Tag Archives: Daniel Baldwin

Vampires (1998, John Carpenter)

Vampires is a mess.

I mean, there’s some good stuff in it, but it feels like the least interesting parts of the characters’ stories. There’s a little bit of sequel setup–and the never happened sequel seems a lot better–but so does a prequel to the film’s events.

It takes place over a couple days and a lot happens in them. To fill the audience in, Carpenter has a bunch of expository scenes. While they’re not terrible, they’re just James Woods swearing a lot and beating up Tim Guinee. Woods and Carpenter sell the scenes… it’s just unfortunate the scenes are so narratively unnatural.

Carpenter opens with a big vampire battle scene, introduces his characters, then proceeds to kill off most of them. He leaves Woods and Daniel Baldwin. Woods is the lead, so he has to stick around. But Baldwin? He’s not even a sidekick. Almost immediately after the movie’s done with its setup, Baldwin’s off babysitting Sheryl Lee as she turns into a vampire.

The babysitting scenes are really, really boring.

A lot of the problem is Carpenter’s approach to vampires. They’re very bestial, but by dehumanizing them, they don’t make good villains. There’s not a single scary moment in the film and some of the scenes–the vampires digging themselves out of the ground–just look silly.

The performances are okay. Guinee’s good, Baldwin and Lee have really good moments. Maximilian Schell is bad.

Nice cinematography from Gary B. Kibbe. Carpenter’s totally dispassionate, but still professional.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by John Carpenter; screenplay by Don Jakoby, based on a novel by John Steakley; director of photography, Gary B. Kibbe; edited by Edward A. Warschilka; music by Carpenter; production designer, Thomas A. Walsh; produced by Sandy King; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring James Woods (Jack Crow), Daniel Baldwin (Anthony Montoya), Sheryl Lee (Katrina), Thomas Ian Griffith (Jan Valek), Maximilian Schell (Cardinal Alba), Tim Guinee (Father Adam Guiteau), Mark Boone Junior (Catlin) and Gregory Sierra (Father Giovanni).


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Knight Moves (1992, Carl Schenkel)

I think I’ve seen Knight Moves at least twice before. The first time I saw it I stopped watching Night Moves and went back to the video store for this one.

What can I say? I had no taste when I was fourteen.

Starting it this time, though, I knew what I was getting into (okay, I didn’t know it ran almost two hours). I knew Christopher Lambert’s performance would be awful–I’m not sure he could convincingly order a cup of coffee–and I assumed Diane Lane’s would be too. There’s this amazingly directed scene of them on a beach… and, wow, are they awful. I mean, their scenes together are just laughably atrocious.

For the most part, however, the rest of the film isn’t. The third act is terrible, but it’s otherwise a decent murder mystery, with Tom Skerritt giving a great performance as the cop. Daniel Baldwin’s okay as his sidekick; he’s occasionally bad.

But the reason I watched Knight Moves, the only reason to watch Knight Moves, is director Carl Schenkel. Schenkel is, near as I can tell, totally unappreciated (I can’t really say anything–I love the guy and had no idea he had dead). He shouldn’t be unappreciated though. Knight Moves is one of the finest directed Panavision mysteries–until the complete script failure in the third act. Every frame is exquisite. I can’t even imagine what Schenkel would have been able to do with a slightly better script and actual actors for leads.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Carl Schenkel; written by Brad Mirman; director of photography, Dietrich Lohmann; edited by Norbert Herzner; music by Anne Dudley; production designer, Graeme Murray; produced by Jean-Luc Defait and Ziad El Khoury; released by Republic Pictures.

Starring Christopher Lambert (Peter Sanderson), Diane Lane (Kathy Sheppard), Tom Skerritt (Capt. Frank Sedman), Daniel Baldwin (Det. Andy Wagner), Alex Diakun (Grandmaster Lutz), Ferdy Mayne (Jeremy Edmonds), Katharine Isabelle (Erica Sanderson), Kehli O’Byrne (Debi Rutlege), Blu Mankuma (Steve Nolan), Monica Marko (Miss Greenwell), Charles Bailey-Gates (David Willerman), Arthur Brauss (Viktor Yurilivich) and Sam Malkin (Doctor Fulton).