The film is clearly played for fun, and there’s no refuting that it delivers this in abundance. Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee is the B-movie hero every zombie fan could’ve wished for. But there’s a lot about this aspiring cult comedy that doesn’t quite sit right. Columbus, played by gawky actor du jour Jesse Eisenberg, should by all rights have died ten minutes into the film. The ridiculous story about going to the fairground seems contrived purely to justify some reasonably cool effects. And perhaps most importantly, the script is annoyingly lopsided.
Monday, 30 November 2009
The film is clearly very personal – all of the characters appear to have aspirations of becoming writers, and the title most likely refers to Duras herself. It may then be no coincidence that, despite her attempts to remove the dialogue of charisma or fluidity, she has created an intriguing character in Alissa. Initially, Alissa appears vulnerable, forgettable; a simple asset of Max’s success. But before long, it becomes clear that, perhaps unconsciously, much of the film surrounds this woman’s effects on the group dynamic. Interesting but grating – a dehydrated reincarnation of Last Year At Marienbad.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Enjoyment of this feature-length episode is quite heavily dependent of one’s experience with the TV programme – here’s looking at you, stoners – but suffice it to say there’s enough here to entertain most people. The humour manages a great balance between puerile and adult, and there are hilarious nods to cultural icons from several generations. In contrast to most other children’s animations these days, there are no cheap attempts to create memorable quotes or incompatible characters. But the best aspect of the film is the brilliant voice work – with guest turns from Scarlett Johansson and Alec Baldwin, how could you go wrong?
Saturday, 28 November 2009
This is perhaps the most serious of the Zombie Flesh Eaters films, and thus the least enjoyable. The voodoo theme makes for an interesting set-up, but it’s quickly forgotten once the special effects team get the opportunity to show off their skills. And boy do they show ’em off... within the first fifteen minutes, a character gets his eyeball pulled out, then a series of zombie fingernails scratches off the rest of his face. But the film has little to offer asides from senseless gruesomeness, mind-numbingly poor acting (the cast features a renowned gay porn star) and the tackiest score in recent memory.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Director Dušan Hanák began his career as a documentarian, but won considerable acclaim with this, his debut. Hanák is clearly a philanthropist, and yet his characters seem so flatly tolerant of life’s volatility. Lauko himself is a weak protagonist, but his observations of other people form the film’s very narrative. In the original short story from which the film was adapted, Lauko was apolitical, but Hanák was adamant that he was a former communist, contextualising the feature and giving the character’s self-deprecation some depth. In this way, 322 is perhaps not as timeless as some of its contemporaries, but still stands out as yet another great flagship of the Czechoslovak New Wave, a movement still palpable in European cinema today.