the The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)…but with incestual furries.

From the Management: For more incestual furry werecat fun, check out our review of Stephen King's Sleepwalkers (1992)

Haunted World of El Superbeasto, The

If you’ve seen any of Rob Zombie’s films and music videos, you have a good idea of what Zombie enjoys: violence, cars, the 70s, wrestling, monsters, and tits....Not necessarily in that order, mind you.  So, it should come as no surprise that when Zombie decided to make a feature length cartoon titled The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, it would have all of those things.  But, you know, in cartoon form.

Based on the comic book of the same name (which I own…SHAME!), El Superbeasto (Tom Papa) is a luchador (Mexican wrestler)/celebrity who only wants a nice plate of buffalo wings and the sweet, sweet ass of Velvet Von Black (Rosario Dawson).  Unfortunately, Von Black is the key to Dr. Satan’s (Paul Giamatti) plan to obtain world domination through the “sudsy powers” of HELL!  So, ‘Beasto recruits the help of his sister/international super spy Suzi X (she’s hot, she’s blonde, AND she has a squeaky voice. You guessed it: Sheri Moon Zombie).  What follows can only be described as "madcap", “For Mature Audiences Only,” and … "gooey".

Part of what makes this film a lot of fun is that it’s done in the style of the old Looney Tunes.  There’s an extended title sequence featuring single frames of art behind the titles and cast.  There are multiple cameos of horror film icons like Jack Torrance, Michael Myers, The Devils Rejects crew, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon among others in the same fashion of celebrity cameos in old Bugs Bunny and Tiny Toons cartoons.

And what was missing from those old Warner Bros. cartoons?  Gratuitous female nudity!  The film is strange because it’s not presented like an adult Japanese animated film, or even a Ralph Bakshi film.  It’s not presented as a pornographic film.  It’s a silly Scooby Doo-esque cartoon with full frontal nudity and butt hair...Lots of butt hair.

Providing music and a running commentary throughout the entire film is Chris Hardwick’s comedy band, Hard ‘n Phirm.  The songs elevate the film in that they make fun of it, including an extended indictment of a parody of the prom scene in Carrie (1976) .

Zombie’s animated epic runs only about 80 minutes but, oddly, it’s a long 80 minutes.  There are long stretches where jokes do not hit, and sight gags are few and far between.  However, if you liked Ren & Stimpy, you’re probably going to enjoy the trip into the “Haunted World.”

Oh, and if nothing else, there’s also a million Nazi zombies.

Human Centipede (First Sequence), The

Gentle readers, let me ask you: “You down with O.P.P.?”

Before you respond, allow me to clarify: I am not quoting the ever-so-catchy Naughty by Nature song from 1991. No, I want to know if you're down with other people's poop. Because, if you're not, Director Tom Six's The Human Centipede may not be for you.

And if you are...dear God, why?

Anyway.

American tourists Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) and Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) are enjoying a vacation in Germany until they get lost in the woods (literally) and seek refuge in the home of Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser). Dr. Heiter is a world-renowned expert at separating conjoined twins.  However, at some point between his retirement and the beginning of the film, he went irretrievably insane and now is more interested in creating conjoined twins. Thus, it was Dr. Heiter's good fortune that two potential portions for his pet project fell into his lap.

There is no getting around the premise of the film.  As Dr. Heiter explains to the girls and soon-to-be lead portion, Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura), in specific detail-he will surgically mutilate and then attach each of them mouth to anus to form one disgusting creature. Why? Because he's crazy!

What's worse is that he actually performs the surgery. That's right, The Human Centipede is not a film that jokes around, or merely hints at what could be. No, the title of the film is The Human Centipede and, by gum, Tom Six gives you a human centipede! But then the story continues for another 45 minutes! Over the course of which the audience learns that, while being part of a human centipede is one of the most disgusting ideas put on film, it is not the worst thing that could happen to you.

One difficulty in watching the picture, other than keeping your last meal down, is that it's difficult for the audience to sympathize with these girls. One does sympathize, of course, because no one should go through even half the things that happen here. However, Six could have tried to make these girls a bit more competent in horror movie survival. Think back to every horror film you've watched. Combine all the of the mistakes characters make, and you've got these two girls. Getting out of the car on a deserted road on a rainy night, wandering in the woods with a flashlight, going back in the house instead of running for help, hiding in a corner, not checking what's in your drink, and-worst of all-not running in the opposite direction when a scary/Germani/Mengele/Christopher Walken opens the door.

Dieter Laser is the real find here. Having the burden of about 60% of the dialogue all by himself (it's hard to talk with a mouthful of...yeah) and competing with one of the more striking visuals in recent horror movie history, Laser commands the audience's attention at all times. He's creepily fascinating and cannot wait to see him in future films.

The Human Centipede is an impressive picture. Aside from some minor pacing issues in the second half and the overall brutally disgusting subject matter. It delivers exactly what it says it will, and is far more interesting that I ever thought it would be. That said, I can't think of a person I'd recommend it to, and would require a signed and notarized consent and waiver before I show it to anyone.

Eclipse

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

No.

The god-damned movie is called Eclipse. Your movie isn't a “saga” just because it makes tons of money. Now, onto the review.

Everyone is back for what promises to be an Epic Final Showdown with the Cullen family and their uneasy allies, the Quileute werewolves, on one side; and the recurring Evil Redhead, her dupe (Xavier Samuel, who looks like a young Willem Dafoe), and a small army of newborn vampires on the other. “Newborn” as-in freshly turned, not vampiric infants. That’s a whole other brand of movie.

The showdown angle is actually the decent movie hidden deep in the recesses of an all new chapter of this overwrought teenage love story, and while I have praised the previous films for being focused, this one is-by comparison-quite overstuffed. Bella (Kristen Stuart) is still vapid and useless, unable to decide which boy’s emotions she’d rather toy with. I know there’s some subtext here, but seriously, girl, pick one! She’s not sure yet if she loves Jacob (Taylor Lautner), while he’s more or less insisting she loves him but doesn't know it yet. Edward (Robert Pattison) on the other hand, is acting fittingly like a 100-year-old man. The whole thing builds to its dramatic climax when Bella finds herself succumbing to hypothermia while hiding out from the rogue vampires, and Jacob has to keep Bella warm with his puppy-man body heat.

Eventually Ed and Jake have a little chat.

JACOB: I lurv Bella, even if she is a dumb girl ::ab flex::

EDWARD: I lurv Bella, even if she is a puny hoo-man. ::sparkles::

JACOB: You’re a dick.

EDWARD: No, you’re a dick.

JACOB: ::glowers::

EDWARD: ::glowers::

What’s really irritating about Jacob is that he sounds like he’s 16 years old, but his ripped as all hell, it’s really weird to see.

On top of this nonsense, Eclipse is the edgy flashback chapter of the Twilight movies, revealing the dark and angst ridden origins of two the Cullen Family “children.” One was a confederate major in the Civil War, and the other was some sort of gangster’s moll. There’s also a flashback to the reason why the local werewolf tribe hates vampires, featuring Peter Murphy. Yes, “Cuts-You-Up” Peter Murphy. All of these little vignettes actually add some much needed tension and horror to the story.

Then they remove all that tension by making the act of killing vampires look like breaking statues. During the long-awaited Epic Final Showdown, a whole lot of vampires die, and if it were any other movie, this would have been a scene full of well-earned gore and violence. The choice to not have more than an ounce of blood ruins the tension they built between scenes from the romantic comedy “Everybody Loves Bella.” It even feels like they edited the fights for TV. Honestly, I thought for a second that I needed to rent it on DVD, as this cut sucked. I then realized to my dismay that I was in a god-damned movie theater.

One thing they’re starting to get right when they make these movies is that it’s a comedy gold mine. There is a hysterical scene where Bella’s dad (Billy Burke) tries to give her “The Talk,” and insist she use condoms, because he’s just that clueless. Lesson learned: Always, always, always ask your daughter if she is dating some sort of supernatural humanoids. That’s just good parenting.

New Moon

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is in way over her head. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison), the pretty mopey boy she fell for, decides to break up with her the day after her birthday because he's an awesome boyfriend.

Bella, being an 18-year-old, decides that the break up is the end of the world so she wails like a banshee in her sleep. Her father (Billy Burke) now forever loathes Edward for giving his daughter what sounds like post-traumatic whooping cough.

Bella starts hanging out with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner); local Native American, Vidal Sassoon poster boy, and Edward's arch nemesis. They have an awkward and sad relationship, as Bella uses him so she doesn't feel alone. She rebuffs his advances, so he cuts his hair and joins a gang whose sole focus appears to be showing off their rippling abdominal muscles. They have an exchange that goes something like this:

JACOB: I ARE TEH KILLAR MONSTER! (*ab flex*)

BELLA: I'm sorry I used you.

JACOB: RAWR!! (*ab flex*)

BELLA: I miss Edward! She is so beautiful!

JACOB: (*pout* *ab flex*)

Business as usual in Forks, Wash!

Jacob and his new gang of underage underwear models spend most of their time killing the vampires that stray onto their land, one is being the former girlfriend of the guy who tried kill Bella in the previous film. She is unhappy. So much so that she kills veteran character actor Graham Greene while Thom York's "Hearing Damage" drains the tension out of all the action.

Edward's hot goth sister, Alice (Ashely Green),  shows up to tell Bella that Edward believes Bella to be dead; so he's off to Italy to ask Vampire Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) to kill him, as he can't go on without Bella. Ain't love grand?

The Vampire c Council is the best part of the movie. It barely lasts 20 minutes, but Vampire Tony Blair is a sight to behold. He's unctuous as all get out, speaking Italian and leering at Bella like she was as if she were a pert, firm teenager. . . as everyone else has been doing, really. Dakota Fanning is also here, playing one of those really young-looking vampires. Also present is professional Creepy Kid Cameron Bright , all grown up!  Vampire Tony Blair wants to kill Bella unless the Cullen family agrees to turn her into a vampire. They all shake on it, and then the group gets back in their mystery machine and head heads back to Forks.

Edward swears to never leave Bella again, so he and Jacob have a final face off, but nothing comes of it; they just glower at each other. Edward then asks Bella to marry him. The end! No really, Bella gasps and then they roll credits.

I must praise this movie, however, for having excellent internal continuity. New Moon definitely continues the story started in the first film. Sadly, that story is as a tortuously slow tale of teenagers falling hopelessly in and out of love, which is boring, even when they're not creatures of the night.

New Moon, like its predecessor, feels completely unnecessary. The film doesn't stand on its own, as everything that happens was set up in the first film, making it a true sequel like Lethal Weapon 2 ...only lame.