2022 TV & Movie Reviews: Violent Night / Interview with the Vampire / Emily the Criminal

Vampires, Santa and Aubrey Plaza. Let’s say a prayer for peace.

Violent Night

Maybe it’s just because I was expecting this to be terrible, but I had an honest to goodness great time with Violent Night, a seriously fun Die Hard riff where Santa is John McClane and The Pest is Hans Gruber. The reason why that film worked so well is because McClane is woefully underprepared for what he must face and struggles to succeed the entire time. He isn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger coming in and easily knocking off twelve terrorists in five seconds. Here, Santa, perfectly rendered by Stranger Things MVP David Harbour, is at a similar disadvantage. His magic only works within the context of Christmas lore, so overcoming dozens of military-trained burglars, led by John Leguizamo, attempting to steal $300 Million from a naughty rich family’s vault is quite the challenge. Why is Santa even there? Same as McClane – wrong place, wrong time. He just happened to be delivering presents to the only “nice” member of the whole family (a 10-year-old girl named Trudy) when motherfuckers started shooting. Violent Night doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any way but it does offer a fun spin on both dark holiday and Die Hard replica movies. Besides the wonderful David Harbour, the cast is comprised of some seriously talented character actors including Beverly D’Angelo and The Righteous GemstonesEdi Patterson, who play up fairly one-dimensional roles. There’s a great little subplot involving the little girl, Trudy, that’s basically Home Alone directed by Tarantino, and while Leguizamo is pretty underwhelming as the chief villain, there’s enough laughs and bloodshed to appease most holiday movie cynics. Grade: B (In Theaters)

Interview with the Vampire (Season 1)

Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac and Sam Reid as Lestat De Lioncourt – Interview with the Vampire _ Season 1, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

One of the most compelling and compulsively watchable new shows this year is Rolin Jones‘ adaptation of Anne Rice‘s beloved classic Interview with the Vampire. Taking some serious liberties with the source material and Neil Jordan‘s 90s film adaptation, this iteration switches from modern day and early 1900s New Orleans when Louis the Vampire (Jacob Anderson – Grey Worm from Game of Thrones) invites his dying journalist friend (Eric Bogosian) to his high-rise mansion in Dubai to re-tell the story of his relationship with his abusive partner/maker Lestat (Sam Reid). The major switch made from the previous adaptations is that Louis is an affluent closeted black man living in a super racist time and place. This makes Louis, a bit bland sometimes, a much more interesting character. And while the 90s adaptation scratched the surface of the gay romance between Louis and Lestat, this version makes it the centerpiece – it’s essentially about being unable to escape an abusive relationship but the hook is “but with vampires.” While that sounds like it could be an absolute disaster if not handled well, it’s hard to imagine a better and more interesting adaptation of the source material than this. Avoiding camp at every turn and taking its story and thoroughly well-developed characters seriously, the series is thrillingly unpredictable and relentlessly engaging because we actually care about the characters. The entire cast is great with Jacob Anderson really spreading his dramatic wings and Eric Bogosian perfectly cast as yet another cynical buzzkill. However, the clear standouts are Sam Reid‘s colossal but never over-the-top portrayal of Lestat and Bailey Bass‘s dynamic and truly moving performance as Claudia, the vampire tragically cursed to forever be a child. Running a brisk seven episodes and already renewed for a second season, Interview with the Vampire is a pretty safe bet for you to get invested in. Grade: A- (AMC+)

Emily the Criminal

Aubrey Plaza delivers a very good performance as a caterer struggling with student loans who desperately turns to credit card scamming as a way of digging herself out of a hole. Of course, this digs her into an even bigger hole when small time fraud becomes serious fucking shit. The film itself treads really familiar ground in terms of both crime dramas and character studies, but Plaza frequently elevates it from its exhausted tropes with her nuanced work. Theo Rossi who played Juice on Sons of Anarchy, a really stupid show, is adequate here in an underdeveloped role as Plaza‘s handler and maybe sorta kinda love interest. This is a fairly predictable and low key crime movie that’s well-paced and relatively unoffensive. The only exceptional thing about it is Aubrey Plaza, though. Grade: B(Netflix)

ALSO STREAMING OR IN THEATERS

FILM

Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverIn Theaters

The FabelmansIn Theaters / Streaming Soon

The MenuIn Theaters

Bones and AllIn Theaters

Everything Everywhere All at OnceShowtime

TÁRIn Theaters / $19.99 rental on Amazon

The Banshees of InisherinIn Theaters / HBOMax December 13th

SmileIn Theaters / Paramount+

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Roku

BarbarianHBOMax

Nightmare AlleyHBOMax

The BatmanHBOMax

ElvisHBOMax

MalignantHBOMax

OldHBOMax

Werewolf by NightDisney+

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessDisney+

EternalsDisney+

Black Widow Disney+

Home Sweet Home AloneDisney+

TV

CHUCKY — “An Affair to Dismember” Episode 108 — Pictured in this screengrab: Chucky — (Photo by: SYFY/USA Network)

Atlanta (Season 4)Hulu

Chucky (Season 2)Syfy

Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of CuriositiesNetflix

28 Days HauntedNetflix

The Midnight ClubNetflix

Reservation Dogs (Season 2)Hulu

The Resort Peacock

Harley Quinn (Season 3)HBOMax

The Rehearsal (Season 1)HBOMax

Only Murders in the Building (Season 2)Hulu

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Better Call Saul (Season 6, Part Two)AMC+

Black BirdAppleTV+

Yellowjackets (Season 1)Showtime

Barry (Season 3)HBOMax

Severance (Season 1)AppleTV+

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: