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I really liked Dead Snow 2

Last Friday, I decided to see if I could get last minute tickets to a screening of Dead Snow 2, Red or Dead at this years Film 4 Frightfest. As it turns out I could, so on Friday afternoon we showed up to the Vue cinema in Leicester Square just in time to see Robert Englund hanging around the foyer.

I love the idea of Frightfest, but I’m never bothered about enough of the screenings to get a weekend pass. (Plus, I miss the days when it was small enough to be at the Prince Charles instead of a multiplex)

Anyway. Lets talk about the movie.

Dead Snow 2 is the sequel to 2009 Norwegian nazi zombie horror comedy sleeper, Dead Snow. (If you haven’t seen Dead Snow, do it now – and then watch Troll Hunter)

The sequel picks up right where Dead Snow left us, with Martin in the car, missing half an arm at the bottom of the mountain. (I like when horror sequels do this, apart from the obvious exception of Halloween II) Things happen, Martin ends up wrecking his car, wakes up in hospital to find that as the only survivor with a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing to him he is the prime suspect in the murder of all his friends/girlfriend. To make matters worse, the doctor has unknowingly attached a zombie arm to him, mistakenly believing it was lost in the car wreck.

Clearly, no one believes Martin and his crazy nazi zombie tales, apart from a small american child also in the hospital. He alerts Martin to the existence of the zombie squad. I won’t talk about anything that happens next, as it would ruin your enjoyment of the plot unfolding.

I will say though, that Dead Snow 2 is in no way a horror movie, it’s an incredible blood soaked, un- PC gorefest and it’s all the better for it. Martin Starr ( I know, right, Martin Starr!)’s zombie squad add a consistently comedic, english speaking element to the proceedings (Tommy Wirkola was obviously considering international dollars this time around) the gore is gross out at it’s finest and it’s actually laugh out loud funny (and smart). On a number of occasions during the screening I enjoyed the ripple of laughter travel through the audience as more people began to get the joke.

If you like horror, or zombies, or nazi movies, or scandinavia, or laughing or anything genre based – this movie delivers.

See it as soon as you can.

 

JAWS BLURAY!

This September 3rd ( happily, mere weeks before my birthday) Jaws is getting it’s Blu ray release. I’ve been waiting for this for as long as, well as long as 1080p has been an option.

There’s a whole bunch of awesome extras not included on the last 3 DVD editions of Jaws (although some of it, obviously is) including :The Shark is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws which I missed the London screening of last year.

Anyway, Universal have released a featurette about the restoration process which is below. Watch it and marvel at the sheer lengths they’ve gone to. And then get excited.

Really though, 2012, can you get any better?

Alright, alright, I like Indie Rom Coms

It’s Valentine’s, and me being a girl and all, despite punk rock leanings and an at-times-Daria-esque shell, I sometimes like to watch rom coms. DON’T JUDGE ME.

Not real Rom Coms of course, I’m way to self aware for that stuff – my guilt complex only allows me to fully enjoy them if they’re of the indie variety. So without further ado, here are my top 5 indie rom coms to watch alone, or with your best girl pal (boys really take the edge of them, I speak from experience)

Dedication

Justin Theroux directs Billy Crudup as Henry Roth, a massively damaged and misanthropic childrens books author living in New York. Through some saddening fate twists he’s forced to work with new illustrator, Mandy Moore (with the nicest heavy eye-makeup I’ve ever seen). He’s awkward and mental, she teaches him not to be – you know the deal, but everyone is pretty, there are heartbreaking moments of honesty and Theroux handles the direction well with beautiful lighting and a perfect score.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

I don’t understand what there’s not to love about this movie. Sure, the book was a little more punk rock in it’s name dropping but JEEEEZ. Did you see how downright adorable everyone in this movie is. And not in a really sickening way either. Kat Dennings is a huge girl crush of mine, based on her basic perfection. Michael Cera is admittedly type cast, but dang, he does it so well. Adorable, sweet, cute,  a harkback to 80’s into the night movies and laugh out loud funny. ALWAYS improves my mood – and a singalong soundtrack to boot.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Kevin Smith has a huge hard on for John Hughes movies, but who doesn’t, right? This is where he has come closest to getting it right. Elizabeth Banks is awesome as Miri, and this was the movie where Seth Rogen started becoming less annoying in general. Porn stars, hockey, star wars, high school reunions and a jaw droppingly funny cameo from Justin Long. Oh, and it leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling you haven’t had since 1994.

Going The Distance

If you know me at all you know that a) My dedication and love for Drew Barrymore knows no bounds and b) I completely believe in the potential of long-distance-relationships. Thereby, it’s not a huge leap to assume that I would be smitten with Going The Distance from the get go. Yes, it’s very cheesy, there are some cringeworthy moments and it’s very predictable, but it’s adorable and funny and Long and Barrymore carry it beautifully. It’s also a treat for fans of Top Gun.

Lars and the Real Girl

Written by long time 6 feet Under scribe Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl centres around the character of Lars played to perfection by Ryan Gosling (in his least dreamy role to date). He’s very damaged by circumstance, and, long story short imports a Russian sex doll and parades her about the small town he inhabits, apparently believing she’s his girlfriend. Stay with me, I know it sounds so indie quirky that you want to die, but give it a chance by the end of the movie it’s pretty much the dictionary definition of heartwarming, albeit you’ve taken an odd route to get there.

I feel pretty good about myself that I managed to write this list and avoid Zooey Deschanel completely. I have tons more that I wanted to add to the list, but really, who wants to read all of that on Valentines . It’s a day for smooching or eating cupcakes and listening to pop-punk,  right?

And on that note, I’m off to partake in one of the above.

Favourite Thanksgiving Movies

So I may not be American, I may not agree with the holiday and I may not really get along with my family, in fact I think it’s for these reasons that I’m so attracted to the notion of the Thanksgiving movie. They’re a different breed than the Christmas movie (although don’t get me wrong, I’m addicted to those too) there’s no moralistic time-of-the-season suagr to buy into, and most often the characters seem reticent about the notion of being forced to spend time with their nearest and dearest. I think this is why my Virgo self finds it all so appealing, enforced family time that one can’t escape, but I digress.

With the exception of Planes,Trains… the Thanksgiving movie is generally a slightly sombre affair. It lends itself to the US indie perfectly – just think of the opportunity! Beautiful cinematography, huge open air shots of large expanses blanketed in snow (even in the city-centric Pieces of April we’re given enough freeway shots to meet this demand) lots of tiny conversations that don’t come to filling the space, all of the staples!

The notion of home and family is a particularly complex one in the 21st century, which is probably why the Thanksgiving movie exists. Anyway, these are my favourite Thanksgiving movies that I always find the time to watch around this time of year.

The Myth Of Fingerprints

This is my favourite of the lot, I feel like I may have over romanticized it slightly, given it still hasn’t been released on DVD and my VHS version was lost years before my VHS player. The cast reads like an all star indie fest, and unsurprisingly director (and husband of Julianne Moore) Bart Freundlich was up for the Grand Jury at Sundance the year it came out.

It follows the children and their respective partners returning to their familial home for Thanksgiving, Roy Scheider and Blythe Danner play Mom and Dad and the children (and others) include Noah Wyle, Julianne Moore, Hope Davis, Michael Vartan and James LeGros.

It’s hard to explain the beautiful understated simplicity of this movie (and harder still to understand how Bart went on the direct The Rebound). The relationships are honest in their confusion and blurry boundaries and pretty much everyone delivers a flawless performance. It’s a near perfect American Indie.

The Ice Storm

Remember back when Ang Lee hadn’t ruined the Incredible Hulk for everyone and people still swooned about his direction? Yeah, this is a shining example of that. It’s no secret I find the 70s massively comforting, so this is ideal for me. Featuring another all star cast, with Sigourney Weaver in her meanest role to date it centres around Kevin Kline’s Connecticut family and their surrounding community in the lead up to Thanksgiving in 1973. It has everything, a young Christina Ricci corrupting an even younger boyfriends sibling, Katie Holmes all fucked up on valium in an NY apartment, key parties, Tobey Maguire pre-Spiderfame, child death, storms AND family dissolution. And somehow, it all looks beautiful.

Home For The Holidays

I love this Jodie Foster directed affair. It stars Holly Hunter, Downey Jnr and Guttenberg (!) and somehow manages to occupy the space between think-y indie and National Lampoons. I think my favourite moment is when Hunter arrives home and meets her parents at the airport having dropped her coat in the arrivals lounge is berated by her mother for lack of warmth and dressed in her spare, immediately demoting her to child status. As she’s sitting in the back of the car on the way back from the airport, she glances into the car in traffic next to theirs and sees a man her age also sitting in the back seat bundled in a huge coat listening to his parents yapping incessantly. It’s these moments of quiet comedy that this movie excels at. Oh, and cheeky prankster Robert Downey Jnr is fantastic too. It’s everything I love about Thanksgiving Movies.

Pieces Of April

I think we’re all agreed that Katie Holmes was best when she was playing Joey on Dawson’s? Well, she basically plays her again here, but in a slightly quirkier (crazy hair coloured) way.

She plays April, a bad girl (she’s living with a black guy and everything!) who has some issues with her overbearing mother. She’s invited her whole family to have Thanksgiving in her tiny shoddy NY apartment for the first time, and they haven’t spoken in years. Obviously everything that can fuck-up does – it’s the story of trying to repair past damages within an impending timeframe created by her mothers illness.

It’s better than it sounds and that’s down to the always amazing Oliver Platt lightening the tension with underplayed comedic genius at the exact moments it’s needed. Not your traditional big-house-in-the-country Thanksgiving movie, but it’s nice to see that setting doesn’t really have any bearing on the disfunction of familial interaction.

What I thought about Paranormal Activity

Don’t read this if you haven’t seen it. (I’m looking at you, Marshall)

I was really excited about seeing this, I read a couple of the preliminary festival reviews and have been avoiding any movie marketing since.  Those of you that know me are aware of the kind of horror nerd that I am. I don’t scare easy, but I actively try to scare myself as often as is possible.

The one genre that helps me out with this quest more often than any other is the Supernatural movie, specifically the Haunted house/possession movie.

I decided to watch Paranormal Activity alone, which may not have been my smartest move, but I really didn’t think it would scare me as much as it did.

It’s an extremely simple premise, shot on the super cheap but executed better than pretty much anything I’ve seen in the last decade or so. It employs the Blair Witch popularized handheld effectively and is smart enough to never ever show us the “monster”. The entire film takes place inside of the confines of the house (there’s maybe two exterior shots, but they’re both in the garden of said house) and this is incredibly important in helping add to the films sense of claustrophobia.

The twist in this tale is that it’s actually the female protagonist that’s being “haunted” and not the house, so there’s no Amityville or Poltergeist escape on offer here. She literally is just stuck to wait it out until it comes to its inevitable head. While I was watching I couldn’t help but think of the 1991 TV movie “The Haunted” which is one of the other most genuinely terrifying haunted house movies I’ve seen.

I’m glad the studio didn’t remake it with big names, it would have completely wrecked the believabilty of the situation. Although this is an entirely fictional movie (yeah, was disappointed that it wasn’t based on a real life anything) you rarely need to employ your suspension of disbelief. There are a couple of plot developments I would rather hadn’t been included, but I guess they needed to move the narrative along somehow. The last few mintutes of the movie were annoying to me, but more on a Blair Witch scale than say, Harpers Island. From what I’ve read this isn’t the original ending anyway. I’ll be interested to see what the DVD release offers up.

You should definitely watch this movie.

I’m probably going to have some trouble sleeping tonight.

I’ve included the trailer. Be warned it’s in no way representative of the mood of the film.

Poor Bill Compton

eric-poster2So, season 2 of True Blood. Now we’re 6 weeks in I feel I can make a couple of observations …

Observation One. Bill Compton is totally over. EVERYONE is crushing on Eric. There are a number of reasons for this, they include;

Eric not being English. Remember the day you learnt the dude who plays Bill is just a middle aged English Guy? All the paparazzi pics you ever see of Steven Moyer and Anna Paquin feature Moyer wearing some kind of Dad cargo pants. Take away the accent and the vampire and you’re left with a dude that hits on you in Bar Uno. Eric being T-A-L-L. Most of last season Eric was seated, but this one he’s all up and around all the time, whether ripping people limb from limb in the basement of Fangtasia or chatting with Bill in women’s departments he’s always towering over everyone. I did some research, he’s 6’4″ (Moyer is barely 5′ 9″ depending on who you ask, but the evidence seems pretty clear) Eric Got a Hair Cut. Yep. After the aforementioned ripping limb from limb incident Eric had to get his hair chopped (there was blood in the bleach) and now his hair is short. Girls like short hair. All of them. Eric is Not a Pussy. This may the the most important factor. Bill is such a massive none blood sucking goodie. (The occasional orgasmic bit doesn’t count) In episode 6 while Eric is sucking on an escort in a hotel foyer he declares that it’s so much less fun when they’re willing.

Observation Two. Jessica is awesome. She has great hair, nice teeth and fucks Bill off. Enough said.

Observation Three. This is more of a question really, but why is Tara still in the show? What value does she add ? Why are storylines revolving around her? And is the woman that plays Marianne totally type cast to play crazy bitch the way Zooey Deschanel is with Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl?

Observation Four. Holy fuck the sex is hot this season. Sookie’s got a taste for it and turned into a massive slut. Marianne hosts demon orgies every other night, Jason has been shown the way back to joy in the bath-tub and Sam, well…. HBO and Alan Ball seem to want to sever as many ties with the PG13 books as possible.

I wish I were Max…

I’m ill. The kind where I crave childhood attention and some parental figure to bring me soup and check on me. This, it turns out was a perfect time to watch the Where The Wild Things are trailer. It hit me with a wave of nostalgia so strong it was palpable. Jesus, this looks like it’s going to be perfect. Spike Jonze I love you.

I Watched the Watchmen (and then I thought…meh…)

This isn’t going to be the worlds most positive review, but neither is it going to be the most negative. I gave myself a couple of days to digest it so I didn’t just use this as a forum to continue spitting the venom I was immediately after the screening. This is what I thought.

Firstly, it looks amazing, it looks the way it should, Dr Manhattan is a pretty huge accomplishment – CGI Billy Crudup is pretty fascinating the whole way through (as is the almost continual full frontal of that giant blue cock, don’t pretend you didn’t look). Rorschach’s mask worked, it looked the way a comic book should, it was visually spectacular, and for the first 5 minutes while it was following the graphic page for page I thought things might turn out okay. Unfortunately not.

Zack Snyder, you and I have to sit down and have a chat about your over use of SloMo. It doesn’t mask your lack of narrative finesse. Graphic Novels are hard to adapt for the screen, they twist and turn and jump around linear time, we know this. If you don’t think you can handle it then move along and don’t bumble through things by emphasising insignificant moments with (abeit beautifully shot) slo motion photography.

It’s like the movie couldn’t make up it’s mind whether it was trying to be the book, or it was trying to be an X-Men cashcow. It’s pandering to the very genre it’s claiming to subvert. I was expecting the codes and conventions to be turned on their head with little nuances, instead I got a large amount of genuinely gory on screen violence – waaay more than in the book.

The initial fight scene between the Comedian and his assassin is really impressive, and starts the movie off well, but from there on in the pacing turns to shit and the focus is all over the place, the narrative structure is somewhat confusing. If you haven’t read the book (?) (I have and I’m the uber indie comics girl -what’s your excuse ?) then you may have some difficulty understanding what is happening and why. It’s just not very clear.

The acting is pretty amazing, the characters all (especially the Comedian and Rorschach) do a brilliant job with their ambiguous superhero likeability, but ultimately this movie is all over the place. It’s watchable, definitely, it’s at least an hour too long and dear god, the clunky use of easily historically placeable songs in the soundtrack to re-enforce the era? please re-examine.

You’ll all go see it anyway, out of curiosity, the studios are banking on it. But are we all agreed now  -that there shall me no more Alan Moore adaptations, EVER?

Well, you're two penises short of a Shania Twain reimagination band!

So, Nick and Norah’s Infinite playlist then.

Wow. Now before we begin, put aside the usual indier than thou judgement we reserve for bands and remember that this is film and it’s a different deal, and if it were music, then Nick and Norah’s would be like Death Cab anyway, the acceptable face of big budget indie. Keep that in mind.

Nick and Norah’s made me grin from ear to ear and laugh out loud and cringe and miss being young and hate that I don’t get to live in New York. It also made my crush on Michael Cera much bigger. Give a boy some vans and a bass and it changes everything.

Although there are a number of MTV marketing elements to this film, like the quirky, hand drawn titles for example, they don’t interfere with the super simple (yet strikingly funny and accurate) narrative.

Deal is Nick is in a queercore band and has an ex girlfriend who he still makes mix cds for (and they’re about the best looking mix cds ever, I’d marry a boy who made mix cds like that) Norah doesn’t know Nick , but goes to school in Jersey with Nicks ex. They don’t get along. They all end up at the same venue one evening when Nicks band is playing, Norah unknowingly asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend and from there an awesome evening of NY adventure at all our favourite (hipster) venues commences.

One of the things that I liked most about N ‘n’ N’s was that it’s an into the night movie, I’ve written about this before and about the love for them that growing up in the 80s spawned. The notion that sometimes all it can take to change eveything (and usually in the summer before college) is one night. ‘Cos remember being 17? It’s true, it was exactly like that. We weren’t too cool for school, we were way more trusting, less scared and everything felt… more.

Cera rules as Nick and is pace perfect with his delivery, all of my laugh out loud moments were his, from the opening dialogue of him living his ex gf an epic voicemail through about 40% of everything else he says. And as aforementioned Vans and a hoodie does funny things to a girl.

Kat Dennings was impossibly beautiful as Nora, Jess and I both agreed we had huge girl crushes on her by the end, the camera does a huge amount of gazing longingly at her and her dependable girl next door qualities. I’m excited to see what she does next.

With the exception of the awkward (yet uber sweet) recording studio scene, this movie doesn’t have a bad moment. Don’t go into it expecting anymore than a highly quotable awesome indie teen movie and there’s no way you’ll be disappointed.

click here to download the hipster heavy soundtrack and relive your favourite moments

click here to download the hipster heavy soundtrack and relive your favourite moments