SDCC Wrapup, Lost Boys: The Thirst

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Charles Webb
Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010)
Director: Dario Piana
Writer: Evan Charnov, Hans Rodionoff
Starring: Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander, Casey B. Dolan, Tanit Phoenix, Seb Castang
Release Date: October 12, 2010 (DVD)

…But first:

Notes From San Diego

  • It’s an endurance run, not a race. If I choose to go next year, I’ll learn to pace myself a bit better.

  • After a certain point, you reach a Zen state where you realize it’s okay to miss the tentpole panels in Hall H, with a mantra “I will enjoy the smaller, more intimate events… I will enjoy the smaller, more intimate events…”

    Sorry, but I don’t do half-hour, hour-long, 8-hour long lines.

  • Please San Diego and Con organizers – grow or move.

  • Marvel went all out with their massive throne in honor of the upcoming release of Thor. Based on my eyeball-witness observations I have to say it was the most trafficked of all the booths at the Con, with everyone and their Enchantress-dressed mother lining up to sit on the throne.

  • Tron: Legacy continues to be my most-anticipated movie of 2010, expectations aided and abetted by a pretty fun press conference over at the Hilton featuring the entire cast, director Joseph Kosinski, and writers Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis.

    …so it was kind of a bummer to not be able to see any of the new footage at the panel that followed. “I will enjoy the smaller, more intimate events…”

  • How could I miss all three showings of Scott Pilgrim? Oh yeah, that constitutional aversion to lines.

    Got a nice shirt, though.

  • I was surprised at how happy it made me to see 80’s stalwart Corey Feldman healthy, pumped, and energetic during the Lost Boys: The Thirst screening.

    Which makes made my review process a little more difficult (see below).

  • Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010)

    While at SDCC the invaluable Alex Rodrik and I got to talking about the review process. Alex asked how I sometimes arrive at some of my reviews and I in turn explained that that I typically came to my final score one of two ways: first, through a qualitative review, breaking down the craft and professional elements of the movie. At other, rarer times, I would end up with a mostly emotive review of the movie at hand – these would be often irrational (and usually positive) reviews of movies that might otherwise not meet the rubric for a good movie. So, for instance, I might find Kubrick’s The Killing a masterwork in suspenseful crime fiction while at the same time feel that the singularly off-putting Aqua Teen… movie remains, for me and not much of anyone else, a brilliant comedy, warts and all.

    The current installment of the resurrection of the Lost Boys franchise represents a collision between the qualitative and the emotive. The conditions under which the movie was made and the obvious passion of those involved create one set of feelings about a production whose actual craftsmanship (mediocre to bad), acting (bad), and screenplay (awful) pull my opinion in another direction. Simply put: my heart wants to like this movie but I can’t in fairness recommend it to anyone save the direst victims of nostalgia.

    From its IMDB synopsis, it sounds like The Thirst is a direct-ish continuation of the 2008 DTV movie, The Tribe. But whereas The Tribe reads like a straight take on the material, The Thirst plays everything with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Edgar and Allen Frog (Feldman and Newlander – I’m only 20 years late to getting the Edgar/Allen joke) are semi-renowned vampire hunters at the start of the film before events in the prologue cause the partnership to dissolve. Flash forward a few months and Edgar is miserable, selling his classic comics for cash, and generally lonely – so it’s easy to see why he takes a job from famed vampire novelist Gwen Lieber (Phoenix) to find her missing brother. From the way Phoenix plays Lieber it’ll come as no surprise that she’s keeping something from Edgar within a plot that involves vampire drugs, cave-based raves, and nascent vampire armies.

    Shot in South Africa by Daria Piana, the script nonetheless returns the action to Santa Carla, where vampires tend to congregate and make lives for the Frogs miserable (or livable depending on how you want to look at it). The locations in the movie move around a little, from Washington D.C. to a medieval forest, and the S.A. makes an adequate stand-in. Piana is able to stretch the obviously low budget for some good to very good effects involving flying vampires and most importantly, exploding vampires. To give credit where credit is due, the movie often looks professional.

    There’s also an effort to play catch up with the last few years of vampire fiction with callbacks (intentional or otherwise) to True Blood, Blade, and even some very pointed digs at the Twilight series. This has the potential drawback of reminding viewers of more successful or more polished properties. Still, it’s good that the story has a certain element of recent film literacy.

    Sadly it’s everywhere else that the movie falls apart, most pointedly in the acting department where the performances could be described at best as emphatic. As the person front and center in nearly every scene, Feldman is the worst offender, playing Edgar with a low growl and a Rorschach-like “urm.” His character is supposed to get across a certain broken down misery but (and I feel weird saying this) Feldman’s excellent health and well-being make this element of the plot a hard sell.

    And this is the most difficult part of reviewing The Thirst: the enthusiasm on display by Feldman, Newlander, and just about every member of the cast is palpable. They throw themselves into the action of each scene but each scene feels like a first or second take from a first or second pass of the script.

    Feldman and Newlander see this as a step towards a Frog and Frog franchise with the tough-talking brothers fighting other supernatural threats. Based on the quality of The Thirst I can’t see this happening. Still, I want Feldman and Newlander to be successful. I see from the credits that the script was written as a teleplay – I think the small screen would be a great place for the duo’s weekly adventures. Because right now as a major-minor production it’s not working.

    Finally…So You Can Get Dollhouse Season 2 At A Discount

    You can pre-order Dollhouse Season 2 over at here will receive a free lithograph poster for a limited time. They’re also throwing in UPS Ground Shipping on these pre-orders and you get a 10% discount on your order (for a limited time only).

    All you have to do is use the following code:

    "Echo", which is good now through August 15th , will apply a 10% discount to your order, the SDCC litho, and free UPS ground shipping.
    Here’s the synopsis:

    The Thrilling Second and Final Season Bows on Blu-ray and DVD October 12
    Includes Exclusive, Highly Collectible 28 Page Comic Book From Dark Horse Comics

    From creative mastermind Joss Whedon comes the second and final season of the sexy, suspenseful thriller Dollhouse on Blu-ray and DVD October 12 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The collectible set includes all 13 episodes of Dollhouse, a limited edition exclusive comic book, and bonus audio commentary by Joss Whedon and series writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

    Joss Whedon’s take on the ultimate identity theft follows a cast of Actives, or Dolls, who serve as agents of Dollhouse, an illegal underground organization providing elite clientele with programmable human beings. Personality imprints allow Actives to temporarily become anyone or anything—the perfect burglar, lover, spy or assassin. When the mission is completed, memories are wiped clean. The all-star Dollhouse cast is led by Eliza Dushku as Echo (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tru Calling, Angel) and Tahmoh Penikett as Paul Ballard (Battlestar Galactica).

    Disc Features
    The Dollhouse Season Two four-disc DVD or three-disc Blu-ray collection includes a retrospective with Joss Whedon and cast roundtable about the series. A gag reel and deleted scenes from top episodes are also included. Disc contents include episodes 1-13: “Vows,” “Instinct,” “Belle Chose,” “Belonging” and “The Public Eye,” “The Left Hand,” “Meet Jane Doe,” “A Love Supreme,” “Stop-Loss” and “The Attic,” “Getting Closer,” The Hollow Men,” and “Epitaph 2: The Return.”

    The complete 13 episodes of the final season are presented in wide screen format with English, 5.1 DTS sound and English, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles.
    The four-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray set will be available on Oct. 12, 2010 for suggested retail price of $49.98 U.S./$59.98 Canada and $59.99 U.S./$69.99 Canada, respectively. Prebook date is September 1, 2010.

    Dollhouse Comic Book
    Each Blu-ray and DVD comes with a 28 page exclusive limited edition comic book by Dark Horse Comics. Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, joined by longtime Buffy the Vampire Slayer artist Cliff Richards, take us on an intricate trip through the precise moment when the Active technology went global, and how the protagonists from Epitaph One and Two narrowly avoided death, and worse. Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen wrote the Epitaph episodes of Dollhouse Seasons One and Two, and currently write for the Starz series Spartacus. This is their first work in comics. Artist Cliff Richards has drawn more Joss Whedon-related comics than any other artist, including issues of Buffy Season Eight."

    If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of Charles Webb's work at his blog Monster In Your Veins.

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