by Andrew Jupin
There is no doubt that George A. Romero's 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, is one of the most important contemporary, American horror films ever made. The film was the start of a terrifying new direction for the horror genre and at the same time was a biting critique of contemporary, American life and some of the more popular ideologies at that time. The film was able to criticize things like race relations and contemporary familial structure, while at the same time scaring the pants off of audiences all over the world. It was also a great achievement in the realm of independent, American filmmaking.
Forty years later, Romero is still chugging along with films in his 'Dead' series after most recently releasing the critical overkill (no pun intended) Diary of the Dead. Here, Romero is attempting to stomp on things like television news media and the affects of You Tube on today's society. The problem (as you can read in greater detail in my review of the film) is that all the subtlety that Romero was once the master of is now replaced with endless amounts of obvious remarks from characters that don't belong in a Romero film to begin with. One of the great aspects of Romero's casting over the years as been his ability to select average, believable looking people to play his characters. The opposite is true for Diary which is filled with pretty girls and chiseled guys, none of whom seem at home in a George A. Romero production.
Well as of today, Dimension Films is granting you, the consumer, the chance to purchase both the good and the bad. Both Diary of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead are finding new homes on DVD. While the Diary disc seems pretty standard--special features include the usual rambling Romero commentary, and behind-the-scenes featurettes--there is one unique feature available which is a series of five short films made by fans and selected by Romero himself. Yes, the films are all about zombies and yes, MySpace is responsible. But nonetheless, they are certainly worth checking out.
But the real gem to come out of this Dimension Films zombie DVD release party is the Night of the Living Dead disc. The film itself became public domain years ago and because of this the DVD community has seen at least a dozen different releases of the film, all even worse than the last. You sadly even find the film crammed onto a DVD with at least six other films in one of those 'Great Horror Movie 50-Pak' things which is something so sad considering the upper echelon of horror that the film falls into. Well the great thing about the Night DVD is that it is fully remastered. This transfer looks absolutely incredible. The picture is crystal clear and the audio just crackles with every bone-chomping sound effect in the film. This special 40th Anniversary Edition also comes complete with two audio commentaries (one from Romero himself and one from select cast and crew members), an entire feature-length documentary called One for the Fire which chronicles the production and importance of the film, a separate Night of the Living Dead-centric Q&A with Romero himself as well as the final interview with Duane Jones, the African-American lead of the film who, along with Romero's casting insistence, helped break down race barriers in the motion picture industry.
In all honesty, if you're going to go out there and purchase either of these DVD's, make sure you pick up Night before you consider buying Diary. If anything, Diary is a rental. I think it's important to see all of Romero's films, but only necessary to own a select few. Keeping track of his body of work as a whole is important because the lows in his career, like Diary of the Dead, certainly give a whole new importance to the highs of his career, like Night of the Living Dead. And there honestly isn't a better edition of Night out there than the one being released today.
by Andrew Jupin
by Brett Parker
Is Peter Parker too much of a winy wimp for you? Do you find Clark
As the film opens, we learn that Stark is the most famous and most brilliant weapons designer on the planet. He’s like a cross between Howard Hughes and Hugh Hefner. Stark is a carefree spoiled brat who acts more like Jack Nicholson in the 70s than a responsible war figure. However, things change on a fateful trip to
Stark has other plans for them. While in captivity, Stark builds a suit of iron armed with various weapons. He uses the suit to blast his way out of the terrorist prison and fly to safety. Stark is found and brought back to
As a superhero film, Iron Man lies somewhere between the complex drama of Batman Begins and the fluffy fun of Daredevil. Yet this isn’t a scattered venture; the film is fully realized comic pop that gets the best of both worlds. The film makes strong efforts to unearth the underlying human complexities of the material, yet it still knows how to have a hell of a good time! Much credit is due to the special effects department at Industrial Light & Magic, who make Iron Man’s superhero feats look fully convincing and eye-popping at the same time. The effects not only dazzle us but truly give a strong sense of how the Iron Man suit would feel and operate. No small detail is spared. These effects are way more convincing than the ones in Spider-Man.
Director Jon Favreau has not only proven he can direct exceptional fluff with Elf and Zathura, but his behind-the-scenes work on Swingers and Made also proves that he is an actor’s director. So certainly he knew the importance of casting when all these heavyweight actors decided to take on seemingly thankless comic book roles. These seasoned veterans bring more conviction than probably necessary to their roles, making the comic book drama all the more fun to relish. Its great seeing Bridges as a bald-headed villain; Howard will go on to make a fine War Machine in the sequels, and Paltrow is smart and likeable in the love interest role. I really enjoyed the affectionate scenes between Paltrow and
Even with all these great qualities, it’s ultimately Robert Downey, Jr. who is the driving force behind the film. It’s so fascinating watching a quirky character actor play a superhero as opposed to a hung-up heartthrob. Most superhero characters are usually so repressed and socially inept that it’s really refreshing to see one that’s a hard-partying wild man. Like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean,
When it comes to great superhero films, Batman Begins and Superman Returns are still the ones to beat, yet it’s hard to deny that Iron Man is smarter and funnier than the average genre flick. Favreau has not only proven that Iron Man is more than we could’ve imagined, but
By the way, you know how some movies have an extra scene waiting after all the end credits have finished playing? Iron Man has one of those and it is extremely worth waiting for after the film is over. It not only features a surprise cameo but also a surprise plot development that will get you all fired up for a sequel. Like Terrance Howard, you’ll be chanting “next time, baby!”
The Babelgum Online Film Festival is the first of its kind, and provides a unique distribution opportunity for the newest filmmaking talent. A number of entries have been created specifically for the festival, proving that it is also generating new and original content.
· The Babelgum Short Film Award
· The Babelgum Looking For Genius Award
· The Babelgum Animation Award
· The Babelgum Music Video Award
· The Babelgum Social / Environment Award
· The Babelgum Spot / Advertising Award
· The Babelgum Documentary Award
· Babelgum users are now voting in their thousands and having their say on who will become the next big filmmaking talent. A shortlist of films will be reached through a combination of factors: users’ votes, the amount of times a film is viewed, the amount of posts and comments and the number of times a film is linked
· The shortlist will then be judged by the BOFF Jury, led by renowned director Spike Lee. The other jurors consist of film experts from across the globe, including the directors of established film festivals, film schools and film industry associations
Babelgum is a new interactive web TV portal. Babelgum uses peer-to-peer technology to provide the immersive viewing experience and picture quality of traditional TV combined with the interactivity and personalization enabled by the Internet.
Babelgum allows users to enjoy free, on-demand and personalized channels, using both niche and mainstream content to satisfy individuals’ needs for tailored entertainment. Instead of user-generated clips, it features only professionally produced content spanning film, news, sports, documentaries, music videos, concerts, lifestyle and trends, animation and scripted programs.