Sunday, March 04, 2007

2007: The Year of Watching DVDs, Part VIII: Zombies

The eighth weekly installment of this ever-popular SUPERBLOG!! feature. You know you can click the label to view the entire epic, right?

This week's watching:

Ran (1985)
I like this a lot more than anything else by Kurosawa I've seen, and I would have absolutely loved it if it were half as long. (To be honest, part of why it speaks to me more than other Kurosawas may be that the plot is familiar - King Lear - and that it's in color, making it much easier to keep track of all the characters. But don't tell anyone.)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) (repeat)
The Terminator movies are not very logical or smart but somehow I manage to enjoy them anyway. I actually like this one better than Judgment Day because I hated Edward Furlong and that "hasta la vista" crap. And Sarah Connor doesn't know how many bones the human body has. She's stupid. Arnold, on the other hand, is funny, and Kristanna Loken has more acting talent in one breast than most women have in their entire chest. Wait, that would have been funnier if Loken had really huge boobs, but she doesn't. She's good-looking and evil, though, and that's two qualities I admire in a woman. So that's why I give Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines three proud Michael Keatons, each one worth its weight in diamonds. Synchronicity: One character is called Dr Silberman. Serge Silberman financed and produced Ran. Mindbending!

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Seventies zombies! In a shopping mall!

Day of the Dead (1985)
Eighties zombies! In an underground bunker!

Brilliant! Or, wait, I mean dull. As dishwater. Extra dull dishwater. I'm sure there's plenty of interest here, but I hate Fellini. Not so much that I'd like to dig up his rotting corpse and desecrate it, but enough that I'd try to shoot him in the brain if he rose from his grave with a taste for human flesh. He's self-indulgent and fat. And. There are a lot of Italians in this movie. And they just talk and talk and talk. In Italian! Did you know these people fought on Hitler's side in WW2? It's true! I like the harem scene, though. Girls!

Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Nineties zombies! Or rather, Sixties Zombies Redux! In a house! Not bad but completely pointless. The only major differences are that the lead girl is Rambo instead of catatonic, and a new (though predictable) ending. Here's what's really scary: this "modern" remake is now 17 years old. Seventeen years ago, people who are sixteen today hadn't even been born yet!

Hard Candy (2005)
I thought this was an adaptation of the Andrew Vacchs novel of the same name (I believe Vacchs is some kind of anti-pedophilia crusader). But it turns out "hard candy" is established internet slang for underaged girl. Since I'm neither an underaged girl, nor a pedophile, I didn't know that. Anyway, this is a psychological horror movie about a 14-year olf girl and a 32-year-old photographer, one or more of which may be a monster. It's tense, disturbing and quite fascinating, in spite of occasional lapses into preachiness and implausibility.

La Battaglia di Algeri
As ever, Willis means I respect the movie but don't give much of a shit about it.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Aughties zombies! And it's not Seventies Zombies Redux, since it has very little to do with the original Dawn other than the shopping mall setting. Not exactly bad, but, like, Dullsville, man. And it misses the point on several levels. For instance: 1) The removal of any criticism of consumer culture (and nothing to replace it with) renders the setting meaningless. 2) Zombies don't get more frightening just because you have them move faster. Quite the opposite, in fact. Best part: the action-filled drive scene just before the main titles.

Land of the Dead (2005) (repeat)
A worthy fourth installment of the Romero zombie saga. Better actors than in probably all the other movies, some satire, decent plot.

Amores Perros (2000)
Mexican thing about dog fights and a car crash, and some other things. Three interconnected tales, which get progressively less interesting. Certainly worth watching, though.

A Christmas Story (1983)
I've got nothing against children's movies as long as they contain plenty of suffering and misery. This movie, though imaginative and playful, is close to Saccharine City. I don't <>dislike it but I don't like it either. But it's nice to see a screaming kid with his tongue stuck to a pole. Sadism! Feel-good movies make me feel bad.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Wow, the first movie this week that's about WW2. It's long, but I found the segment with the authentic concentration camp movies extremely powerful and horrifying. Preachy epilogue, but otherwise it's nicely balanced, and quite excellent.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Darkish rom com starring Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane, who's like Naomi Watts for the forties.

Stalag 17 (1953)
Wow, only the second movie this week that's about WW2. Takes place in a German POW camp. One good thing about watching a lot of movies you're unfamiliar with is that you discover new favorites. I think Billy Wilder is slowly turning into one of my fave directors.

The Wild Bunch (1969)
Some nice scenes (mostly shoot-outs), but dull and overlong at two and a half hours (Euro cut), peopled with characters I don't care about. Of course, I don't care much for westerns in general, nor for Mexican revolutions. Maybe I'd have liked it better if I hadn't seen it as a lo-res avi? Probably would have been worth 3 Keatons if it were an hour shorter. Synchronicity: William Holden stars, 16 years older than when he starred in Stalag 17.

CSI: Grave Danger (2005) (repeat)
Quentin "Taranfitto" Tarantino directs. CSI is a decent TV series and this is a decent two-parter. Nothing more to say.

The Third Man (1949)
One of Welles's three great performances, along with Mr Arkadin and Frozen Peas.

But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)
Synchronicity: I heard April March's Chick Habit on just the day before, and then suddenly it's intro music to this comedy about a girl who's sent to a rehab camp for young homosexuals. Synchronicity: Cathy Moriarty is in it, and she was in Raging Bull last week (wait, that was reaching). The ending is a foregone conclusion but it gets far on charm alone. And it's always nice to watch girls kiss. Favorite line: "Foreplay is for sissies! Real men go in, unload, and pull out!"

Duck Soup (1933)
Marx Brothers clownishness. The mirror scene is brilliant.

Finding Neverland (2004)
Maybe it's all the chicken beer I'd consumed, but I really found this quite moving. It's about JM Barrie, but Rasmus Ramstad apparently thinks he's called "Barringer", judging by the back cover. Why the fuck do I keep spending money on shoddily produced DVDs when everything is on the Internet for free?

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Real-life tale of a couple of comically inept bank robbers. There's a lot more to say, but I'm bored now.

Twofifty update: 197


spidercrazy said...

I'm still waiting to see a review of the first season of Prison Break. Also, you should see Noah's Ark. Jon Voight stars as Noah. It's absolutely horrible.

Koala Mentala said...

Those are not on the 250 list and to my knowledge they don't feature either zombies or lesbians. So why should I see them?

spidercrazy said...

Because it would be a pleasure for you to slaughter them.

Matthew said...

Day of the Dead is my favorite of the series.

Koala Mentala said...

Oh come ON Matthieu! Day has irritating characters, a weak plot, and lousy actors. Night and Dawn are semi-classics, Day sucks zombie dick.

In penance of thine poor judgment thou shalt be eaten by zombies.

Koala Mentala said...

Spiderboy: Maybe you'll get your wish in the forthcoming 2007: The Year of Watching DVDs, Part X. Watch the skies!

Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a Super cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Ran Movie Review