Cinepub


Zombie Month: Zombie Strippers by Jamie

I’ve seen an unfortunately large number of films that had people being sexually attracted to Zombies this past month. As you may be able to guess from the title, ‘Zombie Strippers’ is no exception. There’s also the added bonus of stripping! Which I’ll be honest, I kinda agree with Karl Pilkington about (skip to about 53 seconds in on this video):

The film opens with a montage all about George W. Bush winning his fourth consecutive election, the banning of public nudity and the many, many wars that America is currently fighting in. Yes, it’s satire people!

It then cuts to a military experiment which goes horribly wrong and Zombies happen! A military squad is called in to deal with the outbreak in a research facility and they largely manage to do. Unfortunately one soldier, by the name of Byrdflough (yeah, if there’s one thing this movie isn’t, it’s subtle) is bitten and he manages to escapes the facility before turning.

And where does he escape to? Why his local illegal strip club of course! Whilst there, he dies, is reborn and attacks the clubs star stripper Kat (Jenna Jameson). Now this virus attacks men and women differently for some bullshit reason that was explained earlier on. For men, it turns them into your bog standard Romero Zombie but women who are infected get to keep their mental faculties. They just hunger for flesh. Also they’re dead so they do begin to rot.

Anyway, the newly infected Kat, with absolutely no fear or inhibitions, becomes the biggest smash hit the club has ever seen becoming far more popular then she ever was when alive. Most of the other strippers decide to also become Zombies out of choice in order to be better strippers themselves. At the end of their dance, the Zombies pick a punter for a private session backstage during which they bite and kill them. The clubs owner Ian Essko (Robert Englund) locks all the turned customers in a giant cage which he conveniently has in the basement of his illegal strip club. I’m sure nothing can possibly go wrong.

Something goes wrong! The customer Zombies escape and go on a rampage whilst the stripper Zombies fight each other for dominance! Luckily the military squad from earlier shows up and takes out all the Zombies and they discover the virus was released intentionally by the Bush administration in order to distract the country from all the wars and bad stuff and that. Ugh. Now I get the feeling this movie was written by a 9/11 Truther or something.

So, is ‘Zombie Strippers’ a good movie? Really? You honestly have to ask that question? No, of course it isn’t a good movie. The acting is bad, the special effects are awful and the satire is stupid. And again, it’s another film which is sexualising the living dead! Yeah, it’s not so bad earlier on when they are freshly turned and still look relatively normal but they start to rot and people are still cheering and hollering for them. What the fuck? The smell alone would surely be enough to clear out the room.

I will say this. For the most part this movie knows what it is, misguided attempt at satire aside. It knows that it’s a cheesy, exploitation softcore horror film and it doesn’t try to be much else. I suppose I have to give it some credit for that. Also Robert Englund is pretty great, camping and overacting it up to the hilt. Two pints out of five. Laterz.

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Zombie Month: Colin by Jamie

Zombies. As much as I love them, they’re not exactly have the most sparkling personalities of the monster world. They’re not seductive or lamenting of their curse like Vampires or Werewolves. No, they’re basically just walking corpses with a hunger for living flesh and aren’t really known for their conversation skills.

So I approached the film ‘Colin’ with a slight bit of scepticism because the basic premise is that our protagonist, Colin, becomes a Zombie within the first few minutes of the film and then we follow his journey as one of the Walking Dead. The fact that the film was allegedly made for around £45 didn’t do much to ease my… uneasiness. I’m not saying that low budget films can’t be good but they can definitely suffer for it and to have such an extreme low budget is enough to make a man think twice.

Still, I gave it a go and honestly, I’m fairly glad that I did. The plot isn’t far beyond what I’ve already stated. Just a Zombie wandering through a Zombie Apocalypse ravaged city in Britain. As he goes from place to place, you get little snapshots of what’s going on around him. He comes across various survivors all trying to cope in different ways with the end of the world. Some of them try to steal his shoes, some are weird Irish men who keep Zombie girls in their basement and some are relatives who recognise him and want him to recognise them.

Saying anything more than that would probably be travelling in to spoiler territory. Though, it’d be kind of hard to spoil this film. Nothing really happens yet at the same time so much is happening. For the most part, Colin is an impassionate observer apart from the scenes involving his family. He just shuffles along, occasionally taking the odd bite out of the odd corpse or incapacitated living person though his desire for flesh doesn’t seem to be as strong as that of his Zombie brethren. There are a number of times when he seems to pass up on a relatively easy meal, choosing instead to just walk on by.

There are certain clues through out the film to exactly what mental level Colin is operating on though it’s never made entirely clear. Does he forgo eating someone because they remind him of a person he knew whilst alive? Does he recognise his family on same basic level but, by the time they have him trapped in their kitchen has it been so long since he last had a meal that his Zombie instincts are over-riding his brain? It’s difficult to say.

The most important thing about the film is that, despite being a flesh-eating walking corpse, Colin is a sympathetic character. When bad things happen to him, you feel sorry for him. There’s a scene where he falls into a basement and you hear a snap, perhaps a broken ankle and, although he probably can’t feel pain and despite being a monster, you actually feel a little bit sad that he’s injured himself and that his shuffling exploits will be a little more difficult.

All in all, Colin is a brilliant little film. Yes, the film quality suffers a little due to the manner of it’s making but you get used to it after a while. All in all I can highly recommend it. Four and a half pints out of five.



Zombie Month: Colin by Jamie

Zombies. As much as I love them, they’re not exactly have the most sparkling personalities of the monster world. They’re not seductive or lamenting of their curse like Vampires or Werewolves. No, they’re basically just walking corpses with a hunger for living flesh and aren’t really known for their conversation skills.

So I approached the film ‘Colin’ with a slight bit of scepticism because the basic premise is that our protagonist, Colin, becomes a Zombie within the first few minutes of the film and then we follow his journey as one of the Walking Dead. The fact that the film was allegedly made for around £45 didn’t do much to ease my… uneasiness. I’m not saying that low budget films can’t be good but they can definitely suffer for it and to have such an extreme low budget is enough to make a man think twice.

Still, I gave it a go and honestly, I’m fairly glad that I did. The plot isn’t far beyond what I’ve already stated. Just a Zombie wandering through a Zombie Apocalypse ravaged city in Britain. As he goes from place to place, you get little snapshots of what’s going on around him. He comes across various survivors all trying to cope in different ways with the end of the world. Some of them try to steal his shoes, some are weird Irish men who keep Zombie girls in their basement and some are relatives who recognise him and want him to recognise them.

Saying anything more than that would probably be travelling in to spoiler territory. Though, it’d be kind of hard to spoil this film. Nothing really happens yet at the same time so much is happening. For the most part, Colin is an impassionate observer apart from the scenes involving his family. He just shuffles along, occasionally taking the odd bite out of the odd corpse or incapacitated living person though his desire for flesh doesn’t seem to be as strong as that of his Zombie brethren. There are a number of times when he seems to pass up on a relatively easy meal, choosing instead to just walk on by.

There are certain clues through out the film to exactly what mental level Colin is operating on though it’s never made entirely clear. Does he forgo eating someone because they remind him of a person he knew whilst alive? Does he recognise his family on same basic level but, by the time they have him trapped in their kitchen has it been so long since he last had a meal that his Zombie instincts are over-riding his brain? It’s difficult to say.

The most important thing about the film is that, despite being a flesh-eating walking corpse, Colin is a sympathetic character. When bad things happen to him, you feel sorry for him. There’s a scene where he falls into a basement and you hear a snap, perhaps a broken ankle and, although he probably can’t feel pain and despite being a monster, you actually feel a little bit sad that he’s injured himself and that his shuffling exploits will be a little more difficult.

All in all, Colin is a brilliant little film. Yes, the film quality suffers a little due to the manner of it’s making but you get used to it after a while. All in all I can highly recommend it. Four and a half pints out of five.



Last Year In Film: The Visitor by Jamie

Well I managed to survive the first round of Razzie nominations and it certainly feels good to get back to films with a certain touch of class about them after the likes of ‘Disaster Movie’ and ‘The Love Guru’ and it turns out that ‘The Visitor’ is a very fine film to come back to quality cinema with.

Now I must admit that I had heard about this film some time ago but then I completely forgot about it and, when I came to seeing this I had absolutely no idea what it was. I’d kinda hoped it might have been some kind of sci-fi alien film kinda thing. Or maybe something about a time traveller from a dystopian future. That’d be cool. But as the film went on I remembered what I’d heard about it and realised what it was and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I haven’t seen a good sci-fi film since District 9 and that was just over a week ago now. Still I pressed on and watched the film. And wow, was my disappointment completely unfounded.

The story is that of a lonely widowed college economics professor, Walter, who travels to his old apartment in New York in order to present a co-authored paper at a conference only to discover a an immigrant couple living there. Now in the beginning of the film Walter is a, well he’s not exactly a mean man, more an indifferent man, a man who views other human beings in the same way he might view an unfamiliar dog or perhaps a shifty eyed cat. Damn unfamiliar dogs and shifty eyed cats. Unfamiliar dogs and shifty eyed cats killed my parents. True story. Except it isn’t.

Anyway Walter’s life is pretty much turned upside down for the better through the influence of these immigrants, in particular Tarek who begins to teach Walter how to play an African drum, invites him to watch him play at  a Jazz club and takes him to play in a drum circle at what I can only assume is Central Park because I don’t know the name of any other parks in New York.

Walter’s new friendship is threatened all of a sudden when Tarek is arrested at a subway station and taken to a detention centre as an illegal immigrant. Soon Mouna, Tarek’s mother, shows up at Walter’s apartment when she becomes worried that her son hasn’t contacted her in some time. Walter soon begins a friendship with her as well as he tries as hard as he can to get Tarek freed.

The film is steeped with messages regarding the changes in attitude towards illegal immigrants, particularly those of Middle Eastern descent since the events of the 11th of September, 2001. It portrays a rather aggressive Department of Immigration Control treating their detainees as little more than cattle, keeping them locked in a building with no outside area, the closest being a room with no roof. They also randomly move their prisoners to other facilities throughout the country or even have them deported seemingly on a whim without alerting their lawyers.

Despite this definitely being a message film it also has a great story which the message really serves as background for. At the end of the day the tale is about Walter and how his experience with Tarek, his girlfriend Zainab and his mother Mouna all affect his life and, in a way, teach him how to view other people as human beings again.

There are a number of times when the movie strayed dangerously close to being a feel good, mushy story and about an hour through I thought I’d pretty much figured out exactly what was going to happen only to be surprised when the story took a different route, one I certainly wasn’t expecting and that’s definitely a good thing.

The acting is superb with Richard Jenkins as Walter truly making the character and his development absolutely believable and Hiam Abbass is awesome as Mouna, portraying a strong woman who’s absolutely heartbroken at the fact that she can’t even visit her son for fear of being arrested herself and the fact that her sons situation reminds her of her husband’s own predicament as a journalist in Syria, arrested for an article he wrote.

Overall I give this film four pints out of five and I heartily, heartily recommend it. Watch it damn it! Laterz.



Last Year In Film: Disaster Movie by Jamie

Oh fucking Jesus fucking Christ. What the fuck is wrong with the world? Why are things like this allowed to exist? Yes, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer unleashed two pieces of cinematic garbage upon the world in 2008 and whilst Meet The Spartans was a bad film it’s actually kinda watchable when compared with this entry in the _____ Movie franchise, Disaster Movie.

This film has absolutely no redeeming qualities. The jokes are shit, the performances laughable (though not in the way intended) and my world is a far, far more painful place having sat through it. And I have to live with that. I have to spend every waking hour of the rest of my life knowing that I spent an hour and a half watching this. No wait. It’s more than that because it took me three tries before I actually managed to sit through the entire thing. Each time I got about fifteen minutes through before I had to stop. So in essence I’ve spent two hours and fifteen minutes watching this piece of shit. I am a broken man.

And now I’m reliving it all again just so I can write this. Fine. Let’s get this the fuck over with. Remember all those trailers that came out in 2007/2008 for films like Hancock, The Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull? Friedberg and Seltzer clearly did because they inserted parodies of all of those films in this fucking film. They actually parodied films that they hadn’t seen yet. It’s ridiculous. As a result all the parodies of these films are just the character showing up and doing nothing or, in Hancock’s case, parodying one specific piece from the trailer itself. Well done movie. Well done. I applaud your creativity. Sorry, did I say creativity? I meant go fuck yourself movie. Go fuck yourself right to hell.

The rest of the parodies are pretty much the same fare that we saw in Meet The Spartans except somehow they’ve managed to take this time-tested method of spoofing pop culture and make it shitter. This film has even less respect for it’s audience. Where Meet The Spartans held your hand so that you could get each and every joke, this film grabs you by the fucking neck and rubs your face in the joke, whilst shouting at you “LOOK! LOOK WHAT WE’RE MAKING FUN OF! ISN’T IT FUNNY?!?! HAHAHA!” The whole thing is really rather tedious. “LOOK! LOOK! IT’S HANNAH MONTANA! SHE’S SHILLING THINGS EVEN AS SHE DIES UNDER A METEOR! ARE WE NOT EXCELLENT SATIRISTS?” I think you get the picture.

This film, for technically that’s what it is, almost makes me want to somehow stop all things from happening. Because as long as events occur, there will be things for these movies creators to ‘parody.’ Billions of years of evolution and thousands of years of civilisation led to the creation of these movies and for that reason alone I’m starting to think that this whole ‘Human Race’ thing was really a bad idea from the get go and we’d be doing the universe as a whole a favour by simply going extinct right now. And even if we don’t, something else may do it for us. After all, there’s the chance that these films are being beamed into space right now and that, some time in the future they will be intercepted by an otherwise peaceful alien civilisation who, as a result of watching them, come to the conclusion that existence would be a far better thing without these meddlesome hairless apes running around making shitty parody films. Well done Friedberg and Seltzer. You’ve doomed our species.

And what’s the worse thing about this damn movie? (If indeed anything can be considered worse than the impending annihilation of your species by pissed off extra-terrestrials?) The fact that they took something genuinely funny, in this case Sarah Silverman’s song ‘I’m Fucking Matt Damon’ and totally ruin it. Why movie? Why must you ruin good things with your dogged determination to suck so bad? I believe I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Fuck you movie.

So that’s that then. Disaster movie is done and dusted and I’ll never have to watch it again but there will always be a part of me that is gone thanks to this movie, destroyed by it’s utter awfulness. I’m fairly sure that if you look into my eyes you’ll notice something is off, like a part of me has died in some way. So what kind of a rating can I give this film? I don’t think it really fits into our pint of beer scheme so there is only one way I can rate this. With the grand score of Unicum. If you’ve never experienced Unicum, one of Hungary’s national drinks, then you are exceedingly lucky. It is foul and so is this movie.



Last Year In Film: Meet The Spartans by Jamie

Remember when parody film was a phrase that didn’t send people with half a brain cell recoiling in horror? A time when films like Airplane!, Spaceballs and Monty Python and the Holy Grail strode the comedy plains and delighted audiences far and wide. Do you know why those films were so awesome? Because the filmmakers had a modicum of respect for their audiences. Yes, the humour was sometimes wacky and out of left field but they didn’t have to take you by the hand and explain the jokes to you. The joke played out and you either got it or you didn’t. Meet The Spartans, on the other hand, treats it’s audience as if they had their brain removed and won’t be able to understand a joke unless it’s made very clear exactly what is being made fun of.

Now, I decided to keep a list during this film of the times that I laughed. That list numbers five which I have to admit is more than I thought I would. Of these five times, fthree were light chuckles and two were what I would consider proper laughs. So well done movie for managing to get two full laughs out of me. I commend your efforts. These two times were when Leonadis holds the hand of the Persian Emissary and starts swinging it like a little girl as they walk and when the Spartans joined hands and skipped into battle singing ‘I Will Survive.’ Who knew I was such a sucker for men hand holding humour. That’s the problem with this film though. The only bits that I found funny were when they were in the context of parodying 300 without any real riffing on ‘popular’ culture and that’s really few and far between in this film.

For the most part this film is all about taking the piss out of pop-culture and this could probably be quite funny if one, they cut the fuck back on it a bit, and two, if they took shots at things that weren’t already self-parody in there own rights. Oh, what’s that Meet The Spartans? You’ve got a joke where Britney Spears is shaving her head, being a bad mother and flashing her vagina? Oh, what a witty commentary on modern society. What’s this now? A joke about Lindsay Lohan coming out of rehab and flashing her vagina? Truly movie, you are a jester worthy of the highest of praises.

Perhaps the oddest thing about this film is the credits sequence. The film came to an end whilst there were still twenty minutes left. I was confused. The film itself had only lasted about an hour, which was a small mercy but how could it have had so many people working on it that it would warrant a twenty minute credit sequence? Then, about halfway through the credits some more scenes started. Oh good, I thought, perhaps there are some outtakes. Even a shit film can have some pretty decent outtakes. But no. These weren’t outtakes at all. They were actually just extra scenes that looked like they’d been plucked from the film itself and just placed randomly in the credits. Why? What the fuck were the filmmakers thinking? Oh, wait. I guess they weren’t. They made Meet The Spartans after all.

So what of the acting? Well, it’s kinda hard to judge as I don’t think you can call what the people in this film were required to do acting. I will say this though, Sean Maguire as Leonidas and Kevin Sorbo as Captain do look as though they’re just trying to have fun with the stupid roles they seem to have found themselves in and as such I find it really hard to hate them both. As for Travis Van Winkle, who plays Sonio, well I can’t help but despise him since he was in that piece of shit Friday the 13th remake which so offended me.

Well, what more is there that I can say about this cinematic abortion? I suppose I have to give it a half a pint out of five just for making me laugh a couple of times. That’s a couple more than I predict for Disaster Movie. Still, I have to say stay away from this piece of shit. It’s pretty much repugnant and offensive to anyone descended from anyone who lived during the time of the Ancient Greeks.



Last Year In Film: Frost/Nixon by Jamie

I am an all round geek. A jack of all geek trades and a master of none and one of the facets that makes up that geek whole is political geekery. I first started to become interested in politics around the time that George W. Bush came to power as the president of the United States and so my interest has always been with American politics, which is far, far more interesting than our rather underwhelming British system, and in particular the dark, shadier side of the political scene.

It should be no surprise then that Richard M. Nixon is a particularly fascinating figure to me. His name has become synonymous with political corruption, scandal and abuse of power. There are many who blame him for thousands, even millions, losing faith in the democratic establishment and the political process. The Watergate scandal shook the American system to it’s very core and even today it’s ramifications are felt, so much so that the suffix -gate is attached to almost every political scandal.

Three years after Nixon resigned from the presidency, Nixon agreed to be interviewed by British talk show host David Frost, for the sum of $60,000 and 20% of the profit. The film Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard and starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, tells the story of those interviews. Now, I’ll admit it doesn’t sound like the most exciting subject matter for a film but bear with me.

This film is fucking awesome. I cannot impress upon you just how good it is. I remember seeing the trailer at the cinema, possibly before Oliver Stone’s W and I was instantly interested but the trailer did give me the impression that it was heavily, heavily overly dramatised and I’ll admit that having seen the film it most certainly is but to be fair what do you want? It’s a movie, it has to have heightened drama.

The performances are incredible. Michael Sheen is perfect as portraying the young David Frost, a cocky playboy type filled with confidence who you should probably find annoying but he remains insanely likeable. Sheen also has Frost’s voice down perfectly and, if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve grown up knowing Frost as the older gentleman he is today, I’d probably forget I was watching someone else portray him.

Frank Langella delivers a powerhouse performance as Richard Nixon. Ugh, I feel disgusted with myself having read that sentence. Let me try again. Frank Langella fucking rules as Richard Nixon. There much better. He manages to convey a strange mixture of devious intelligence, ignorance and genuine sadness to create a Nixon who is so more compelling than the one-dimensional prick who people are generally thinking of when they talk about the former president.

Rounding out the cast are Matthew Macfadyen as Frost’s producer John Brit, Oliver Platt as journalist Bob Zelnick, Sam Rockwell as journalist James Reston Jr, Rebecca Hall as Frost’s love interest Caroline Cushing and Kevin Bacon as Nixon’s Chief of Staff Jack Brennan. The cast is all pretty good but Rockwell and Bacon really stand out. Rockwell plays Reston as a man who clearly feels as though Nixon has twisted the very concept of Democracy and must be made to confess and Bacon is great playing a man who’s dedicated to Nixon until the end and seems to genuinely believe that the former president is a great, great man that the American people never appreciated as he deserved.

The film runs to about two hours but it never loses it’s pace, even during some of the long pauses during the interviews themselves. In fact these pauses are integral to the interviews, particularly during the last one and manage to rack up the tension as if you were watching a kind of Mexican stand-off and in a way you are. Several times throughout the characters refer to the interviews as battles and that’s the way they seem especially, once more, that final interview about the Watergate scandal. The only difference is that instead of guns they are using words.

Now, if there’s one complaint I have about the film it’s the occasional intrusion of the main storyline by short little, pseudo-documentary interviews. It features the actors portraying the characters discussing the events that have just happened in the film and at times it can really take you out of the film. It’s certainly an interesting idea and at times, it can work by giving a sense of the story going on around the main storyline without intruding on it with unnecessary sub-plots but at times it can come off as superfluous and some of these scenes feel almost like they were just used as padding to build up the running time.

Ooh, now I think of it, there is one complaint I’ve heard and that’s the historical accuracy of the film, in particular the Watergate interview. I can’t really speak to that, I’m afraid as although I have the interviews on DVD I haven’t watched them in a good few months and I have the recall of a goldfish who has repressed most of it’s memories. Probably should have watched them again before I watched this. Nevermind. I’ll probably watch them again later and if it turns out that the Watergate interview is radically different from the way it’s portrayed in the film then those intrusive interviews will probably take me out of the film even more than they did before.

All that having been said though, I really do recommend this film particularly if you have even a passing interest in politics. It really does manage to give you a sense of how people felt about Nixon at the time and just why distrust towards the system, particularly in America, is so rampant today. I can’t wait for the sequel Frost/Skeletor in which Frank Langella reprises his role as the The Evil Lord Of Destruction and answers tough questions on whether or not he let down the people of Eternia during his ill-fated invasion of Castle Greyskull. Until then I give Frost/Nixon four and a half pints out of five.

Laterz.




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