Sub-Genre: English Films
Last night I stopped by the dollar theater with Pablo to watch 28 Weeks Later for the second time. It'll be out on DVD soon, but I wanted to see it a second time in the theater. This will be more general musings than a proper review, and will contain spoilers, but I assume most of us have seen it, once.
What leaped out at me this time was the opening segment with Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, Ravenous) and Catherine McCormack (Shadow of the Vampire, Braveheart). This is the only scene that you can see the love between the two of them, but the first time I watched it I was so anxious for the action to start this scene blew past me. The passionate kiss they share here gets nicely juxtaposed with the later kiss that infects Carlyle. Of course the scene right after this is probably the most memorable from the movie, where the people in hiding get massacred and Carlyle abandons his wife to be eaten. It's one of those scenes that makes you wonder what you would do, save the woman you love or preserve your own ass so the kids will have at least one parent. The choice his character makes is a cowardly one, but you don't hate his character because of it.
Actually I think Weeks is a stronger film than it's predecessor in many ways. For one, there is a ton of social commentary in Weeks that you don't have in Days. It doesn't take a genius to see the American repatriation of London is a scathing look at our occupation of Iraq. The people on the ground have the best of intentions, but in a situation where they don't have all the facts they are forced to make hard choices that result in the deaths of innocent people. Also, Weeks has better shots of an empty London. In Days those opening sequences of an empty city set such a great tone for the film, and in the sequel we get a lot more of those shots, and on a bigger scale, really hammering home how large London is, and how desolate. I especially liked the overgrown football stadium. The infected action in Weeks is also a lot more vivid and frequent.
Enrique Chediak does a great job matching the cinematographic tone set by Anthony Dod Mantle in the first film. If you'd like to see more of Mr. Chediak's camera work I recommend you go see The Flock on Oct. 1st.
But Weeks suffers from a massive pitfall that will keep it from being on the same level as Days, and that is the film's premature ejaculation. I am of of course speaking of how what should have been the climax of the film happens a good hour before the credits roll. The U.S. Air Force fire bombing London is the strongest action sequence and most beautiful footage out of the film, and nothing that happens after that scene comes close to topping that level. Yes there are great scenes after that, like the scene where Jeremy Renner (Dahmer, North Country) gets turned into a S'more, but the fire bombing is really the climatic moment. After that, the tension is lessened, and by the time Rose Byrne (Sunshine, Marie Antoinette) is getting bludgeoned in the underground, you almost don't care anymore.
Apart from that, 28 Weeks Later is a strong sequel that keeps the tone of the first film while not becoming its clone.
5 our of 5.
© D. L. Noah, 2007
The final chapter of the Xombie saga is up now and it's... kinda disappointing. It certainly wasn't the big ending I was expecting. It's more of a plug for his new comic book. But it looks great. I've been watching this series for two and a half years and his animation has improved drastically in that time. Now James Farr needs to make the series available for download so I can watch it on my TV. Farr also implies that there will be an animated series two at some point.
The Weinsteins continue to pick up properties at TIFF. Now they've bought the DVD rights to Mother of Tears, Dario Argento's new film. Check out Horror-movies.ca's article.
In Weinstein related news, Romero said in an interview with Bloody-Disgusting.com that if Diary makes some money, the Weinstein's will produce a 6th Romero zombie film.
Zombies Zombies Zombies posted that they will have their world premiere in Orlando on Oct. 11th. Check it out if you're in the area. Don't confuse this movie with Zombie Strippers.
Out on DVD this week is a reissue of Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (which I have never been a big fan of) and a new film called Dorm of the Dead.
There's a trailer up for a 28 Days Later looking film called Evilution. It features my favorite patchuko, Noel Gugliemi, and looks pretty sweet.
Finally, as we all know, Resident Evil 3 comes out this weekend, and after I see it I'll post a mini-review. Although seeing it Fri is very tempting, I'm working with young Madeline Carroll who stars as "The White Queen" in RE3, and our crew is going to go see it with her sunday, so who knows, but it looks like it will be a new direction for the series.
Way to go George! The Weinsteins picked up Romero's new film, which premiered over the weekend at the TIFF, for between 2 to 2.5 mil. This means two things. One, we will probably see a nationwide release for Diary, and two, George will probably launch right into another film. I couldn't be more excited for this news! It's all over the net so I'm not linking to a specific story.
Also, the collector's edition of Return of the Living Dead was released on DVD yesterday. Frankly, I like the cover art of my old copy with the movie poster on it, and the new features aren't cool enough to make me want it. If it came out on HD on the other hand...
Sub-Genre: Comic Books
Fox Atomic has some great ideas: 1-Make a sequel to 28 Days Later, 2-Make a comic book to cross promote said sequel, 3-get Steve Niles to write it.
And thus we get 28 Days Later: Aftermath, a graphic novel in four parts that begins before the first film and takes us all the way into the second. For those who aren't familiar with Mr. Niles' work, he wrote the comic book and part of the screenplay for the up coming vampire film 30 Days of Night, as well as The Lurkers and the Rob Zombie co-created Bigfoot. He's also written the comic adaptation of the original Dawn of the Dead (the one you get in the box set) and a variation on Frankenstein called Wake the Dead. His most zombie-centric work (that I've read) is a great and very original book called Remains. He's the hot-shit writer in horror comics right now, and he deserves it.
Niles starts Aftermath with the doctors beginning to research human anger who end up developing the rage virus. We also meet a London family who tries to flee at the beginning of the outbreak, and survivalist ruling over an empty London. Instead of only looking at the characters for one section though, he manages to weave all of their stories together giving the book a much stronger cohesiveness that you get in a book like Zombieworld: The Dregs of Winter.
In Aftermath Niles pinpoints moments from the original film and explores them more. Moments we all really wanted to see like the havoc the monkeys create when they leave the lab, the people who are stepping over each other as they try to evacuate, then the chaos as the virus travels through the crowd. We also get the beginning stages of the U.S. take over. Niles not only successfully makes you feel like you are back in the movie's world, he also does a good job of making you feel like you're in an authentic London.
The style of both films is very shaky and fast paced and you never get a long detailed look at the infected as they whip across the screen, so it's nice to see them frozen on the page for you to gander at as long as you please. Plus I always wondered what the infected did to people. Did they eat them or just tear them up? Niles suggests that there is some cannibalism going on.
The art is by alternating artists which helps each story feel individual, and all the art is fantastic.
So, if you're a comic fan or a 28 Days Later fanatic, you need this book. However, if you're neither, than let it slide on by.
5 out of 5 on the decomposition scale.
© D. L. Noah, 2007