It took me almost as long to get around to seeing one of the movies in my latest reviews as it did for some of the protagonists to get into present day (considering that group is all vampires from a time span of many millennia ago all the way up to our current era where a few of their friends join the clans of the undead even as this faux documentary is being shot) but I did finally see What We Do in the Shadows (a bit of an out-stretched-idea but still funnier than not), along with a very sweet tale, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed, which takes us back only to 1966 but with the opportunity to catch another glimpse of long-departed John Lennon (sadly, just plain dead). In Living Is Easy … we meet Antonio, a middle-aged teacher of English at a Spanish boys’ school, who’s out to enhance his love of Beatles’ music and his fascination with Lennon by gaining admission to the film shoot for How I Won the War (Richard Lester, 1967). Along the way he meets up with two young runaways, Belén—20, unwed, pregnant—and Juanjo—16, 1966 Beatle-length hair, at odds with his policeman father—who decide to accompany him on the quest. To say more would spoil the delicate nuances of the plot, but if you can find this subtitled obscurity (didn’t even make the top 85 current releases for Box Office Mojo’s tracking last weekend) I think you’d find it fascinating (even though it doesn’t use John’s music as a soundtrack, as apparently does Al Pacino’s newest, Danny Collins; haven’t seen it yet but will shortly). Living Is Easy … (title taken from the lyrics of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” but I guess if I have to tell you that then I may also have to explain who The Beatles were) is actually based on a true story and was Spain’s entry in the recent race for Oscar’s Best Foreign Language Film but didn’t become a finalist.
There are no foreign languages, nor even extremely-accented English speakers, in What We Do in the Shadows, even though it takes place in Wellington, New Zealand, where all of the featured vampires seem to come from somewhere else (our main subject, Viago, tells us about how he traveled from Europe some years ago in pursuit of a lady love but by the time his ship finally reached the proper destination she was already married so he left her alone; none of the other main three bloodsuckers seem to be Southern Hemisphere locals either, but if we learned their paths to the South Pacific it eluded me). In addition to neat-freak and seeming lead-housemate 379-year-old Viago, we also meet 862-year-old womanizer Vladislav; the relative youngster of this group, 183-year-old Deacon; and their cranky companion, Petyr, but who wouldn’t be a bit testy at 8,000? Not much happens here (which is kind of the point about their lives) except for some innocents being tricked into being dinner, standoffs with a werewolf pack, problems with some of the vampires’ human friends, and the grand Unholy Masquerade party, but it’s all delightfully wacky, doing a nice job of parodying both horror movies and documentaries in a manner that Christopher Guest would likely enjoy (if he’s news to you too, just Google him on your own, then start searching out his hilarious mockumentaries, with the best in my opinion being his first, Waiting for Guffman).
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