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What Is The Best Zombie Film? Part 3

Zombies as portrayed in the movie Night of the...

Image via Wikipedia

Well if you’re reading this I thank you for coming this far and reading my view of the best zombie films to have hit our big screens. One common occurrence between zombie film followers is obvious thought on future films. The evolution from the first original zombie film, thought to be White Zombie, directed by Victor Halperin in 1932, has been dramatic. This is not particularly noticed unless you have researched or are just a big fan of the living dead; however the transformation from what us, as a modern generation recognise as a zombie compared to back then is phenomenal.

Earlier zombie flicks saw the source of the change from human to zombie, usually done through black magic or some kind of sorcerer, as where the original term of zombie came from. However, over the years this has changed to bites off of mutant animals (Braindead) to viral infections that are spread in different ways. Almost every zombie movie needs to have a spreading virus through bites; however other rules are slightly different. For example Dawn of The Dead (2004); an open wound caused by a zombie was enough for the individual to reanimate into the walking dead. As discussed previously, Night of the Living Dead had a more spiritual, and confusing, conversion where any kind of death leads down the path of becoming a human chomper.

So my next film uses both the modern running zombies along with the viral infection that starts it all, in this case known as the Rage virus. Yes you have guessed it, 28 Days Later used real fear factor along with realistic issues in such an apocalypse. Little moments in this film may have seemed boring to some; however Danny Boyle’s direction expressed complications that would arise, such as shaving or emptying your bowels when there is no working water or toilet facilities. The story follows Jim, played by Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Red Eye), a seemingly average Joe who wakes up from a coma to find himself in a completely deserted World. Again, this film really captures some realistic scenes, in an apocalyptic world, that really makes this picture a vivid one.

Jim’s first walk out into the newly dead United Kingdom is a truly incredible sight to be seen; Jim walking down a clear motorway, it’s almost an oxymoron.  I admit there isn’t a huge amount of zombie feeding frenzy scenes, however the chase scenes really get you on the edge of your seat; you may just fall off. We are also exposed to the army’s false promises and sexual brutality towards the women of the group. These may be controversial but are extremely real issues that I believe would arise from such a situation. Due to this, people may argue it is not the best zombie film around; we all crave gore scenes, however it is a brilliant film on its own.

As with most films that hit success, a sequel to the 2002 hit followed in 2007. The director was changed to Juan Carlos Fresnadillo but maintained its location in London. My favourite bit to the whole film is literally the opening scenes. We see yet another controversial but real situation of a husband having to choose between saving his family which would most probably lead to a certain death, or technically not, or following the every man for himself philosophy. This is followed by an intense scene of a mass of the living dead at full sprint speed. I felt this was a good film; I won’t lie, I did enjoy it, however there seemed to be something missing. I genuinely cannot put my finger on it, maybe it’s because it followed such a film in 28 days; however I must emphasise it was definitely worth a watch.

This next film I will keep brief as I feel inclined not to comment too much for a few reasons; I was falling asleep as I watched it, it is/was subtitled, and I have only seen one out of the trilogy. Rec is a Spanish zombie thriller shot from a television reporter in a confined building where the outbreak of a virus incurs. That very brief description sounds like this film has the key ingredients towards a blockbuster, or even a brain-buster? Many of you may have seen the apparent remake of the film, known as Quarantine, and as the US title exclaims, I love the concept of being trapped in a single building whilst creeps are trying to bite you. There are some good aspects of this film, certain scenes are admirable and the shaky camera adds to the effect. I just feel more could have been done with both films. There is a superb scenario, however it just seems that Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, co-directors and writers, ran out of ideas.

I had a think back before writing this post, to the last zombie film I actually viewed at the cinema. Again, this film has a slightly different take on zombies, in fact I would not be surprised if many of you didn’t consider them to be zombies. The Crazies, is another George A. Romero classic, 1973; however I have only seen the remake in 2010. Starring Timothy Olyphant as our sheriff David, the explanation behind these zombies was a biological weapon which is accidentally released onto a small town. Again, I am satisfied that Romero allowed for a cause for the outbreak, unlike Dawn of the Dead (2004). The biological weapon is still a virus, however the infected are rather different to our classic zombie. Flesh eaters are the wrong term in this case, however our zombies are more homicidal in different manners, such as burning houses with their own families in.

As stated previously, many viewers may not count these as zombies; however what’s not to say they are a more evolved species of our close carnivorous cousins? There has been a change in zombies throughout the years, so why can’t we say this will be the way that they go. I did enjoy the film however as I say with so many other films, I feel that a lot more could have been done. A lot more scare scenes whilst keeping the balance of the ever-changing relationships between characters. Am I really asking too much? There are some gripping scenes in the film and I would recommend a watch, however I will cut short the rest of my review purely for the fans who want something closer to what we all know and love as our zombie.

To be completely honest, my favourite kind of zombie are the ones found in 28 Days Later or the modernised Dawn of The Dead, therefore the runners. Running zombies means chase scenes. Chase scenes lead to high adrenaline rush, that is what people want from a film, especially under this genre. Feeling that emotion of screaming at the television to try to offer a hand of help to escape is what brings a movie to life. These moments are a factor into helping a zombie film hit the jackpot. So to wrap up my review I will finish on a well thought out zombie thriller that was released recently, however not as a film.

Dead Set is a five episode television series written by pessimistic comedian Charlie Brooker. I actually don’t find Brooker funny, more like a worse version of Jack Dee. However, this BAFTA nominated series was brilliant in many ways. The original series released in 2008 really got me excited and I maintained that I watch it every night for five nights running. The story is set in the Big Brother house, where the contestants of the recent series take refuge from the outbreak on the London streets. There is small wit added into the carnage of this action-packed and quite frankly, drama-packed series. We see frayed relationships and different personalities emerge, and eaten, throughout each episode, which adds to the realism of such a situation.

I feel like this was really a surprising phenomenon. The series is one of the best zombie franchises I have seen. Conflict is given to the characters, whether to save others or be selfish to ensure survival, which is always controversial but is an actual choice in so many situations. It’s one of those times in life that someone may say what they would do given that choice, however we all know that they don’t even know what they would do. Again, this series plays with the viewer’s emotions from heart-racing chase scenes to anger towards certain characters and even to sadness at the loss of others. To top it all off, Brooker finishes his story in such an emotional fashion unlike so many other zombie masterpieces.

If you haven’t seen it already I would definitely make sure you do. Channel 4 publicised this series a decent amount before its release and therefore really helped promote the zombie genre. However, with this brilliant series I will bring my writing to a close. I foremost would like to apologise if there are any films that you consider to be top end of the genre and missed in my three-part write-up, however I would love to see more titles so please inform me so I can give them a watch.

Overall I do not think I can answer what is officially the best zombie film of all time; we love each film for different reasons. There are so many terrific, gory, heart in mouth moments in each film I have mentioned, with the odd humour to break the surface. All I can really say is that let’s all hope that more films are made to satisfy the fans of this long going genre, and that the evolution goes in a satisfying direction. Thank you for reading and stay safe; always know your zombie plan.

By Ash Seward-Morris


Yu-Gi-Oh 10th Anniversary Bonds Beyond Time

Well as some of you more hardcore anime fans will know, Yu-Gi-Oh defined an era of anime similar to how Pokemon did in the 1990’s within western society. As the title says, Yu-Gi-Oh has been around for about ten years and has become the best-selling TCG card game in the world. The anime is based on the original manga, which translates to ‘Game King’ or ‘King of Games’, written by Kazuki Takahashi. Personally myself, I have only watched the original anime that launched the phenomena it is today played by adults and children alike across the world. Since then, there has been two more adaptations of Yu-Gi-Oh with new characters and new story lines, but it still revolved around the card game. Most people see these as poor adaptations that never recaptured the magic and charm of the original, both on story line and character development.

Well, getting on to the review of the film, I am personally a huge fan of the card game playing for many years, and due to this I have been looking forward to this film for a long time; but my God how it disappointed me. Personally, by my belief, this film was lazy more than anything; it dives straight into the film with absolutely no plot development. This is bad, due to new viewers who have no insight to the Yu-Gi-Oh world getting lost in the plot (or lack thereof) as soon as the film starts.  The film throws you straight into an action-packed sequence, giving you a false sense of hope for the film as well as a poor representation of the TV show. The first character seen is introduced with no introduction or name, just assuming you will know who this character is; and this goes for all characters throughout the film.

Well I have given a fair description of the film but if I really wanted to go in to the negatives there are many, with few positives. So let’s go into some of these, in my personal opinion, positives of this film. This film was made in 3D and high-definition, making it very pleasing on the eye as well as some clear crisp animation. The music fluctuates throughout the film, being appropriate for most scenes with some epic music to fit action scenes. But in the odd occasion throughout the film the music was harsh on the ears as well as not fitting the scene itself.  The major action scene in the film is a card game or ‘duel’ which Yu-Gi-Oh is based upon, basically consisting of monsters called ‘duel monsters’ with power ups and traps. Within the anime, these monsters can be summoned through cards, and these monsters are projected on a field using a VR system. But in some scenarios, these monsters will be real, summoned from another world.

More information on the rules of the game can be found here: ‘http://yugiohmagic.tripod.com/id4.html’. The positives of this duel are that it’s very pleasing to someone who is familiar with the rules as well as the nostalgia of the anime. The downside of this, though is it throws newcomers to the anime right in the deep end; this is due to having no explanation of some of the monsters/card effects, as well as not explaining the rules of the game.

This film is highly unbelievable; yes, I know, magic monsters and ‘card games on motorcycles’ are highly unbelievable. But at least these are explained in the anime and follow some logic. But in several occasions across this film, the major characters just accept that time travel is both possible and logical, totally accepting it as well as showing no fear to this phenomena. One character goes as far to say ‘I am pumped about time travel’ after seeing a guy miraculously appear in front of him on a motorcycle, claiming to be from the future, and is there to save the world but needs his help. This guy jumps at the opportunity, showing complete trust and devotion to this cause with no explanation or convincing.

The main evil character in this film who himself, is trying to save the world with a flawed theory. His theory is that if he destroys the past the future may be saved. Flawed concept? I think so. This story plot is poorly conceived and poorly explained to the viewer. The generic evil guy, A ‘paradox’ being his actual name, has absolutely no character development, with no feeling evoked from him towards the viewer. All this character shows to the viewer is that he likes big motorcycles and has a clear dragon fetish with an appetite for destruction.

Now this section is going to talk about one of my little nick picks about this film and the anime as a whole, but seriously, do all these kids wake up on a morning and style their hair with multi coloured lead paint? You watch this film and are utterly blinded by the colourfulness and pointiness of their hair. These kids need a risk assessment doing for lead paint poisoning and having the ability to stab each other with their hair. I am not naive enough to think this is the only anime that has mad hair, but really, this anime takes it to the extreme.

Overall the film is extremely lazy and has no value for money with it only being 45 minutes long, with it being labelled as a ‘feature length film’. The ‘film’ has very little plot and NO character development whatsoever. This film maybe enjoyable for children who are hardcore fans of the anime; except for that, I would not recommend watching. As one of the characters said in this film as a building was collapsing on top of him,  ‘OH NO’!

By Richard Broadhead (with some input from a friend of mine, Anthony Ball)


Chuck Norris & John Travolta for Expendables 2?

The latest news has it that widely renowned actor John Travolta and ass-kickery legend, Chuck Norris are to take part in the upcoming, The Expendables sequel, The Expendables 2. The all-action, original adrenaline-fest had an all-star cast, consisting of: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and even a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was confirmed by David Varod, who  is head of the movie studios in Bulgaria where the movie will be shot, who stated  the same characters would be back in the sequel, also mentioning Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Travolta, Chuck Norris, and Bruce Willis. As you can see, a completely muscle-packed cast. Although, kung-fu legend Li had not been mentioned in this list for the sequel.

 

Jean-Claude Van Damme, despite turning down a role in the first installment, will be playing one of the main bad guys in the upcoming sequel, which is said to start shooting in September. Although I haven’t seen the first one yet (completely gutted that I missed it at the cinema), this sequel, though I’m sure it won’t have the best storyline like the original, will be epic. I mean, this cast would be enough to get any action movie junkie excited in all ways humanly possible. And although Jet Li was not mentioned in the lineup for this movie, I really do hope he is in it; his nack for kicking the shit out of people is amazing. It’s just a shame that Liam Neeson won’t be in this…

The Expendables 2 is expected to hit cinema screens on 17th August, 2012.

By Manpreet Singh


New: Two and a Half Men Season Nine Image

A new teaser image for the upcoming ninth season of American hit comedy, Two and a Half Men has been released. Below, shows the two remaining cast members of the original classic trio, Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) & Jake Harper (Angus T. Jones). However, in the middle, replacing the hilarious, yet crazy Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) is comedy man, Ashton Kutcher, who will be playing Raymond; a friend of Charlie’s. A fairly big spoiler ahead – Charlie Sheen will be getting killed off, although it’s unsure as to how this will happen, although it may possibly be a car crash. Kutcher apparently buys Charlie’s lovely beach house. Check out this image:

Although it’s supposed to be Jake in the middle, I suppose it’s fair enough having Kutcher in the middle, seeing as he’s the new character. However, I don’t know what to think. It just doesn’t seem right. Of course, Kutcher has a very different style of comedy to Sheen, so I’m assuming a fair bit of the comedy in the sitcom will take a different turn. Whether this will be positively or not, I’m not sure. Although I don’t mind Kutcher as a comedian, I’m not sure whether he’ll be good for the show. He never really stood out as a hugely funny person to me, particularly in comparison to other funny men, including Charlie Sheen, who I think is hilarious, idiotic life-decisions aside (his problem, not mine). I just don’t think Kutcher will live up to the same comical standard as Sheen.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out. The 9th season of Two and a Half Men begins on the 19th September in the US.

By Manpreet Singh


Beaver Falls – Just Another Typical Teen Comedy?

New to E4, is the latest comedy programme with all the hype about it – Beaver Falls focuses mainly around three university friends, Flynn (Sam Robertson), A-Rab (Arsher Ali) & Barry (John Dagleish) who, after having graduated, decide to go for one more crazy Summer, partying away. However, they manage to do this through enrolling for jobs at an American Summer camp, Beaver Falls. Once they arrive, they realise it wasn’t exactly what they were expecting; there were plenty of hot girls, but their requirement of having to be responsible adults gets in their way of just wanting to have fun.

As soon as I started watching, it seemed like a typical comedy. Stuff that had already been done, like in The Inbetweeners; and to an extent, is does involve this a fair bit, typical teenager-style comedy, which we’ve witnessed so many times that it unfortunately becomes predictable and old. Even so, this programmes still manages to have its funny moments.

One thing I particularly liked, which I wasn’t expecting, is that there is actually a background story to each of the characters; and these storylines actually seem interesting – so much so, that I would want to watch on to find out more about them. Although it mostly isn’t the ‘laugh out loud’ comedy I was expecting, I still find it entertaining to watch from a comical aspect, and the added storylines for each of the characters only makes it more enjoyable.

I also enjoyed how each character appears to have their own uniqueness to them. Sure, they all share the same characteristics, in that their aim is to party, get girls, and well, basically do everything they were told they’re not allowed to do at this camp; but look past this, and you see there is more to each character than meets the eye. Right from the first episode, all three of the main characters each meet a different girl, and each manage to build an interesting relationship with each, though not necessarily a positive relationship. And I think it will be interesting to see how these relationships progress throughout each episode.

The main aspect which caught me off guard was that, contrary to what I was expecting, there is definitely an emotional aspect to the programme, particularly, with each of the characters. They all seem to be carrying some problems on their shoulders from back home in England, and it seems these problems are still affecting them. However, despite a failed attempt at first, they seem determined to actually care for the children at the camp, and it would seem they will try to deal with these problems throughout the rest of the series.

Although it wasn’t as funny as I was expecting, nor was it the type of comedy I was really expecting, Beaver Falls looks promising. With a good combination of emotion, humour that isn’t necessarily laugh-out-loud, though can be at times, and storylines which actually seem quite interesting for a programme about partying and getting girls, I think this is one which seems like it could end well, and is worth watching. I felt myself feeling convinced by the of the programme that I will enjoy the next episode.

Beaver Falls is on every Wednesday at 9pm on E4. Give it a watch and see what you think.

By Manpreet Singh


Joan Allen Is Back For Bourne

Joan Allen, who played the role of Pamela Landy in The Bourne Supremacy & The Bourne Ultimatum, will be reprising her role in this Bourne spin-off. Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, The Lovely Bones) has been a recent addition to the cast, and there was speculation that she may be taking over the role of the CIA Chief Officer who aided in trying to capture Bourne, but of course, such speculation can now be put to rest.

Also to reprise their role from the previous movies, is Albert Finney who played Dr Albert Hirsch in The Bourne Ultimatum, though his role was a small one. However, seeing as the upcoming Bourne is a based around a different story, he may have a larger role in the story as a whole.

It’s currently unknown as to what role Weisz will be playing. However, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) will be playing the role of a new spy, with a similar background to Jason Bourne (or David Webb, whatever). Bourne Legacy, as in the book, will focus around another agent, Renner, who also has an affected memory along with the convenient ability to kick the crap out of anyone he encounters. This agent however, has stemmed from a programme which is even more dangerous than that which Jason Bourne came from, TreadstoneEdward Norton is also set to star in the movie, taking the role as the lead villain, along with Oscar Isaac (Body of Lies, Robin Hood (2010)) who will be playing another brainwashed killer, known only by the code name, Number 3. Director for the previous 3 Bourne movies, Paul Greengrass will not be directing the fourth in the franchise, and as a result, Matt Damon will not be returning to the franchise.

I know Legacy is based on a book, but do they really need to carry the Bourne movie franchise on? Especially without Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass? I mean, the first three movies were brilliant, and are among some of my all-time favourite movies. And even though some of the original cast are returning, it just won’t feel the same without Damon and the directing touch of Greengrass. It may’ve been good as a book, but the storyline sounds very similar to the original Bourne movies; and being what it is, an adaptation of a book, it could very easily fall victim to the book-to-movie failings, especially due to the fact that it’s carrying on without the character of Bourne. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out a post by Daniel Hart which discusses sequels that run their course, particularly the Bourne franchise, which is in the suggested links.

Being directed by Tony Gilroy, who has input into the previous Bourne movies, The Bourne Legacy is set to start filming in September, and will be hitting cinemas in the UK on the 17th August, 2o12.

By Manpreet Singh


Battleship: Preview & Trailer

Battleship, as boring as the name sounds, has more to it than meets the eye. With the latest upcoming movie from director, Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Hancock), Battleship focuses on Admiral Shane, played by Liam Neeson, who, along with his fleet of ships, comes across an unknown, alien force, who initiate an attack on them. Fighting for their lives, Shane and his men, including Alexander Skarsgard, playing Stone Hopper, who is in a relationship with the Admiral’s daughter, must find out what the unknown species are doing, and destroy them before they complete their abominable objective. Check out the trailer, a very deceiving one for the first half:

Although it seems somewhat far-fetched, I have a feeling this could surprise us all and turn out to be a great movie. Also, Liam Neeson is in it, so I’m sure there’ll be some ass-kicking, adrenaline-filled scenes of him fist-fighting a giant alien robot and kicking the shit out of it…But seriously, I think it could be good. I’m enjoying this new genre of aliens clashing with peculiar areas of the planet, what with the release of Cowboys & Aliens, and now this. It makes a change from the generic aliens attacking the whole of Earth, trying to destroy it all at once.

Battleship, stars Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch, Josh Pence, and even Rihanna., It will be hitting cinema screens on the 18th May, 2012.

By Manpreet Singh