* * * ½
(Funny, but bloody Dracula Flick)
We’ve seen Nicholas Cage in a variety of weird roles over many years, but his portrayal of Dracula has to top the list. Technically, Cage is a supporting actor in a bloody, hilarious (or is it bloody hilarious?) retelling of the Bran Stocker novel.
The title role belongs to British actor Nicholas Hoult, the obedient servant of Dracula who brings victims to the Count’s lair so he can survive on their blood. Renfield gains his strength and stamina from eating insects. The more he eats, the stronger he is.
There is more gushing blood in this wild and crazy movie than is collected at the Rhode Island Blood Center in a year.
Limbs are ripped from torsos and used as weapons. Heads are blown off. Necks and stomachs are ripped open. It is not a very pretty sight.
But people change. Renfield finds himself in a position where he saves many lives, helping a policewoman (Awkwafina) battle bad guys whose goal is to take over the world. (Isn’t it always!).
Renfield joins a support group and learns how to take back his power and fight his narcissistic master.
Set in New Orleans, the movie has a weird aura to it, going from absolute chaos to cozy little scene filled with love and caring in the support group.
The dichotomy of violence and the self-help psychology may be a bit much for some.
Seeing it for Cage’s performance may be more than enough for others.
THE QUIET GIRL
* * * *
(Lovely But Sad Irish Tale)
Only the Irish can make lovely little movies that will bring tears to your eyes (Richard provides tissues as you exit.)
The “action” takes place in rural Ireland in 1981. Nine-year-old Cait is the youngest in a poor, dysfunctional farm family with an alcoholic father and pregnant mother.
Poor Cait is a lost soul. She’s a wanderer, a loner, a quiet one.
The family ships her off for the summer to older distant relatives, where they slowly, ever so slowly, communicate and integrate.
The couple hide a secret involving another family member that explains their initial reluctance to get close to Cait.
Summer ends and it is time to return the child, who has come out of her shell, to her family.
How everything turns out is left to your imagination.
The actors speak a sort of Gaelic tongue, so thankfully sub-titles are used.