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.

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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.



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.



Last Year In Film/Great Scenes From Shit Films Part 9: The Happening by Jamie

The Happening is a stupid, stupid movie. I don’t think anyone can deny that. In fact, it may just be the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen Snakes on a Plane and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. It plumbs the depths of dumb in ways that few films have ever done before and for that, M. Night Shyamalan deserves some credit. A few days before reviews for the film were posted online, M. Night said that The Happening was intended to be a B-Movie and I can’t help but call bullshit. If it was, why did he wait so long before revealing this fact? Why wasn’t it mentioned in any of the films advertising? Can you imagine if Grindhouse had been released under a different name without any attention being drawn to the fact that they were Grindhouse films? People would be annoyed and rightfully so… Though with the two films released under the Groundhouse title it is painfully clear what is going on even without any reference to it so maybe that’s a bad example. Sorry. Anyway, it’s pretty clear that Shyamalan intended for this film to be something more than a B-Movie and, when he got wind of the reaction to it, he decided to try and bluff everyone. Well, it didn’t work.

Once more, spoilers ahead. The Happening tells the stupid, stupid story of people all along the East Coast of the US mysteriously killing themselves for no apparent reason. It begins in New York in Central Park. People suddenly stop what ever they are doing, walk backwards and start killing themselves. What ever is causing this soon spreads throughout New York ending in a hilarious scene where builders begin leaping off of the building they are working on.

It’s in the next scene, in Philidelphia, that we meet Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore, the worst science teacher in the world. He believes in auras and mood rings and at one point, with regard to the disappearance of bees, he actually says:

“Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it’ll be just a theory. I mean, we will fail to acknowledge that there are forces at work beyond our understanding. To be a scientist, you must have a respectful awe for the laws of nature.”

Wow, that is truly, truly awful. I can agree with the last sentence but everything before it is terrible. Just a theory? There is no way that a scientist would consider the meaning of the word ‘theory’ to be a guess. That’s the colloquial definition of theory. In science a theory must be based on observed facts and make testable predictions. It must have no equally acceptable or more acceptable alternative theory and it must have survived attempts at falsification. And what’s this crap about acknowledging that there are forces beyond our understanding? A scientists job is to explore those forces and try to understand them. In short, Elliot Moore should not be teaching anyone science. Still, despite all this, Mark Wahlberg is the best thing in this film. More on that later.

Anyway, the school principal, played by Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, closes the school early and Elliot and his best friend, Julian (John Leguizamo), decide to get the fuck outta dodge and get a train to Julian’s mother’s house in Harrisburg. They are accompanied by Julian’s recurring plot device… I mean daughter, Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) and Elliot’s wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel, yes, she actually spells her name that way.) It’s hinted that Alma may have cheated on Elliot in some way and that she’s still lying to her husband about it. I hope that pays off well.

The train is stopped in the middle on nowhere because, as the train drivers say, “We lost contact… With everyone.” Wow, powerful stuff. Anyway everyone holds up in a tiny diner for a while, getting constant updates on the situation from the TV. This is also where the greatest scene in the entire film occurs. It is literally awesome. In fact, let’s make it a Great Scene From Shit Films entry as well. Ok, here it is:

(I’m sorry, I thought there was a better quality version of this scene on YouTube but I couldn’t find it.)

Fuck me. That dude got his arms all ripped off by lions. Thankyou movie, honestly, for letting me see that. At least you have a reason for existing. That’s more than most of the Razzie films I’ve watched for this segment. Let’s back to the story. Julian can’t get in touch with his wife on the phone and decides to go to Princeton to find her, leaving his daughter with Elliot and his missus. He get’s a ride in a jeep being driven by Dante from Clerks, though you never clearly see his face, his beard in the side view mirror is enough to give him away. Sadly, Julian never meets his wife because, after another hilarious scene which features a bunch of bodies hanging down the road in Princeton, air leaks into the Jeep and everyone becomes infected. Dante intentionally crashes the jeep, somehow managing to propel the person behind Julian over him and through the windshield. Julian survives only to get out of the jeep, pick up a piece of shattered glass and slice open his wrist.

Meanwhile Elliot and co. manage to hitch a ride with a hot dog obsessed botanist and his wife. The botanist doesn’t believe the official story behind what’s going on, that terrorists are behind the mysterious events. Instead he believes it’s plants, because all plants can communicate with each other and they’ve all evolved to want to take us all down a peg. This is, of course, blatantly stupid. Even if plant’s can communicate with members of their own species (and such communication is pretty much limited to releasing chemicals to warn others when they are being eaten so that the others can increase toxin production) they certainly can’t communicate with other species. It’s also impossible to assume that they all evolved this strange neurotoxin at once. Plant evolution works in exactly the same way as animal evolution. The smaller, quicker-breeding plants can mutate quicker whilst the large, slower-breeding plants mutate at a much slower rate, therefore there’s no way the trees and grass could all do this at the same time. Unless it was all part of some nefarious plot, the grass evolving this ability centuries ago and have since been waiting for trees to catch up. Now that they have, the time to strike has come! No… That’s too stupid, even for The Happening.

The group soon meets up with a few more survivors and they begin walking to a lightly populated town in hope of escaping the terrorist attack. They split into two groups, with Elliot, Alma and Jess’ group being in the front whilst the second, larger group follows behind. Suddenly, the first group hears gunshots and realises that the second group are killing themselves. Not only that but the botanist was right! It is the plants! Oh my god! This scene leads up to one of the moments that makes Mark Wahlberg the best thing about this film. He is hilarious.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wow. Just wow. Throughout the film Wahlberg acts like this and it actually makes the film watchable. If not for him, The Happening would be a boring piece of shit with an incredibly stupid plot. I salute you Mark Wahlberg and your heroic mastery of the craft of non-acting or whatever it is that you’re doing.

This scene then leads into one of the stupidest things ever put to film. Did I mention this film was stupid? Well, what happens next is a scene wherein Wahlberg’s group runs away from the wind. Yes, there’s certainly nothing more exciting in all the world than seeing a bunch of people run away from the wind. And that’s pretty much the point where the film completely falls apart. Each scene is more ridiculous that the last. There’s sights you’d never thought you’d see like Mark Wahlberg pointing to a big house in plain view of everyone and shouting “Hey, there’s a big house.” Mark Wahlberg talking to a plastic potted plant, asking it’s permission to use the bathroom. We also found out what it was that Alma was feeling so guilty about. She confesses to Elliot that she and a co-worker went out for GASP! dessert and she never told him about it! Really? That’s it movie? That’s your big infidelity storyline? Fuck you movie. Fuck you. There’s an awesome scene of a man getting himself run over by a ride on lawn mower and there’s a crazy old lady who lives alone and doesn’t like it when people eye her lemon drink.

It’s while staying at this old lady’s house that Mark Wahlberg’s performance reaches it’s pinnacle, where Wahlberg truly reaches for the stars:

There’s something about this scene that makes it seem as though Elliot was planning to kill the old women, even though I’m pretty sure that never crossed the character’s mind. Maybe he suffers from a similar condition to me. I find it really hard to sound sincere when I say thankyou, even when I genuinely mean it. Maybe Elliot really has a problem trying to sound as though he’s not going to kill someone, even when he has no intention of doing so.

Anyway, the film culminates with The Happening not happening any more just as Elliot, Alma and Jess have to go outside. I mean literally just before. It’s so fucking stupid it makes me damn, damn mad. Anyway, Jess is adopted by Elliot and Alma, Alma get’s knocked up and a man on the TV posits that this was just a warning. We then cut to Paris where The Happening begins to happen again. This time, however, it only lasts a few hours as the French immediately surrender and France is soon ruled by trees. Sorry to any French readers but, well, who can resist?

So there you have it. The Happening was easily the most entertaining film I’ve seen out of the Razzie nominations, largely due to the hilarious performance of Mark Wahlberg. Seriously, without him this would have been an awful, awful film but because of him it’s just a stupidly fun bad film that gets two pints out of five.



Audio Review: Watchmen by Jamie

Yes, just me reading out my review that I wrote for the Watchmen. Was just gonna leave this on YouTube but fuck it, might as well post it here as well.



Review: Watchmen by Jamie

Read a review once: Man goes to movie. Movie is Batman and Robin. Makes him depressed. Makes life seem harsh and cruel. Makes him feel alone in neon world where what lies ahead is bat-nipples and ice puns. Reviewer said “Treatment is simple. Great film Watchmen is in town tonight. Go and see it. That should pick you up.” Man looks confused. Says “But, reviewer… Who watches the Watchmen?” Bad joke. Everybody boo. Throw fruit on stage. Curtains.

I went into this film ready to hate it. I went there ready to be pissed off that there was no squid, pissed off that it wasn’t exactly like the graphic novel. So did I hate it? Was I pissed off? Well, the answer is no. In fact, I really, really enjoyed it. Is it as good as the graphic novel? Of course not. You’re talking about adapting something that could be around 6 hours long and making it palatable for an average movie going audience. I mean seriously, what film is better than the book that proceeded it? Jaws? Well, yeah, OK Jaws. But still most of the time the books are always better than the films, so why is it that the Watchmen film is getting such harsh treatment from film critics and embittered fan-boys alike? As far as adaptations go, this is one of the more faithful ones I’ve ever seen. Hell, Jaws was less faithful to it’s source material and did people complain about that? No, because Jaws can do no wrong! Hmmm, seem to keep getting sidetracked here.

My point is you have to learn to separate the artistic formats. One is a film, destined for mass production and produced by a mass of people. The other is a comic, also made for mass production but there’s a smaller number of people involved in it’s creation, in this case just four, writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, colourist John Higgins and editor Len Wein, though it could be argued that when it comes down to it this is really Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons baby. Anyway back to my point, a comic book can afford to be long. It can afford to explore certain things that a movie cannot because there’s no real restriction for how long it can last and, especially in the case of the Watchmen, there’s a much smaller creative team in charge of everything. A contained creative environment like this in which only a few people have to keep track of exactly what is going on can branch out into ways that a large production like a movie, with any changes having to be run by everyone, simply can’t afford to. Sacrifices have to be made. And in this case the sacrifices which didn’t seem to hurt the film at all. Sure, some people will say “Well then, if it couldn’t have been perfect the film shouldn’t have been made at all!” And you know what, person who says that, you’re a dick. The film has been made and you’re going to let your dogged loyalty to an item which is in no way effected by this movies existence blind you to the fact that it’s an entertaining film? Well, bully for you.

Now, is this film for everyone? Probably not. For the action seeker, there are some scenes of hyper-violent brawls but for the most part it’s a murder mystery that centres around the heroes thoughts and feelings rather than their ability to kick ass. I will say this though, I felt that the fighting scenes are among the weaker things in this film. The martial arts employed do look good and certainly wouldn’t be out of place in something like the Dark Knight but in a film about superheroes who are retired, for the most part, it just doesn’t seem right, especially from Night Owl II and The Comedian. It also seemed to me that it could give the impression that these people have super strength. It’d be understandable that they could be stronger than your average person but some of the stunts they pull here are perhaps just a bit too much.

So what about the characters? Are they well represented here? Well for the most part, I thought that the actors did a pretty good job. I’ve heard some complaints about Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II but I can’t really comment without seeing the film again. I guess that means her performance just kinda breezed by me which, I suppose, says something. Someone whose performance didn’t just breeze by me, however, was that of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian. He manages the difficult task of bringing a despicable character who you just can’t quite hate to the screen. When it comes to stealing the show, however, it’s Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach who really shines. He was my favourite character in the book and I’m glad that Haley really seemed to get him down. Even his voice was pretty much how I had heard Rorschach’s voice in my head when reading it. The fact that he was the only actor who’d read it before being cast probably really helped.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in terms of main characters was Dr. Manhattan, played by Billy Crudup. Not only do you have to create a glowing, blue god in image but you also have to give the impression that the character can see the past, present and future all at once and you have to convey the impression that he’s losing his touch with humanity. Overall, I don’t think I can fault Crudup’s performance. I think he managed to give Manhattan just the right amount of detachment without severing the link fully with his human past as was required. If I had to complain about anything with Dr. Manhattan, it’d be the effects used to bring him to life. There are times when the character touches another person, such as when shaking hands, that something about it just seems a little off, a little shaky. The same can be said when Manhattan is talking. There’s just something about the movement of his lips which just took me out of the movie a little. Then there is the issue of the good Doctor’s cock. Yes, I couldn’t go the whole review without mentioning it, so let’s just get it over with. The fact that Manhattan walks around so… freely, as it were, is just another way of showing his further detachment from human societal norms. However, I did feel that it was a little over used and sometimes just a little too lovingly animated. I didn’t really have a major problem with it but once more, it’s just something that can take you out of the movie a little.

Another thing which seems to have divided people about Watchmen is the choice of music. Now, I loved it, but then again I seemed to love every damn song that’s in that movie, even ‘99 Luftballons’, so I may be just a little biased. Still whatever you feel about the music in this film, you must admit that the opening with Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ and the funeral scene with Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sounds of Silence’ are awesome.

So that’s it for now. Hope to maybe do a group review of this in the pub at some point where we’ll go over a few more of the topics raised in criticism and praise of this film in a little more detail with a lot more booze. Until then, I’ll leave you with this: This movie could have been made by Fox. Have you seen the pictures of Deadpool from that Wolverine movie? Have you? What the fuck Fox?!? What the fuck have you done to my precious Merc With a Mouth?!? I curse and renounce you Fox and everything you stand for! Fuck you Fox! Fuck You! Ahem. Sorry about that. Laterz.




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