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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cindy Prascik’s Reviews of Byzantium / Coffee Town

Dearest Blog, being from a small town, my cinema choices are generally limited to whatever blockbusters are showing at the local multiplex.

However, my cable company has, of late, started making smaller films available via pay-per-view during their theatrical runs, an offer I can't refuse!

This week I was fortunate to see two indie flicks: Byzantium and Coffee Town.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the...wait, who am I kidding? I've never seen a trailer for either of these. Let's leave it with "I'll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible."

First up, I utilized a nice midweek day off to catch the thriller Byzantium.

Two mysterious women, on the run for their lives and harboring a dark secret, take up residence in a British coastal town.

I don't think it's giving too much away to state up front that Byzantium is a vampire movie. Even knowing next to nothing about it, I knew that.

There is a bit of build up, but it's not a secret the film attempts to keep for long. With its foundation of these two women in hiding and making a living however they can, Byzantium feels more grounded than your average supernatural thriller, and solid performances by stars Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan accentuate the movie's tense, gritty atmosphere. Though Ronan and her male counterpart, played by Caleb Landry Jones, are both very young, thankfully there is no Twilightey feel to this movie; it's written and played well enough to be taken seriously. The film doesn't look quite as goth as I expected (again, admitting I knew little about it beforehand), but it sustains a cool, dark vibe throughout and builds to an ending I did not anticipate. For horror fans, I'd call the gore-level moderate, with much of the carnage implied rather than shown.

It's also worth noting that the always smokin' Arterton has dialed up the hotness to eleven for this picture.

Byzantium clocks in at 118 minutes and is rated R for "bloody violence, sexual content, and language."

As a longtime fan of vampires and vampire movies, I'm waiting for a new one to come along that's good enough (and popular enough) that
people stop thinking "Edward Cullen" when someone says "fangs." Byzantium isn't quite that, but it's a good step in the right direction.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Byzantium gets six and a half.

Last night, we found ourselves at loose ends (meaning all the Harry Potter movies that were on had ended by 9:30), so we took advantage of another XFinity On Demand offering, Coffee Town.

Much to the dismay of the store manager, a webmaster uses a local coffee shop (and its free wi-fi) as his office. When he discovers the shop is to be converted to a trendy bistro, he conspires with his friends to derail the plan...and perhaps bag his dream girl in the process.

As regular reader(s) will know, I'm not much for comedy, and I'm far too used to being let down by comedies. I'm happy to report Coffee Town is a pleasant surprise.

Much of Coffee Town's humor is so very wrong that I can't count the times we gave each other the, "Did they really just say/do that??" look. A good bit of it is flat-out gross, too, but none of that will bother Glen Howerton's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fanbase. Howerton is good in the leading role, and his supporting cast is funny and entertaining, particularly Steve Little, who kept me laughing despite the fact I really wanted to slap him most of the time. The premise may sound thin, but the story is curiously interesting and we were engaged from start to finish.

Coffee Town runs a quick 87 minutes and is unrated.

Coffee Town provides consistent (and consistently inappropriate) laughs, with an good story and solid comedic performances all 'round.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Coffee Town gets seven.

So, dear Blog, that's all the news that's fit to print for now. Next weekend is The World's End, and I'll thank you, dear reader(s), for keeping a good thought that it actually plays here. If it does not, I cannot be responsible for my actions.

Until next time...

Was I saying something?


  1. Agree with Cindy. Byzantim is s pretty good vampire flick, but it's not as awesome as I hoped it would be.

    1. Byzantium still looks fairly interesting but I'd be surprised if I get around to watching it, sounds like I'm not missing too much.

    2. I wouldn't be surprised if you end up enjoying it as much as Karina did. She gave it a 9.5, I'd give it a 7

    3. I saw Karina's review and that's what originally got me interested but some of the others were a tad lukewarm, might check it out someday if I randomly run into it.


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