Cinepub


Murder Week: Salvation Boulevard (2011) by Jamie

Quite by accident, I ended up watching a number of films that all seemed to revolve around the worst crime a human being can commit that doesn’t involve touching children in inappropriate ways. So I’ve decided that, hell, I might as well review ’em and make a theme week out of it. So yeah, murder. It’s something that humans are pretty good at. There are those out there that would say that humans are especially evil being the only species that kill their own kind. To that I’d say that Black Widow Spiders and Praying Mantises would have a number of arms to raise in objection to that. Hell, we’re not even the only species to go to war.

Still, there’s something which fascinates us about this darker side of human nature. The fascination with death is probably only second in the human psyche to our fascination with sex. It probably comes with being, as far as we know, the only species that is fully aware of our mortality. It’s why we created myths to ease the fear of death. The fact that we could comprehend that we were alive made it hard to accept that one day everything we were would come to an end, hence we came up with the idea of the afterlife. This idea was then taken by the ruling classes of several different societies and cultures in order to keep the peasants in line. Just work hard and do as you’re told in this life, and you’ll get rewarded in the next. Its Marx’s opiate of the masses, if you will. And so it is that we come to today’s film, Salivation Boulevard, a comedy-thriller-religious satire from 2011. Yeah, that’s right. All that build up was for the review of a little known comedy film. I’ll admit, the opening got away from me a bit there.

The most notable thing about this film is probably the cast. Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Marissa Tomei, Ed Harris, Jim Gaffigan, Ciarán Hinds. Hell, that’s a fairly impressive list of pretty solid people. So how was it that this thing slipped through the cracks and ended up with a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes?

Well, to be fair, it’s just not that great of a film. To be fair I don’t think it’s really 21% bad but it could have done so much more with the premise. The basic set-up is that Pierce Brosnan plays Pastor Dan Day, the head of a Mega Church in a small town in Western America. He’s beloved by the community, in particular former Deadhead turned Christian Carl Vandermeer (Kinnear) and his wife Gwen (Connelly). The Mega Church that every obedient follower of the Lord could want, including a daycare centre with colouring books featuring Pastor Dan’s smiling face. Yes, the people of the town pretty much worship Dan as much as they do a 2000 year old Jewish Carpenter Zombie and the film isn’t particularly subtle about it, at least at first.

After Dan engages in a spirited debate with atheist Dr Paul Blaylock (Harris), he and Carl head back to the professor’s office for a night cap. One thing leads to another and the Pastor accidentally shoots Blaylock in the head. Fearing that the shooting will put his plans for a new Christian community that he plans to build in jeopardy, he tries to pass off the shooting as an attempted suicide whilst also trying to silence Carl. “Hilarity” ensues and all manner of madcap mix-ups and misunderstandings occur.

The main problem with the film is that it never quite balances its genres. It feels like it could have been a decent enough comedy about a man wrongly accused of a crime or a decent religious satire but in trying to combine the two, the final product is a bit of an unsatisfying mess. It’s the religious satire aspect, in particular, that really seems to suffer. It just never seems to go beyond the fairly obvious. Also I was a little disappointed that Pastor Dan actually seems to believe in the product he’s selling. Yes, he’s using that belief to gain and profit for himself but it’s pretty clear that he’s a believer himself and he suffers a great deal of guilt over what he’s done. Not enough to come clean but still, it tortures his religious soul. Personally, I feel it would have been better from a satirical viewpoint to have Dan simply pay lip service to Christianity in order to get what he wants. Sure, that might have been obvious too but it could have been a little more biting.

Perhaps the oddest thing in the whole film is Pierce Brosnan’s accent. It starts of as one thing and ends up something like an Australian accent and I honestly have no idea why. Honestly, it’s just bizarre. Why not just have him using his normal, British accent if he’s not going to play an American anyway? It’s possible it’s inspired by Australian Ken Hamm, director of the Creation Museum and a man whose choice of facial hair leaves him looking far more like a product of an evolutionary process he insists didn’t happen.

This man certainly didn’t evolve from apes…

So yeah, I kinda had high hopes for this film. The subject matter put it firmly in my wheel house and I thought that maybe it might be a nice little treasure that I could appreciate even if the critics didn’t but sadly I was disappointed. There were a few moments where I did laugh out loud and Kinnear puts in a great, believable performance as poor put-upon Carl but as a whole the movie just leaves you wishing it had been so much more. Two pints out of five. Laterz.



Zombie Month: Creepshow and a Short Word About Leslie Nielsen by Jamie

When I was a young creature, freshly spawned from the Earth and learning to survive in the harsh, unforgiving bitch of a world I came to find myself living in, I came across a movie. That movie was ‘Airplane!’ and it was one of those films that would come to build the foundation of what I would find funny in later life. Being a young British spawnling at the time I’m sure there were certain references in the film that flew over my head and I probably hadn’t seen any films from the genre that the film was spoofing but it was hilarious all the same. In particular there was one grey haired gentleman name Dr. Rumack, a straight-faced, serious yet hilarious man who had me laughing with his insistences that people not call him Shirley. That doctor was played by Leslie Nielsen.

As I grew I came to see more of the man’s comedic work in particular ‘Police Squad’ which in turn lead to the film series ‘Naked Gun’. Nielsen played Detective Frank Drebin and continued to do what he had done so well, playing a serious man in a ridiculous world and treating the ridiculous as though it were commonplace such as arresting a chimpanzee dressed in a gangster suit for murder at the zoo or having a whole bunch of cops kill each other in order to figure out the trajectory of a bullet. Things got a bit more ridiculous and slapsticky in ‘Naked Gun’ but it was still based on the very simple premise that the ridiculous parody world that the characters inhabited was just completely normal to them. As I said, it was this kind of thing that Nielsen shined at. It also shouldn‘t be forgotten that the man had made comic timing look like an art, always knowing the funniest moment to react to or comment on what was going on around him.

His later works suffered a bit in quality and I’ll be honest I didn’t see many of them. I saw ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It’ when I was about twelve and being young, I probably found it quite funny though repeat viewings have quashed that opinion. I will say that he was probably one of the only things I found funny in ‘Scary Movie 3’. I didn’t see ‘Scary Movie 4’ and I’ve seen a little of ‘Superhero Movie’. It was enough, trust me.

Still, this isn’t about then, it’s about before then. Those classics that I grew up with and loved and the man who helped make them as funny as they were. Leslie Nielsen, a great funny, funny man. The world sucks a little more now that he’s dead.

In honour of Leslie Nielsen, I’ve shoe-horned Creepshow into the Zombie month. I know I said I wasn’t going to touch on Romero’s films but it isn’t a ‘…Of the Dead’ film and these are mitigating circumstances so fuck you. Besides, I can write about what I want and change my mind as I see fit. It’s a blogger’s prerogative… Look, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to swear at you. It’s just that I could feel you judging me with your eyes and… Let’s just move on shall we?

Creepshow is a 1982 horror anthology film directed by George A. Romero (The Deadfather) and written by Stephen King. If you don’t know what a horror anthology is then… Well, have you seen a Halloween episode of ‘The Simpsons’? Think that but live action and, depending on the film, less humour. Creepshow was based on the precept that the shorts in the film were stories in one of those old 50s horror comics book that a boy’s father had found and thrown away and it had quite a few notables amongst it’s cast. Besides Nielsen it also featured Ted Danson, Adrienne Barbeau, E.G. Marshall, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook, Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), a small cameo by Tom Savini and Stephen King himself playing a stereotypical hillbilly who begins sprouting weeds after getting ‘meteor shit’ on his hands.

Nielsen appears in a segment called ‘Something To Tide You Over’ which appropriately enough features Zombies, so let’s dig into it a little, shall we? Oh, spoiler alert by the way. The segment is short so not talking about the plot would leave me very little indeed.

Nielsen plays a wealthy man, Richard Vickers, who seems somewhat obsessed with televisions and videos. He discovers that his young trophy wife Becky (Gaylen Ross) is having an affair with Henry Wentworth (Ted Danson) whom he promptly kidnaps. He takes Wentworth to his private beach and forces him to bury himself up to his neck in sand. He then sets up a television and a camera so that Wentworth can watch as Becky, buried in another location further down the beach, dies as the tide slowly comes in. Vickers returns to his beach house, leaving Wentworth to his presumed fate.

Later that Vickers begins hearing strange noises and is shocked to find that Wentworth and Becky have risen from the dead! They come for him, telling they’ve made a hole for him down on the beach. He tries to shoot them but the bullets prove ineffective against the undead lovers. I gotta say, this was actually pretty creepy, even watching it again. There’s something about the Zombie make-up, all covered in sea-weed, the way they speak and the way they relentlessly but slowly come after Vickers, arms outstretched, that just really got to me. Anyway, the final scene is Vickers buried up to his neck in the sand, screaming that he can hold his breath for a long time as the tide slowly comes in.

So what can be said about ‘Something to Tide You Over?’ Well it’s certainly one of the more serious, scarier parts of ‘Creepshow’ with some of the other segments certainly having a more obvious sense of humour about them. This may come as something as a surprise as this was just two years after ‘Airplane!’ and around the time ‘Police Squad’ was being shown on television. Still there is humour there and it’s found in Nielsen’s dry, villainous wit as he kidnaps Danson and forces him to bury himself. It’s also a bit weird to see him playing the villain but you can tell he’s having a good time with it is imminently fun to watch.

As for the Zombies, they aren’t the traditional Romero fare. As this is based on those old horror comics, they are far more akin to the living dead that would be found in the pages of those. They are generally small in number, tend towards the skeletal (as in the first segment, Father’s Day) or, as in the case of this segment, have a very maritime flair. They are also brought back from the dead not by some mysterious virus or hell having run out of room. No, they are motivated by the mystical force of revenge, coming to seek vengeance on those who wronged them in life which is a kinda cool concept but not one that’d work on a mass Zombie Apocalypse level.

So there you go. That’s my review of one segment from Creepshow in honour of Leslie Nielsen. I heartily recommend it and the whole of Creepshow really. It’s got a few problems here and there, with some of the segments seeming a little more drawn out than perhaps they should have been but if you like horror, horror anthologies or the earlier works of George A. Romero, I highly recommend it. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

You can buy Creepshow at the Cinepub Amazon.co.uk Store.



Zombie Month: Creepshow and a Short Word About Leslie Nielsen by Jamie

When I was a young creature, freshly spawned from the Earth and learning to survive in the harsh, unforgiving bitch of a world I came to find myself living in, I came across a movie. That movie was ‘Airplane!’ and it was one of those films that would come to build the foundation of what I would find funny in later life. Being a young British spawnling at the time I’m sure there were certain references in the film that flew over my head and I probably hadn’t seen any films from the genre that the film was spoofing but it was hilarious all the same. In particular there was one grey haired gentleman name Dr. Rumack, a straight-faced, serious yet hilarious man who had me laughing with his insistences that people not call him Shirley. That doctor was played by Leslie Nielsen.

As I grew I came to see more of the man’s comedic work in particular ‘Police Squad’ which in turn lead to the film series ‘Naked Gun’. Nielsen played Detective Frank Drebin and continued to do what he had done so well, playing a serious man in a ridiculous world and treating the ridiculous as though it were commonplace such as arresting a chimpanzee dressed in a gangster suit for murder at the zoo or having a whole bunch of cops kill each other in order to figure out the trajectory of a bullet. Things got a bit more ridiculous and slapsticky in ‘Naked Gun’ but it was still based on the very simple premise that the ridiculous parody world that the characters inhabited was just completely normal to them. As I said, it was this kind of thing that Nielsen shined at. It also shouldn‘t be forgotten that the man had made comic timing look like an art, always knowing the funniest moment to react to or comment on what was going on around him.

His later works suffered a bit in quality and I’ll be honest I didn’t see many of them. I saw ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It’ when I was about twelve and being young, I probably found it quite funny though repeat viewings have quashed that opinion. I will say that he was probably one of the only things I found funny in ‘Scary Movie 3’. I didn’t see ‘Scary Movie 4’ and I’ve seen a little of ‘Superhero Movie’. It was enough, trust me.

Still, this isn’t about then, it’s about before then. Those classics that I grew up with and loved and the man who helped make them as funny as they were. Leslie Nielsen, a great funny, funny man. The world sucks a little more now that he’s dead.

In honour of Leslie Nielsen, I’ve shoe-horned Creepshow into the Zombie month. I know I said I wasn’t going to touch on Romero’s films but it isn’t a ‘…Of the Dead’ film and these are mitigating circumstances so fuck you. Besides, I can write about what I want and change my mind as I see fit. It’s a blogger’s prerogative… Look, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to swear at you. It’s just that I could feel you judging me with your eyes and… Let’s just move on shall we?

Creepshow is a 1982 horror anthology film directed by George A. Romero (The Deadfather) and written by Stephen King. If you don’t know what a horror anthology is then… Well, have you seen a Halloween episode of ‘The Simpsons’? Think that but live action and, depending on the film, less humour. Creepshow was based on the precept that the shorts in the film were stories in one of those old 50s horror comics book that a boy’s father had found and thrown away and it had quite a few notables amongst it’s cast. Besides Nielsen it also featured Ted Danson, Adrienne Barbeau, E.G. Marshall, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook, Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), a small cameo by Tom Savini and Stephen King himself playing a stereotypical hillbilly who begins sprouting weeds after getting ‘meteor shit’ on his hands.

Nielsen appears in a segment called ‘Something To Tide You Over’ which appropriately enough features Zombies, so let’s dig into it a little, shall we? Oh, spoiler alert by the way. The segment is short so not talking about the plot would leave me very little indeed.

Nielsen plays a wealthy man, Richard Vickers, who seems somewhat obsessed with televisions and videos. He discovers that his young trophy wife Becky (Gaylen Ross) is having an affair with Henry Wentworth (Ted Danson) whom he promptly kidnaps. He takes Wentworth to his private beach and forces him to bury himself up to his neck in sand. He then sets up a television and a camera so that Wentworth can watch as Becky, buried in another location further down the beach, dies as the tide slowly comes in. Vickers returns to his beach house, leaving Wentworth to his presumed fate.

Later that Vickers begins hearing strange noises and is shocked to find that Wentworth and Becky have risen from the dead! They come for him, telling they’ve made a hole for him down on the beach. He tries to shoot them but the bullets prove ineffective against the undead lovers. I gotta say, this was actually pretty creepy, even watching it again. There’s something about the Zombie make-up, all covered in sea-weed, the way they speak and the way they relentlessly but slowly come after Vickers, arms outstretched, that just really got to me. Anyway, the final scene is Vickers buried up to his neck in the sand, screaming that he can hold his breath for a long time as the tide slowly comes in.

So what can be said about ‘Something to Tide You Over?’ Well it’s certainly one of the more serious, scarier parts of ‘Creepshow’ with some of the other segments certainly having a more obvious sense of humour about them. This may come as something as a surprise as this was just two years after ‘Airplane!’ and around the time ‘Police Squad’ was being shown on television. Still there is humour there and it’s found in Nielsen’s dry, villainous wit as he kidnaps Danson and forces him to bury himself. It’s also a bit weird to see him playing the villain but you can tell he’s having a good time with it is imminently fun to watch.

As for the Zombies, they aren’t the traditional Romero fare. As this is based on those old horror comics, they are far more akin to the living dead that would be found in the pages of those. They are generally small in number, tend towards the skeletal (as in the first segment, Father’s Day) or, as in the case of this segment, have a very maritime flair. They are also brought back from the dead not by some mysterious virus or hell having run out of room. No, they are motivated by the mystical force of revenge, coming to seek vengeance on those who wronged them in life which is a kinda cool concept but not one that’d work on a mass Zombie Apocalypse level.

So there you go. That’s my review of one segment from Creepshow in honour of Leslie Nielsen. I heartily recommend it and the whole of Creepshow really. It’s got a few problems here and there, with some of the segments seeming a little more drawn out than perhaps they should have been but if you like horror, horror anthologies or the earlier works of George A. Romero, I highly recommend it. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

You can buy Creepshow at the Cinepub Amazon.co.uk Store.




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