ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE...
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
A centuries-old vampire traps a young theater director into helming a production that could result in grievous loss of lifeÖnot to mention the loss of his girlfriend. Er, ex-girlfriend.
Is it good movie?
Julian Marsh is a go-nowhere, do-nothing kind of guy. He once had a promising career as a theater director, but after losing the love of his life to a Mafioso-type jerk, he has settled into a slothy life of banging wannabe starlets and living in the backroom of his father's medical practice. Feeling pressure from both dad and ex, he applies for a job as the director of a new production of Hamlet, which happens to be from the perspective of a vampire, with all the main players in the classic tale recast as vampires. Which turns out to be the truth. There is some other stuff thrown in about the Holy Grail and a secret society determined to recapture the grail and put an end to the production.
This film is one giant misfire. It is not a poorly made movie, and definitely all the actors give it their all. It just never settles in and finds its groove. It feels like 90-minutes of set-up. It can also never determine whether it wants to be a comedy or a tragedy, doesn't know how to combine them, and has too many cornball moments for a film that never decides to embrace its campy aspects. I may be slightly biased, since I am a big fan of Hamlet. I was hoping the film would be an actual retelling of the tale, or at least would have some of the meta-wit of Tom Stoppardís play/film or a similar name. Alas, neither is much the case.
A word on the actors: Jake Hoffman, as Julian, is channeling Seth Green, hardcore. Which is not a bad thing. He delivers dry wit in an engaging way, and I hope to see him make a bigger name for himself. Devon Aoki, as his ex, Anna, doesnít exactly tear shit up, but she sure is cute. Kris Lemche as Vince, Hamlet in the play, is very frenetic and funny, but the two weirdest casting choices are for Annaís mafia boyfriend and Theo Horace, nee Horatio, the vampire playwright. The former is an almost unrecognizable Ralph Macchio, while the latter is John Ventimiglia, most well-known for playing Artie Bucco on The Sopranos. There is also a nice smaller role for Jeremy Sisto, and that is never a bad thing.
This is Jordan Gallandís first full-length film, and it shows promise. There are some good ideas in the story, and he definitely can handle getting good performances out of his actors ( Geneva Carr, as the head of the secret society, hilariously uses a different accent in every one of her scenes) but the script is just too all over the place, and he canít decide if he is doing a romantic comedy or skewering the pretentiousness of some aspects of the theater community. When he is a more seasoned filmmaker maybe he will be able to do both. And he could learn a lesson from Edgar Wright: in order for the film to have really worked, the horror aspects needed to be horrific. Here they fall just short of laughable. The closest approximation I can think of for this movie would be the cinematic Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen, and other than the terrible CGI vampire eyes, everything looks good. Galland has a great eye for visuals (one of his shorts is animated) and DP Chris LaVasseur gets the colors in the stage scenes to really pop.
Audio: I watched a screener, so I donít have the audio specs, but I encountered no issues with the sound.
Screener, so nada.
It sounds like I am bashing this film, but I didnít hate it. I thought it was well-made, but just suffered from the most-stated concept in my review: indecision. It had a lot of good ideas that I just wish had melded together in a more coherent fashion. Or maybe I was just looking for something that never showed up. Ether way, I think the film features a director with talent and a great cast and is definitely worth a watch, should you get the chance. Maybe if you're a theater person you'll get it more than I did.