Claudia Karvan

Daybreakers (2009, Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig)

According to the gaggle of morons who saw the film in the same theater I did, the end of Daybreakers is stupid. Why anyone would release what’s essentially a film noir slash action slash vampire movie in American theaters is beyond me… at least outside of areas with high literacy rates (I live in a low literacy rate area, lucky me).

It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s violent, Daybreakers is the kind of movie no one makes anymore. It has a lot in common, in terms of execution (it’s well-directed, well-written, well-acted), with Carpenter’s Escape from New York. It’s a genre picture, there are effects, but it’s not for the pleebs. I can’t even imagine how Lionsgate tried to advertise it.

The film keeps its vampire conventions simple and traditional so it can play better. It’s future America with vampires is frightening banal. From the start, the world of vampires isn’t a leap of the imagination, it’s completely believable.

The Spierig’s direction is, just like it was in their first film, fantastic. Here they do a lot more, since it’s such a mix of genres. I’m actually glad Daybreakers isn’t a hit, since it’d be terrible to see them do a Matrix someday. Though I would love to see them do a romantic comedy. They’re fantastic filmmakers.

The acting’s all great, especially, shockingly, Sam Neill, who finally learned how to chew scenery. Willem Dafoe’s hilarious in his part of a good ol’ boy (written by Australians).

Wonderful stuff.



Written and directed by Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig; director of photography, Ben Nott; edited by Matt Villa; music by Christopher Gordon; production designer, George Liddle; produced by Bryan Furst, Sean Furst and Chris Brown; released by Lionsgate.

Starring Ethan Hawke (Edward Dalton), Claudia Karvan (Audrey Bennett), Willem Dafoe (Lionel “Elvis” Cormac), Michael Dorman (Frankie Dalton), Vince Colosimo (Caruso), Isabel Lucas (Alison) and Sam Neill (Charles Bromley).

Paperback Hero (1999, Antony J. Bowman)

A substantial portion–probably seventy percent–of Paperback Hero is solely about Hugh Jackman being charming. The rest, presumably, is about being a Claudia Karvan movie. But it’s really not.

Karvan’s top-billed and she’s got, I guess, the bigger story, but Jackman’s the protagonist for the parts of the film where there’s a protagonist–the result is a bit of a mess.

Karvan’s story arc is lousy. She’s saddled with a lousy fiancé (Andrew S. Gilbert), who’s essentially a nice guy, but thinks women really have a place and it’s in the home. But the movie never really condemns Gilbert, instead using Jeanie Drynan’s crappy husband (Bruce Venables) as a stand-in. But instead of falling in love with Jackman, it’s implied she’s always loved him and just gone with his best friend (Gilbert) because he didn’t want her.

But Jackman didn’t really not want her, he was just scared of being a success. Or something. It’s a saccharine romantic comedy without much going for it besides inoffensive direction and good performances from Jackman and Karvan. Karvan’s such a professional actor, it’s hard to think of a role she wouldn’t be able to pull off.

Gilbert’s all right, I guess. He’s the butt of the movie’s jokes though. Drynan’s nice. Angie Milliken is bad. It might not be her fault, it’s the worst written role in the film.

It’s hard not to enjoy a little. Besides, it’s chock full of Roy Orbison references. So many, in fact, it’s awkward.



Written and directed by Antony J. Bowman; director of photography, David Burr; edited by Veronika Jenet; music by Burkhard von Dallwitz; production designer, Jon Dowding; produced by Lance W. Reynolds and John Winter; released by REP Distribution.

Starring Claudia Karvan (Ruby Vale), Hugh Jackman (Jack Willis), Angie Milliken (Ziggy Keane), Andrew S. Gilbert (Hamish), Jeanie Drynan (Suzie), Bruce Venables (Artie) and Barry Rugless (Mad Pete).

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