Sunday, May 19, 2013

Words From The Blogger: No Film Entry This Week (Or Next Week)

This Week In Movies: The Naked Gun (classic spoof movie), Primer (while I admire the attempt at a complex story with a minimal budget, the acting and confusing dialogue put me off at times), and Drag Me To Hell (can't believe it took me this long to see this, as it was very enjoyable, even if it was silly at times).

At time of writing I'm in LONDON BABY (to quote Joey from Friends) for the weekend. The purpose of my trip is to to see The Melvins play two shows, with a different set for each gig. Hopefully this trip to London is more successful and hassle free than last year (which I won't go into, incase I jinx myself). Hence why there's no film article this week. For those who secretly follow this blog, other than myself.

So if I was to mention something film related (other than the opening paragraph), I say go and watch Star Trek Into Darkness in the cinema whenever you can. In terms of cinema blockbusters, not only is it a great sci-fi action flick, even if you're not a Trekkie, but it pisses all over the very disappointing Iron Man 3.

Hey, may as well throw in an image from the movie.....what?

And on a final note.....

This is one of the albums that The Melvins will be playing in its entirety during the weekend; Stoner Witch.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dead On Arrival (Day Of The Dead)

This Week In Movies: The Evil Dead (interesting to see again after watching the remake), The Avengers (still just as great as when I watched it in the cinema, and I still refuse to call it Avengers Assemble), Iron Man 3 (just like Iron Man 2, enjoyable yet can't help but feel disappointed after watching it) and Star Trek Into Darkness (so good that I can't believe it's a Star Trek flick).

After last week's blog post, I was planning to watch the entire Evil Dead trilogy, in the hope that it would inspire me to write a future article relating to the series, including the remake (which I doubt I'll getting around to writing at this time). It was too bright to start watching all three of them, so I decided on watching the first one before going to bed. While going through the American version of Netflix, I saw one film that I've been meaning to check out has an expiry date in two days. And as it sort of relates to the previous article, I thought I would give it a shot.

It's been years since I've seen the original Day Of The Dead, so I do have a vague recollection of what happened in that film. Maybe it's because I see the pros and cons of George A. Romero's "Dead" movies, but in relation to this weeks film, I was actually a fan of the Dawn Of The Dead remake. Before viewing this, I found out that this film (Day) had nothing to do with that (Dawn). Which can be confusing, considering both starred Ving Rhames.

So with no expectations or any knowledge of what people thought of it (although I predicted bad, since  it never got a cinematic release, compared to Dawn Of The Dead), I might as well take the opportunity to watch it before it disappears off Netflix.


87 minutes later.....

You know, I may not have gone to see Warm Bodies in the cinema a while back, but I bet that was a better zombie movie than this pile of garbage. This has to be the worst zombie film I have ever seen, even worse than Diary Of The Dead (of which a friend of mine was so bored in the cinema that she started reading a book during it). At least with that film I did understood what George A. Romero was trying to accomplish, even though it was a pretty poor attempt. This one was just.....poor.

This film only has two recognisable faces, and both of them are poorly misused (maybe three if you include Ian McNeice, but even I had to look up his name). Ving Rhames plays such a minor role that I'm convinced that the makers of this film decided to cast him just to confuse the audience to thinking this is linked to the decent Dawn Of The Dead remake. Considering the lack of acting talent on display (bar Ian McNeice and one actress who went on to star in Excision, from last year's Horrorthon), it was a complete waste of time to misuse one of the film's big names.

The second star is Mena Suvari in the lead role, who is unbelievably miscast as an army officer. Disregarding her looks, I found it extremely difficult in taking her seriously as someone from the military considering her attitude and her height. Not to mention that she doesn't carry a loaded weapon, and when asked why, she says "it's complicated", suggesting that at some point later on it will be explained. But nope, this is never explained, and neither is some sibling rift with her brother involving bikes.

There are plenty examples of shoddy writing throughout the movie, especially when it comes to character motivations. One minute Mena Suvari is a sensitive pacifist who shows sympathy for the undead and refuses to partake in violence. The next minute, she's shooting and running over everyone in sight. The soldier character called Salazar constantly switches from pop culture referencing geek, to a stereotypical pissed off black guy, to obnoxious jerk, to history buff. They're about as consistent as the characters in Prometheus.

I could go on about the other characters, but since they're all dull and unlikable, there's no point. I could mention more about the shoddy writing (when the first bodies were said to be found in a closet, but were clearly hiding behind curtains), especially when the film itself gives up towards the end, as to say "f**k it" (explanation why other people were not infected; just luck). Even the lead up to the final zombie threat was just rushed without any build up (including the dumbest takedown of a villain I've seen in a zombie movie).

But the key factor to this film are the zombies themselves. While they fall into the category as runners, for this film, the faces morph into torn off skin, and they have the superhuman ability to jump long distances and run up walls and ceilings, helped by the fact that their actions are sped up on camera. As a throwback to the original film, there is the idea that the human part of the zombies are hidden away in their mind, hence parts of their personality and logic are still present. Which results in the greatest sin ever committed to a zombie film is the introduction of the "vegetarian zombie".

That's right, a VEGETARIAN ZOMBIE. Which means that he wont eat any humans as he didn't eat meat when he was alive. As soon as this was revealed one hour into the film, I just gave up and wished for it to end. And forget all criticisms about Warm Bodies destroying the zombie mythos in the way Twilight ruined vampires. This film already did the whole "zombie boy in love with human girl" angle, with Veggie holding a torch for Mena Suvari just as he did before he was bitten. And this wasn't aimed at the pre-teen market, but it may as well went along with the love story, as it couldn't have gotten any worse.


Now that I think about it, I don't even remember seeing George A. Romero's name in the opening or closing credits. If it is absent, and I didn't just blink and miss it, then it may as well stay that way. This film fails at not only in its depiction of zombies, but in its link to the original film by title alone, no matter what little references are thrown in (including the horde of machine gun wielding zombies).

I am baffled by how idiotic this film is. Casting, script, logic, character, even the goddamn zombies were wrong. They acted more like vampires than they did zombies, and it would have made sense since the majority of this film takes place at night. It reminded me of Stakeland, where the vampires in that film acted more like zombies. But whereas Stakeland was actually good despite the questionable use of the vampire, this film deserves a bullet to the head for its sheer stupidity.

And on a final note.....

There was only one scene that I found somewhat funny, and that was when the DJ Paul (played by Ian McNeice) threatened to play Celine Dion over the airwaves to torture a soldier who was supervising him in the radio station. It reminded me of something I did in a rock bar years ago. I picked a couple of songs from the jukebox, and when the barman turned up the music while a Tool song was playing, I started laughing. When my mates were asking me why, I said nothing until they found out what the next song was (see below). The barman skipped to the next song halfway through, but I had my fun, and that's all that matters.

Monday, May 06, 2013

B-Movie Double Bill (Crocodile/Night Of The Living Dead)

This Week In Movies: The Incredible Hulk (I always thought this film was underrated, but at the same time I'm glad Mark Ruffalo is now Bruce Banner), Thor (still can't believe this was directed by Kenneth Brannagh, and it's still entertaining to it has Kat Dennings in it), Lockout (second time watching it within a fortnight, if I had the time, this would be the focus of this weeks article), Punisher: War Zone (an excellent film I've been meaning to write about, as I've mentioned it a couple of times here), and The Crow (it has been years since I've seen this movie, and I forgot how brilliant it was).

This week has been pretty hectic for a variety of reasons. Other than the usual work and health issues which I've mentioned before, and also taking into account that it's the long weekend over here. I also went to two gigs, of which are Lordi in The Button Factory, Dublin (which reminds me to watch their film again), and Devin Townsend in The Stiff Kitten, Belfast (which took place on a Sunday, hence the delay in this blog post).

As I couldn't find the time to write an indepth article on any movie, I have gone with the "Double Bill" structure, of which I started doing a fortnight ago, using DVDs I picked up as part of the collection above. My intention with these blog entries is to watch the films in one sitting, and then write about them. Now in the previous one I mentioned of the delay within the second film, but still got through them on the same night. However, in the week that I had, I didn't have that luxury.


I was staying over at my parent's house on Tuesday, and I planned to watch a double bill of movies over there with them. My mum was interested in what I bought, mainly due to the monster type films, so she chose three movies out of the collection (of which are Return Of The Killer Tomatoes and Octopus).

I watched the beginning of this film, but had to take an important phone call, so I could only catch the last 30 minutes of the film. Even without watching it, my folks were able to keep me up to speed with the threadbare plot. My dad was pointing out the many continuity errors relating to a certain rucksack, and my folks were able to mock the film by how bad it was, but took into account it was a B-Movie after all, so they were forgiving in that respect.

Well, when I told them that this was directed by Tobe Hooper, who has done Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, my mum said that he should be put down after this. Pretty harsh, but then again I was never a fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre to begin with. Although I did find the sequel hilarious.

93 minutes later.....

Right from the very beginning, I wanted everybody onscreen to die, even the cute little dog. These people are not only the cliched beautiful but stupid college kids, but they are completely unlikable and unrealistic, in terms of their dialogue, their attitudes and their actions. Not since Quarantine 2: Terminal have I seen a film where I wanted everyone snuffed out within the first few minutes. Which makes them perfectly good Croc bait in that respect.

As for the crocodile itself, there are two versions of it onscreen. One looks like a giant theme park model where victims looks like they're covered in fake blood and stuck between its teeth, and at times used as a battering ram. Other times a terrible CGI model is in place, so I guess the Coca Cola product placement didn't help in that department. Despite these terrible incarnations of the crocodile (not a gator, as the film throws in a few facts about them in a few scenes), I was still rooting for it instead of any of the other dumbasses in this movie.

On a sidenote, this was on TV on Tuesday night.
Maybe I should have checked that out instead.

Other than the continuity errors that my dad pointed out, not to mention the overall stupidity of these jerks, the one thing that left me gobsmacked was that this film is so cheap, it even looks like it's cutting corners. There are scenes where it focuses on nothing, the crocodile is offscreen while doing something off camera, and the editing is so bad, that they took the same campfire scene with everyone in the same clothes, and tried to pass it off as a separate night. And this is directed by the same Tobe Hooper who made some of the most highly regarded horror films of all time?


This film is bad, full stop. But in a bizarre way, that's what makes it watchable, the same way my parents viewed it. Which of course, it's a B-Movie, you know what you're getting into, so the more stupid things you can point out, the better. I guess the novelty of being directed by Tobe Hooper does give an example of how low some directors can go, in terms of quality. But when watched by like minded individuals, or at least a ton of beers, there is entertainment to be found in this godawful flick.


In the past I planned to watch a double bill with this film first, and another called Creature. But on Saturday, I decided to watch Crocodile first, as I was familiar with it by this stage, and then move onto this. The plan was to watch these films while waiting for some of my friends to come over later on that evening. But a ladyfriend of mine happened to come over earlier than expected, so I had to halt viewing 20 minutes into the film.

As I mentioned earlier I spent Sunday travelling to and from Belfast for the Devin Townsend gig. When I got home I thought it would be the perfect time to stick it on to round off the evening. However, I had fallen asleep somewhere towards the last half hour, only to gain consciousness towards the end of the film.

Just as well that I've seen Night Of The Living Dead before, so I'm able to at least write something about I never intended for these intros to go for more than one paragraph, but given the circumstances this week, it should give you an idea as to my viewing experiences.

96 minutes later.....

Well, what I got from this particular viewing, other than passing out after 7 and a half pints and a two hour drive back to Dublin beforehand, was watching this film for the first time in colour. I was able to get used to it after a while, but for me the modern day equivalent are films that are post converted from 2D to 3D, some work, other don't. This version falls in the latter, as there were some points onscreen where someone forgot to colour it in.

As for the film itself.....well what more can be said about it really? Sure it does have the standard social commentary that George A. Romero sticks in these "Dead" movies. Personally I never cared much for these messages, which may sound ridiculous to most people reading this. Don't get me wrong I understand them and it is quite clever, but at the same time it can come off as pretentious. Plus I choose to view these films on a simplistic level, which is a zombie flick.

In terms of B-Movies, it's one of the earliest examples of this style, not only in graphic content, but by its cheap aesthetic, given the minimal production value this film had.. Unfortunately the colour version highlights these shortcomings, hence why I prefer the black and white version, as seen above. To me the monochrome feel to it just makes the film that much creepier, and even if the movie had been filmed in colour, instead of just added afterwards, it still wouldn't be effective.


Writing about this film would be as difficult as critiquing the likes of King Kong and The Wizard Of Oz. I tend not to look too deeply into picking apart these films, given the fact that they do show their age. But these can be forgiven due to the fact that not only were these films groundbreaking at time of their release, but their influence on modern cinema can be seen even to this day. This film not only kickstarted the zombie genre, but is one of the most influential horror films of all time.

Double Bill Verdict?

While I didn't get to watch these films back to back, or stay conscious in regards to the second film, if I was to imagine viewing these flicks in a row, it would work well. At the beginning I was going to watch Night Of The Living Dead first, which probably would have helped if I was gonna pass out during Crocodile, as I've seen the last few minutes previously. But I think it worked better to go with the bad "creature feature" first, and then watched something better afterwards.

And on a final note.....

In relation to last night's gig, to round off this hectic week on a Bank Holiday Monday, I may as well listen to this album by The Devin Townsend Project; Ghost.

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