Saturday, 20 November 2010
After seeing the dismal trailer which boasted laughable CGI and a zombie on horseback I was prepared to hate Survival and pity Romero who, I though, has clearly lost the plot.
Only tonight did I muster the guts to watch his latest zombie effort and was surprised to find it fast-paced and hugely entertaining.
One complaint I have always had with Romero's movies was how static his cinematography could be.In such classics as Dawn of the Dead he seemed solely to care about editing.
However, in Survival Romero employs quite a few tracking shots(one or two begging to be qualified as magnificent), his camera creeping through the foliage after the characters. Perhaps this is something he'd liked to have done in his early films but didn't have the means for.
Most annoying aspect of the film apart from the usual pathetic CGI bis is the bland score. It's what you'd call stock horror cues. George, go for Dixieland jazz, go for prog rock - anything!Please no more typical string music that merely telegraphs every other zombie attack!
SCENES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT:
Clearly, a brief episode of Sarge shooting zombie heads impaled on sticks.
Unconvincing effects. Pointless and adds nothing to the film except serve as a faint echo of an early basement scene from the original Dawn.
Romero still enjoys devising (increasingly far-fetched)ways of despatching the ghouls.
In Diary of the Dead he had a hospital zombie's brain fried with a defibrillator.
In Survival he tries something of the sort with a fire extinguisher.
Old boy obviously has no intention of taking himself or his oeuvre too seriously.
Personally, I'm fine with that. Let him have his fun. As long his films remain as consistently entertaining as Diary and Survival have been, I'll stick with Romero.
Survival of the Dead is affected with that old syndrome, familiar from Italian zombie trash such as Hell of the Living Dead. The syndrome manifests itself in characters who have been handling zombie attacks throughout the film with cool efficiency suddenly behaving like retards and ending up bitten. Not really credible. But I don't blame Romero for that. A standard good gore movie formula is 'charters getting killed at regular intervals'. Even at price of losing any realism.
Why hasn't Survival gone to the cinemas while Land did? While both movies have lousy CGI, Land is slower and has a lot more annoying characters than Survival. Ah well, life's unfair.
-Has Romero lost it?
He sure lost the indie feel. His films have average Hollywood film production values now.
Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on the viewer's taste.
One thing is certain - Romero's cynicism is still there. There are great ironically downbeat moments scattered throughout the film.
Want to see zombies eat something other than humans? Check out Survival of the Dead!
Thursday, 11 November 2010
PAULA-PAULA is the first film that Jess Franco has done in years which could be called reasonably tasteful. In it there are no mute nymphos urinating into cooking bowls or female vampires staked with dildos. In fact, there's very little of any substance, trashy or otherwise, in PAULA-PAULA. Running time is around an hour. Those familiar with JF's latest films may consider that a blessing. Sure, nudity is present, as is his 'trademark' slow-motion erotica. But delicious Gulda music and some great use of colour and light sort of make up for the overall inertia of the piece.
SCENES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT:
Well, I'd cut everything past the opening quarter of an hour.
All the points have been made by then, the rest is just hallucinatory flab.
Wouldn't it be bold - Jess returning to short film-making?
But that's just wishful thinking on my part.
What doesn't work:
-the whole film. People who are used to perceive cinema as a sort of a coherent story that can be followed would be enormously frustrated by PAULA-PAULA. There's little excitement to be had (unless from some magnificent jazz) from it. No sense of progression at all to the whole thing. But then, again, chances of normal film fans seeing or even being aware of PAULA-PAULA are, frankly, nil.
PAULA-PAULA is not the film I would like Franco to have made.
His recent output has invariably been of plotless slow-motion lesbian feasts variety.
PAULA-PAULA, despite its undeniable artistic merit and aesthetic superiority to most of Franco's recent productions also does settle into cliched sex routine.It would have been a true miracle to see Jess have a go at making something a bit more traditional and accessible these days. Just one more substantial film. Let it be dirt-cheap and out-of-focus, but with story that extends beyond two females on a couch. Will that happen? Technically, it's possible, as the 80-year-old cinemaniac is currently preparing new projects...
-Lina Romay keeping her clothes on. Nice one, Jess! Cool idea to use her just as an actress and not a fetish, for once.
-'JF touch' - flaunting conventions.
Is PAULA-PAULA any good? -As a 'proper' film, no.