Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Movie Snob is disappointed.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies  (D).  I love Jane Austen and I am pretty fond of zombies, so this seemed like a can’t-miss proposition:  Take the characters, setting, and basic plot of Pride & Prejudice, add a liberal helping of brain-hungry undead, and mix well.  I was unfamiliar with most of the cast, but I thought having lovely Lily James (Cinderella) play Elizabeth Bennet and an eye-patched Lena Headey (300) play Lady Catherine de Bourgh could only help the cause.  I was right, but unfortunately the ladies’ charms can’t rescue this murky, mucky production.  The scenes that are lifted more or less intact from the novel are all right, although I found Darcy (Sam Riley, Maleficent) underwhelming.  The zombie scenes are uniformly a mess of quick cuts and unintelligible action.  The additional plotline involving the zombies made no sense to me.  I say skip it.  If you’re craving love in the time of zombies, check out Warm Bodies instead.

The Zombies (concert review)

From the desk of The Movie Snob.

The Zombies were a 1960s rock band and part of the so-called British Invasion.  A minor part, to be sure:  they charted only three singles in America, all of which made the Top Ten.  They broke up in late 1967, and their last hit (“Time of the Season”) peaked in 1969.  But like their undead namesakes, the Zombies proved tough to kill.  Keyboardist Rod Argent formed a band called Argent that had a Top Ten hit in 1972 (“Hold Your Head Up”).  Vocalist Colin Blunstone occasionally contributed vocals to The Alan Parsons Project, which was a favorite band of mine back in the day.  And Wikipedia says that various reincarnations of the Zombies have been kicking around for a while.  Now they are kicking off a new American tour, and their first show was two nights ago in Dallas’s historic Majestic Theatre.  They are promoting a new album, but they are also performing their last 1960s album, Odessey and Oracle, in its entirety.  It’s a good album–trippy, tuneful, and said by the cognoscenti to be very influential on other musicians.  Anyhow, the show was good (if a little too loud).  The first half featured several new songs, a cover of Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” and the Zombies’ other two Top Ten hits, “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”  After a short intermission, they came back and played Odessey and Oracle straight through, ending with “Time of the Season,” and then doing a reprise of “She’s Not There” for the encore.  For a bunch of old British guys in a band that broke up 48 years ago, they played quite well.  Blunstone’s distinctive voice, high and breathy, is pretty much the same as it ever was.  If you like the Zombies, or at least their three hit songs, I encourage you to give a listen to “Old and Wise,” a Blunstone track on the Alan Parsons Project album Eye in the Sky.

Cooties

The Movie Snob is badly disappointed.

Cooties  (D-).  Kids at an elementary school get a virus that turns them into horrible, flesh-eating zombies, forcing the teachers to fight for their very survival.  Sounds like an awesome premise for a horror-comedy, right?  Alas, the makers of Cooties botched it almost completely.  The movie is simply not funny.  I laughed harder at a preview of a Will Ferrell movie than I did at anything in CootiesWill Ferrell!!  I do remember chuckling when gonzo P.E. teacher Wade (Rainn Wilson, TV’s The Office) called diminutive Elijah Wood (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) a hobbit, but that was about it.  There are buckets of fakey gore, but the only real gross part was the opening credits, which played over disgusting images from what may or may not have been an actual chicken-processing plant.  (The zombie virus in this scenario came from tainted chicken nuggets.)  Skip this movie at all costs.

Maggie

The Movie Snob pans a current release.

Maggie  (F).  Perhaps the “F” grade isn’t quite fair—if you want a movie that will simply make you feel bad, this one will do the trick.  Otherwise, I urge you to steer clear.  It’s kind of like The Fault in Our Stars, except in Maggie the attractive young woman has the zombie virus instead of cancer.  Which is way worse, of course, because at least cancer sometimes goes into remission.  Arnold Schwarzenegger (Batman & Robin) stars as a simple Midwestern farmer, trying to eke out a living in a post-zombie-apocalypse America where law and order have been reasonably well restored.  Unfortunately, his sweet teen-aged daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin, Zombieland) has been bitten by one of the hungry undead, and in this version of the zombocalypse, victims live on for six to eight weeks before finally succumbing to the virus.  So for 95 minutes, we get to watch Arnold watch his beloved daughter slowly turn all grey and veiny and gross.  It is a long, depressing slog.

The Last Man on Earth

DVD review from The Movie Snob.

The Last Man on Earth  (D+).  When I bought this DVD for a dollar, I did not realize I was buying the first film adaptation of the 1954 novel I Am Legend, which was later turned into the rather more famous films The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and I Am Legend starring Will Smith.  In this 1964 black-and-white film, Vincent Price (House of Wax) stars as the titular character–the only survivor of an apocalyptic plague that turned everyone else into creatures that he calls vampires but that act more like zombies.  Indeed, according to IMDB.com, this movie was an inspiration for George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the godfather of all subsequent zombie movies.  Unfortunately, this film is not very good.  The acting is poor, and the long flashback to show how Price’s character got where he is now just isn’t very compelling.  There’s only one fairly creepy scene, and it is short.  Otherwise, pretty forgettable stuff.  At least it’s short (86 minutes).

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

A DVD review by The Movie Snob.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)  (C-).  Well, Halloween is coming up, so I thought I should take the time to fill up an unfortunate gap in my movie-watching experience by watching the original Night of the Living Dead.  If I understand right, this film kind of established the basic rules that apply in most zombie movies.  For example, zombies are reanimated corpses that hunger for the flesh of living human beings.  A zombie can be killed by delivering severe trauma to its brain.  Zombies aren’t very intelligent and they are usually pretty slow-moving, but they often travel in numbers large enough to overwhelm lone humans or humans in small groups.  This movie features a small band of humans who, by chance, take refuge from the zombie menace in the same farmhouse.  They’re all white except for one black guy, and I thought it was interesting, given when the movie was made, that the black guy is generally the most level-headed and sensible person in the bunch.  Also interesting, I don’t think I ever heard the word “zombie” in the whole movie (the phrase “flesh-eating ghouls” did come up once or twice).  Anyway, I’m glad I saw it for purposes of historical research, but it’s no World War Z or Warm Bodies.

The Walking Dead – Season One

A TV review from The Movie Snob – only a few years late.

The Walking Dead – Season One.  (B).  As usual, I’m a late-comer to this TV series, and I have made my way through only the first season at this point.  As my grade indicates, I thought it was good, but not really great.  The set-up is pretty cool.  A Georgia sheriff named Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln, Love Actually) gets shot in the line of duty and falls into a coma.  Some time later, he wakes up in a deserted hospital to a world that has fallen to a zombie apocalypse.  It’s a pretty effective way to draw the viewer into Rick’s predicament, watching him try to understand and navigate the nightmare world he now inhabits.  Once he gets his feet under him, he sets out to try to find his wife and son.  The zombie special effects are quite well done, and it is an amazingly gory show, even by cable TV standards (I would think; I don’t have cable myself).  I’d give it a higher grade, but occasionally the show did seem a little hokey, a little “TV-ish.”  Explosively tense situations seemed to crop up all the time, only to be defused a little too quickly and easily.  Characters occasionally make choices that are not particularly believable.  And the whole season is only six episodes long—what’s up with that?  The extras on the DVDs are okay, but nothing to write home about.  Still and all, season one was pretty good, if you’re a fan of hungry zombies.

World War Z – a concurring opinion

From the desk of The Movie Snob.

World War Z  (B).  Zombie-apocalypse movies come and go, but not many can boast the star power of Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading).  For that matter, not many zombie movies also serve double-duty as big wet kisses to the U.N., but this one does.  Pitt plays a retired U.N troubleshooter who gets called back into active duty when a standard zombie plague threatens the survival of mankind.  He jets all over the world, searching for some way to defeat or at least defend against the ravenous undead.  Needless to say, he has lots of narrow escapes from creepy zombies along the way.  I thought it was an enjoyable movie, although it was almost spoiled by one scene in which the human defenders act so ridiculously stupidly that I would’ve thrown my popcorn at the screen if I had had any popcorn.  (For The Borg Queen’s review of this movie, click here.)

World War Z

The Borg Queen steps outside her comfort zone.

World War Z – B

I am not a fan of scary movies, and I absolutely loathe zombie movies.  So, I’m not sure what possessed me to see World War Z.  This movie centers on a United Nations employee (Brad Pitt) who is traveling the world trying to find a cure for a pandemic of unknown origins that is causing people to turn into zombies.  One bite, and you’re a zombie seconds later.  The movie wastes no time getting straight into the action and it’s a roller coaster ride all the way to the end.  I was constantly on the edge of my seat (or, under it sometimes) and engaged with the film.  The movie has its fair share of scares and, thankfully, is not gory.  The camera work, especially in the action sequences, is too shaky for my taste, making it hard to see what is actually taking place at times.  I also heard some people grumbling outside the theater about the movie being different from the book upon which the film is based.  So, I guess if you’ve read the book, be open to differences.  Overall, though, this movie is a fun night out.

Warm Bodies

New from The Movie Snob.

Warm Bodies  (B).  Fans of zombie movies and fans of romantic comedies can rejoice as those two great tastes are brought together in one enjoyable movie.  Okay, that’s not exactly true; hard-core zombie fans probably won’t care for this rather light-hearted twist on the formula.  There’s been a standard-issue zombie apocalypse, but there’s a decidedly non-standard zombie amongst the living dead.  This particular zombie, “R,” has a rich interior life and yearns to be able to communicate with those around him.  And although he does feast on the flesh and especially the brains of the living, at least he has the decency to feel conflicted about it.  Anyhow, some zombies corner some humans and turn most of them into meals, but for some reason R rescues one of them, a Kristen Stewart lookalike named Julie (Teresa Palmer, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).  From then on, the story is more Beauty and the Beast than Dawn of the Dead.  I got a kick out of it, even if the movie ignores conventional zombie wisdom that zombies never ever change.  Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy) does a good job as R, and John Malkovich (Burn After Reading) and Analeigh Tipton (Damsels in Distress) have nice supporting roles.  It’s rated PG-13 for some mild profanity and some decently gruesome zombie violence, but I think most 13-year-olds will be fine with it.  In fact, I took my 13-year-old goddaughter, and she gave it an A+.

ParaNorman

A new review from The Movie Snob.

ParaNorman  (C-).  The trailers for this animated film piqued my curiosity a little bit.  It appeared to be about a little kid named Norman who, like a kid in a certain blockbuster movie some years ago, possesses the “gift” of being able to see and talk to ghosts that are invisible to everybody else.  His paranormal talent makes him a social misfit, even within his own family, but it may help him save the day when something happens and the dead begin to rise from their graves.  Plus, the trailers used that groovy old Donovan song “Season of the Witch.”  Anyhoo, the movie turns out to be a pretty bland affair–not very funny, not very creepy, not really much of anything.  It kind of reminded me of that movie from some years ago called Monster House, in that the moviemakers seem to try really hard to come up with a fresh, original “scary story,” but the story just isn’t that involving.  I will concede that the climactic scene was fairly satisfying, but that little victory was offset by a couple of totally unnecessary sexual references.  I didn’t recognize many of the voices, but Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) voices Norman’s annoying older sister, and John Goodman (O Brother Where Art Thou) voices his weird uncle Prenderghast.

Zone One (book review)

Book review from The Movie Snob.

Zone One, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday 2011).  I’m not the biggest zombie fan in the world (that would be Nick at Nite), but I heard some good things about this novel, which is set in a post-zombie-apocalyptic America (primarily New York City).  The conventions of the genre are generally adhered to: a zombie plague springs out of nowhere; it turns people into mindless, bloodthirsty automatons; and if a zombie bites you, you turn into a zombie too.  Now, many months or maybe even years after the plague erupted, the surviving humans are hoping the corner has been turned.  A provisional government has been set up in Buffalo, and an effort is underway to reclaim New York City from the ravenous undead.  The protagonist is one of the New York City sweepers, a survivor who goes by the nickname Mark Spitz, and we learn the whole story of the zombie plague through his flashbacks and reminiscences.  Although I’m not sure Whitehead’s arty prose style would appeal to everyone, I enjoyed the rhythm of his writing.  If you have half a yen for zombies, you should definitely check this book out.

The Cabin in the Woods

A new review from The Movie Snob

The Cabin in the Woods  (B).  Horror is probably my least favorite genre, but I will see a gorefest every once in a blue moon.  I had heard that this one was critically acclaimed for involving some new twists on the old slasher theme, so when a friend invited me to go I said sure.  It was pretty entertaining.  From the very start of the movie, we are constantly cutting back and forth between (1) a merry band of five college kids heading off for a weekend at the titular cabin and (2) some high-tech scientific base where a couple of older guys in white coats are directing a huge team of people who are monitoring and possibly controlling everything the five youths are doing.  But why?  Why are these ordinary-looking engineer types so concerned with these kids, and why have they perfectly replicated so many classic horror-movie clichés, like the creepy weirdo at the creepy last-chance gas station, the creepy cabin beyond GPS and cellphone range, and the creepy cellar full of creepy dolls, masks, and ancient diaries?  I was pretty entertained as the details enfolded.  And yes, be warned that the five youths have plenty of hideous and bloody encounters.  They must have spent a fortune on fake blood!  The actors were mostly unknown to me, but Kristen Connolly (TV’s As the World Turns) does a nice job as the heroine of the quintet.

Walking Dead (Season One)

A new review from The Bleacher Bum

The Walking Dead, Season 1: One of my pet peeves is whenever someone says, “The movie isn’t near as good as the book.” Really? (please note the sarcasm that follows) You mean to tell me a 500-page novel that takes about a month and a half to understand and comprehend is better than a 130-minute running movie? I am shocked. I mention this because a television series is more like a novel than it is a movie.  With a television show, characters can be developed on an intra-personal and interpersonal level, background stories can be explained in detail, and situations can evolve into about seven different storylines and subplots. Movies are incapable of this. In my opinion, the recent television dramas of HBO, AMC, Showtime, and F/X have already killed the standard drama series of ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox.  The cable networks can get away with so much more than the over-the-air networks.  And if I was involved in the movie industry, I would be greatly concerned with popularity of dramas such as The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Mad Men, Weeds, Californication, and……The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is currently in its second season on AMC, and ironically, it was created, written, and directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile).  The show picks up right after the world’s apocalypse.  In the Atlanta area, everyone seems “dead,” except for about 100 survivors and about 250,000 zombies.  The survivors are led by sheriff deputy Rick Grimes and his partner Shane. The humans are just trying to survive by hiding out and living primitively, while trying to escape the hordes of zombies aka “walkers.”  The zombies only care about eating the flesh of the living.  The show is more about the human spirit, the desire of humans to exist and survive than it is about the zombies.  The first season is only six episodes, but there were about 600 instances where I was asking myself: “What the hell would I do in this situation?”  I recommend it, but it is not for children, persons with weak stomachs….or it is not to be watched while eating human flesh. Grade: B+.

 

Walking Dead (Season Two)

Comic Book Guy revisits the zombie apocalypse.

Walking Dead (Season 2) For those of you haven’t  been watching this (or anything else on AMC) you are missing out on some quality basic cable television. AMC has produced a string of series with solid production, interesting characters and story lines, and decent special effects. I’ve been watching Mad Men, The Killing, Breaking Bad and Walking Dead this year. All of them worthwhile, but I particularly like this series. Yes, it’s based on a comic book and yes, it has zombies (two great things that go great together) but don’t let that put you off.  The series follows a small band of survivors in a post zombie apocalypse (“ZA”) as they make their way across the south, in search of…  what? Well, that’s the question. This isn’t a neatly wrapped package where our intrepid adventurers set off in search for the cure, or the cause of the ZA. It’s not even really about the zombies. It’s about what has meaning when civilization collapses. It’s about what makes us human. It’s about what you believe in, when reality as you know it has changed so fundamentally that you have no choice but to question those beliefs. All of it adds up to quality TV. If you missed Season 1, go back and check it out on DVD before you dive into this season. You won’t be disappointed, especially if you like zombies. I give it a solid B+.

Walking Dead (season one)

DVD review from Comic Book Guy

Walking Dead

Just finished Season One (6 episodes), which is available on DVD. This is based on the original comic book series by the same name (which won an Eisner Award last year). The series revolves around a small band of survivors following trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. What else do you need to know?  AMC picked it up and it doesn’t disappoint. I like AMC. Their other projects (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing) are well written and stylish with interesting characters and high production values.  This is another series that lives up to what the best of cable network can produce. And even if it didn’t have all that going for it, it has Zombies. Lots of Zombies. Zombies are like bacon; everything is better with them. Apocalypse: Good. Zombie Apocalypse: Better!  I give it an A. Check it out.

The Walking Dead (season one)

New review from zombiemaster Nick at Nite

The Walking Dead

The problem with a television show is that it is hard to sustain momentum. Unless each and every episode can stand alone – Law & Order, MacGyver, Jersey Shore – your show must convince the viewer to return week after week (or at least to hit the record season button on their DVR). The Walking Dead succeeds where The Event, Flashforward, and Silver Spoons have failed. I confess. I love Zombie movies. Like teenagers to Twilight, I dart from one Zombie movie to the next with bated breath. The Walking Dead gets it right. Compelling stories, scary Zombies, creepy scenery, and a more than passable cast. This is a longer, chewier 28 Days Later. In fact, when I watched the premiere I had the impression that it was just a rip off of 28 Days Later. Seriously, a guy wakes up in a hospital and the world is overrun by Zombies? I was mistaken. It is an original story and any similarities are only minor. The Walking Dead is based on a comic book series that was developed independently from 28 Days Later. My only disappointment is that the season is already over. Here is the good news. The complete season is already available for sale at Amazon. If you did not see it, go buy it. I give the series an A+.

Zombieland

From the desk of The Movie Snob

Zombieland (B-). I’m no horror-movie buff, but I’m kind of developing a taste for zombie movies — or at least ones that have a sense of humor about them, like Shaun of the Dead and this current release. As our movie begins, the zombies have already conquered America, leaving only a very few human survivors. There’s Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg, Adventureland), a neurotic fellow of about 25 who has developed roughly 31 rules for staying alive in Zombieland. There’s Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson, Management), a buff crazy dude who loves to kill zombies. And there are sisters Wichita (Emma Stone, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, No Reservations). Despite some friction, the four team up and head out west, where they have heard there might not be any zombies. Apparently the zombies hordes have been depopulating themselves somehow, because there really aren’t all that many zombies around, and the movie is largely a road-trip movie with some decently clever dialogue and a truly bizarre but entertaining sequence involving an extended cameo by a major Hollywood star. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some gross zombie stuff too, but not as much as you might expect. Cute little Abigail Breslin is starting to grow up, so we’ll see how she segues into older roles. And Emma Stone was much more attractive than I had any reason to expect from her past roles.

If you go see this movie, be advised that there is apparently a final scene after the closing credits, or so I have read. I didn’t know that, so I didn’t stay for it. Dad gum!

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Dawn of the Dead (B). This is the 2004 version, not the famous 1978 original (which I have never seen). I am not a fan of horror films, so I’m not sure why I picked it up out of the bargain bin at Walmart and bought the thing. Today the ice storm shut Dallas down, so I made wise use of my time by watching this movie. It adheres to what I understand to be the conventions of zombie movies: zombies roam the streets in search of living flesh to eat, and whoever gets bitten by a zombie sooner or later turns into a zombie. In this movie, the wave of zombification seems to swamp the world in a hurry. A nurse (Sarah Polley, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), a cop (Ving Rhames, Entrapment), and several others elude the zombies long enough to barricade themselves into a mall. There they await rescue, make contact with another survivor who’s holed up in a gun shop across the way, and endure various setbacks and zombie incursions. I can’t compare it to the original, but I thought this movie was pretty good for what it was–lots of gruesomeness and gore, and some decent characters to root for as they try fend off the undead horde. By the way, you have to watch past the ending credits if you want to know the whole story…  Directed by Zack Snyder, who would go on to direct 300 and Man of Steel.

Resident Evil: Extinction

New review from Nick at Nite

Resident Evil: Extinction

This was too much even for me. I am sucker for Zombie films. I am even more of a sucker for end of the world Zombie films. I was just not impressed with this, the third installment in the Resident Evil series. In hindsight, I guess one would expect that a movie trilogy based on a series of video games would eventually run out of steam. Without any explanation needed, the plot was a little thin. The Umbrella Corporation is still bad. Most people are sick from the Zombie virus released in the first and second movie. Now the entire world is somehow sick. Query. How does a planet get sick? Anyhow, a movie like this usually makes up for a lack of plot with an increase in action sequences. Did not happen here. Bottom line: not very good. Rent the first movie. It is actually quite good. I give it a “C.”

Fido; Superbad

DVD reviews from Nick at Nite

Fido

Oddly entertaining film. This indie comedy explores what happens when rampaging zombies are domesticated. The setup is clever, if somewhat predictable. The dead rise, humans battle the undead in a zombie war, scientists discover how to rekill the undead, and then the same scientists learn how to domesticate the undead to perform society’s more mundane chores. So, rather yearn for the taste of human flesh, the undead take out the trash, deliver mail, mow the lawn, wash the car, and carry groceries. Things get complicated when one of the undead gets a little too close to a boy and his mother and the scientists’ company, ZomCom, is forced to step in. I give it a “B-.”

Superbad

Ah, I don’t get it. I know, I know it was supposed to be outrageously funny. To be fair some of it was, but I found most of it to be unremarkable. Perhaps I am just nostalgic for Weird Science and The Breakfast Club. This story about a couple of high school misfits with potty mouths just didn’t do for me the same thing that 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up did. Is it worth a rental? Probably. Make sure you are watching with people who are not alarmed by too much boys-being-boys-type talk. I give it a “B-.”

Planet Terror

DVD review from Nick at Nite

Planet Terror

This should be called “Terror Movie.” As in this movie will so terrorize you, you will want to rip your eyes out. This is one half of the Grindhouse duo. This half was so bad, there is no way I will see the second half. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. I love a Zombie flick. I tolerate almost all Zombie flicks. I will watch a Zombie movie that people will not rent, much less watch. This movie I could not tolerate. The story is basic enough. Bad military guys and scientists release toxic cloud and people become Zombies. Good guys must escape and kill a bunch of Zombies. It was over the top and bad to me when one heroine breaks both of her wrists and then tries to drive a car and another heroine has her leg amputated and attaches a machine gun to the stump to assist in the survivors’ defense. I know, I know, it is a Zombie flick, shouldn’t they all be over the top – yep, they should. But over the top usually means fantastic special effects and on the edge of your seat suspense. This had neither. I give it an “F.”

Rocky Balboa, 28 Weeks Later

Two new reviews from Nick at Nite

Rocky Balboa. I pity the fool who don’t see this movie. Gone are all the stupid storylines. No match with Hulk Hogan. No match with evil Russian. No match with kid from down the street. This is a stripped down version of Rocky. Like the original Rocky, the focus in this movie is the character and his common sense, charisma, and gentle nature. This movie is good for all the reasons that the original was good. Don’t dismiss Rocky Balboa because they misfired in Rocky III and Rocky IV – act like they never existed and put this movie in the DVD queue. You won’t be disappointed. It is a good bookend with the first movie and nice way to see Rocky go off into the sunset. Plus, as much as we knock Stallone. Remember his Oscar? Remember what it was for? Well, there is a little glimpse of that in this movie. I give it a “B.”

28 Weeks Later. First, a tirade. Went to the movies at 10:10 on Saturday night. I don’t know what people are thinking, but there were a ton of little kids out at this time seeing movies. Worse, there were some in 28 Weeks Later. This is not Mary Poppins. What is the world coming to? I remember when I was a teenager I would go to the late movie, we went because no one else did. Why aren’t these kids at home, sleeping? Almost seems like child abuse to me. Second, the movie. Not as good as the first one. I don’t think this one is directed by Danny Boyle. However, it is quite good. It is essentially a continuation of the first movie. The focus is on different characters that survive the first 28 days of the “rage” that is portrayed in the first movie, only to be subjected to a disastrous turn of events 28 weeks later. Recall the “rage” is a infectious disease that was spread from infected monkeys to humans when a science experiment went tragically wrong. The “rage” almost instantly turned the infected into the flesh eating Zombies (is there any other kind of Zombies?). Apart from a Jaws 4-like Zombie that is able to track down his prey, this movie is believable, scary, entertaining, and fun to watch. We follow two kids who return to London 28 weeks after the original infection has wiped out the British population. The Zombies apparently all starved to death because they had no food. The kids were away on a school trip at the time of the original infection. A U.S. led NATO force is helping the repatriation of British residents who were away at the time of the original infection. The U.S. led NATO force establishes a green zone just like in Iraq and it has numerous problems just like the green zone in Iraq. I enjoyed the movie. Check it out. I give it an “A.”

Land of the Dead; Munich

New reviews from Nick at Nite

Land of the Dead

I love Zombie movies. Anyone who really knows me, knows I do. I can’t really explain it. I saw Omega Man at an early age and was struck by the way Charleston Heston existed as the lone survivor in a post-apocalyptic world run amok with the Zombies. From Omega Man I moved on to Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Resident Evil, the list goes on and on and on … I was pumped about seeing Land of the Dead because it is from the mind of George Romero, the grandfather of all modern day Zombie movies. My viewing of the film was delayed because Blockbuster got into a dispute with George over the distribution of the film. The result: you could buy it at BestBuy or Amazon or wait for it to come out on cable. I waited. I caught it last night at 11:30 on HBO. I could not have been more disappointed. Everything that was campy, strange, and scary about the first George Romero movies was missing from this movie. This movie took itself a little too seriously, without the plot, actors, or special effects to justify it. It just was not what I expected. Basically, Dennis Hopper (Giant) has taken over an exclusive high-rise building in a the middle of an unnamed city and managed to keep all the Zombies outside the city. He has created a rich-poor gap inside the city – with lower class workers living in old warehouses and rich folk living in his high-rise. Well the rich-poor gap spills out into the Zombies who attack the city. Much mayhem ensues. People die. People get eaten. I was mostly bored. Save your money, save your time. Rent one of George’s older movies or rent Shaun of the Dead, it’s a riot. I give it an F.

Munich

Spielberg is a genius. I have enjoyed every movie he has ever made, with the notable exception of Munich. Unlike others, who were disappointed in the movie because they thought it was only supposed to be about the original hostage crisis at the Munich Olympics, I was disappointed because the after story seemed slow. I know a story about how the Israeli secret service took out its revenge on those responsible for the hostage crisis should be a reflection of the methodical and deliberate nature of the Israeli secret service’s actions, but how Spielberg was able to take such an interesting and compelling story and make it boring, I’ll never know. Honestly, I might have been more interested in the how-did-they-do-that and who-is-that-person, than in emotive character development. I’ll give it a C. He can do better.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

From Nick at Nite:

Dawn of the Dead – Unrated, uncut, undead . . . this weekend I rented the penultimate in zombie flicks, last year’s remake of George Romero’s mall, zombiefest. Basically, something really bad happens, virus, infection, comet passing too close to earth, or whatever take on the usual fare, and the really bad things turns people into zombies. Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames head the cast of misfits that end up stuck in a large, suburban, shopping mall. I learned some things about zombies in this move. For example, whatever you do, don’t let your pregnant wife get bitten by a zombie, zombies like to congregate at the mall, and zombies don’t eat dogs. I won’t give away the end, but let me just say . . . things don’t end well for civilization. This was a generally creepy movie, with a very high gore factor. It is unrated, apparently so they can show more gore than they did in the theater originally. The movie has a few hundred zombie killings, some human killings, one zombie birth, some brain eating, one possessed killing child, three car chases, ten car crashes, one boat ride, three propane tank explosions, and partial nudity completely unrelated to the plot. I give it a “B+.”