Monday, 31 March 2008

Cinema trip extravaganza!

It's been a fair cinema-going sesh of late for me, a bunch of the lads and I all finding time, at the same time, to dish out £6.20 for some movie-going-fun.

First up was Rambo, a mish in itself. The target cinema was closed due to having no water (sounds random I know, but it's a legal thing) so it was a complete 24-style barge-it to the next nearest Cineworld. Fortunately Ben was familiar with the city and guided me to the car park near the cinema. After a panicked run to the cinema itself, then tickets, then seemingly a never-ending succession of fucking escalators (being someone who's got a big problem with heights - I honestly think it's a balance problem, I find it difficult enough standing sometimes, ha!), there was just enough time to ditch some fluid and walk in - literally as the distributor logo was coming up.

Perfect timing indeed ... although having not adjusted to the dark, we pawed around like a bunch of idiots to find seats. However, the movie was fucking awesome - pure, hardcore, properly adult, old-school 80's style action'tainment.

...

Then of course it was Diary of the Dead, as previously blogged about, which was my first ever time cine-going full-on Billy-No-Mates. Despite the projection fuck up at one point, it was awesome. Long live Romero!

...

Next up - the next day in fact - off to see Vantage Point, in a proper gang as a few mates going extended ever-further until we had a right convoy on the go. An average film, good entertainment, Quaid was awesome, but the 4th and especially 5th rewind started to extract the piss and test patiences ... as one mate said, the sort of film you could have easily waited to rent on DVD. Still though, plenty of chuckles and lulz were had on the car-rides to-and-fro ... and in the end, isn't that half of the fun of a cine-trip anyway?

...

Most recently - Drillbit Taylor - not the best laugher with Apatow & Rogen's names slapped on it, but not that bad either. A solid amount of larfs were had, it all works out (obviously) and certainly good night-out fodder ... but not Superbad level comedy. You do feel that perhaps DT is somewhat neutered as a PG-13/12A flick, but it's still a good chuckle in numerous places.

And yes, many lulz were had on the ride to-and-fro, including some Drillbit Taylor-inspired high school/sixth form reminiscing ... at first about the awesome new episode of South Park (the one about "Cheesing") and videogames, but mainly about the lass' who retained our attention throughout that time ... ahhh memory lane.

...

And yes - part two - another trip is in the planning stage. Most likely In Bruges, which looks pretty darn funny.

Peace out chaps.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Leak ... and other stories...

What's all this "Leak" business? Why, it's my new short script I started writing yesterday after a couple of days of brainstorming ...

Aye, it's a short script I'm writing specifically for the London Film Academy. They put out an advert seeking 2.5 page-long scripts within certain parameters (I like parameters), so I brainstormed up a couple of pages of ideas, making it socially and politically relevant to the current climate in the UK (the issue at hand being one I feel passionately about).

Anyway, I've got a month to get it done, dusted and sent off to them...hopefully they like it. It seems they're doing a bunch of shorts this 'season' if you will, which they seem to do every (or most) years. So collectively cross your fingers for me ... but don't cross dicks, that's not a good idea ... ... *silence* ... ... that's a Clerks 2 reference ... ... *sigh* ... ... never mind.

Oh yeah, the word I was looking for in the previous blog post was "shortlisted", Ben's groovy little film about friction was-and-is shortlisted for the Planet SciCast competition.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

111th post spectacular!

Well it's been a good day. First off, an awesome episode of South Park. Then a very promising meet & greet (more on that in due course, as-and-when), and now:

http://www.planet-scicast.com/
view_clip.cfm?cit_id=2706&tab=directors#tabs

Or search for "friction" or "sticky books".

I helped my mate Ben film this little physics experiment for a competition, although I didn't have to do that much, I basically moved the camera a smidge and acted as his helper monkey, hehe. However - good news is, so I've been informed by the man himself, it's been selected or some such exciting word for 'the next stage' or whatever you might fancy calling it - in other words, good stuff.

There's some event being held for this competition in London. Ben will certainly be attending ... I might be, but who knows ... what with my freelance lifestyle it's tricky to make plans for a month in the future, as well as the extortionate price of train tickets. But I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed for Ben's cool video, it's one of those little things you can try at home easily, and it's something you'd have never thought of or heard about before - I know I'd never heard of such a thing before, and it was pretty cool.

So all-in-all, a good and productive day.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

So, what's in the news today?

Well, I duno really, couldn't think of a title.

Anyway, of late it's been about searching for freelance writing work, I've just sent off a bunch of letters, so hopefully something will come of that.

Also, the London Film Academy are after 2 minute long scripts, so I'm going to give that a go, come up with a little idea, write that sum'bitch out and send it off - you never know - if it got picked they'd make it (sounds as if they'd be making several), which would be pretty cool.

Otherwise, the hunt for further work continues...

Friday, 21 March 2008

The quiet zone...

Well it's a bit quiet of late. The muse has left me, after a bumper few months of script writing fervor. I'm in between filming projects at the moment...due to a combination of educational commitments and iffy weather, the filming of a little short called Signing Off has been put back till sometime in May, and it's just generally been quiet.

But then again, in this sort of career and lifestyle, there's bound to be such times.

So in the mean time I'm enjoying the chance to catch up on some flicks, get stuck into a bunch of reading (currently sauntering through I Am Legend, why-oh-why did they not make that movie rather than the half-n-half, good/gash one we ended up getting?) ... oh and I'm sending out letters, CVs and samples to various publications to see if I can pick up a bit of paid writing work as a film reviewer - multiple strings to the bow, so to speak.

One particular publication is at the centre of this new job seeking 'thing' at the moment, a long shot no doubt - but the interest has been put out there, and I'd certainly love to write for them.

Anyway, figured I'd pour some blog juice all over this moment and seal the deal in this sort of manner...who knows, maybe I'll win a million in a few days or something, hehe...ahhh if only...

Bring on the return of SModcast (next week hopefully)...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Woo, Total Film #140...

Why the "woo" of excitement? Well because I got a letter printed in there concerning Terminator 2. So that'll be a copy of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford on DVD thank you very much, which in itself is lucky, considering Region 2 actually gets a couple of special features (unlike Region 1 it seems) and that it is quite possibly my favourite film of 2007.

Freakin' sweetness all round.

Friday, 14 March 2008

68 reasons why Children of the Living Dead sucks arse...

Following hot on the heels of the bitch lists for Ghey08 (the Day of the Dead remake) and Yawn04 (the Dawn of the Dead remake), here comes the bitch list for Children of the Living Dead (supposedly the 'real' sequel to Night of the Living Dead ... to which the world sighed and rolled their eyes).

As any self-respecting dead fan should know, Children of the Living Dead is a shite-fest, but here's why I think it's a load of ropey old gash:

The Children of the Living Dead Bitch List:

1) I'm already underwhelmed, ha!
2) No muzzle flash for us, please.
3) Atrocious ADR, heck, the audio is just laughable in general. Still no muzzle flashes...I smell cheap.
4) Some of these zombies are actually dying without headshots, and from indiscriminate scattergunning.
5) Nobody seems to be talking on set, or on screen the majority of the time! At least Savini is awesome.
6) Finally! Muzzle flash! "Surprise" - indeed I am, that word literally came from nowhere.
7) Oh my crap those grave stones are stupid ... just stupid ... I mean really stupid.
8) Lead zombie ... lulz were had.
9) That zombie came from out of plain sight! And that magazine fell out of the gun. Why waste a shedload of ammo? How did you miss Abbot Hayes - the lead zombie? How can a marksman miss so much? Did this zombie just laugh? Damn it's strong...and now the best part of the movie has been killed off (Savini's "Hughes").
10) There's so much Night of the Living Dead poaching going on right now...
11) Seriously, I've seen cheapo Euro-zombi flicks knocked together more professionally than this.
12) 14 years later ... that's how long the first 15 minutes feels. Now we're ripping off Texas Chainsaw Massacre now?
13) Jesus, the audio is really bad...
14) Groups of teenagers all smoke, drink and bicker with each other copiously, and there's always one complete twat in said group. FACT...apparently.
15) So twat-face was one of the kids in that barn - presumably all herded together by Abbott Hayes...lame.
16) Heading off to a concert ... more TCM plagiarism.
17) An exceptionally lame car crash happens because they were staggered by that retarded Abbott Hayes zombie walk.
18) Since when are coffins left open at a funeral? Also, why specifically just one?
19) What?! This myriad of coffins are still above ground?! Common sense must have been left behind a dumpster somewhere.
20) Immaculate dead bodies - despite being smashed up in a van that rolled off a cliff.
21) Why are these coffins locked so tight, yet absolutely not underground?
22) Weird-ass jackal laugh.
23) Hayes bites the dead ... and then they resurrect? Common sense is getting a solid gang-raping here.
24) "Not again!" - then why didn't you bury the coffins straight away instead of leaving them unburied in a field?!
25) Hayes seems to think he's Michael Myers.
26) One person is supposed to bury five loaded coffins?!
27) Thick & fast cliches, thick & fast CSR - common sense rape.
28) How long are Hayes' fingers?!
29) But if he's creating his own zombie army, why bite someone and then bury them?!
30) Another year later?! So a third of the movie is all preface? Also, despite 15 years movement in time, everything still looks exactly the same - cars, fashion, everything is 2001 - lame.
31) Christ this movie is bad...in all aspects...ugh...
32) Hayes has has a drooling problem by the sounds of things ... middle of nowhere ... ideal for a car dealership, I'm sure.
33) I can't believe all these people got duped into being in this turd bonanza.
34) Jesus, this ADR is atrocious...if people talk on camera, it's out-of-synch, otherwise most people talk off-screen or are turned away from camera!
35) Set...crumbling...actors...eating it all...
36) How on earth can they profess this garbage to have anything to do with Night of the Living Dead?!
37) We hear rain ... but we don't see it. You know what else we hear? Jackal-laugh.
38) Why move your car a few feet from your parking space, stop it, and then go into the motel reception? Do we really need a scene (especially one that long) so the latest protagonist can find a diner?
39) So the Hayes army are leaving a dead dog as what, a warning? Lame.
40) This dialogue is melting my brain...it really is.
41) Abbott was raised as Alana, eh? Christ this film blows.
42) 'How would you like to go out on a cliched, uninspiring date with me?' *sigh*
43) Apparently the hard-of-hearing answer the phone by shouting "what?!"
44) Yeah, just leave the room filling up with gas, don't try to stop it or anything because clearly that would be stupid, right? Why call somebody to turn it off, when you can just turn it off yourself - like you finally did?
45) According to that list there needs to be a body in the coffin? According to common sense there should be one there, you nob'ed. More sucky dialogue gushes forth.
46) Sucky date ... to a cemetery ... the rape of common sense is unstoppable!
47) Massive shadows for night-time, eh? Suddenly day time again - is this concurrent to the sucky date? Did they just cut out the sucky date? What's going on?
48) This town has no idea how to bury coffins, two feet down? Geez.
49) Later, at the "OFF ICE", somebody off-camera illuminates another sucky zombie scene with a torch.
50) Next morning - no blood or left overs to be found ... the entire plot has suddenly become exceptionally imcomprehensible.
51) "Zombies?" - because that's what you'd honestly say in real life.
52) Lamest car action ever, ridiculously sped up.
53) More lame day-for-night, another scene lit only by a torch.
54) "Help me lock the doors" - let's NOT see them lock said doors.
55) Immediately the fuzz arrive ... zombies are scared of the light?
56) Why is there a diffused filter inside, but not outside, on the camera?
57) Dead phones eh? Cliche much? Dead battery - but the phone suddenly works.
58) Another torch-lit scene, accompanying more atrocious dialogue.
59) "Living zombies"? An attempt to link this pile of shite to Romero's intensely superior Night of the Living Dead.
60) Suddenly everybody was a kid in that barn 15 years ago ... christ this movie is a mess.
61) Despite two previous zombie outbreaks, the fat cop guy struggles to convince the gun toters it's happened again, then they're all entirely convinced...the incoherence knows no bounds.
62) Everybody runs out like an idiot into an incredibly lame battle.
63) Why does that guy commentate on everything he does?
64) Hilarious roaming flame illuminates Abbott Hayes, who just stands around moaning. This happens several times in this absolutely cack scene.
65) Hayes suddenly appears in the dark with that daft waitress, but doesn't attack her, then he's gone. I'm absolutely flabbergasted by the sheer volume of stupidity. This movie is a complete and total mess, it really...really...really is.
66) "Don't make contact with their teeth" ... lulz were had.
67) Abbott Hayes is STILL farting around in the dark.
68) Thank FUCK this garbage is over...except for the shite credits. I can't believe I forgot how awful this sad, pathetic excuse for a movie is...I mean really...it's astonishing.

The Mist:

A fairly solid King adaptation, but far from inspired to be honest. While the premise is intriguing, it doesn't quite pan out fully when committed to film. A two hours it feels overlong, even if only a mere 10 minutes of cuts would have quickened the pace nicely, and at times it can be absolutely infuriating.

What's infuriating? The Bible bashing brigade featured in the movie, so well acted that it became absolutely aggravating and ceased my enjoyment of the film. That element was overdone, and perhaps a bit too blunt, and contributed towards a saggy mid-rift for the film itself.

It was Darabont's intention to go with a more TV documentary feel - hence hiring the folk being the look of TV series The Shield to shoot this flick - but again, it doesn't pan out. It doesn't feel like a documentary, and at worst it looks like a cheap TV movie. The odd zoom twitch and rack focus here and there doesn't make for a good documentary aesthetic, in fact it just felt somewhat lazy. Either go whole-hog for the gritty doc feel, or go whole-hog and make it look like a traditional movie.

Acting wise, The Mist continues to tread unevenly, swinging from realistic to over-played (or indeed, under-played). The ending, while refreshingly downbeat (as if it was penned by a British sci-fi writer whose work was translated to TV during the 1970s) is again uneven. At times it feels contrived and played in an unconvincing manner at times (just watch his eyes - it pulled me out of it, I must admit).

So again, another uneven viewing of late. It's either too much or too little quite frequently, or at times frustrating - the speedy 'word of mouth' explanation of the foe is brow-raisingly iffy, for instance. Yet, on the flip-side, it can at times be a savvy (and quite downbeat) examination of mankind, mob mentality and how close we all are to running riot in times of strife. There have certainly been weaker King adaptations, but also stronger. So to continue the trend, The Mist sits uneasily on both good and bad fences, swaying from one side of the grass to the other. Not as gripping as you might have expected, but not as disappointing as might have been come the final moments.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Southland Tales:

Donnie Darko - a recent classic entry into the annals of cinema history. Southland Tales - the difficult second album. Unfortunately, this is not a tale of triumph over expectation-laden adversity, but a land where you just go south. Check out that pun-fueled title word-play, yo!

Anyway. It's a real shame to be honest. There are ideas within Southland Tales than would have provided a fresh and interesting film, but alas it's all rather scattergun. It's a meandering and unfocused mess, it really is. It swings violently back and forth between being shoved up its own arse (e.g. all the Bible quotes from a grimace-loving Timberlake) to moments of inspiration (e.g. the musical number, with Timberlake, set to a track by The Killers).

Central themes, such as that of the Patriot Act gone OTT and the eclectic exploration of the so-called Southland itself work quite well, but they drown under a torrential downpour of self-aware camera-mugging. Everybody in front of the camera seems all-too-aware they're starring in a cerebrally-challenging epic, and end up delivering their lines with that sense of smug, dry and elongated grandeur that either works (when done well) or sticks itself right up it's back passage (when overcooked) ... Southland Tales exhibits the latter.

Despite this, there are interesting turns from Johnson and Scott, which just about hold your attention long enough to survive the sedate pace. There's nothing wrong with a sedate pace - as long as you know what's going on, and you care about what's going on - but here you often find yourself struggling to either know what's going on or to bother caring if you really want to find out what's going on.

Donnie Darko was similarly confusing, but at the heart of it lay a back-in-the-day high school nostalgia trip, something anybody can grab on to. The trouble with Southland Tales is that seemingly nobody (except perhaps fellow Southlanders), can find anything real-worldly enough to hold on to in order to weather the stormy plot.

It feels like there are at least two movie's worth of plot swirling around in Southland Tales, but it all lacks enough coherence to make you care, or understand, or both. It seems that Kelly has unfortunately gotten a bit carried away and birthed a bloated child you struggle to care for. It's a fate that has certainly befallen many filmmakers before him, so this isn't a Kelly bash-fest, far from it. Southland Tales is admirable, but annoyingly messy. Hopefully his next feature will re-assert his well-deserved status in the industry.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Diary of the Dead...

What's it about?

A bunch of film students - people who actually know how to hold a camera steady for a change - are out and about in the woods shooting a mummy movie. Cue Romero having a bit of fast & free fun with dialogue regarding fast monsters sucking copiously. Soon enough though, over the radio, fecal matter starts getting flung at cooling devices, as a genuinely palpable sense of tension descends upon our protagonists.

After a literally wonky start, the director of the in-movie documentary The Death of Death goes into disaster coverage mode - something any filmmaker can relate to, the overpowering need to document chaos for future dissection. We begin to see the cracks in society take hold as the lack of concrete information causes our film students to panic while their blackly-comic arse-kicking professor tags along, hip-flask at the ready.

As the film progresses, society begins to fall apart. Some immediately fall victim to the undead, some come-a-cropper against human foes as the government attempts to cover the whole thing up.

Any good?

The central theme of a media-saturated society are present and central in Diary of the Dead. One man's ham-fisted is another man's up-front & honest. Fellow filmmakers amongst the audience should especially find depth in the subject matter, I know I did. The constant, swirling media circus is a beast of both good and evil. Some use their cameras and the internet for sick kicks (e.g. the rednecks), and some use it to provide the truth (our protagonists) as the government attempt to hide it from the people.

The gore - oh the gore - while the frequency is much lower than Land of the Dead, the "ho-ho-ho-YES!" factor (as I like to call it) is nothing but strong. Each major gore scene is a memorable one (and at times immensely entertaining for the genre fans).

It bounds along at a fair pace, you neither feel cheated nor over-fed with the running time, and once you get used to Romero's change of pace (it took me a good 15 or 20 minutes to get settled) it's all solid stuff.

Any bad?

It's low budget, we all knew that from the start, and while Romero and Co are clearly having a great laugh being fast, free and loose, the acting can at times show it's indie credentials. Some moments are better than others, would be a fair description. While some characters can appear wooden, or perhaps just wet behind the ears (in terms of acting experience), others keep you drawn into the movie at hand.

As a filmmaker myself, I did notice several moments where the 'first person perspective' mode was broken. Usually moments in editing, such as a scene being cut together from apparently one camera, but if it had been for real it would have been two cameras. It's hard to explain to the uninitiated, but as one of those 'on the inside' you do spy several such moments that break the FPS framework. However, the FPS aesthetic is an incredibly hard gimmick to pull off successfully - fortunately Romero handles it well enough to keep you wrapped up in proceedings.

There are certain elements that feel a tad forced (e.g. the narrator explaining the use of (non-diagetic) music to scare the viewer), and there are times when certain characters do stupid things ... or a scene might feel somewhat forced (the, admittedly quite entertaining, woodland chase sequence near the end being one example that doesn't quite sit comfortably within the film).

Overall?

A solid effort from Romero. It's nothing exceptionally new - Blair Witch stole the FPS thunder years ago, after all - but it is interesting to see GAR take something 'old' - his zombies - and inject them into something new to him - the FPS aesthetic.

Despite some rough edges (certain characters or scenes throughout), it provides the viewer with quality entertainment. Horror with a brain - something which is sorely lacking in today's world of:
A) Slaughter movies such as Hostel or SAW IV, which go for the gut but not for the brain.
B) Action-Horror movies such as the Dawn remake, which often mash the two opposing genres together clumsily with, again, no consideration for higher thought than "that exploded, cool".

A must-see for Romero fans, without a doubt. Land Haters are more likely to 'do a 180 opinion' than Land Lovers perhaps. A solid effort, and a fair 3.5/5 score (with a 0.5 either way if you want to be particularly fussy or fawning).

Saturday, 8 March 2008

110 reasons in 110 minutes why Dawn04 is crap: Part 2...

*Part 1 is below, or via here: http://deadshed.blogspot.com/2008/03/110-reason-in-110-minutes-why-yawn04-is.html *

56) Oh yeah, that Andy guy...let's chuck him in again to make 17 protagonists!
57) 47 minutes, Max Headroom has a bite on his hand...how long will he last?! Who cares, because Creek Reject takes an immediate shine - amidst the apocalypse - to nice-guy-guard.
58) "Anyone know her name?" ... nope, nor do we know the names of most of the new characters!
59) Fat zombie bint runs. Is this supposed to be scary? Never mind, downed in seconds...next!
60) "I think it's the bites" - gee, ya think?
61) Why is Mekhi brandishing a gun during a conversation? Gangsta...that's why.
62) Max Headroom is Frank. 3 names out of 8 so far. Cue next thing on list - emotional goodbye scene.
63) Jake Weber drops some common sense on their asses, but everyone else is too busy ticking things off on their dialogue list.
64) 51 minutes in. Emotional scene BEGIN!
65) "Do it Michael!" What? Slap the nurse for being an annoyingly smug bastard?
66) "Phew, almost 53 minutes in, thank fuck we cut away to something else. All that emotion was gonna turn us all into fags", chime the popcorn fuckers.
67) Oh, Mekhi is Andrei...oh okay. Maybe pregnant Russian Luda is good for something other than just being pregnant...
68) Nearly 54 minutes in, cut back to the emotion scene! At least Max Headroom is doing his part with a touch of class...meanwhile, super convenient security cameras let nice-guy-guard perv on his blatant future love interest.
69) 56 minutes in. Frank round-houses the bucket. In the film for less than 10 minutes, most of which he wasn't on screen. Are you done with emotions? Okay, tick that off the list! ... You can almost hear Zack Snyder asking his team "what do we do next?"
70) Even a jokey 'lounge version' of "Down With The Sickness" sucks. Damn this movie for inflicting this song upon YouTube so profusely!
71) 57 minutes in. 10 minutes after being introduced, nameless bimbo struts around in lingerie so we can all gawp at her. Deep stuff...really.
72) We haven't done anything with Glen yet...erm...lets laugh at him because he's trying on a woman's shoe!
73) Despite the apocalypse, and losing their entire families to a plague, the two young rap-scallions gaze at the stars...sorry, but Dawson's Creek ended ages ago.
74) Quick! We need tits! The blonde nameless bimbo returns by getting shafted by that sarcastic guy...who is now called Steve. 4 out of 8 so far.
75) Steve sets his fate out by hitting us in the face with it, sledge hammer style.
76) "Glen is gay. Gay people are funny. Let's laugh at the gay guy" says this stupid movie ...and we only need to characterise him for less than 30 seconds...tick, done.
77) More sarky-arse remarks from Steve. Piss off. At least Jake Weber is rocking the scene.
78) Quick! We need action! Let's toss in a birth as well!
79) More posturing from the utterly joyless Ving-a-ling cop. If they've said his name, I've long since forgotten. If he's currently nameless, I wouldn't be surprised. Half of the new batch of characters still remain nameless.
80) We haven't got enough characters, so let's thrown in a dog (who is soon named Chips)!
81) Legless zombie, purely for a movie-based scare, crawls across the ceiling to take out redneck guard Brad.
82) Okay, we've sated the popcorn fuckers with some action, let's go back to that sucky zombie birth scene, the only thing that justifies the inclusion of Luda, a character who barely says or does anything throughout.
83) "Have a smoke on the way" ... yep, you will nameless chain smoker, because you've been used for nothing else. Intensely over-stylised cigarette action.
84) Yet more over-stylisation. If it wasn't for all this slow motion and MTV visuals, the movie would be over by now.
85) Norma! That's the name of the chain smoker. Seconds later and she's carked it. 5 out of 8 so far.
86) CGI zombie baby, nuff said.
87) "Sitting here, waiting to die" ... "I don't wanna die here" ... the stupidest plan is hatched by the smartest character. Let's drop some more sarcasm from Steve, who's done nothing else. "Not a lot of people" on the islands - where there's people, there's zombies, duh. Oh yeah, Andy...
88) CJ points out how moronic their plan is...then goes along with it. All good plans are hatched within 60 seconds as we know.
89) The A-Team rocked...this sucks though. Creek Reject helps everybody out by spray painting...because zombies are scared of spray-painted teeth...how useful.
90) "Hopefully we'll get to the dock and there won't be too many of them" - have you looked outside your mall lately? The entire city is populated by zombies you daft bint!
91) Gee, Ana gets over the loss of her husband quick doesn't she?
92) Nicole! That's who Creek Reject is! 6 out of 8 so far, it's only taken about 40 minutes...and damn she's annoying about her dog obsession.
93) Could he have closed the hatch any slower? Could the idiots in the mall not made a distraction? Geez.
94) Nicole fucks up the stupid plan by chasing after a fucking dog ... and zombies don't even eat dogs! Preposterously large MORON!
95) She's so fucking thick, it deserves a second bitch-point. I mean REALLY. That is incredibly, epicly stupid.
96) Saving Private Ryan vision begins...come on, man...
97) "How do we know if he hits it?" Nicole's absolute worthlessness knows no bounds. She literally wakes up, to fuck up.
98) Tucker, who was pretty cool - yet completely underused - carks it. The sheer volume of characters was just to allow for lots of killing in the third act, wasn't it? *sigh*
99) Why are teenagers such clingy bastards? Even amidst an escape from a city full of zombies they still want to hold hands and talk about puppies.
100) The chainsaw idea is cool, but cutting off their heads would be far more useful.
101) Blonde bimbo gets sliced and diced...she literally had no name.
102) Gee, like we didn't see that coming from three planets away...laterz Steve, you gigantic wanker.
103) Everybody is suddenly a crack shot while running at full pelt.
104) Hasn't the transition back to daylight come too bloody quick? According to this movie, it's taken them several hours to go from the gun shop clusterfuck to the docks...riiight.
105) That's a fucking HUGE tank of propane, yet it produces an explosion smaller than the one from the far smaller tank minutes earlier.
106) Michael (the only one with intelligence, until he invented this stupid plan) has to be killed off. Again with this apparently relationship, no more than a couple of weeks since Ana's hubby got zombified.
107) Quick! Throw some random tits into the credits!
108) Why on earth is there a head in a cool box?
109) See where preposterous plans concocted in 60 seconds get you? Fucked, is where...and not the nice kind.
110) Down With The Sickness ... YouTube groans under the weight of it's overuse. Thank fuck that's finished!

All said and done, I truthfully didn't expect to get over 100 reasons. So even I, the Dawn Remake hater, am a little surprised! Way back when the flick first came out I hated the movie, then I sort of liked it a bit (and even bought the director's cut DVD in its first week of release), but then I came back to hating it again and it's been that way ever since. There have been many remakes, some of them of films that I hold dear to my heart - and while most are pointless/underwhelming/or downright abominable, some of them are actually good ... to me, though, Dawn of the Dead 2004 is shite.

This all said, there are things in the movie ... even about the movie ... that I like, but they're so obscured by so much of the stuff I dislike, hate, or full-on despise about it that they're hard to recall. As for Snyder's other films - I really enjoyed Watchmen and Man Of Steel ... but, ugh, Dawn04? No thanks.

110 reasons in 110 minutes why Dawn04 is crap: Part 1...

Recently I had the displeasure of being shown the hideous Day of the Dead 'remake', otherwise known as:

Day of the Remake
Day of the Flying Bulgarian Zombies
Careers of the Dead
Day08

It was a distinctly shitty movie, and I ended up compiling a list of reasons why it blew goats - in the end I had 127 reasons. It made my fellow zed heads chuckle, so I decided to do one for the Dawn remake.

One Bitch A Minute: Why the Dawn of the Dead Remake Blows

1) Transition into skull x-ray - I feel like I'm being force-fed creepiness.
2) Why are all doctors in movies obsessed with playing golf?
3) For some reason Sarah Polley's character complaining about helping the sick for one extra hour just pisses me off. If you can just walk out like you do after your shift is up, just do it, don't whinge about it in a really annoying way!
4) Lame ambulance-based scare. The conveniently placed radio crackle just smacks of laziness.
5) Ana is friends with a child, therefore she's a nice person...sigh.
6) It's "date night" ... they're in a relationship you know ... let's watch them have sex ... in the shower.
7) Why does the creepy mood music always kick in before the visuals become creepy?
8) Don't these people lock their doors at night? How on earth could a kid - zombie or not - get into a house unless it was unlocked?
9) They may be zombies, but they're still basically people...why do MTV zombies always sound like an animal, or a raptor?
10) Zombie kid jumps and runs ... zombie's can't fucking run!
11) Damn she's super aggressive too ... as if she was infected with something ... something like rage ... hmmm...
12) Husband zombie - weird-ass scream-ish wailing noise shenanigans.
13) She doesn't seem that confused or concerned about her husband's sudden dislike of her, does she?
14) Wow ... quietly putting your head to a door ... what's going to happen next ... oh damn I didn't see that coming, oh wait, I did - from several continents away.
15) It doesn't entirely make sense that gun-toting robe-guy would get creamed by that ambulance. That annoying, niggling sensation at the back of my neck grows a little larger.
16) How many times have I heard that stock scream? Loads, that's how many.
17) Another lame 'jump scare'.
18) That vehicle which crashes into the other one which makes a "cool explosion" literally appears from nowhere. Seriously. Go look for yourselves. Lazy.
19) CGI blood - on the Region 1 version at least - covers up naked boobies. How come Europe can handle it, but America apparently can't?
20) I thought crash barriers were supposed to stop vehicles? Especially ones travelling no more than 30mph.
21) Credits start - best part of the movie - and it had bugger all to do with Zack Snyder. Although the 'found footage' mixed with an insane amount of tape glitches angle was already a bit 'done before' when this was made.
22) Is it me or is Romero's credit shorter than the others?
23) Ving Rhames - having obviously encountered the zombies beforehand - can't tell the difference between a crazy-eyed, raptor-like-screaming, track star zombies from a human doing none of those things.
24) "Thought you were one of them". How many of these raptor-sounding, wild-eyed, blood-dripping runners carries a shotgun and walks cautiously?
25) One of the first words Mekhi uses is "motherfucker" ... so I guess we're in store for another Sam Jackson wannabe gangsta, huh?
26) "Back when there were eight of us" ... oh so it's a serious situation? And there I was thinking it was a cake walk.
27) We haven't had any action in a couple of minutes - quick - let's toss a couple of zombies in there, before the teenagers in the audience start thinking about breasts again!
28) Why heave a toilet through a window when you could use a crowbar just as well it seems? Toilets are funny, that's why...
29) You make a load of noise by lobbing a bog through some glass, then you decide to play it quiet?
30) Ving Rhames' cop has barely done anything and he's already annoying.
31) Fuck sake, why is the contrast so high in this movie?
32) It's been too quiet, the kids are thinking about boobies, quick - toss in another lame jump scare!
33) Oh yeah, because a wooden croquet mallet is better than a crowbar...
34) Told you it'd break immediately...blatantly setting up for the gore gag...but I know I'd never swap a metal crowbar for a wooden croquet mallet during a zombie outbreak.
35) Are all American malls this relentless stylish?
36) "If I put my foot up yo ass, would that be your problem?" - everybody who thinks sticking your dick in a tub of popcorn is a clever idea laugh.
37) Apparently nice security guards aren't allowed to have guns.
38) I already want to slap that redneck guard for just being a twat. At least Tom & Scott are cool in their cameos.
39) "Drink a tall glass of shut the fuck up" - CJ eventually chills out, but right now he's a complete dick. Thankfully Jake Weber's character has some lesser-spotted intelligence for such an MTV-savvy movie.
40) At least the gore is good, it's tough to fuck up gore...but why does this movie have to be so over-stylised?
41) "Hey look over there, there's someone on the roof" - gee, ya think?
42) Hours later, still in a mall full of stuff, and people are still swanning about in their infected-blood-soaked clothes.
43) Mekhi acts tough...sigh.
44) "I'm not following anyone" ... Ving Rhames' character is a complete wanker...still, at least he isn't barking like a dog (in this movie).
45) Ken Foree's touch of class makes you realise how uninspiring the protagonists are.
46) Bart (redneck guard) is still a twat.
47) Black guy bathroom face-off. Cardboard gangsta VS self-involved wanker.
48) Quick! Eight key protagonists isn't enough, chuck some more in! Quantity, Sir, does not mean quality.
49) Mandatory face-off amongst the group, seen it all before.
50) Ana, for some reason, still annoys the crap out of me.
51) Luda (pregnant Russian) literally seems to be there for no reason other than she's pregnant. She's an excuse for a later scene...that is lame.
52) Moany blonde bimbo (un-named). Old fart (Glen). Fat bint in a wheel barrow (un-named). Dawson's Creek reject (Nicole). Chain smoker (Norma). Scruffy trucker (Tucker). Sarcastic prick (Steve). Max Headroom (Frank). Eight more protagonists - a total of 16. The original managed for ages with 4 at the most. Again, quality please - not quantity.
53) Clearly, sarcastic guy is there to mug-off to the aforementioned popcorn fuckers.
54) Ving-a-ling's idiotic cop wants to look for himself...sigh. "Fuck ya'll" ... groan.
55) 3 sarky remarks in under a minute from sarcastic guy...deep, man...really.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Diary of the Dead! Woo!

I'll post my thoughts on the film later, but put simply I dig it. I think I liked Land of the Dead more, but Diary was still great fun - and definitely had the more entertaining gore gags ... and the jabs at running zombies throughout were supoib.

I figured I'd post about the experience first though. After months of waiting to see the film, and counting down the days to it's release - today, March 7th 2008 - I finally got to see it. I nipped over to my nearest Cineworld for the 2:40 showing and was somewhat surprised to see two other people in the cinema. A fourth came in just after me, and then the film started.

Half way through, the fourth person left - clearly it wasn't his cup-o-tea - but while that was somewhat entertaining in itself (3 people fled Land of the Dead when I saw that on the opening day, September 23rd 2005), it didn't detract from the fun of the film.

What did, for a short while anyway, was when something wiggy happened with the project and the image dropped a third of the way down the screen, so that the bottom third was cut off. So some certain text written on a chalk board couldn't really be seen properly.

I was thoroughly British about it all and figured a reel change would be coming shortly, but a few minutes later I yelled towards the projection booth to "SORT THE PICTURE OUT!" - but nothing was fixed.

Oddly enough, when I saw Land of the Dead the opening credit sequence was shown in the wrong aspect ratio, a 2.35:1 image stretched vertically to fill a 1.85:1 space *sigh*. But while that didn't disturb things at all, this dropped image was a bit of a nuisance.

A minute or so later, one of the other viewers asked me if the image was supposed to be like that - no, not it was not - he tapped on the projection window, but nothing. He went outside and fetched someone and finally, the picture was fixed. The projectionist obviously fucked off elsewhere during the reel, but remained there throughout the rest of the film - precisely - do your fucking job! *sigh*

It wasn't a major disaster at all, kind of a funny story. You could see all the important stuff, and Pan & Scan is a worse experience by far...and I've seen tons of those, so I can deal with it, ha.

Anyway, then I was able to relax fully into the film and rather enjoyed it. At the end, the bloke who'd fetched someone to fix the problem, said he wasn't too keen on the film, but I said I dug it - and I do. On the way out I even had a brief conversation with a young woman who was working there and told her what the film was like when she asked...I was quite surprised, and pleased, to see other Romero fans in the flesh in the form of complete strangers. I recommended the flick, weighing it up fairly. I hope she enjoys the movie when she gets to see it.

While the other two viewers tried to get their money back, I just left for the car. Despite the projectionist fucking up, I wanted my money to go to those behind the film, because it was rather spiffing...and here I am, back at home a couple of hours later blogging up some thoughts on the experience.

Roll on the DVD - I do hope it gets the proper treatment, Land unfortunately got a bit of a bum deal DVD wise. Double disc presentation please!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

100th blog post spectacular!

Yep...here we are, 100 posts into the DeadShed blog.

But what to post? Well, I decided to dose out a little rant about a certain British game show. I originally had this conversation with one of my chums, Ben, as we were driving back from Cardiff and Sean's "Talk, Talk, Talk ... Chat" thingymajig.

Which game show? Why, Deal Or No Deal of course.

Seriously, what the fuck is that show about?! It's literally televised guessing!

A bunch of chunky northerners (nothing against northerners, just saying that most times I channel-hop into the midst of an episode it's someone from up t'north) or a bunch of chunky Londoners (admittedly I rather dislike London as a city) sat on their arses with one of those stupid fucking tapered mugs full of tea or coffee, you know the kind, those daft tapered mugs which are ever-so-fucking-popular at the moment because they've been on some American sitcom. Big at the top, small at the bottom. They just annoy me, they look stupid and have massive handles, no doubt so the contestants can get their chubby fists around them.

So aye, they're sat on this stupid little chair on some wood-paneled island while Noel and his beard gurn away with glee as they prat around with that bloody old-arse phone to 'the banker', while peppering the running time with enough long, drawn-out pauses to fill an entire series worth of Big Brother eviction nights.

Why is this show so addictive to some people? Why, after a filming session in 2006, were there a cluster of people huddled around the TV in a pub when my colleague and I went in for a soft drink? It was like they were watching open heart surgery on a toddler, they were on that much of a knife-edge, all gawping at the screen. But why?

Like I said - it's televised guessing.

These chunky sorts fart around and point at some cardboard boxes. Some other plonker undoes a bit of sticky tape and opens it. Then they either whoop with glee or groan with disappointment. This goes on for half an hour so the player can piss off home at last with some cash. Why is this entertainment? We're not even learning anything from it - at least with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (while suffering the long pauses) you learn the answers to questions you didn't know how to answer prior. With DOND, you learn fuck all.

I remember watching a clip of it, and there was some chunky bloke on it - I couldn't tell if he was from "up north" or "from Lahdahn town", but wherever he was from, he thought he was King Shit strutting around - NOT sitting in his chair, but swanning about the wood clad floor. He was pointing at the boxes like it was some really tactical and smart decision, as if he was guiding troops into war in some sort of deviously clever pincer movement to out-wit 'ze Germanz' ... but he wasn't ... he was pointing at boxes in a guessing-type manner. Televised guessing. Calm down, mate ... you're just on a crap game show.

Anyway, rant over...personally I can't stand Deal Or No Deal...but then again, I think most game shows blow goats, so...go figure...or go guess and point at a sticky-tape-sealed cardboard box.

Happy 100th blog!

A quality spin-off...

I've been into Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles of late, and while I dropped a dose of "pfft" on it's ass when I first heard news about it, I've actually been pleasantly surprised.

For one thing it completely ignores Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which was a complete load of gash quite honestly and just smacked of cash-in rather than being of any real purpose. Chronicles on the other hand, despite it's tongue-flappingly-long title, actually explores the universe further. We get to see before and after Judgement Day, we explore the characters from the first two movies further - making good use of that rubbish-bin-toppling, Pepsi-and-Lolly-Pop-chugging intern at Cyberdyne (who is nameless in T2). At least that's who I interpret the character of Andy to be, at least.

We get to catch up with side-characters from the movies, but several years later and see where they are now. Aside from the franchise-fan 'in-jokes' as-it-were (although they're references technically, not jokes at all), it's just a quality show on its own. It can get a bit Dawson's Creek from time-to-time whenever John is turned into too much of a teenager, but this isn't too much of a distraction.

It's taken a while for it to get into full swing and really understand what it is, but Chronicles is firing on all cylinders (well, the odd bit of Terminator one-liner-ing aside). By all means, do something interesting with a property such as Terminator (and now we finally have that), but avoid crap, gurning, mocking cash-ins ... i.e. Terminator 3.

Bring on a second season for sure.

...

Oh and my Xbox360 seems to be working fine. It actually runs quieter than it used to, and the power button feels better to push...if that makes any sense...I've got a small fan on the way to sit behind it, just to keep the temperature more stable back there, which will hopefully stop any silly-buggery-ness. Roll on GTA4 and Alan Wake!

Inspired by fellow blogger Danny (The Underground Slacker), I've finally thought of a name for my console - Mason. For some reason I've been obsessed with this name of late and have used it in 3 of my recent scripts.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Bloody nora that was quick!

So Monday afternoon last week my Xbox360 was picked up. By Tuesday morning it was at the repair centre ... and by today - Wednesday morning of the following week - my Xbox360 has returned to me, and yes - my Xbox360 - not someone else's old reconditioned one. 9 days from pick up, to delivery back home.

Anyway, I'm just letting the box acclimatise to ambient room temperature first as it's cold outside (there's no kind of atmosphere...) and it has been in a delivery van for a few hours.

Anyway - part two, electric boogaloo - before I tease fate with my tempting words, I'll shut up. I've still got to test it out and see if it truly is fixed first...

For a smidge longer, the wait continues...

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Talk, talk, talk ... chat

Today was an interesting change of pace - today I was in front of a camera, instead of behind one.

Indeed, twas Sean's presenting practical thingymajig, or part of it...I'm not entirely sure, but it was at least part of it. So there was the man himself, his brother and my chum Ben, and myself.

Ben was a guy from the government trying to spin his way out of the surrounding apocalypse (which provided the context for this chat show piece - the title of this post being the name of the fake show) and I was playing a zombie film director hired by the government as an advisor, but one who was obsessed with the nitty-gritty - namely, that the enemy on the street are not zombies because they can run, lol.

Needless to say, I was into the mini-role with gusto. I blanked out the cameras aimed at us, and the monitor displaying the action completely, and just focussed on the moment at hand. Much like the dentist, it was all over quickly and painlessly - and I actually had fun too, any excuse to talk about zombies, as I explained to Sean and Ben...any excuse.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Complete Contempt...

Well almost...Contempt of Conscience is almost finished, it's just got some final editing to be done and then it'll be getting out there, stay tuned for more info as-and-when.

With another project on the horizon, I've also been looking into getting some more letters out there, applying to various freelance jobs and whatnot, so that's an on-going thing.

Otherwise, on March 4th I should be going on a road-trip with Ben "BenZee" Connell to Cardiff to help his brother Sean "Trapped" Connell with a project he's got going there, something involving him being a presenter (to show off his presenting skills or something), and we're there to help by being 'guests' on his 'show' which takes place during an apocalypse apparently. Should be fun.

Finally, I'm starting to wind up the thinking about Signing Off to get nearer to the 'doing of' it. Hopefully during the Easter break I'll be able to get together with Sean and hike into the nearby hills to shoot it ... either that or Brokeback Mountain 2: I Still Can't Quit You ... or maybe I'll just stick with Signing Off, ha!