Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Culture Warrior on 2012

In this end-of-year editorial, Landon Palmer discusses the pattern that movies demonstrated in 2012 for telling stories through protagonists defined by their various personality traits rather than through conventional, straightforward characters. In so doing, movies this year showed how our individual identities have become divided within various aspects of modern social life. This trend made some of the year’s movies incredibly interesting, while others suffered from a personality disorder. Landon argues that movies ranging from The Hunger Games to The Dark Knight Rises to Holy Motors alongside cultural events and institutions like the Presidential election, social media, and “Gangnam Style” all contributed to a year in which popular culture is finally became open about its constant engagement with multiple cults of personality. Six years ago, Time magazine famously named its eagerly anticipated “Person of the Year” You in big, bold letters. Its cover even featured a mirror. As a result of the established popularity of supposedly democratized media outlets like Facebook and the home of the cover’s proverbial “You,” YouTube, Time declared 2006 as the year in which the masses were equipped with the ability to empower themselves for public expressions of individual identity. More than a half decade later, social media is no longer something new to adjust to, but a norm of living with access to technology. Supposing that Time’s prophecy proved largely correct, what does it mean to live in a 21st century where we each have perpetual access to refracting our respective mirrors?

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs… now on Mondays for your reading pleasure one day early! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Isn’t Anyone Alive? It’s afternoon on a college campus, and as the students chat about urban myths, employees go about their business and strangers pass through the area something begins to happen. They all begin to die. One by one they fall to the ground coughing and writhing in pain, but the conversations continue on around them. Director Gakuryu Ishii and screenwriter Shirô Maeda (adapting his own play) have delivered a film guaranteed to turn off 90% of viewers with its shifting tones, slow pace and lack of easy answers, but the 10% who stick with it will find a surreal gem exploring the things we share with each other and the things we keep secret. Dark, absurd humor exists alongside moments of real beauty, and the ending in particular is an affecting glimpse at true loneliness. [Extras: None]

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The Dark Knight Rises Billboard

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly commitment. We want you to have a rundown of the best articles of the day. Newsworthy, opinionated or otherwise, we count down today’s best because we owe it to you, our beloved reader. We begin this evening with the coolest piece of Dark Knight Rises marketing that you’re likely to see, courtesy of the folks at /Film. Spotted at the intersection of Sunset and La Brea avenues in Hollywood, this billboard is not a graphic, but an actual billboard that appears to have exploded into the shape of the bat symbol. And here, we thought Christopher Nolan wasn’t down with 3D.

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

“The joke ends in the title” has been a popular selling point for the makers of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Now, with the film out in the world, there will inevitably be question over that statement. However, what no one can question is the all-out seriousness the cast and director Timur Bekmambetov took Seth Grahame-Smith‘s material. There is no 21st century irony in sight here. Namely, there’s the lead of the film – Benjamin Walker, who goes as straight-faced as one can in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. No matter how ridiculous the situation – Lincoln running on top of horses or, you know, killing vampires – Walker never winks or smirks at the silliness. Here’s what Benjamin Walker had to say about the melancholic superhero nature of Abraham Lincoln, adjusting to makeup, and how the film is a Lincoln biopic which just so happens to have blood-thirsty vampires roaming around:

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As many of you might have guessed, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is what one might call a craze-induced summer blockbuster. The United States’ 16th President hunting vampires is actually the least of the film’s bizarro nature; this is a film with a vampire throwing a horse and the weaponization of forks against confederate vampire soldiers. Making all of this a world audiences can buy into isn’t a simple task for an actor, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead and the rest of the cast  go about it as seriously as they can. Timur Bekmambetov made a very specific film, yet Winstead is acting in one of her own since, when 99% of the lunacy is happening onscreen, Mary Todd Lincoln usually isn’t around. When she is onscreen, Winstead faces another kind of challenge with her extensive makeup. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter marks another entry in Winstead’s career with a world-building director at the helm, and, speaking with us at the press day, that seems like the main appeal for projects such as these. Here is what Mary Elizabeth Winstead had to say about Timur Bekmambetov’s “idea machine” method of directing, the specificity in physical & dialog-driven action, and the strong life of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; always four-scored…on a scale of 100. You’ve cannonballed into the Internet’s second best antebellum bad movie column; unable to compete with Prospector Pappy’s Dagnab Bad Opera Hootenanny, but still way ahead of hopelessly post-bellum Dandy Dan’s Vaudeville Flawedville. Every week, we are torn apart by an internal civil war. On the one hand, we have the taste and fortitude of reason to understand that certain movies are categorically terrible. Unfortunately, a rebellious faction of our brain seeks to secede from our senses and declare the film entertaining and worthy of praise. When we finally reach our figurative Appomattox, we celebrate the retention of mental union by enjoying a disgustingly tasty treat themed to the movie in question. This week, a film appeared in the theaters of America that dared to challenge our perceptions of narrative cohesiveness as well as our elementary school text books. A movie that dared to prove the old maxim that it is better to remain silent and be thought a crappy movie by the poster, than to begin reel one and remove all doubt. That movie was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Demonstrating all the commitment to truth and fact as routinely does The History Channel, the film, based on the novel of the same name,  supposes a world in which our sixteenth president, The Great Emancipator, was also a  great decapitator of the bloodsucking undead. This willful abandon of all got-damn sense sparked our imaginations, and our wanton desire for copious […]

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

It’s hard to imagine how Abraham Lincoln could loom larger in the American mythos, but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter appears to have found an answer. After all, what could compare with the awesome legacy of saving the Union and emancipating the slaves quite like prolifically slaying the undead on your downtime? Timur Bekmambetov’s adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s mash-up novel (the author also wrote the screenplay) offers a vision of Honest Abe (Benjamin Walker) as an avenger hellbent on the destruction of bloodsucker bigwig Adam (Rufus Sewell) and the rest of his kind after vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) murders Lincoln’s mother with just one bite. The movie cleverly reworks both the familiar events of the 16th President’s life and some broader archetypal period moments, and Grahame-Smith and Bekmambetov stick closer to the historical record than you’d think. When he’s not studying the law or romancing Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in Springfield, Lincoln is serially, secretly disposing of hidden vampires. His close companion Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) aids him on his otherworldly mission. Jefferson Davis recruits the undead to the Confederate Army. The tragic 1862 death of Willie Lincoln is given a fresh spin.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a pretty gangsta nightly column of news and notes about the world of entertainment. Not quite as gangsta as the image above, but pretty gangsta nonetheless. Tonight kicks off with a new image from Breaking Bad. Can you tell that we’re excited to see Walter and Jesse back in action next month? If not, you must not be paying attention. We’re very excited, as it turns out.

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Wanted Movie

A Wanted 2 has been kicking around ever since the first film’s 2008 release. Even after becoming a surprising R-rated success and Mark Millar talking up the project every chance he gets, the likelihood of Wanted 2 seemed dimmer year after year. When Angelina Jolie passed on the sequel, it was publicized as the death knell of the project. Now, with director Timur Bekmambetov making the press rounds for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, he’s remarked the project is now picking up steam, thanks to a “great” and “shocking” idea he came up with. The Playlist got an update from Bekmambetov, who explained the bright future for the project, “An unbelievable thing happened three weeks ago. Because we stopped, we didn’t know what to do for three or four years. Three weeks ago I came up with a great idea and I pitched this idea and everybody fell in love with it. And now I think we’re on track. Right now the writer is working on the script, and it will be shocking.” As we all know, not too many characters made it out of Wanted still breathing, except, of course, Wesley Gibson. Bekmambetov confirmed it would pick up where the first film left off, “It’s a continuation of the story, with Wesley Gibson… Other people are dead, you know, we can’t bring them back. The story is the same character, same mythology, but it’s got a great twist.”

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Prometheus

One month down in the summer movie season. We got a decent opener, certainly not a grand start. Joss Whedon‘s box-office juggernaut and Wes Anderson‘s lovely Moonrise Kingdom aside, we faced disappointments. The Dictator was hit and miss. Battleship was more bloated than big. Although it was better than its harsher critics suggested, Dark Shadows didn’t exactly win over any of Depp and Burton’s naysayers. Now, with June, we’ve got an even more promising month; 30 days packed with Abraham Lincoln killing vampires, a rock musical, and a talking bear movie. All the required ingredients for a proper moviegoing month. This is such a busy month the honorable mentions are more honorable than usual, even Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages, that movie being marketed as a celebrity karaoke party. Even though The Loved Ones is apparently a must-see movie, 99.9% of you will not be able to see it this month, hence why it’s not on the list. But what is?

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At this point we’re already knee-deep in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s promotional campaign. We’ve posted the film’s first trailer, which highlighted Lincoln’s skill with an axe; its red band trailer, which put the spotlight on how crazy its action can get, and now the film’s third trailer is making the rounds; and it’s a promotional piece that finally hammers home the fact that this is a story about Abraham Lincoln. It’s been strange up to this point how little this film’s advertising efforts have stressed the fact that it has a completely ludicrous premise, given that said premise is going to be the main attraction for fans of genre filmmaking. This is a movie about the 16th president of the United States slaughtering blood sucking monsters with kung-fu skills. That’s absurd! Why don’t we focus on that for a minute?

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Poor ‘lil Stevie Spielberg. Come Oscar season he may have a tough act to follow with his Daniel Day Lewis-starring Lincoln pic, the one which probably won’t feature Lincoln’s finest achievements: chopping off vampire heads, marrying Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and getting Anthony Mackie to somehow be your sidekick. All in all, that’s quite the life, as this bloody red band trailer for Timur Bekmambetov‘s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shows. Check out Abraham Lincoln acting like a “mad man”:

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Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter don’t fit the bill of your average summer blockbuster. An adaptation of a slightly obscure soap opera about a vampire? We don’t see those often enough in the summer season. A hard-R actioner featuring one of our greatest presidents shredding vampires to bits? That’s another unheard of type summer tentpole. Although Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s names alone can create money out of thin air, Dark Shadows is not the sort of film we often see as a May release, and the same goes for June’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The man partly responsible for these two going-against-the-norm pictures is author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith had to tackle some difficult tasks when it came to making these two projects – like making an accessible Dark Shadows film and adapting his own epic and tonally tricky novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Here’s what Seth Grahame-Smith had to say about writing for the screen, the soap-operatic tone of Dark Shadows, and the straight-faced badassery of Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires:

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Seth Grahame-Smith‘s unwritten Beetlejuice sequel is currently a big, fat maybe. As of right now, Smith has only gone as far to discuss the project with the studio, Tim Burton, and Michael Keaton, who all sound game, as long as one small little detail is taken care of: nailing the script. As I spoke to Smith yesterday, it was obvious he knew the stakes involved in doing a sequel to Burton’s beloved classic. I mean, who on earth wants to be the guy responsible for making a lame Beetlejuice sequel? Obviously, Smith doesn’t want that title. “When Warner Bros. first talked to me about it I said there needs to be two things to happen before I would even consider it,” said Grahame-Smith. “For one, it couldn’t be some kind of reboot or remake with a different actor playing Beetlejuice. I wasn’t interested in that. I wanted actual Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice and an actual sequel to the movie. Two, I said I’d only do it if Tim gave it his blessing and guided the process. I got both of those things: Tim to say if there was a good enough script he would help with the development of it and I got Michael Keaton to say, if the script was good enough, he’d be open to doing it.” He continued, “You know, what I keep telling people is I don’t want to do it unless we’re really sure that it’s worthy. The original is one of my favorite movies, so I […]

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t exactly pop out as your typical summer blockbuster. To broadly compare it to this season’s offerings: it’s not based on a comic book, isn’t adapted from a toy line, and isn’t a reboot or sequel. All in all, pretty distinct, and I didn’t even mention that the film features one of our greatest Presidents kicking vampire ass. To further add onto that pile, Timur Bekmambetov‘s adaption of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s book is a hard-R summer movie. If you’ve read Smith’s book, then you know it has its fare share of violence. If you haven’t read the book, here’s a good example: it features a vampire slaughtering a baby. Today I spoke with author/screenwriter Grahame-Smith as a part of our summer preview, wherein we briefly discussed how far the film pushes the book’s violence and what type of R-rated material to expect.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the nightly movie news column that other movie news websites read for tomorrow’s news… Editor’s Note: The original header image from this edition of News After Dark was not for public viewing, as we found out later. We were asked to take it down by Warner Bros. And since we’d rather show you really cool stuff, here’s a Bane art piece by alicexz. We begin this evening with what appears to be a very unhappy Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. It’s another promo image to follow last week’s release of Catwoman’s ass-tacular costume. My guess is that Warner Bros. has simply given up on the marketing of this one, as they seem to be just letting raw materials out. Then again, if you had to follow-up with the incredible marketing campaign behind The Dark Knight, you’d probably throw in the towel, too. Luck for them, everyone is already going to see TDKR. Just because.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? God only knows, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to need a bigger boat… We begin by shining our big ass MNAD spotlight on short filmmaking. Director BenDavid Grabinski‘s short film Cost of Living premiered at this year’s Fantastic Fest, where I unfortunately missed it. Luckily for me and anyone else who hasn’t seen it yet, the short is premiering online tonight around 9PM PST. Cost of Living stars Bret Harrison and Brandon Routh as a couple of security guards who work for a strange corporation. The enchanting Mary Elizabeth Winstead lends her voice to the proceedings as well. Check it out for yourself at www.foindustries.com anytime after 9PM PST. Looks like Sony is following in many other studios footsteps by sending out some sweet swag for it’s upcoming tentpole to top film bloggers. Peter Sciretta over at /Film was one of the lucky ones to receive a replica of Peter Parker’s bookbag from this summer’s franchise reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. Head on over to /Film to read the full story and see plenty of pics!

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Unlike our own Kate Erbland, I don’t loathe Seth Grahame-Smith‘s writing with every fiber of my body. In fact, I quite like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a book that’s less tongue-in-cheek than you’d expect. Tonally, it’s challenging material. And based on this first trailer for the book’s cinematic adaptation, it’s slightly difficult to tell which way the film’s going to go. This could either be another Van Helsing or (probably) something we haven’t quite seen before. If one thing’s for sure, director Timur Bekmambetov has nailed the atmosphere of the book. The director’s got a great eye, so it’s no surprise this trailer has visual ass-kicking going for it. Take a look at Abe kicking some unholy arse:

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Although the real question keeping Hollywood awake in 2012 is “Does Winston Wolf clean up dead hookers on Yom Kippur?”, the fine folks over at HitFix have put forth a handful of queries of varying importance which filmmakers, studios and fans might have on their minds this year. It’s their 15 Questions Keeping Hollywood Awake in 2012. With concerns from Lindsay Lohan’s possible last chance to Joss Whedon’s first real shot with The Avengers, it’s an intriguing list that might prove 2012 to be both an endlessly fascinating and completely irrelevant year in the stories behind the movies. Will Smith, Found Footage, Hunger Games, Dark Knight Rises and more. HitFix has questions, and here are the answers:

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