Saturday, May 29, 2021
Thursday, May 27, 2021
One of Desslok’s panicked underlings notes that they “have been fighting a force” they “don’t understand" since the day the Argo left Earth.
Still, this episode makes a satisfying conclusion to the long-standing chess game between the Gamilons and the humans from Earth. For episode after episode, we've witnessed the Star Force defeating the plans of Gamilon underlings such as Lysis and Volgar.
Here, Desslok himself is in charge, and there's no one else to blame for his failure. During some moments of this episode, he seems to go mad at the prospect of defeat. Oddly, there is not as much joy in seeing Desslok's defeat as one might expect. We know now that Desslok is trying to save his own planet. That knowledge adds a melancholy feeling to the episode. Earth and its people may be saved, but Gamilon still, will die.
The danger is passed, and the destination is in sight!
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Monday, May 24, 2021
Army Of The Dead… Go AWOL instead.
By Jonas Schwartz
There’s an ingenious quote from famed movie critic Pauline Kael about the 1969 comedy, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,“Playing the bitch, Dyan Cannon-… looks a bit like Lauren Bacall and a bit like Jeanne Moreau, but the wrong bits.” Army of the Dead, the latest from Zack Snyder, is a bit Aliens, a bit Dirty Dozen, a bit Oceans 11 and a bit Zombieland,but ALL the wrong bits. It’s impossible to leave out the fun when filming about zombies in Las Vegas, but Snyder has committed the impossible sin.
After a collision between an army caravan and horny newlyweds who obviously never paid attention during drivers ed, a government experiment escapes outside Las Vegas, either killing or turning the brigade members into zombies. These military newly walking dead turn Sin City to mush and the US quarantines the toxic city from the rest of the country by building a wall around it. The wealthy Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) hires a crew of mercenaries to free his money ($200 million) in his casino vault from the city that now never wakes. Led by the complicated family man Ward (Dave Bautista), the squad sneaks over the border and quickly discovers that the monsters inside are not brainless brain-seekers but super intelligent creatures who have formed their own dead militia.
Snyder attempts satire by drawing correlations with COVID (the military takes people’s temperatures to assure they’re not a danger) and the last four years’ controversial policies against our neighbor Mexico (many of the zombies’ captured refugees are Hispanic, the wall around Las Vegas brings to mind a colossal, expensive folly), but just reminding people of the last half-decade is not satire, per se. Snyder finds nothing new to say about either current circumstances, nor the zombie genre — one that he reinvigorated in ’05 with his remake of Dawn of the Dead. The action scenes are appropriately gory but not inventive, and the quiet scenes between the actors are staffed with trite dialogue by writers Shay Hatten and Joby Harold. The characters are interchangeable, and the zombies’ pecking order is confusing. The opening sequence that shows in slow motion the usual stable of Vegas characters (showgirls, prostitutes, strippers, gamblers) turning into zombies is the one fun scene, but it’s heavily reminiscent of the superior opening fromZombieland. The opening song, a goofy cover of “Viva Las Vegas”, is even sung by Richard Cheese, whose “Down With The Sickness” was utilized to great effect in Dawn of the Dead.
The effects are involving. Anytime you take a cherished landmark and pummel it, people will feel personally desecrated and out for revenge from the monster/tornado/ice storm responsible. The acting is non-descript — no one’s backstory feels fresh, especially leader Wards’ ties to his estranged daughter, which is a storyline found on cave drawings. Huge props for Snyder swapping allegedly toxic actor Chris D’Elia with groundbreaking comedian Tig Notaro as the getaway pilot. The gifted monologist, who has written and spoken about her bouts with cancer, adds a wizened devil-may-care to a role that would have been easily forgotten.
Besides Richard Cheese’s opening cover, the movie is filled with the expected Elvis tunes, along with a few sly covers, like Thea Gilmore’s sleepy grift on CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising”. The actual score by Junkie XL is monotonous and makes you yearn for another Elvis remake. Potentially for the death scenes at the palatial abandoned casinos, why not “Heartbreak Hotel” sung by Tickle Me, Elmo with maybe the Cookie Monster on back-ups? At least it would be unexpected.
This critic has not enjoyed Zack Snyder’s many comic-book/graphic novel films. Only his debut really exhilarated me. Since Snyder is the constant, the variable in Dawn of the Dead was James Gunn, Snyder’s screenwriter for the hyper-driven, hilarious film back in ’05. It’s a shame that Gunn, who has become a legendary director in his own right with such blockbusters as Guardians Of The Galaxy, wasn’t hired to give life to Army of the Dead —this dead, walking dead’er.
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Friday, May 21, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Monday, May 17, 2021
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