Enter to Win a Blu-ray of “Dracula Untold” [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “Dracula Untold”. Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to win a Blu-ray of the film. If you want to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite adaptation of the Bram Stoker tale. This giveaway will remain open until February 20th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The origin story of the man who became the enduring legend of Dracula is told in Dracula Untold, an epic action-adventure starring Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit series) in the title role. Gary Shore directs, and Michael De Luca produces.

Film Review “Dracula Untold”

Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper
Directed By: Gary Shore
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 92 minutes
Universal Pictures

Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars

The latest movie surrounding Dracula (or Vlad the Impaler) is a story nobody asked for. The combination of historical, fictional and contemporary folly has created “Dracula Untold”. In the same vein of this summer’s “Maleficent”, albeit a lot more bloody and silly, we have yet another look at a villain turned anti-hero. In many other circumstances, the concept of retelling a story most people know is manageable, but Dracula just doesn’t seem like a fruitful tree to pick from.

“Dracula Untold” steals so many pages out of so many other movies; you could probably fill a book with the stolen pages. There are some slightly original differences from Bram Stoker’s creature. Instead of being the original vampire, Vlad (Evans) has to bargain with a different, original vampire, known as Caligula (yes, that Caligula). Vlad travels to the dark, bone covered cave where Caligula lurks to make a pact with him. Vlad will become a vampire by drinking Caligula’s dark red blood and he does so to protect his kingdom, his wife and his son from Sultan Mehmed (Cooper).

As the movie says, Dracula is given the power of a hundred men along with some other powers that don’t make a lot of sense. He’s able to command vampire bats at will and he himself is able to turn into a flurry of bats while gliding rapidly through the woods. Without breaking a sweat, he takes out an entire army of invaders mere moments after acquiring his newfound skills. With powers like this, the ultimate boss battle at the end with the mortal Mehmed feels entirely way too anti-climactic.

One of history’s greatest monster/butchers has been defanged as he’s reduced to crying, spouting righteous teachings to his son and comforting his wife, all the while yelling at his village that he’s become a vampire to protect them from the true evils of the world. Maybe in 500 years someone will have Pol Pot as the sympathetic anti-hero who just wants to live life and love. Of course if you’re not knowledgeable on Romanian history, you might not care, and that’s completely fine.

The movie is far from shy at hinting and saying that Vlad is a terrible person. He still finds time to impale people and there’s even a scene where he admits to feeling nothing as he scorched entire village and murdered thousands of innocents (it’s OK, he had his reason). The charming presence of Evans can’t save this movie’s main character because he’s flawed from the beginning. Turning the most iconic Universal monster into a man of courage and nobility with an inadequate historical backdrop is one of the worst uses of Dracula in recent memory. He would have been more entertaining as the creature of the night that falls into his old, sadistic ways with his new powers instead of becoming a fanged nobleman or blood drinking seeker of justice.

All that aside, it’s still not a very well made movie. The action sequences, while shot imaginatively, have no bite. The visuals are automatically forgettable and the budget seems to have cut some corners in the CGI department and the storytelling sector. If this does well, it’ll most likely spawn a sequel or two, and just like the “Twilight” franchise, let’s hope Blade shows up at some point to put an abrupt end to this monstrosity.

Theatre Review “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz” Kansas City, Missouri

WICKED: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz
October 10, 2013
Music Hall
Kansas City, Missouri

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

For those not familiar with the story, “Wicked” tells the story of the witches of Oz before they are visited by a certain little girl from Kansas. The two main characters are Glinda the Good Witch (Hayley Podschun) and Elphaba (Jennifer DiNoia) the “Wicked” Witch of the West. The story begins where the well known story of “The Wizard of Oz” ends, Dorothy has just gone back to Kansas and the Munchkins are singing and celebrating now that the Wicked Witch is finally dead. As the celebration and singing continues a question is put to Glinda as to the actual relationship she shared with Elphaba when they were growing up. We are than transported by way of Glinda’s memory to her school days and her first meeting with Elphaba.

As you can probably figure, Glinda and Elphaba were very different from the beginning. Glinda grew up in a higher class family, which made it quite simple to achieve any dream she had. She just had to ask and it was given to her. Even though Elphaba’s father is the Mayor she has a little tiny problem that keeps her from making friends… she is green! Her sole purpose in life is to take care of her beautiful and normal looking sister, Nessarose, who is confined to a wheelchair. We follow Elphaba and Glinda to “college,” where their disdain for each other grows. As time progresses we watch them deal with their differences, their disagreements, their shared following of sorcery and their shared love of the same boy, Fiyero.

What’s most enjoyable about “Wicked” is that the story continually works in the story of “The Wizard of Oz,” with some twists involved that make all to much sense to the story that we already know. We learn how the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion all come to be. We learn why there must be good to match evil or, in this case, where there must be evil to match good. What we are all lead to do is to accept the thought that we must unlearn what we already know. You will never watch “The Wizard of Oz” again and feel the same way about any of the characters.

Most impressive of “Wicked” was that the story was all new to me, I went in with only expectations of being entertained and satisfied with the production I saw. What I witnessed was something entirely different. It was an emotional experience that left me drained by the end. You’re not sure if you should choose sides; is there a good and evil in this story? Is it all evil? Is it all good? Do I root for just one character or do I just trust that sometimes there can be two right sides to every story? “Wicked” is a top notch production with great music and a fantastic crew currently running in Kansas City through October 27. It’s a story that you should experience at least once. My only regret about the show is that it has taken me ten years to see it!I

The entire cast of “Wicked” in KC was amazing, with special kudos going to DiNoia and Kansas City native Podschun. Many in the cast had played the same roles on Broadway. I could tell from the beginning that this performance would be like nothing I had seen recently at the theater. “Wicked” was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning three, and boasts a Grammy winning soundtrack of such memorable tunes as the Act 1 finale “Defying Gravity.” If “Wicked” blows your way I suggest you go see it before a house drops on YOU!

There are currently two touring companies of “Wicked” making their way around the United States. This cast can next be seen in Des Moines, Indianapolis and Cleveland. For more tour information http://www.wickedthemusical.com/broadway-tickets