Archive for June, 2013

A mysterious virus like infection spreads rapidly throughout the world and a man in order to guarantee his family safety is tasked to locate the origin of the outbreak and assist in finding a cure.
Without drawing comparison to Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z’s impact has been slightly numbed but the influx and saturation of zombie/virus films churned out over recent years. Nevertheless, under Marc Forster’s direction WWZ is epic in scale with its sweeping scope and impressive special effects. Forster wisely focuses on Brad Pitt who is superb as ex UN official and family man Gerry Lane. Although the film may have benefited from an unknown actor for impact to Pitts credit he adds gravitas to the role as he journeys from one continent to another encountering perils and avoiding hordes of the twitching contaminated.The supporting cast give a solid backbone although no one stands out as being particularly memorable.
The reanimated are wonderfully well done, menacing and for the most part scary – especially in numbers. The limited makeup design on show is excellently crafted, although there’s explosions, fire fights the gore is limited and the film is not necessarily blatantly horrific as one would expect – this works both for and against depending on your expectations. That said, there’s enough action and tension to keep the causal viewer happy. For the harden zombie fans there’s atmosphere, finely executed visuals, memorably the immense birds eye views of the swarming population like ants and a calibre of realism not found in the majority of films this genre.
With a genuine on location feel and despite being reminiscent of 28 Days/Weeks later with fast infected Forster delivers a globe trotting disaster flick with less deliberate rough edges. The communication between the infected is interesting, including their dormant status.What also works at times is an old school horror approach, there’s lots of moments where the sound design leaves it to the viewers imagination.Notably though the editing and screenplay does pander to the masses, offering paint by numbers solutions and outcomes. For example the Israel (filmed in Malta) segment takes a little too long for Gerry to hone in on the noise leaving the viewer too much time to digest and anticipate what’s going to happen next which robs the scene of much of its intended impact and tension. Nevertheless, the Moscow heroic like ending was infamously  re-shot for a more quieter, personal closing and Gerry wife’s fidelity left intact, which in my mind works better, more true to his every man personality and the set up that came before.
All in all the apocalyptic vision is a solid, realistic and a heartfelt entry if somewhat too late to achieve greatness. Let’s hope for a sequel that surpasses this with Pitt on board again.

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If you seen  ‘Say My Name’ already thank you for your support. It’s been almost a month since the video of V0iD’s ‘Say My Name’ rocked its way onto net and syndication. 
It’s not often I get a chance to put punches, blood, crowbars, guns, infidelity and reverse shots to name a few on film. As well as some Japanese mystery also hidden within ‘Say My Name’ are a variety of film homages and nods. How many can you spot? Checkout the video below:
Please share, like and embedded. Thanks again for your support.

By the dawning of the 1980s Schwarzenegger was a famous body builder champion and Stallone an acclaimed writer/actor and director, Bruce ‘Moonlighting’ Willis wasn’t even in their peripheral vision.

Ah the 80s some fun and at times serious rivalry between these two box office heavy weights, there wasn’t a dull moment in Hollywood-land. Both suffering from career lulls, Schwarzenegger’s heart-attack and vocation change, Stallone making some bad films they looked liked history, but Stallone pulled a decent Rocky and Rambo out of the bag and Arnie finished his Governor duties.
The balance appears to be somewhat restored and the guys are (well at least one of them is) returning to form and with them both appearing in (the average) Expendables 2 and the up and interesting looking with equal-ish screen-time The Escape Plan, there’s life in the old guys yet. There’s a tonne of information on them so I won’t bore you any further but here are a few thoughts on their fresh offerings:
The Last Stand (2013)
With the FBI hot on his tail an escaped drug cartel heads for the Mexican border, where the only thing to stop him is a sheriff and his untested deputies.
Arnold Schwarzenegger spews the out one liners and chunks of exposition where necessary from a variety of screen writers. There’s guns, explosions, stunts, raging action sequences and blood – lots of blood from a talented director Kim Jee-Woon. The city setting in contrast to the hot desert town adds some needed atmosphere and it’s genuinely edgy and graphic at times.
Forest Whitaker is there to take up screen time as possibly to ease Arnie in as Ray Owens. Notable is Eduardo Noriega who is impressive as the bad guy Gabriel Cortez with solid character Peter Stormare actor adding a further back bone. Although not required Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzmán provide almost the right balance of comedy and in-jokes.
In amongst the paint by numbers twist and setup it’s a High Noon (1952)/ High Plains Drifter (1973), Sudden Impact (1983) to name a few western type concept from Andrew Knauer with a climatic Commando (1985) – like showdown.
All in all a decent film but without Schwarzenegger it would just be another action film and a viewers raw deal.
Bullet to the Head (2012)
With the unlikely alliance with a cop a career criminal sets about to exact revenge after he is double crossed.
Far more memorable than Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand, writer Alessandro Camon’s screenplay (based on Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel) and director Walter Hill don’t try to reinvent the action-wheel and to the films credit Sylvester Stallone successfully goes against his usual casting playing an unsavoury character namely James Bonomo (Marion Cobretti, Stallone’s own “Cobra” would have certainly despised him).

Despite clichés, some unnecessary flashbacks, over exposition, even repeating plot points just in case you missed them the first time around Bullet to the Head is reminiscent of the Fast and Furious in style with a touch Red Heat with the leads conflicting opinions and one-liners. Vetran director Hill proves he still knows how to direct a solid action film with kinetic axe, gun and fist fights. Christian Slater has a memorable cameo with Jason ‘Conan remake’ Momoa proving he’s more than just a Arnie alternative.

It’s an old school action with a modern slick delivery, worth a watch.
After the bloody events of the first 1974 massacre and following a shootout at the farmhouse we flash forward to 2012 and the seemingly last of the Sawyer family inherits the house where the slaughter took place.
John Luessenhop delivers an atmospheric direct sequel to the original that borrows from the family dynamics of the Halloween series, only having LeatherFace with a pretty cousin, played by the solid and talented actress Alexandra Daddario.
With a cameo from Gunnar Hansen the original Leatherface and a majority talented cast including Thom Barry, Richard Riehle, Bill Moseley and Scott Eastwood the potential is there. However, what could have been a passable sequel even overlooking some inconsistency and additions to the original is totally let down by a disregard to its own chronological logic/time setting by having the lead as a twenty something scream queen instead of a woman who should be nearing her 40s.
Sadly, this blatant ignorance and error robs Luessenhops’ well shot gory film of any credibility which is a shame given the strong opening and ties to Hooper’s cult classic.