Cinepub


Zombie Month Repost: Survival Of The Dead by Jamie

Originally posted March 22nd, 2010.

I’m gonna try and not include as many spoilers as possible abut a few things will probably slip out. Also at the end of this review I will be spoiling the ending. I will warn you ahead of it.

George A. Romero is one of my all time cinematic heroes. I’m sure any fan of the zombie genre would say the same. The man essentially created the zombie film genre as we know and love it today when he made ‘Night of the Living Dead’. He followed it up with what may be the pinnacle of the genre, ‘Dawn of the Dead’. The trilogy of the dead was created with the release of ‘Day of the Dead’ and what many thought would be an end to the saga came with ‘Land of the Dead.’ All good movies in their own special ways. Land suffered somewhat from the law of diminishing returns but still, it was a fun entry into the genre.

Then Romero came back with ‘Diary of the Dead’ (You can read my full review of it here) and boy was it disappointing. Fuck, it was far, far more than disappointing. It was fucking atrocious. The acting was terrible, the dialogue was bullshit and the social commentary was way, way over the top. The worst part of the film was that, as much as I love the slow-moving zombies, they don’t work if there aren’t many of them and the characters aren’t holed up in one place. The true fact of the matter is that the slow movers aren’t that big of a threat in small numbers. They are rendered practically pointless.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached ‘Survival of the Dead’, Romero’s latest undead offering. Still, I watched it and the question is what do I have to say about it? Well, I shall answer you question in the form of a haiku:

It is better than
Diary of the Dead but
Still not a good film.

I think that’s a haiku. I’m not entirely sure and I don’t muchly care. If it’s not a haiku then it’s a new form which I’m calling fuku. Yeah, take that. Anyway, that pretty much sums it up. It is markedly better than Diary, though there’s no way that it couldn’t be. The acting is a huge improvement and the story is certainly more interesting. Unfortunately that’s about all the good things that I can really say about it.

Unfortunately this film suffers from one of the major problems that ‘Diary’ also suffered from. The character’s are on the move for the most of the time and there are simply not enough zombies. There is one scene, fairly early in the film, where the characters are all holed up near a dock but it doesn’t last very long and the numbers of zombies that gather could hardly be called a horde.

So what does all that mean? Well, it’s simple. As with ‘Diary‘, the zombies in this film are never really much of a threat and whilst it’s true that the zombies in these films are never the greatest threat, it’s the people you’re stuck with, they should at least provide some kind of genuine danger. This isn’t helped in this film by the fact that most of the zombies are chained up or kept in a stable. It basically neuters the zombie as a monster.

There was another major problem I’d like to get into before I get onto the spoilers. The special effects in this film are fucking atrocious. Sure, there’s some pretty sweet zombie kills but they are ruined by the piss-poor CGI. What the fuck happened to the practical effects that you could revel in and enjoy, knowing that someone had spent hours applying make-up and prosthetics so that they could make it look as realistic as possible? It’s a real fucking shame.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ENDING OF THIS FILM.

Ok, so the main plot of the film focuses on a feud between the heads of two families on an island. One patriarch believes that the zombies should be completely eradicated whilst the other believes that they should be kept ‘alive’ and essentially domesticated in case a cure for zombism is discovered. To this end he tries to train the zombies to eat things other than humans. And what happens at the end of the film after most of the main characters are dead? We see a group of zombies chowing down on a horse! What the fuck is that? You can’t throw something like that into the film that completely rewrites the very essence of what zombies are! I don’t care if it has to happen so that the over-arching point of the film is made and I don’t care that Romero basically set down what future generations would understand zombies as being! You can’t change the game like that this far in. If zombies suddenly switch from human meat to animal meat then all you’ve done is served to further neuter the threat of zombies! No fucking way.

As for the over-arching point of this film, I’m honestly not sure what it was. That maybe we should try and live as one with the zombie? That’s fucking insane. Romero has always been known for layering his ‘Dead’ films with social commentary but I have no idea what it was supposed to be in this film. I can’t help but feel that he heard all of the criticism about how over the top the social commentary was in ‘Diary’, and it was fucking over the top, and just decided that he was gonna try and keep it as light in this film as possible. Well, this was too fucking light. I know how I must sound after complaining about the weight of the social commentary as being too heavy in one film and too light in the next but come on! This is George A. Fucking Romero for fucks sake! This is what he’s supposed to be really fucking good at.

So yeah, all around I was pretty disappointed by this film. I hate to say it but it looks like George A. Romero’s talent as a director may have died with ‘Diary of the Dead’ then it came back to life and started shambling about aimlessly as it produced ‘Survival of the Dead’. Someone really needs to aim for it’s head and put it down for good. Just don’t ask me to do it. I used to love it too much. Two and a half pints out of five.



Zombie Month Repost: Diary of The Dead by Jamie

Originally posted 16th December, 2009.

I like zombie films. In fact, I love zombie films, in particular I love the classic ‘Dead’ trilogy that came from the awesome mind of the Deadfather, George A. Romero. Hell, I even like ‘Land of the Dead’. It’s a fun entry into the series. Sure, it’s not up to the greatness of those first three but it’s enjoyable none the less and it really only missed one trick and that is that it should have had Bob Hoskins in it. Then it would have been an awesome ‘Super Mario Bros’ reunion. Who wouldn’t have loved that?

So I was looking forward to finally getting around to watching ‘Diary of the Dead’ the latest but one entry into Romero’s zombie canon, if it is indeed canon with the rest of the films. I’m a little unsure of that actually. Let me check… Ok, according to Romero himself, as quoted on wikipedia, the film is basically a ‘rejigging of the myth’. It’s set in present times but takes place in the same time frame as the original ‘Night Of The Living Dead.’ So yeah, I guess it is canon.

Now ‘Diary of the Dead’ is filmed in the handheld style that really took off with ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and generally I don’t get the motion sickness that some people associate with this style of film making but goddamn was this film the exception. After about ten minutes I was feeling extremely woozy and there hadn’t even been any graphic zombie killings up until that point. I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what the hell was so different about this film to cause this kind of reaction in me. It didn’t seem to be any more jittery than any other handheld movie I’ve seen so I’m really quite confused by this. Anyway, I endured and managed to sit through the whole thing. Good for me.

Except not good for me because you know what? I really didn’t enjoy this film, sickness inducing nature of it aside. Maybe it’s because of recent zombie craze, that has been so relentless that even I have begun to grow a little tired of the walking dead, or maybe it’s the other craze of handheld horror films but nothing in this movie seems to stand out. At times it plays out like a goddamn student film, someone trying to do an homage to both Romero’s films and ‘The Blair Witch Project’. Honestly I expected better from the man who pretty much defined the entire zombie genre.

The main problem with this film is that it’s pretty much a road film. The characters are pretty much constantly moving and as such it’s pretty hard for a shambling horde to gather around them. ‘Zombieland’ had a similar problem but had the advantage of being hilarious as well. This is especially a problem for ‘Diary of the Dead’ because these are the traditional Romero zombies, the slow moving undead. Now, I’m a bit of a zombie purist and I will always, always prefer the walking zombies over their running cousins. But in certain films it makes sense for the zombies to run. In ’28 Days Later’ (And yes, I know some people will complain that they aren’t zombies but that’s bullshit. If people can claim that the abominations in ‘Twilight’ are vampires, then I can claim that the so-called Infected are zombies. Oh and I still have a small bit of hatred for this film because in my mind it‘s responsible for the current trend of the running zombie) it made sense because the characters are on the move for most of the film. Same with ‘Zombieland’. In this however, they only ever come across a handful of zombies at anyone time and the slow movers just aren’t a particularly big threat when your dealing with so few of them. I know it might seem cliché these days but give me a small group of survivors, surrounded by hordes of the living dead who slowly turn on each other. That’s what I always considered these films to be about, the fact that it’s not the zombies who are the biggest threat but the other people they have trapped you with. Still, even if they aren’t the biggest, the zombies sill have to be somewhat threatening and in this film, they just aren’t.

Now Romero’s ‘Dead’ films have always included some kind of social commentary. Be it about consumer culture in ‘Dawn’ or the military and science meddling in things it shouldn’t in ‘Day’, there has always been more than just the flesh eating corpses. In ‘Diary’ the messages come thick and fast to the point where it seems as though this is less a zombie film with social commentary but social commentary with a few zombies thrown in. I’m guessing that Romero is pretty pissed of with culture these days, be it the fact that the media doesn’t always tell the truth or that people film and upload everything to the internet these days, keeping themselves detached from reality by putting a camera between themselves and what’s really going on. There were points where it just seemed to get in the way of the movie. The good thing about the older films was that you could watch it on either level. You could take in the social commentary or you could just have fun watching people getting ripped apart by zombies. Basically what I’m saying is that this film isn’t particularly fun.

That being said there were some fun elements in this film. There were some pretty sweet, if poorly computer generated, zombie kills and I kind of enjoyed the English drama professor though that may have been because he was an alcoholic. No, he had a pretty sharp wit about him as well so, yeah, I enjoyed him. There were also a few little digs at the trend of the running zombie which I certainly enjoyed. The best part of this film though is Samuel, a deaf Amish guy who communicates by writing things on a chalk board and throws sticks of dynamite at zombies. That dude was awesome. He even scythed himself in the head a zombie bit him. Hmmm, scythed wasn’t flagged by my spell checker. Who knew it was an actual word? Something else good came out of this movie.

What surprised me most about this film is just how truly paranoid I am about the Zombie Apocalypse. Seems I’ve actually managed to convince myself that it is actually possible and even a bad zombie film can ignite that paranoia in me. For the rest of the night after watching the film, I was sure that every noise I heard that I couldn’t put down to me making was a zombie trying to get into the hotel. The fact that an air conditioner, which I was fairly sure didn’t work, seemed to turn itself on certainly didn’t help.

So there you go. I’d say that ‘Diary of the Dead’ is a fairly poor entry into Romero’s zombie opus. It has a few enjoyable moments and characters but in general there’s not enough zombies and the way Romero really tries to beat you over the head with the messages just distracts from any fun there may have been in this actual movie. Overall it gets two pints out of five, one for some fairly nice zombie kills and one for Samuel, may he find peace in Amish heaven. I just hope it has the internet so he can read this review. Laterz.



Review: Survival Of The Dead by Jamie

I’m gonna try and not include as many spoilers as possible abut a few things will probably slip out. Also at the end of this review I will be spoiling the ending. I will warn you ahead of it.

George A. Romero is one of my all time cinematic heroes. I’m sure any fan of the zombie genre would say the same. The man essentially created the zombie film genre as we know and love it today when he made ‘Night of the Living Dead’. He followed it up with what may be the pinnacle of the genre, ‘Dawn of the Dead’. The trilogy of the dead was created with the release of ‘Day of the Dead’ and what many thought would be an end to the saga came with ‘Land of the Dead.’ All good movies in their own special ways. Land suffered somewhat from the law of diminishing returns but still, it was a fun entry into the genre.

Then Romero came back with ‘Diary of the Dead’ (You can read my full review of it here) and boy was it disappointing. Fuck, it was far, far more than disappointing. It was fucking atrocious. The acting was terrible, the dialogue was bullshit and the social commentary was way, way over the top. The worst part of the film was that, as much as I love the slow-moving zombies, they don’t work if there aren’t many of them and the characters aren’t holed up in one place. The true fact of the matter is that the slow movers aren’t that big of a threat in small numbers. They are rendered practically pointless.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached ‘Survival of the Dead’, Romero’s latest undead offering. Still, I watched it and the question is what do I have to say about it? Well, I shall answer you question in the form of a haiku:

It is better than
Diary of the Dead but
Still not a good film.

I think that’s a haiku. I’m not entirely sure and I don’t muchly care. If it’s not a haiku then it’s a new form which I’m calling fuku. Yeah, take that. Anyway, that pretty much sums it up. It is markedly better than Diary, though there’s no way that it couldn’t be. The acting is a huge improvement and the story is certainly more interesting. Unfortunately that’s about all the good things that I can really say about it.

Unfortunately this film suffers from one of the major problems that ‘Diary’ also suffered from. The character’s are on the move for the most of the time and there are simply not enough zombies. There is one scene, fairly early in the film, where the characters are all holed up near a dock but it doesn’t last very long and the numbers of zombies that gather could hardly be called a horde.

So what does all that mean? Well, it’s simple. As with ‘Diary‘, the zombies in this film are never really much of a threat and whilst it’s true that the zombies in these films are never the greatest threat, it’s the people you’re stuck with, they should at least provide some kind of genuine danger. This isn’t helped in this film by the fact that most of the zombies are chained up or kept in a stable. It basically neuters the zombie as a monster.

There was another major problem I’d like to get into before I get onto the spoilers. The special effects in this film are fucking atrocious. Sure, there’s some pretty sweet zombie kills but they are ruined by the piss-poor CGI. What the fuck happened to the practical effects that you could revel in and enjoy, knowing that someone had spent hours applying make-up and prosthetics so that they could make it look as realistic as possible? It’s a real fucking shame.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ENDING OF THIS FILM.

Ok, so the main plot of the film focuses on a feud between the heads of two families on an island. One patriarch believes that the zombies should be completely eradicated whilst the other believes that they should be kept ‘alive’ and essentially domesticated in case a cure for zombism is discovered. To this end he tries to train the zombies to eat things other than humans. And what happens at the end of the film after most of the main characters are dead? We see a group of zombies chowing down on a horse! What the fuck is that? You can’t throw something like that into the film that completely rewrites the very essence of what zombies are! I don’t care if it has to happen so that the over-arching point of the film is made and I don’t care that Romero basically set down what future generations would understand zombies as being! You can’t change the game like that this far in. If zombies suddenly switch from human meat to animal meat then all you’ve done is served to further neuter the threat of zombies! No fucking way.

As for the over-arching point of this film, I’m honestly not sure what it was. That maybe we should try and live as one with the zombie? That’s fucking insane. Romero has always been known for layering his ‘Dead’ films with social commentary but I have no idea what it was supposed to be in this film. I can’t help but feel that he heard all of the criticism about how over the top the social commentary was in ‘Diary’, and it was fucking over the top, and just decided that he was gonna try and keep it as light in this film as possible. Well, this was too fucking light. I know how I must sound after complaining about the weight of the social commentary as being too heavy in one film and too light in the next but come on! This is George A. Fucking Romero for fucks sake! This is what he’s supposed to be really fucking good at.

So yeah, all around I was pretty disappointed by this film. I hate to say it but it looks like George A. Romero’s talent as a director may have died with ‘Diary of the Dead’ then it came back to life and started shambling about aimlessly as it produced ‘Survival of the Dead’. Someone really needs to aim for it’s head and put it down for good. Just don’t ask me to do it. I used to love it too much. Two and a half pints out of five.



Review: Valentine by Jamie

A Special Valentine’s Day Review of the 2001 film, Valentine



Documental: King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters by Jamie

It’s Christmas time and what’s the true meaning of Christmas? Video games of course! Yes, the giving and receiving of video games. Alright, fine. It’s also got something to do with the birth of a baby a couple of thousand years ago or something. I don’t know, I’m an atheist. Still, video games play a lot into the Christmas experience, especially for anyone in my age bracket. Who doesn’t remember receiving a NES at Christmas? Well, I don’t because I have a shitty memory but I did own one and I’m sure it can’t have been a birthday present. No way, not for just one of us. It must have been a combined Christmas present between me and my brother Jason. Maybe Jordan as well but he was born in 1989. Might have been a bit young. On the other hand, I’m sure we all thought that the NES would be the only console there would ever be, something that would last for our entire lives, so maybe it was for all of us

So yes, for as long as I can, and apparently can’t, remember, video games have been a part of Christmas for me. And so it is with this tenuous link that I segue into today’s review, ‘King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters’. It’s a tale as old as time, a tale of rivalry, a tale of conspiracy, a tale of competition between two men. A tale of Donkey Kong.

And what a tale it is. This film is so brilliant in it’s simplicity. At it’s core its about nothing more complex than one guy trying to beat another’s score on Donkey Kong but it’s the intricate events and characters that surround it that makes it so much more. There are three major characters who are at the forefront of this story. There is Steve Wiebe (pronounced Wee-bee), the challenger, Billy Mitchell, the mulleted champion and Walter Day, the referee and an old friend of Billy Mitchell.

Steve is a man who’s life has been beset by failure. Every time he’s gotten close to even tasting the smallest bit of victory or success it’s been snatched away from him. Maybe that’s not fair. He does have a wife, two kids and a nice job as a high school science teacher but in terms of things that men care about such as sporting victory or musical accomplishment, despite being talented in these areas, Steve hasn’t gotten where he’d dreamed he’d be. The main problem seems to be that Steve has, as his brother puts it ‘a few social hang-ups’. In other words he seems to be quite shy and is also incredibly nice. The kind of nice that actually becomes a problem because you allow people to walk all over you. So what better achievement for someone with such social hang ups to aim for than a high score in a video game. Steve also has another thing going for him and that’s that he has a very, very analytical mind. He can detect patterns and find solutions to things that I, someone who has an incredibly poor mathematical mind, find truly astounding.

Billy Mitchell is essentially the polar opposite of Steve. He’s achieved success in his life, both with video games and with his hot sauce business ventures. He’s had the high-score on Donkey Kong ever since the 80s and is basically an idol to the small group of hardcore classic arcade gaming nerds who surround him. Scratch that, he’s more than an idol, to them he’s like a living God. He’s the embodiment of Neo from the Matrix movies if the Matrix had the graphical capabilities of an Atari. As such, Billy Mitchell has a very inflated sense of self-worth. He’s uber-patriotic, uber-egotistical and an uber-arse hole. He’s one of the greatest screen villains I’ve seen in recent years and what’s terrifying is he’s a real person… well, that and his hair. The scene where Billy and Steve are finally on screen together is one of the most tense and heart breaking scenes in any film, documentary or otherwise.

You can’t deny, however, that Billy has a talent for success. He clearly strives hard and works towards achieving his goals, sometimes using questionable means. There’s one scene which shows him in a supermarket, moving another brand of hot sauce out of the way and pushing more of his own into the spare space. What a man.

Walter Day is a bit more like Steve Wiebe. He’s also incredibly nice to the point of it perhaps being to his disadvantage. He seems to be a refugee from the love generation, an aging hippy who somehow found himself in the arcades during the 80s and never managed to find his way out. He’s the founder of Twin Galaxies, an organisation that collects and ranks high scores and acts as it’s official referee during live events. There seems to be the suggestion, however, that because of his nature, Twin Galaxies has been almost high-jacked by the gamers themselves, Billy Mitchell in particular. Most of the other people who make up TG also seem to have high scores and there are times when it seems as though they are doing everything they can to stop Steve Wiebe from removing their king from his throne. Of course it could just be that the only people qualified to check if people are cheating or not or if a score is valid are the people who have truly mastered those games. It’s the nature of the beast.

It’s these other people who surround the situation that add yet another layer to this film and it’s interesting to see the juxtaposition between the two worlds, the very ordinary world of Steve and his family and the very odd and sheltered world of Twin Galaxies and the people it’s made up of. Some of these people, such as Robert Mruczek who watches every taped high score attempt that comes in, have given their lives over to the past time. It’s really quite sad to see though I suppose they can be admired for their passion. Maybe.

So what’s left to say about the film without giving too much of the story away? Well, it has an awesome soundtrack. In particular their use of the ‘You’re The Best’ from the Karate Kid, ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King’, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ and one particular track that Steve Wiebe composed himself are all brilliant and just add to the feeling that this is just like watching a film about boxers, karate masters or any other physical contest between two men… I dunno, wrestling or something. It has the feel of a true sports underdog story.

So to wrap up, I love this film and I haven‘t really covered too much of the plot because I don‘t want to spoil it for anyone. I honestly think that it might be perfect and I can’t see anyone not enjoying it. Go and buy it right now and by several more copies for your friends and loved ones for Christmas. It’s only £3.98 at amazon.co.uk and $15.99 at amazon.com. You can afford that! Actually, Americans might wanna buy it from amazon.co.uk… It’s probably cheaper even with the postage and packaging. And don’t just download it. You need the DVD and the two brilliant commentaries that come included on it, especially the one with Chris Carle and John M. Gibson. It’s hilarious. Seriously, buy this film. You won’t regret it. Even if you don’t like video games, you’ll enjoy this film. I showed it to my mum and before she said “What? A movie about Donkey Kong? That sounds stupid! You’re stupid! I wish I’d never given birth to you!” Ok, she didn’t exactly say that but she thought it sounded stupid but afterwards she loved it. And so will you. That’s a promise. Look, here’s the link:

King Of Kong DVD

No more arguing, go buy it. I give this film five pints out of five. Laterz. Buy it.



Written Review: Diary Of The Dead by Jamie

I like zombie films. In fact, I love zombie films, in particular I love the classic ‘Dead’ trilogy that came from the awesome mind of the Deadfather, George A. Romero. Hell, I even like ‘Land of the Dead’. It’s a fun entry into the series. Sure, it’s not up to the greatness of those first three but it’s enjoyable none the less and it really only missed one trick and that is that it should have had Bob Hoskins in it. Then it would have been an awesome ‘Super Mario Bros’ reunion. Who wouldn’t have loved that?

So I was looking forward to finally getting around to watching ‘Diary of the Dead’ the latest but one entry into Romero’s zombie canon, if it is indeed canon with the rest of the films. I’m a little unsure of that actually. Let me check… Ok, according to Romero himself, as quoted on wikipedia, the film is basically a ‘rejigging of the myth’. It’s set in present times but takes place in the same time frame as the original ‘Night Of The Living Dead.’ So yeah, I guess it is canon.

Now ‘Diary of the Dead’ is filmed in the handheld style that really took off with ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and generally I don’t get the motion sickness that some people associate with this style of film making but goddamn was this film the exception. After about ten minutes I was feeling extremely woozy and there hadn’t even been any graphic zombie killings up until that point. I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what the hell was so different about this film to cause this kind of reaction in me. It didn’t seem to be any more jittery than any other handheld movie I’ve seen so I’m really quite confused by this. Anyway, I endured and managed to sit through the whole thing. Good for me.

Except not good for me because you know what? I really didn’t enjoy this film, sickness inducing nature of it aside. Maybe it’s because of recent zombie craze, that has been so relentless that even I have begun to grow a little tired of the walking dead, or maybe it’s the other craze of handheld horror films but nothing in this movie seems to stand out. At times it plays out like a goddamn student film, someone trying to do an homage to both Romero’s films and ‘The Blair Witch Project’. Honestly I expected better from the man who pretty much defined the entire zombie genre.

The main problem with this film is that it’s pretty much a road film. The characters are pretty much constantly moving and as such it’s pretty hard for a shambling horde to gather around them. ‘Zombieland’ had a similar problem but had the advantage of being hilarious as well. This is especially a problem for ‘Diary of the Dead’ because these are the traditional Romero zombies, the slow moving undead. Now, I’m a bit of a zombie purist and I will always, always prefer the walking zombies over their running cousins. But in certain films it makes sense for the zombies to run. In ’28 Days Later’ (And yes, I know some people will complain that they aren’t zombies but that’s bullshit. If people can claim that the abominations in ‘Twilight’ are vampires, then I can claim that the so-called Infected are zombies. Oh and I still have a small bit of hatred for this film because in my mind it‘s responsible for the current trend of the running zombie) it made sense because the characters are on the move for most of the film. Same with ‘Zombieland’. In this however, they only ever come across a handful of zombies at anyone time and the slow movers just aren’t a particularly big threat when your dealing with so few of them. I know it might seem cliché these days but give me a small group of survivors, surrounded by hordes of the living dead who slowly turn on each other. That’s what I always considered these films to be about, the fact that it’s not the zombies who are the biggest threat but the other people they have trapped you with. Still, even if they aren’t the biggest, the zombies sill have to be somewhat threatening and in this film, they just aren’t.

Now Romero’s ‘Dead’ films have always included some kind of social commentary. Be it about consumer culture in ‘Dawn’ or the military and science meddling in things it shouldn’t in ‘Day’, there has always been more than just the flesh eating corpses. In ‘Diary’ the messages come thick and fast to the point where it seems as though this is less a zombie film with social commentary but social commentary with a few zombies thrown in. I’m guessing that Romero is pretty pissed of with culture these days, be it the fact that the media doesn’t always tell the truth or that people film and upload everything to the internet these days, keeping themselves detached from reality by putting a camera between themselves and what’s really going on. There were points where it just seemed to get in the way of the movie. The good thing about the older films was that you could watch it on either level. You could take in the social commentary or you could just have fun watching people getting ripped apart by zombies. Basically what I’m saying is that this film isn’t particularly fun.

That being said there were some fun elements in this film. There were some pretty sweet, if poorly computer generated, zombie kills and I kind of enjoyed the English drama professor though that may have been because he was an alcoholic. No, he had a pretty sharp wit about him as well so, yeah, I enjoyed him. There were also a few little digs at the trend of the running zombie which I certainly enjoyed. The best part of this film though is Samuel, a deaf Amish guy who communicates by writing things on a chalk board and throws sticks of dynamite at zombies. That dude was awesome. He even scythed himself in the head a zombie bit him. Hmmm, scythed wasn’t flagged by my spell checker. Who knew it was an actual word? Something else good came out of this movie.

What surprised me most about this film is just how truly paranoid I am about the Zombie Apocalypse. Seems I’ve actually managed to convince myself that it is actually possible and even a bad zombie film can ignite that paranoia in me. For the rest of the night after watching the film, I was sure that every noise I heard that I couldn’t put down to me making was a zombie trying to get into the hotel. The fact that an air conditioner, which I was fairly sure didn’t work, seemed to turn itself on certainly didn’t help.

So there you go. I’d say that ‘Diary of the Dead’ is a fairly poor entry into Romero’s zombie opus. It has a few enjoyable moments and characters but in general there’s not enough zombies and the way Romero really tries to beat you over the head with the messages just distracts from any fun there may have been in this actual movie. Overall it gets two pints out of five, one for some fairly nice zombie kills and one for Samuel, may he find peace in Amish heaven. I just hope it has the internet so he can read this review. Laterz.



Requested Review: Mars Attacks! by Jamie

Review: Terminator Salvation by Jamie
Review: Terminator: Salvation
Disclaimer: Spoilers have been avoided, where possible but some might have slipped out here and there.
Terminator: Salvation is a very difficult film to review. I can adequately judge whether or not it lived up to my expectations because, in all honestly, I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were. I knew going in that this would be substantially different than any other Terminator film, dealing as it does with the post-Judgement Day war rather than time travel, and so all the film really needed to do was show a few major battles between humans and robots and I probably would have been sated. Did the film deliver on this? Not quite.
The film does deliver on special effects, for the most part, with massive explosions, giant robots and the classic skeletal Terminators. There’s even an appearance from a CGI Arnie, a scene which I couldn’t help but smile at. There are massive explosions, robo-bikes and air raids galore but it seems to feel as though there’s much more show than substance here.
A great example of this is pretty much the whole first half of the movie. There’s plenty of action sequences with giant robots and flying machines but the whole thing seems boring. In fact, my biggest complaint about the film as a whole is that it seemed to take a damn long time to get into. Seriously, how do you fuck up so badly that you make robots blowing shit up boring?
Another thing that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is the fact that neither John Connor or Kyle Reese are the main character in this film. That goes instead to a new character named Marcus Wright. Ok, so here comes a spoiler… kind of. To be honest if you haven’t worked this out fairly early on in the film for yourself then you’re a moron. Marcus is a cyborg. Human brain, human heart, robot/human hybrid nervous system and a Skynet chip attached to his brain. His storyline is basically the same one that we’ve seen in things like Battlestar Galactica and even, to some extent, Terminator 2, what does it mean to be human? Is it your birth/creation that defines you or is it your actions? It’s an interesting concept to be sure but it’s explored so much better in the previous two examples for one simple reason. Marcus Wright has a human brain ergo he’s a human. Simple as. Oh and is human heart, is a very strong, powerful heart. Trust me, that’ll be important later.
Marcus also brings about what is, in my opinion, the worst special effects in the film. Part of his face is blown away revealing the metallic skull beneath and it just looks shit. I can’t exactly place my finger on why but it looks so strange and unrealistic and far, far worse than similar effects in the first two films. I don’t understand why it was so difficult to pull it off. I guess it just goes to show yet again that sometimes physical effects are more effective in certain situations than computer-generated ones.
Christian Bale is pretty much Christian Bale in this, playing the part well though in some scenes he just seems to be going through the motions. Anton Yelchin is pretty good as Kyle Reese though he doesn’t really have that much to do past the halfway point of the film and, despite my general dislike for the character, Sam Worthington was pretty good as Marcus Wright. Perhaps the worst actor was Common who thankfully only had a small part. Seriously Hollywood, not all rappers need to become actors. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of them don’t. Seriously.
So to sum up, first half fairly boring, picks up in the second. Story is pretty much lacking as is character development but it’s probably still better than you’re average summer blockbuster mindless action flick and I can pretty much guarantee you it’ll be better than Transformers 2.  At least I could tell what was going on during the action scenes (except for the opening one. That one seemed almost Bay-esque.) Overall I think it’s worth a watch just for the second half and CGI Arnie. That was pretty fucking awesome. Now I’ll finish this review with some minor gripes that’ll make much more sense once you’ve seen the film.
Ok, why do the Robo-Bikes have a USB port and why are they constructed so that someone would be able to ride them? Why is it that, despite it being a dark, grimy future everyone has impeccable teeth? How come a bunch of people can stand in the middle of SkyNet’s command post without being swarmed by Terminators? And why is it that John Connor doesn’t realise that if Kyle Reese is killed before being sent back in time, Judgement Day won’t happen? Sure John, you won’t be born but then a Terminator won’t be sent back in time to stop Kyle and Cyberdine will never find the chip and design SkyNet in the first place. Damn, Terminator time travel logic fucks my mind. Laterz.
Disclaimer: Spoilers have been avoided, where possible but sometimes, they just can’t be.

Terminator: Salvation is a very difficult film to review. I can adequately judge whether or not it lived up to my expectations because, in all honestly, I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were. I knew going in that this would be substantially different than any other Terminator film, dealing as it does with the post-Judgement Day war rather than time travel, and so all the film really needed to do was show a few major battles between humans and robots and I probably would have been sated. Did the film deliver on this? Not quite.

The film does deliver on special effects, for the most part, with massive explosions, giant robots and the classic skeletal Terminators. There’s even an appearance from a CGI Arnie, a scene which I couldn’t help but smile at. There are massive explosions, robo-bikes and air raids galore but it seems to feel as though there’s much more show than substance here.

A great example of this is pretty much the whole first half of the movie. There’s plenty of action sequences with giant robots and flying machines but the whole thing seems boring. In fact, my biggest complaint about the film as a whole is that it seemed to take a damn long time to get into. Seriously, how do you fuck up so badly that you make robots blowing shit up boring?

Another thing that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is the fact that neither John Connor or Kyle Reese are the main character in this film. That goes instead to a new character named Marcus Wright. Ok, so here comes a spoiler… kind of. To be honest if you haven’t worked this out fairly early on in the film for yourself then you’re a moron.

Marcus is a cyborg. Human brain, human heart, robot/human hybrid nervous system and a Skynet chip attached to his brain. His storyline is basically the same one that we’ve seen in things like Battlestar Galactica and even, to some extent, Terminator 2, what does it mean to be human? Is it your birth/creation that defines you or is it your actions? It’s an interesting concept to be sure but it’s explored so much better in the previous two examples for one simple reason. Marcus Wright has a human brain ergo he’s a human. Simple as. Oh and is human heart, is a very strong, powerful heart. Trust me, that’ll be important later.

Marcus also brings about what is, in my opinion, the worst special effects in the film. Part of his face is blown away revealing the metallic skull beneath and it just looks shit. I can’t exactly place my finger on why but it looks so strange and unrealistic and far, far worse than similar effects in the first two films. I don’t understand why it was so difficult to pull it off. I guess it just goes to show yet again that sometimes physical effects are more effective in certain situations than computer-generated ones.

Christian Bale is pretty much Christian Bale in this, playing the part well though in some scenes he just seems to be going through the motions. Anton Yelchin is pretty good as Kyle Reese though he doesn’t really have that much to do past the halfway point of the film and, despite my general dislike for the character, Sam Worthington was pretty good as Marcus Wright. Perhaps the worst actor was Common who thankfully only had a small part. Seriously Hollywood, not all rappers need to become actors. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of them don’t. Seriously.

There are some good things to be said for this film though, paticularly in the second half. Things really begin to pick up and the T-800 series of Terminators is finally brought to life. I also really like the previous model, the T-600’s who seem to ahve rotting or melted flesh on their metal skull. They are also a little bulkier than their sleeker brothers and lumbering killer robots are always cool. There’s also some nice nods to previous films such as utterances of classic lines like “Come with me if you want to live,” and “I’ll be back”, the afforementioned CGI Arnie and a brief snippet of “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Very nice.

So to sum up, first half fairly boring, picks up in the second. Story is pretty much lacking as is character development but it’s probably still better than you’re average summer blockbuster mindless action flick and I can pretty much guarantee you it’ll be better than Transformers 2.  At least I could tell what was going on during the action scenes (except for the opening one. That one seemed almost Bay-esque.) Overall I think it’s worth a watch just for the second half and CGI Arnie. That was pretty fucking awesome. Oh, and it’s still better than Terminator 3.  Now I’ll finish this review with some minor gripes that’ll make much more sense once you’ve seen the film.

Ok, why do the Robo-Bikes have a USB port and why are they constructed so that someone would be able to ride them? Why is it that, despite it being a dark, grimy future everyone has impeccable teeth? How come a bunch of people can stand in the middle of SkyNet’s command post without being swarmed by Terminators? Where the fuck were the skeleton strewn streets that we’d seen in previous Terminator films? And why is it that John Connor doesn’t realise that if Kyle Reese is killed before being sent back in time, Judgement Day won’t happen? Sure John, you won’t be born but then a Terminator won’t be sent back in time to stop Kyle and Cyberdine will never find the chip and design SkyNet in the first place. Damn, Terminator time travel logic fucks my mind. Laterz.



Review: My Bloody Valentine 3-D by Chris
02/02/2009, 10:38 am
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Hello readers, and welcome to the review of “My Bloody Valentine 3-D”, a simple story of romance, death, and an awesome five minute, full frontal sex scene that results in some big breasted blonde’s demise. The film’s starting credits begin with newspapers moving all over the place in 3-D, explaining a horrific accident that happened ten years ago in the little town of Harmony, leaving five men dead and put survivor Harry Warden into a coma; in my opinion, the best use of 3-D animation in the entire movie. One year later, on Valentine’s Day of course, Harry Warden unexpectedly awoke from his coma and went on a random killing spree; brutally murdering twenty-two people with a pickaxe before being killed himself.

Now a decade later, Tom Hanniger, the inexperienced miner who was responsible for the death’s of the five men and Warden’s coma, returns to Harmony on, you’ve guessed it, Valentine’s Day, still haunted by the deaths he caused. Subtle much? Hanniger, played by Supernatural star Jensen Ackles, is now dealing with his unresolved feelings for his ex-girlfriend Sarah (Jaime King), who is now married to his best mate Axel (Kerr Smith), the town’s sheriff and a killer sporting a miner’s mask and a pickaxe who is on the loose. Is Harry Warden back from the dead? Or is this a copycat killer? Either way, it’s not that interesting. It’s the 3-D deaths that make this ‘slasher’ film what it is, and they are stupidly grizzly.

The film does have some quality death scenes such as when the killer grabs one man and shoves a pickaxe up through his chin, yanking his weapon back which results in blood spattering to your left and a chunk of the guy’s chin flying to your right. Another one was when the killer swings the pickaxe into the back of a teenager’s head, which shows his eye on the end of the weapon as the pickaxe goes through his eye socket and comes out at you. But the most interesting part of the story has to be the ‘3-D Full-Frontal’.

The scene starts in a seedy hotel where a couple are having sex quite aggressively. The man climaxes, and then goes to leave, as you do, and grabs his jacket, switching off a camcorder he was using. Classy. The blonde starts shouting “I’m not a whore”, but the man chucks her some cash and laughs “You are now”. The man goes to get in his truck, with the blonde tailing him outside, stark naked, with a gun. The man opens his truck door and the killer smashes the pickaxe down into his head, leaving the blonde to run back to the hotel screaming her head off. She gets in and hides under the bed, leaving the killer to remove the duvet covers to reveal her, still naked, under the wire bed frame. She somehow manages to get up, using the bed frame as a shield, and backs into a corner of the room, trapping herself. Hilarious. The killer starts to pierce the wire frame, trying to get the blonde in the head with the pickaxe. After several attempts, the killer then realises what they’re doing wrong and then goes for the stomach, which they hit first time, leaving the blonde pinned to the wall, and you feeling horny after seeing a pair of 3-D breasts bounce around at you for the last five minutes. Nice.

Now, in small doses, the film isn’t half bad; but as a whole, it’s pretty poor. The script is good in places, but not enough to keep you interested. The actor’s did an okay job, but there just isn’t enough continuity for you to care about them when they start dying. The 3-D plotline is all this film has going for it, and even then it wasn’t always appropriate. Still, at least Director Patrick Lussier pulled off a tasteful sex scene. In 3-D. Which was awesome.

Cinepub Rating: Shandy (2 out of 5)



Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still by Chris
01/02/2009, 10:11 am
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Could this be the end of the world? Quite possibly, if you actually consider seeing this film. Hello, Chris here, and today is the day the earth stood still. By this, I mean either my watch was broken, or this film really did manage to last two hours. Two hours of a sour plot and bad script courtesy of Director Scott Derrickson and Screenplay Director David Scarpa. Unfortunately, my colleague, Jamie, was not available to review the film with me. And by ‘not available’ I mean he would rather watch ‘Batman and Robin’ if he was in the mood for epic fail.

Now, the story is about the arrival of intriguing alien named Klaatu played by the always-confused Keanu Reeves, armed with a smart suit he pilfered from a psychologist who tries to analyse him, resulting in said psychologists hilarious demise, and the English vocabulary of a household fridge. Klaatu describes himself as a “friend to the Earth” – an apparently simple statement, but one which the cast of this CGI mess realises will destroy them all. By being on “our planet”, a statement Klaatu does not take too kindly to, he triggers a cataclysmic wave of destruction while governments and random scientists race to unravel the mystery of what his intentions are. Now, call me stupid, but I think it’s pretty damn clear that he’s going to kill us all and take what is apparently “unrightfully ours.”

In the midst of it all, the lovely Jennifer Connelly plays Helen; a single mother who inadvertently has a young pain in the ass stepson, Jacob, who acts like a little shit all the time, and wants to kill the intruding alien, as his now dead father, who was in the army, also wanted to kill everything.
Now, I don’t really want to write any spoilers for this shite, but to be fair, I was actually falling asleep in the cinema whilst watching this, so here’s the reason that Keanu has decided to come to our planet in the first place, just in case you find yourself in the same scenario.

Keanu’s statement of being a “friend to the earth” is just another way of saying “You’re all fucked”. Because of the intoxicating fumes and gasses we have been letting off which have been destroying our atmosphere, we are slowly ‘killing’ the earth. That’s right, you’ve guessed it; this film is a really all about global warming. What kind of a fucking twist is that. Mr. Reeves has come to the conclusion that because of the damage we have done to the planet, he and his big robot dildo are going to wipe out all living things on the face of the earth, and start afresh; hence the line “If the earth dies, you die. If you die, the earth will live.” What a tool.

Now, if you still want anything to do with this ‘film’ it will cost you around £4 at the maximum. Don’t bother seeing it in the cinema. Wait until it becomes available on DVD at your local Blockbuster store and snap up a copy, which should be no more than £3.50. Take a stroll then to a nearby convenience store and purchase a pack of matches or a lighter, whatever works for you. When you make it home, take a can of deodorant, and proceed to spray the DVD, encasing it in the flammable liquid. Strike a match, destroy the copy, and do your part for Cinepub. Hell, that’s something I think is worth losing my rental membership for.

Cinepub Rating: This film ‘wank! (1 out of 5)




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