Friday, December 16, 2011

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Surpringly I've seen all the Mission: Impossible movies in the cinemas.

I even saw the second film whilst I was in Canada, which was strange as I live in Australia and the film was shot in Australia.

So when I discovered they were making a fourth Mission: Impossible movie I thought, "I've seen the rest. I may as well see this one too."
I'm glad I did. It was incredibly good.

Here's the trailer

And here's the movie poster

Despite seeing the third movie with me my wife is not a Tom Cruise fan at all.
I'm pretty certain that if he wasn't in this film she would've agreed to come along with me.

Maybe other husbands are finding this too? That their wives aren't willing to seat through what they consider to be a Tom Cruise movie?
Thing is, whilst he is in the movie and is the major drawcard it's the other characters that make this movie as interesting, and as fun, as it is.

What I did like about this movie was the return of Benji (Simon Pegg). He was a great addition to the third movie and if he were to return for a fifth installment (even if Tom Cruise doesn't) I would see it.
Benji has some great lines and is simply fun to watch.

What I didn't like, before seeing this movie, was the addition of Agent Brandt (Jeremy Renner).
I simply do not like Jeremy Renner.
It feels to me that Jeremy Renner is being forced on to us by the movie studios as the next big action star.
I have seen Jeremy Renner in a few other films and he was okay. Even if he did see like a bit of a smart ass in them.

He played an interesting character in Agent Brandt here though. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the scenes he was in.

Each Mission: Impossible movie seems to introduce us to a new female agent without delving too much into her character.
Not to be mean by the female of this franchise seem to be somewhat throw-away.
I thought the same thing when Jane (Paula Patton) popped up onscreen. About halfway through the movie though, wow, she has some great scenes and a great story to tell.

And it wasn't until she does a wardrobe change in the front seat of a car do I realise that, wow, she's hot!
What do you think? Agree?
I proached the idea of her being Wonder Woman in a live action movie, on a Wonder Woman message board of all places. Within minutes I was shot down in flames. How dare I suggest such a thing. I mean, she's "only 5'7"! Geez.

As the recident bad guy is Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist). He's role doesn't really come into play until the last act.
But boy what a last act it is!
I thought I'd seen all the kinds of action scenes you could see from this franchise. The finale though, it's a doozy!

Blink and you'll miss him is Agent Hanaway (Josh Holloway - from TV's Lost).
If they had've changed Josh's character with Jeremy's character I would've been happy.

Josh Holloway seems like a better choice to take over the franchise if Tom Cruise decides not to come back. That's just my opinion though.

What I loved, and crinched at, was the scenes at (and outside) the Burj in Abu Dubai.
I'd heard that the scene in question gave test screen audiences vertigo. I can see that. The scene outside the Burj certainly made my toes curl from sheer terror.

All up I give this movie an 8 out of 10.
It's a great addition to the franchise, whilst also being a lot of fun.
Until next time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview with... Michel Gagne

Romance. We all want it. Even those who don't wish to admit it secretly crave it.
In the 30's through to the 70's there was a phenomenum in American pop culture of the romance comic. Geared towards young girls and women it was an avenue which flourished well before the era of super-hero comics hit the scene.
In my interview with writer, artist, all-round nice guy Michel Gagne you'll discover the lost treasure and lost artform of the romance comic.
As brought to you by two powerhouses in comic lore. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
I hope you enjoy my interview with Michel Gagne.

1. What about romance comics interests you?

A few years ago, while reading a book on the history of comics, I realized that there was an entire facet of Jack Kirby’s (one of my childhood heroes) work that I hadn’t seen: romance.I became curious and wanted to read some of these stories. I started searching on the internet, and at comic stores and book stores, in the hope of finding a book compiling some of this obscure work. To my surprise, there was very little available. The only book I found was the long out of print, Real Love: The Best of the Simon and Kirby Romance Comics by Richard Howell: A volume featuring black and white reprints of thirteen stories, including nine by Simon and Kirby. The featured Simon and Kirby stories were excellent but they only spanned a three year period (1949-1951) while the team’s romance output lasted twelve. Granted, 1949 to 1951, was a potent period in terms of mature storytelling and lavish artwork, but my inquisitive mind wanted a general overview of the entire output, not a mere snippet. My search to find sample reprints from the post code era (1954-1959) turned up nothing. That’s when I started looking for the original comics. Certainly not an easy task.

Romance comics were bought by girls and women who, contrary to their male counterparts, did not have a tendency to collect. The comics were read and discarded. Even though the print runs were some of the highest in the history of American comics, very few copies survived and most of the ones that did are in pitiful shape. I quickly realized that if someone didn’t make an effort to preserve this material, most of it would vanish into oblivion. That’s when it hit me! Perhaps I should be the one to start the ball rolling. I had been itching to do a comic book preservation project for many years and this would be the perfect opportunity. Thus, I made the decision to restore, compile, and edit a book featuring an overview of the entire span (1947-1959) of Simon and Kirby’s romance comics.

2. Where you always a fan of romance comics?

I'm interested in the history of comics and the Simon and Kirby's romance comics played an important role in the evolution of the medium. It could be said that my interest is of an historical nature.

3. How did you get the idea to remaster the comic books into one big volume?

I get frustrated when I see restoration of old comics that are so digitally altered and modernized with garish colors, that they hardly have any connection left with the original material. For my project, I wanted to keep the integrity of the source material. I made a huge effort to stay true to the look of the comics printed on newsprint while restoring the inks to their original vibrancy and repairing color misalignments. The process was done over several years in my spare time. In essence, this book is my personal vision of how golden age comic book compilations should look.

4. What can people expect from Young Romance?

They can expect beautifully draw stories that are fun and varied, by two of comics master storytellers. The book is a well documented piece of American pop art and a true time capsule of an era.

5. What’s coming up next?

I'm finishing the last issue of ZED right now and I'm hoping to get the trade of all ten issues published sometime fairly soon. I'm also always busy with various projects ranging from films to video game. For up to date info on my work, people should check out my website at

I want to thank Michel for his time and enthusiasm with this interview.
If you're interested in Michel's book Young Romance I highly recommend you track it down at all good book retailers, or online. The comic book stores in your local area should be able to get you a copy on request. But I suggest you be quick about it (I already have mine on order).If you'd like to check out Michel's other work please direct yourself to the following sites;

I hope you enjoyed this interview.
Until next time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interview with... Julie Caitlin Brown

For sci-fi fans, you'll know who I'm taking about when I mention the name Julie Caitlin Brown. However I'm not a sci-fi fan. Well, not really.
I'm not one to sit down for an entire evening watching the sci-fi channel. Although suprisingly I have seen most of the movies that channel airs.

But I digress.
For jazz fans when I mention the name Julie Caitlin Brown, they'll sit up and take notice!
So I hope you enjoy my interview with... Julie Caitlin Brown.

1. What do you love about jazz?

One of the purest forms of expression, jazz requires the artist to listen as well as perform, a truly intuitive expression. I am moved by the intensity of desire I have felt as a singer and as someone listening to jazz.

2. May I ask, what is your training in jazz, or is it a nature talent?

I started singing in front of people at the age of ten, by 13 I auditioned for our award winning high school jazz choir. Our teacher, Mr. Rose, was a talented jazz trombonist and conductor. He had us doing outstanding material for such young singers! We won many State competitions.

3. What is the appeal of performing jazz to an audience?

As I said before, there are dizzying heights of emotional expression in jazz, the audience feels this and as an artist you draw from the audience as they are moved by you, it's a very spiritual experience.

4. You’ve done TV work on Babylon 5. How did you find this experience?

The short answer is a great part, a wonderful cast and crew, but that make up was a killer. Sort of answers your next question, doesn't it?

5. Was the make-up involved in your role a challenge?


6. Have you attended convention for Babylon 5? I’ve heard convention attendees can be pretty out-there.

Many B5 conventions, our fans are the best!

7. What’s coming up next?

I have been working on several very diverse projects, none that I can discuss, but I am proud of my short film that was released in 2010, "Thoughts of Suicide On an Otherwise Lovely Day". You can see the trailer at

8. Is there a charity or event you would like to bring to my readers’ attention?

Always love to support Sunny Hills/Children's Garden in San Anselmo, Ca. They do wonderful work for at risk kids with nowhere left to go.

I want to thank Julie for her patience with this interview. I had initially asked her to do the interview back in July but I had to hold off on running with the interview as my wife was pregnant.
My wife has since given birth, hence the interview is now up and online for all to enjoy!

Please feel free to comment below.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I'm not usually one to track down war movies but I saw this was showing at a local cinema and damn, I just had to see it!

I saw it with my Mum and twin brother and we both all enjoyed it.

The fat bloke sitting in front of us started snoring about a third of the way in. I suspect he was less than impressed.

Here's the trailer

And here's the movie poster

Surpringly the movie centres around Trudl Junde (Alexandra Maria Lara), who history knows was Hitler's last secretary. This is a smart move as it shows the movie in the view point of the audience.

Trudl came into the bunker at the end of the war with fresh eyes and an innocent perspective.

Same as the audience. We went into this movie not knowing what to expect.

I feel the true villain of this movie is Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes).

The things Joseph, and especially his wife, do is simply unforgiveable. I will state though that I can see the reasoning behind their actions.

The movie certainly portrays what the situation would have been like at that time.

Somewhat interesting to watch is Eva Braun (Juliane Kohler) who appears somewhat niave to her surroundings, and dare I saw it, maybe a little bit out of sorts?
Juliane Kohler portrays her interestingly enough, but for me I certainly enjoy the scenes with Trudl Junde more.

And of the course we have Adolf Hitler, played so expertly well by Bruno Ganz.
Much like the rest of the cast and their roles I was impressed with Bruno's portrayal of this character.
You can certainly see the weight of the world on Hitler's shoulders, and by the end of this long film you certainly know and understand why he makes the decision to end it all.

Yep, spoiler alert. He doesn't make it out of the bunker.

Something I did not like about the movie was the death of Hitler's dog. I just didn't need to see that.
I'm at a lost to explain why pets always get knocked off in movies. Even historically accurate movies such as this one....

I watched this on DVD a few months before buying a 40" Samsung flat screen.
It took two nights to get through this movie as it runs for about 3 hours.

Perhaps I should watch it again on the big screen. Germany tongue blarring out of the new stereo on the big screen.
It certainly would be enjoyable.

9 and a 1/2 outta 10.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine

I happened to find this movie when I was reading up on Vincent Price on wikipedia (as you do).

The title intrigued me and I just had to find out more about it.

Thankfully there's not much to decipher.
Here's the movie poster (I want one for my house).

And here's the movie trailer

Here we have Dr Goldfoot (Vincent Price) intent on taking over the world.
Vincent Price is perfect for this role however I soon learned that he didn't seem to thoroughly enjoy his time on the set.
Something about too much singing and dancing and not enough comedy.
Vincent, you know you're stuff. Too often comedies are spoiled by too much singing and dancing.
And anyhow, you never argue with a man in a suit like this one.

Here is the hadless secret agent Craig Gamble (played very well by Frankie Avalon).
This movie hasn't done much to take the shine off of Avalon. The movie is silly, Avalon is perfectly silly in it.
It's a perfect match!

In the role of Diane is someone whom I've never heard of before, Susan Hart.
I wondered what happened to Susan Hart after this movie. She simply retired from acting.
Susan did a pretty good job as the head robot, I thought.
What's more she knew how to sex it up without showing all and sundry either.
Just look at this image of her.

Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine has obvious traits to another movie which came much later.
Yep, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. The movies, despite the story differences, have so much in common it's hard to not notice.

But it's perfectly okay. Mike Myers did his impersonation of Dr. Goldfoot (at least in the costume department), yet Vincent Price did it better.

Another obvious homage to Dr. Goldfoot is Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers, who is later revealed to be a sexbot, much like those produced in the bikini machine.
But when you look at this image of Elizabeth Hurley, who's complaining?!?

I give Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine 7 stars out of 10.
It's perfect for the era it was set in (1960's) yet by today's standard it's aged remarkable.
Therein lies the movies appeal however.
If you can track it down and you're in the mood for something fun (and very silly) I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Planet Of The Apes

I remember seeing this movie at a charity event. My brother and I would go to these monthly movie charity events, depending on the movie. The tickets were a few dollars off so why not?
I still remember the ticket stub, and I think I still have it somewhere in my collection. It was a large piece of cardboard with the movie poster printed on it including the cast members of that particular film.
I hadn't heard too much about this Planet Of The Apes so I was interested to see (according to the ticket stub) what role George Clooney would play in the movie.

Not to spoil those who haven't seen this movie, but George Clooney is nowhere to be seen.

Here's the movie trailer

And here's the movie poster

For it's time this movie was pretty darn good, and you need to commend the production staff for keeping the apes as actors in monkey suits.

Now I'll be the first to admit that Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is the better movie but still, for actors in monkey suits-appeal, this movie is up there.

Another surprise for me was seeing Mark Wahlberg as the human (it was the role he was born to play baby!).
At the time of this movies release Mark still had a bit of the stigma from his days as Marky Mark. But since then he's become known as an actor, and he's shown he certainly can act.
In this movie? Well, there's a bit of talent.

Talking about talent we have Estella Warren as slave girl 69. Er, wait, her name's Daena. (I have to look it up on imdb to be sure)
Estella's role is pretty forgettable, and some would say her acting skills are pretty regrettable. But oh well, we knew what role she was really there for. To get the horny teenage boys in to see the film.
And it worked! The movie was a success enough to spawn a sequel/prequel/remake/reboot/reimagining 10 years later with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Now here's where the fun begins. Tim Roth was cast in the role of Thade.
A particularly evil monkey.
Seeing the dimensions and just the little things Tim brings to the role; it's a delight to watch.

The same can be said for all the actors in monkey suits actually.
Playing the role of Attar is Michael Clarke Duncan. Michael has the physical presence but it's not until you hear his booming voice that you realise who it is.
And the damage his character visits on the other actors in the fight scenes has to be seen to be believed. Wow.

One actor I didn't like in this movie is Helena Bonham Carter, in the role of Ari.
Her husband/partner/whatever (Tim Burton) is the director so her inclusion in this movie simply felt like he was giving her a pay day.
Helena has seen gone on to milk more pay days out of about 4 other Tim Burton-directed movies.
It's like seeing your manager at work give his wife a high paying job for not really doing all that much.
It's a bit much.

It also doesn't help that Helena's role as Ari comes across as a hippie, tree-hunging, lefty extremist. Not actually something I want shoved down my throat if I'm forking over cash to see a movie.

One actor really having fun in his role is Paul Giamatti. This was 3 years before Sideways came out and people started to notice Paul's work, but you can see Paul is loving the role of Limbo. A slave-trader for both humans and apes.
Limbo is also the only orangutan (that I could see) in this movie.
Not sure what that has to say about orangutans, but nonetheless it's fun to watch Paul in his scenes.

All in all I think this movie is still a very watchable, very enjoyable movie.
I give it 7 1/2 out of 10.
Even despite the noticeable lack of George Clooney.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Interview with... Juan-Luis Sanchez

My next interview has been a long time in the making, purely because the interviewee is so incredibly busy with his work.
Of course I'm talking about Visual Effects whiz Juan-Luis Sanchez.
Juan-Luis has had a hand in such films as Harry Potter, Nightmare On Elm Street, and even Star Wars.
So I hope you enjoy this very insightful interview with Juan-Luis Sanchez.

1. How does someone come to work in the Visual Effects Department for a movie studio? What credentials do you require?

In my case I came from studying Physics and then completing a Computer Science Masters. From there I started out in the Pipeline group at Rhythm & Hues Studios ( Nowadays many people come through established Visual Effects and Computer Animation courses at large universities/colleges. When I began my career these courses had only just started, and people came from many different backgrounds; architecture, fine art, film studies, theatre, photography, computer science.

As for credentials, well, the fact that people want to do this work and pursue it avidly might be considered enough credentials :). No, you need a mix of artistry and craft - all VFX work requires some amount of those two things. Depending on the role the focus may be on one or the other. There's no single university course or certificate that can demonstrate that someone has those things, you need to see what they've done on their own time, where their passions are, see examples of their work and talk to them about the things that motivate them. Nowadays people with an interest in VFX can make their own movies and do their own very high quality effects work on their home laptop and demonstrate their interest and ability that way. At the end of the day it's about the image that makes it onto the screen.

2. What has been your favourite project to work on so far, and why?

It's a tough one to answer because I've chosen every project because I wanted to work on it for some reason, regardless of whether it turned out to be a good movie in the end or not. The one that I had the best time on however, for a host of reasons, would probably be Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

3. What did you do you on The Dark Knight?

I was involved in the early stages of post production, helping with the environment work building Gotham City out of Chicago. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take that work into actual shot production, I moved back to the USA before that happened.

4. What difference is there, visually, between the original and 2010 remake of Nightmare On Elm Street?

If you look at the original film it has a simpler visual style, even though there are very surreal images and sequences in there. It was a very low-budget horror film and that translated to the shooting style. Wes Craven had some very interesting ideas and tone that he wanted to convey and he did that with a few striking images and moments that everyone remembers. The newer film, although still relatively low-budget by todays standards, is a much slicker affair, directed by someone who came from the advertising and music video world, so it has a much more style-conscious look.

As far as Freddy is concerned, there was a desire to take his make-up design away from the monstrous 'Pizza-face' that he had become known for in the classic films, and try to establish a different identity for him, more based on what might happen to a real burn victim. It was an interesting choice but perhaps it caused less fear and more pity in the audience, which doesn't make him a threatening figure.

5. What’s it like on the Harry Potter movies?

I worked on The Chamber of Secrets (2) and The Order of The Phoenix (5), and I saw both The Philosopher's Stone (1) and The Prizoner of Azkaban (3) while they were in production. They were all very different films, mainly because the directors of the films changed a lot in the first few years, and the technology advanced a lot. You can see the effects in the first few films don't look as good as those later on, and in part it was a process of discovery for everyone involved. Still, they were relatively straightforward because the production team on the studio side changed very little over the period the films were made, so there was consistency about the look and tone that they were going for, and they were very well organised productions. With that much money riding on everything, they wanted to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible.

The first few were exciting, because it was all new. Everyone wanted to see what a Quidditch match would look like, or the Dementors, or Hogwarts itself. For instance, when ILM worked on the Quidditch match in Chamber of Secrets, there was a desire to improve on what was done before. I think that's part of it too, many different people all over the world have worked on these films over the years, and there's been a desire, a friendly competition as it were, to improve on whatever came before it. It's rare that you get to re-work characters and situations to try out new approaches both technical and artistic, every few years, to see how things have improved.

From a personal level, I got to appear as a Quidditch official as an extra in Chamber of Secrets, we shot some elements on bluescreen at ILM, so that was a lot of fun. I would have liked to have worked on The Deathly Hallows but I couldn't get to the UK (where just about all the effects have been done for the past 4 or 5 films) in time for it to happen.

6. Do the Harry Potter novels restrict you in any way?

By the time the shots have made it to me as an artist, all the crucial decisions have been made as far as how much to follow the books or not. It's a bigger question than just the VFX, the Harry Potter films have been sort of 'moving picture books' in some ways, unable to truly represent all the details, characters and plot lines of the books. But any attempt to re-tell or re-structure those stories to make more sense in a compressed movie time-frame would have met with great resistance from the main audience - all the kids who knew the books inside and out. So for better or worse the films follow the books very faithfully sometimes skipping over large bits of exposition or events knowing that the audience will have been filling in the blanks from their own readings of the books.
I worked on Dobby and his dirty pillowcase for The Chamber of Secrets and I found the book very helpful to read Dobby's description and how he wore the pillowcase, it helped me understand it better from the perspective of his character and what it meant to him. Personally, when there has been a book on which a film is based that I've worked on, I've liked having it to refer to for inspiration.

7. Mystery Men was a distinct look and style. What was it like to work on this movie?

We're going back a while now, not too many people want to talk about Mystery Men, lol. It was a non-super superheroes film (like Kick-Ass or others) made before people were ready for that kind of story. Still, it has a small cult following. I was just starting out as an VFX artist when I worked on it, and I did a number of bits and pieces for it. I think it was somewhat frustrating at the time as there didn't seem to be a clear focus of what to do or where we were heading with the film, but I remember it fondly now, a learning experience. I haven't seen the film in years.

8. What has been your most talked-about work?

Probably Yoda, in Episodes II and III. I set up his digital clothing, and was one part of a large team of people involved in making him a digital character. We were making Yoda a CG character for the first time and there was a lot of desire to do it right, to fully evoke the Yoda of The Empire Strikes Back, but do things that the character could not have possibly done as a puppet. To that end we got to meet Frank Oz and hear his detailed thoughts about the character, and we studied every piece of footage, every photograph, every outtake that we could find of the pre-digital Yoda, to make sure that anything we did was in keeping with that, involving lots of discussions about his character and how he would approach this or that. As a child I never thought I'd get to be paid to talk about Yoda! Whatever people thought about the final fight scene with Count Dooku, it was so satisfying to take him to a place that he had never been before, and feel that we managed to pull it off. I did his clothes for the shot in Episode II where he pulls back his robe and takes out the lightsabre before confronting Count Dooku, and the camera swings around him western-movie style, and that was a thrill. I still get excited to see that shot when I happen across it on TV or something.

Wow! Thank you so very much Juan-Luis!
I hope you got a kick out of reading that, because I saw did!

Please feel free to leave a comment below.
Until next time!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I watched this movie on the night of my birthday, and I really shouldn't have.
I knew what I was getting myself into. A mate had told me what it was about and how harsh it was but still I watched.

Here is the movie trailer.

And here is the movie poster.

After viewing the trailer I probably don't need to go into too much detail as to what the movie is about. Heck even the poster is pretty confronting.

Annie (Liana Liberato) is the main character for the most part however a lot of screen time is taken up by Will (Clive Owen).
Both actors do really well in their respective roles.

As much as Clive Owen's agents continue to push on cinema audiences that Clive is an action star this movie is actually a nice change of pace and Clive's strengths as an actor come out wonderfully in this film.

I'd read that Catherine Keener was in this film and I'd enjoyed her previous work such as 40-Year Old Virgin, and especially Death To Smoochy.
This is the darkest I've ever seen Catherine though. How'd have thought she could do drama so well?!

I knew going into to this movie that it was directed by Friends star David Schwimmer. Under no misconception did I think this movie was a comedy though. Far from it.

And just do you know, it was directed very well.

What got me though was the melodramatic dialogue, especially from Annie (and in one scene, Catherine Keener). By the end of the film I was exhausted from all the screaming and yelling.

I was just over it.

Here we have Charlie. In a role which could easily kill his career Chris Henry Coffey takes a chance portraying an online predator, and he does it would no cliched dialogue or undertones.

That's one good point about the movie. It could have very easily steered itself into an after-school special about online predators, but somehow it doesn't.

In a show of strength by the director's part is the home movie during the end credit. Just creepy.

All up I give this movie 5 out of 10. I wouldn't given it more because it is a very well-done film however I watched it on my birthday and it kind of ruined the day for me.

Until next time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shadow Of The Vampire

What I like about this film is that it isn't a vampire movie, it's a film about a film.
And it's a film for film fans.

Here is the movie poster.

And here is the movie trailer

The film centres around the production of the 1922 silent horror film Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror).

Playing the director F. Murnau is John Malkovich.
I've never really been a fan of Malkovich, until I watched this film. Only then did I finally understand the point he is trying to make as an actor himself.
Malkovich seems to be one of those actors who attempts a role or genre at least once.
In this film he attempts to bring Murnau back to life, and I think he does so very well.
He is also giving homage to the silent film era.

What certainly helps the film along is the interaction between Murnau and character actor Max Shrek.
Played so very very well by Willem Dafoe.
Clearly this is a career highlight for Dafoe who is almost unrecognisable as Max Shrek.

The story of the production goes that Marnau discovered Max Shrek, who agreed to star as lead actor/villain Count Orlok. The rumour stands he only agreed to appear if he could actually kill someone on screen, during filming.
That's what makes watching this film all that more intriguing.
If you want to read more about the inner workings of the production please venture over to

Here we have Greta (Catherine McCormack) and Fritz (the shamefully underused actor Cary Elwes).

For those of you interested, yes there is a nude scene by McCormack, but if you're watching the film just for that reason you're doing yourself a disservice.

Another superb actor appearing here (as Gustav von Wanganhein) is Eddie Izzard.
Izzard is interesting as an actor in the same way Malkovich interests me. Izzard seems to want to make his mark on each genre offered to him.
He does this in this film, very well too I might add.

Of course it wouldn't be a vampire movie without Udo Kier, playing the role of Albin Grau.
Kier's role is somewhat small, but he does a lot with it.

And of course there is Max Shrek (Willem Dafoe). The main reason everyone wants to see this film.
As soon as he steps foot into his first scene you are spellbound by Dafoe's performance. In fact a few scenes in and I'd forgotten it was Willem Dafoe at all.
Dafoe literally becomes Max Shrek/Count Orlok so convincenly. It's a pleasure to watch.

Just to give you an example of how well the make-up department worked on Dafoe, here is how Max Shrek looked as Count Orlok in the original film.

So to cap it off, this is the best vampire movie I've ever watched.
Each actor is brilliant in their role.
It gets, easily, 10 out of 10 stars.

And two thumbs up.

Ain't that right Dafoe?