Movie of the Week: ‘Shadow of the Vampire’

AHFW takes a trippy trip to 2000 and a look back at E. Elias Merhige’s highly memorable “Shadow of the Vampire” starring Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich.  Merhige’s flick is part-drama, part-comedy and part-horror, as it retells director F.W. Murnau’s (Malkovich) making of “Nosferatu” (1922).  The wrinkle is that Murnau personally hires actor Max Schreck (Dafoe) to play Count Orlok, but this unknown thespian displays bizarre behavior and – for some reason – never removes his makeup. Mmm, it makes you think that maybe….. Well, don’t speculate, we recommend that…

‘The Lighthouse’ is a mesmerizing visual feast…and a rudderless waste of time

“The Lighthouse” – Robert Eggers’ follow-up to his eerie, creepy horror film “The Witch” (2015) (4/4 stars) is an equally eerie, creepy drama about two weathered men watching over a lonely lighthouse. There’s little doubt that this visual feast sets a disturbing tone, as “The Lighthouse” has an Ingmar Bergman-“Hour of the Wolf”-thing working greatly in its favor.  Filmed entirely in black and white and almost exclusively with a 1:1 aspect ratio (or very close to it), Eggers delivers a horrible sense of doom on a teeny, tiny island near…

‘At Eternity’s Gate’ paints a memorable Van Gogh portrait

“At Eternity’s Gate” – “When facing a flat landscape, I see nothing but eternity.” – Vincent Van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) Director Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007) – the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s struggle with nearly-total paralysis – floats into a dream-like state, as the film delivers a sensitive portrayal of the man’s limited physical capabilities and deeply resonant firsthand experiences.  Bauby’s left eye was not paralyzed, as Schnabel attempts to capture the former “Elle” magazine editor’s rich viewpoint through this unique lens. The director takes a…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Shadow of the Vampire’

“Shadow of the Vampire” (2000) – Director E. Elias Merhige’s movie is about a filmmaker (John Malkovich) making a movie with an eccentric star (Willem Dafoe).  Sounds simple enough and not out of the ordinary, because what movie actor or actress isn’t at least a little eccentric? Well, not so simple. Merhige’s eye-popping fantasy-biopic doubles as a horror film, because Malkovich plays director FW Murnau who attempts to make 1922’s “Nosferatu”, and Dafoe is actor Max Schreck who plays the chalky-white, long-nailed Count Orlok.  The rub?  Murnau claims that Schreck…

Sean Baker constructs ‘The Florida Project’, one of the best films of 2017

“The Florida Project” – “Childhood means simplicity.  Look at the world with the child’s eye – it’s very beautiful.”  – Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights and education advocate “These are the rooms we’re not supposed to go in, but let’s go anyway!” – Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) Families from all over target Orlando, Fla. as a vacation city, because of its famous theme parks, and Disney’s Magic Kingdom shines as its crown jewel.  According to a June 1, 2017 The New York Times article, 20.4 million people visited the Magic Kingdom…