Saturday, September 16, 2006

Watching zombies & other creepy stuff

Donna had to be recertified in CPR before returning to work, so was attending a class last night. I took advantage of that and our free HBO on Demand to see a couple of horror movies I haven't had that chance to catch.

The most fun was George Romero's LAND OF THE DEAD from last year. Dennis Hopper chews the scenery as a nasty business tycoon who has created a 'safe' haven for the living in what used to be Chicago. Simon Baker & John Leguizamo are mercenary types who go out among the walking dead to scavenge goods which Hopper can then sell to his clients. Plenty of zombie action, with pretty clever leader "Big Daddy" (played by former CLF offensive lineman, Eugene Clark), bringing the dead into the city. Romero's movies are always a lot of fun, as he doesn't take much of this seriously. His zombies in the mall scenes have become a zombie film staple.

While each of the four "Dead" films stand alone, Romero has created a history of sorts which you can follow. I read a neat book a few years ago called "Book of the Dead" which takes place in Romero's world. Sadly, it was one of the books I donated to the library before moving out here. Recommended for some great zombie stories by Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Ramsey Campbell and others with an introduction by Romero himself.

The second film was a sequel to one of my favorite horror films of the past few years, THE RING 2. Simon Baker is in this film also but has a smaller, though pivotal, role as a co-worker of Naomi Watts. Watts returns as Rachel Keller, whose son Aidan is the focus of supernatural forces. Once again a videotape starts the action, but it switches to that of Watts attempts to keep Aidan from becoming possessed by Samara ( the girl from the well in the first film). Not as good as the first American version (and no where as excellent as the Japanese original), there are still some nice scare scenes. If nothing else it proves that even deer can be pretty damn scary if used in a certain fashion.

I still recommend the original Japanese version RINGU with English subtitles. It is different enough from the Americanized film, but you can see why it created a cult in its native land, with novels, sequels and manga adaptations. In fact, the director of that film, Hideo Nakata, directed this American remake of his own Japanese sequel.

The first movie, along with the previous year's MULHOLLAND DR. made me a huge fan of Naomi Watts.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm back!

Hard to believe that it has been a month since I last posted here. I've dropped a line or two over on the other site, but haven't gotten around to this one.

Not going to go all political here, but I must note the anniversary of 9/11. Almost all the stations have had something to commerate the event this past weekend, and the major networks & news channels have gone overtime. Best to just take a moment to reflect on those who lost their lives and their family members who will always remember them.

Caught a few segments of Stan Lee's WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPER-HERO? sometime last week. If nothing else it shows how silly the costumes are and why super-heroes in movies often modify (as in the BATMAN films) or do away with them (as in the X-MEN). SUPERMAN really isn't SUPERMAN without the red/yellow & blue outfit, so you can't do much about that, although SMALLVILLE seems to be doing quite well without Clark putting on the cape & tights.

Kristina & Merissa were over the other night and we all watched DERAILED, with Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen. Not a bad film at all and with a number of surprises, I suppose I should have seen coming but didn't.

Just finished DR. DEATH by Jonathan Kellerman this morning. I'm a fan of Kellerman having read or listened on tape to over a half dozen of his books, including DOUBLE HOMICIDE which he co-wrote with his wife, Faye Kellerman (an equally well-known writer). I'm going to get started on the last two Joe Bob Brigg's review books I still have on hand. As I've said before, the website hasn't posted a new review since last year, but I still feel obligated to finish what I started. The Kellerman book was not a JBB book, by the way, but rather something I picked up out of the apartment complex 'library'.

I will try to post at least once a week from now on, if I can.