Film: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead @ www.cinemascream.co.uk

Generally speaking, there should be more Sarah Polley.  Leaving her own wonderful films aside, she brings a welcome normalcy to the films she features in.  She plays actual people rather than the usual ‘ladies act like this’ 2D props found in most films.  In Dawn of the Dead she acts as a stabilizing force at the film’s centre, holding together the more clichéd characters whilst showing what a realistic movie heroine looks like.

Of course, there is a great ensemble here.  Jake Weber is brilliant as Michael, TV salesman and active answer to Shaun of the Dead’s (2004) titular character, whilst Michael Kelly plays security guard C.J. at just the right level to get a character arc out of the changing situation.  Everyone else does exactly what they need to do with each character/actor getting their own moment.

Yeah, okay, so there’s the smart script by James Gunn and Zack Snyder’s energetic direction.  The satire of consumerism might be mostly jettisoned but the trappings of home entertainment, the dulling effects of uninspiring jobs are neatly skewered and the first ten minutes alone are blank check material, but it’s the cast that make this so re-watchable.

Recommended.

Notes.

1. I’ve always thought that if the zombie apocalypse hadn’t happened Michael and C.J. would be prime fodder for Tyler Durden’s Project Mayhem.

2. The original is pretty good.  You should check it out.

Film: Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen @ www.cinemascream.co.uk

Joe at work asked me if I like Watchmen.  Of course the only possible answer is ‘of course’.  Joe then said that he thought he was the only one but I know that we’re not alone on this.

Watchmen is, I think, the pinnacle of the recent superhero boom and, with it’s pop-culture sensibility, the perfect match for director Zack Snyder’s ‘more is more’ approach to film.  It’s a film that gets better with repeat viewing and although one frequent (and fair) criticism is that it’s too faithful to the source material, the decision to dial things up, to go right to the edge ludicrousness, allows the dense material to transition easily from comic to screen and even improves it.

Highly recommended.

Notes.

1.  For my money the other recent high points of the superhero craze have been the Captain America movies (2011 / 2014), the rather more punkish Kick-Ass (2010) and Chronicle (2012), the wonderful Hellboy films (2004/2008) and, stretching back past the first run of X-Men movies, Blade (1998).

2.  Joe just started his own blog over at Chin-Up – It’ll be alright .    He’s one post in and it’s very different to these shenanigans but it’s already a great read.