I’m really enjoying David Wellington’s work.  From his Zombie Island to his 13 Bullets, he’s tackled zombies and vampires in a way I have found refreshing.  With Frostbite, he does the same for werewolves.

Probably not his best work to date, but a solid effort none the less, this is the story of a girl who goes out into the wilderness to find the werewolf that killed her father only to wind up becoming one herself.  I’m eager to see where he takes this when the sequel comes out toward the end of the year.

Movie Round-Up: August 28th, 2009

Halloween 2:

I still haven’t seen the first Rob Zombie Halloween remake, so I’m not itching to see the sequel.  Perhaps one day I’ll catch up.

The Final Destination:

There is a fairly long tradition of horror movies utilizing 3D, but the old 3D kinda sucked.  RealD, however, works great.  It also helps that The Final Destination didn’t waste much time doing “stupid” 3D tricks like people waving things at the screen… they didn’t need to, because in a movie about people getting killed in insanely intricate traps there are plenty of body parts and death machines to fling at the audience.  Overall, this movie was probably, from a plot standpoint, the worst of the Final Destination series, but the 3D makes the whole film stand out (see what I did there).  The death scenes are just incredibly over the top, and fun to watch unfold.  Well, unless you didn’t like the previous three films.  It is sort of gross, and not for the squeamish.  I’m not sure if the movie is worth $10 ($12 in most places since they charge you extra for the glasses), but seeing this in 3D is really the only worthwhile way to see it, and when it comes to DVD/Blu-Ray it won’t be in RealD 3D but regular 3D which just isn’t as good.  So, yeah, if this sort of movie is something you’d enjoy, go see it at the theater.

You’ve got red on you.

News comes trickling out of Valve about Left4Dead 2.  First up is the addition of a cricket bat for full on Shaun of the Dead style zed killin’.

Cricket bat goes 'bonk!'
Cricket bat goes 'bonk!'

Also, it seems that Valve is looking in to linking the two games, Left 4 Dead and its sequel, through multi-player maps/campaigns.  I sure hope all this works in the 360 versions, because I’d love to essentially have the choice of eight characters when messing around with my friends instead of just four.

Hamlet 2

7 out of 13 nots.
for being fun and funny, but not overflowing with either

Hamlet 2 is a twist on a story that has been done before.  The school is going to shut down the drama program and the teacher and his students have one last shot to put on a play that will save everything.  Only, this teacher is a buffoon, and the play he decides to do is an original work, a sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where Jesus returns to the world, and then travels through time with Hamlet allowing him to save all the people who die in the original play.  The production is punctuated with songs like “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” and “Raped In The Face” making the play in the movie is more fun than the movie itself for its absurdity.

If you are a huge South Park fan and live for that style of humor, then run right out and see Hamlet 2.  You’ll love it.  But if South Park isn’t your heart and soul, then you may want to pass on this one, or at least see it at a discounted rate.

Seeing Redd

Back in March I read a book called The Looking Glass Wars.  I enjoyed it enough to pick up the sequel, Seeing Redd.

We are back in Wonderland, and its been… well, some short period of time since the end of the first book.  The book uses “lunar cycles” to measure time, but its unclear if a lunar cycle in Wonderland is the same as one on Earth, but I suspect it isn’t.  Here on Earth, a lunar cycle means from full moon to full moon (or new moon to new moon, if you wish), which runs about a month.  In Wonderland, I am guessing that its much shorter, perhaps that the author might in fact mean just one day, as is the moon comes up and then the moon goes down.  In some places the book says its been a full lunar cycle, and you can easily imagine a month having gone by, yet in other places when an urgent task is required to be done in two or three lunar cycles… well, would waiting two or three months really make the task urgent?

In any event, the book keeps with that same similar style from the first book where things are said but not explained, which is good that the book isn’t bogged down with explaining exactly what an orb generator or a scorpspitter is, and yet, given the way that I read books, constructing the world in my imagination, without details I’m left to fill in the gaps myself, or just to have gaps.  Filling in the gaps myself often leads me to having to revise my image of something later when a new detail does emerge, which then causes me a little confusion concerning earlier events…

Despite those issues (which might be my issues alone), the book still reads well.  It moves along at a good clip, hits the high parts and delivers a decent punch.  I enjoyed it.

Oceans 13

Did you like the remake of Oceans 11 with Clooney and Pitt and the rest of the gang? I know I did. It was a smart, snappy film that oozed style, hearkening back to the original with the Rat Pack.

Did you like the sequel, Oceans 12? I was really on the fence about it… it had some decent scenes, but the overall story was just sort of… meh. You know? Lacking.

Oceans 13 gets back what 12 lost from 11. Back is the Vegas backdrop and the neon and music, the style. In fact, almost too much style. There might actually be more 70’s style Vegas in this movie than there actually was during the 70’s. But that’s okay, because it works.

The story: Reuben has been had, his business partner in a new casino venture, Willie Bank, has double crossed him, stolen his share and his money, and Reuben has had a heart attack. Danny and the gang show up and decide the best revenge against Willie is to ensure his new hotel, his fifth, doesn’t earn the Five Diamond review his other hotels have gotten, as well as running a gambit referred to as a “reverse big store” in which they are going to need to rig as many games as possible to make as much money as possible walk out the door on Willie’s big grand opening night. Of course, how do rig all those tables and all those games without getting caught, and how do you get people in Vegas to actually leave with their money instead of staying and gambling it away?

All the guys are back, and evidence that an ensemble can still work, each character has at least one or two scenes that they steal, and no one drops the ball.

This one is almost as good as the original. If you loved Oceans 11, go see Oceans 13.

28 Weeks Later

Just got back from seeing 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later.

It was excellent. Similar to 28 Days Later, in 28 Weeks, the infected and the infection provide the setting, but the overall story is more about the people than it is the monsters. While this isn’t really a zombie movie, it follows along with alot of the same stylistic elements.

In 28 Days, you saw Jim wake up 28 days after a plague of “rage” has engulfed England. He quickly has a few close calls and hooks up with another person, and then two more, and they eventually head to a place that promises a cure. And here is where the “real story” of 28 Days began. Some soldiers were holed up at a mansion and in a moderately twisted way were planning to survive and repopulate the world.

28 Weeks involves none of the characters from the original. Here, we are introduced to a few survivors at the height of the plague, then transported 28 weeks forward to where US troops have reoccupied parts of London, the infected have supposedly starved to death, and reconstruction efforts are beginning. British travelers from abroad are being allowed to return, and in the current batch are two kids, children of a man who managed to survive on the ground in England. Like the original, the movie takes a little turn and takes the focus away from the infection and shows you the world… people living in the safe zone, the guards who protect it. The kids decide to jump the fence and retrieve some possessions from their old house, and as you can guess this is where the trouble begins.

If you were to say that 28 Days Later was like the movie Alien, then 28 Weeks Later is Aliens. It was exciting and scary, like the original, but with more muscle and firepower. If you liked 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later should be right up your alley. I definitely recommend it.