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Killing Gunther – ★ ★ ★ Review

Killing Gunther30

This may have been the quirkiest film I’ve seen in quite a while. It wasn’t exactly as advertised, but it paid off in the end.

Gunther is the world’s greatest assassin, so to make a name for themselves, a group of assassins sets out to assassinate him, but their plans turn into a series of bungled encounters as Gunther seems to always be one step ahead.  The story is told as a mockumentary, which wasn’t exactly what I expected, but the format helped to cleverly mask the low budget of the film.

Killing Gunther was funny enough, and there was enough light action to carry the story but it didn’t really get going until Gunther (Schwarzenegger) made his eventual appearance.  This is the value a true star can bring to your film.  He wasn’t wasted, and his performance did elevate that of the entire cast, but it took a bit too long to get to him.  I liked Schwarzenegger in this one because it seemed like he was there to have fun, and just make a fun little film…with assassinations.  Unfortunately the shooting style can turn off some, and the fact that Arnold isn’t seen until the last third of the movie makes the wait a little tedious at times.

Bottom Line:  As long as you don’t go into this thinking it’s a Schwarzenegger film, you should be okay.  Don’t have super high expectations and you can enjoy a quirky little bit of cinema.


What We Do In The Shadows – ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review

What We Do in the Shadows4.0 Stars

I’m not sure what genre this falls into, it’s partially a “mockumentary” and partially a reality TV show…kind of?  A camera crew follows around four vampires who are also flatmates in current day New Zealand.  Whatever it was, I quite enjoyed it and laughed quite a bit.  Essentially that’s it; a very funny film, with a very unusual premise.

Our vampires are Viago (Taika Waititi), a spirited and romantic vampire who serves as escort for the camera crew; Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), a wild medieval vampire once known as “Vlad the Poker”; Deacon (Jonny Brugh), a younger vampire who likes to knit; and the ancient Nosferatu-like Petyr (Ben Fransham), who never talks.  As the four are now agelessly immortal, they have become rather indifferent to things such as doing the dishes, folding the laundry or dusting, which is a fine squabbling point for our film to begin with.  The “film crew” is allowed to follow the four (though Petyr doesn’t really leave his crypt in the basement to “hang out” with the other three) and see how these roommates deal with these common problems given their very uncommon situation.  Eventually a new vampire is introduced to the crew, who opens up new avenues for the group.  No longer waiting to be invited in to clubs because Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) knows the bouncers who invite them in with open arms, the group has fun, but of course that can’t last for the children of the night, as newbie Nick starts shooting his mouth off and drawing attention to them, as though a documentary film crew wouldn’t.

From dealings with a vampire hunter, the local police, Nick’s IT consultant friend Stu (Stuart Rutherford), and even a run in with a pack of werewolves, we get unlimited access to the unseen aspects of vampire life…or un-life.  The film really knew what it was doing with the humour, it played up all the classic vampire tropes and myths, and spun them beautifully.  “When you can’t see your reflection in the mirror it’s hard to get dressed to go out” one quips, as another sketches him to show him if his hair is to his liking for the evening.  I found the character of Stu to be one of the funniest things in the movie.  Here is this mortal guy, who is kind of quiet, and just hanging out because his best friend Nick is now a vampire.  Nick tries hard to fit in only to have the other vampires like Stu even more.  We get bat fights, and hypnosis and even an encounter with “the beast”, an ancient evil known to Vladislav.  All said and done, we get a lot of fun, and the documentary format was the perfect way to showcase all the points without having to have the story be overly structured.

Bottom Line:  Jemaine Clement was one half of Flight of the Conchords, which I watched some of and really enjoyed, I guess now I’ll have to watch the rest, and I’m also quite intrigued by Taika Waititi’s Eagle vs Shark.

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