Posts Tagged ‘george a. romero’

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD

2010/03/22

http://www.myspace.com/officialgeorgeromero

USA / CANADA 2009  Directed & Written by: George A. Romero  Produced by: Paula Devonshire   Cinematography: Adam Swica   Editing: Michael Doherty   Music: Robert Carli   Cast: Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Walsh, Richard Fitzpatrick, Julian Richings, Kathleen Munroe, Athena Karkanis, Devon Bostick

Death isn’t what it used to be, and zombie movies aren’t either. As mentioned earlier, in this day and age zombie movies only have about two ways to go: the extreme splatter fest or a genre-transcending concept (that does not necessarily have to be a comedy of some sort).

George A. Romero’s latest installment of his zombie open-end-ology is a disgrace of his earlier works and the genre he has influenced for decades. Starting with a smart tie-in with his previous film, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD follows the group of soldiers known from DIARY OF THE DEAD and their quest for an island that is said to be a safe zone, free from flesh eaters and inaccessible for any of them.

After no more than a few minutes we wish we skipped this entry and waited for the next. SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is almost a remake of DAY OF THE DEAD, with the island replacing the bunker and a couple of crazy families experimenting with the zombies trying to train them replacing the scientists. So now it’s the military vs. the islanders instead of the military vs. the scientists. Oh, and the soldiers are now the good guys and the civilians are the bad guys.

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD has such lousy dialogue, acting and timing that it is comical beyond belief without the intention of being funny. Most of the time it is a dreadful copy of the master’s earlier milestones. Now matter how you look at it you’ll wish for more remakes like THE CRAZIES 2010. Please someone take the zombies away from Romero until he recovers (unlikely, he’s obviously close to retirement).

It appears to me that Romero has most certainly lost it and DIARY was a last lucky fluke. I’d even rank many of the DAWN rip-offs from the early 80’s higher than SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. The film has no relevancy whatsoever: it has nothing new to say (nothing at all actually), it has no charm, no character and it is not really entertaining. This is not about budget or resources; this is about lack of ideas. And a director without great ideas and a vision is nothing but a dork with a camera.

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is another sad example of the decline of a once-great director. The dead may come back, but the good old days don’t.

J.


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ZOMBIELAND

2010/02/21

http://www.zombieland.com/

USA 2009  Directed by: Ruben Fleischer Script: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick  Produced by: Gavon Polone  Cinematography: Michael Bonvillain  Editing: Peter Amundson & Alan Baumgarten  Music: David Sardy  Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray

There’s hardly anything more entertaining than a good horror comedy, and ZOMBIELAND is about as good as it gets. Planet Earth is ruled by zombies and the last dudes alive are trying to make it to the holy land: a supposedly zombie-free zone, an amusement park on the west coast. Needless to say that this trip is not a vacation and that it takes more than just guts to make it to the destination alive.

ZOMBIELAND is the most original zombie movie in recent memory, simply because it was about time someone disrupted the “new wave” of the genre which hasn’t added much to what Romero et. al. have done decades ago. Not to forget that even Romero himself isn’t going anywhere new.

Not since Peter Jackson’s early films and especially BRAINDEAD (a.k.a. DEAD ALIVE; and yes, we’re still waiting for the complete & uncut release of this masterpiece, ideally on Blu-Ray) have we seen a funnier, wittier and smarter zombie film than ZOMBIELAND, which may be twisting every possible cliché into a comical situation, but at the same time pays homage to the genre instead making fun of it.

ZOMBIELAND, as we see it, is a much more serious and honest zombie movie than many crappy films claiming to be so totally tough and badass. The gore factor alone doesn’t make a sincere zombie movie, you also need to understand and love the genre. In other words: only when you truly master your subject you can transcend it and apply a perspective of your own that does more than just repeat what’s been there before.

It would be pointless to dwell into each and every funny scene or gory moment here; you’ll have to watch these for yourself for maximum impact. ZOMBIELAND is very much driven by situations, not by a storyline, so as mentioned the movie is playing out its comical moments and twists and turns along the way as it doesn’t have to care much about a complex story. What may not work with other films, the recipe is more than right for ZOMBIELAND. One remark though: the movie is definitely worth watching for the hilarious Bill Murray sequence alone.

ZOMBIELAND proves that dedication to the genre is the key. With just 4 ½ characters and a very basic storyline it manages to entertain us with loads of absolutely great ideas and make for one of the most rewarding movie experiences of 2009. It’s all about the details, just like Harrison’s character Tallahassee says at one point: sometimes you have to enjoy the small things in life.

J.