Thursday, May 24, 2007

Saturday's SHAUN screening & current movie guide

Saturday turned out to be a perfect rainy afternoon for hitting the movies. I think maybe 25-30 people showed up, a handful of my friends from work—Kim, Jeff, Larry, Kelly, Jen B., no vballers, Dan and Ray, a handful of my sister's friends, and a gang of archaeologist thugs that Rowan hangs with, one of them a "specialist in the dead." I didn't get to *ahem* pick her brain myself, but Rowan told me that she found SHAUN's zombie interpretations to be acceptable.

All but two of the audience chose to come up to the balcony for seats, without any explicit encouragement from me. Perhaps I'd already imprinted my balcony habit on enough of them that they just knew...? Well, it worked out quite nicely, as 25 people in the balcony in the dark feels like a decent crowd, y'know? =)

The two downstairs holdouts were Kelly and Mark, who sat there so that Kelly could have access to the restroom without having to disturb any other audience members. Very considerate, no?

Alas, I didn't see any of the other 'thonners there. Young Goodman Ryan was actually out in the wilds 'thonning for the Mass Audobon Society. Guess I'll hafta Watch-A-Thon hard next time around to get myself another chance at a screening! What to screen...? What to screen...? *sigh*

There was a bit of a technical snafu that had to be worked around. The deal with this screening was that I could choose any film from the Brattle's library of reels or any DVD I could get my hands on to be projected. So, I brought my own copy of SHAUN OF THE DEAD into the theater to be played. About 15 minutes into the movie, the DVD skipped back to the beginning of the film. Maybe the Brattle is picking up some grindhouse habits from the "Welcome to the Grindhouse" series its running? Well, I made my way downstairs and backstage to get Ned to switch discs. See, I'd brought *two* copies of the DVD (one of them mine, one of them a present to my sister, both now residing at our joint address), because I was paranoid about how they might play on the Brattle's unfamiliar (to the discs) equipment. They'd never given me any trouble on my player at home or my laptop, but y'know, I've never met this projector before. Sure, it's shown me great anime and indie horror, but I don't know what it's really LIKE. I'm going to be cautious, right?

Ridiculous thinking, I know, but, hey, whaddyaknow? Saved the screening!

I think there were maybe ten people in the audience who hadn't seen the movie before, and given the reactions in all the right places, SHAUN was well received. Patricia and Natasha alone were into it enough for two balconies, and SHAUN veterans Ray and Jen B. told me that they appreciated nuances and moments they hadn't caught on previous viewings.

I myself caught for the first time that when Shaun explains to his coworkers at the electronics shop that he'll be manager for the day, it's because *Ash* called in sick. Although I'd thought of Shaun as very much a British counterpart to EVIL DEAD's Ash, this was the first time I'd caught an explicit tongue-in-cheek reference in the film itself (aside from the clever "Join us-?" line Shaun throws at Pete on his way out of their flat on Z-day). Damn, those guys are Good.

Gotta get myself to another HOT FUZZ show before it leaves the big screen.

Me go lie down now. I'll leave you with a copy/paste of my thanks-for-coming-to-the-show email, with a current movie "study guide" of sorts.

Keep on keepin on~

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THANKS to everyone who forfeited the lovely New England summer Saturday afternoon to sit in a darkened Brattle theater and watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD!  1.05 times, even. =)

If any of you were Brattle first-timers, I hope that you came away with a good feeling about the place, and will check the theater's schedule and come back for more.

If you enjoyed SHAUN, I highly recommend you check out a few recent releases that are still in theaters right now, as well as the ongoing "Welcome to the Grindhouse" series at the Brattle.  I'll write up some rambles on them at the end of this email.  *DO* go see them.  In particular, THE HOST, as I'm afraid it may be in its last week or two of local big screen play.

And, if you didn't enjoy SHAUN...

Go away.

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I'm game for hitting most everything I'll list at least once more, schedule allowing, so if you're in need of a spotter for any of them, let me know. =)

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HOT FUZZ - The creators of SHAUN OF THE DEAD jump from a zombie universe to a buddy cop action flick universe.  This time around, they're all about the buddy cop action movie, the best and the cheeziest, all represented in a really quite charming, smartly written, wonderfully acted, gorgeously choreographed, tongue-in-cheek simultaneous original vision and homage to cops-n-robbers films. With heart =)

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THE HOST - From South Korea.  Ostensibly a monster film about a mutated creature from the Han River that terrorizes the city of Seoul, but very much more about a dysfunctional family that the creature offends when it abducts their youngest.  As much LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE as it is THE BLOB.

Now playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.

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GRINDHOUSE - A double-feature of films by Robert Rodriguez (DESPERADO) and Quentin Tarantino (RESERVOIR DOGS) inspired by old-school low-budge horror and exploitation flicks.  RR's PLANET TERROR is a zombie action flick and QT's DEATH PROOF is fun with a homicidal maniac whose weapon of choice is his muscle car.  Before each film you're treated to some fake trailers by the two directors as well as the SHAUN and HOT FUZZ creators.  A super cheeky, campy, and fun adrenaline fixx.

Now playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.

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"Welcome to the Grindhouse" - A series at the Brattle featuring films that fit the "grindhouse" bill.  You just have to check out the listings and description at the Brattle, I can't fairly describe this stuff.  Alas, ZOMBIE has already played—zombie vs. shark!—but there is more grindness to come!

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28 WEEKS LATER - A crazy well-done new-wave zombie flick, follow-up and sequel to the most excellent 28 DAYS LATER.  "New-wave zombies" because they are *not* zombies as we know them from the Italian or Romero oeuvre.  These freaks can really move!


Now playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.

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SERENITY - Coming June 23 to the Coolidge for a special charity midnight showing!  SERENITY is the sci-fi adventure movie capstone to the excellent but greedtarded-Fox-exec-cancelled series FIREFLY, created by Joss Whedon, of BUFFY, ANGEL, and ASTONISHING X-MEN fame. However, you do NOT need to have soaked in all the TV series goodness to appreciate the film. It stands solidly on its own as a moving, well-paced story set in a wonderfully eclectic future populated with the most colorful and thoughtfully written and played characters who are driven by the most familiar desires and ideals. Whew, that was a mouthful, even typed out.

If you've got the time and access, tho, I recommend watching the pilot of the series available on the first DVD of the FIREFLY collection. It is NOT necessary, but it'll be a good bit of conditioning for you before hittin the hard stuff.

How is this connected to SHAUN...?  Well, it's pretty freakin awesome, for starters.  Also, there's space zombies, of a sort. =)

Coolidge Corner Theater.

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SEVERANCE - Alas, this is *not* actually playing locally, but was released in the states this weekend.  I'm hoping it'll make its way into our market eventually, so keep your eyes peeled (what an uncomfortable word-picture, no?).  I caught this at the Boston Fantastic Film Festival last year and it is hilarious and horror-suspenseful, a brilliant piece of work in the ever-popular and crowd-pleasing office co-workers face off against psychotic trained mountain men killers genre! =)

Blurbs about the film describe it as THE OFFICE meets DELIVERANCE. Not a bad description. I'd also add that it feels a bit like DOG SOLDIERS, and in parts, demonstrates SHAUN OF THE DEAD Goodness. This film adds a slew of clever wrinkles to a classic killer-in-the-woods set-up. The office coworker character types and relations set up some opportunities for hilarity as well as some touching moments amid the carnage.

4 comments:

rhino88 said...

Thanks for the Shaun party roundup. Wish I coulda been in the balcony with the undead, but the birds were calling.

Got to see The Host this week and give it two slimy thumbs up. 28 Weeks Later I was not so jazzed about, but hey, its got zombies!

I'm gonna do all I can to go see the Cronenberg/Romero double feature at the Brattle on Friday.

See you soon at the movies,

Ryan

cabinboy said...

@Ryan. Congrats on the impressive birding! Wild turkeys like to get it on in the rain, eh? Do the organizers ever attempt an urban birding challenge? Probably not so much in the spirit of the Audobon Society, or that bird-lucrative, but my sister and Rowan told me that saw a turkey walking along the street in Kendall Square a couple weeks ago.

Great to hear you dig THE HOST! I wish everyone would go see it! I've seen it four times now and it still brings tears to my eyes at times as well as silly grins.

I like how 28 WEEKS LATER builds such a desolate London world and creates and drops characters into it that I root for so quickly. I'm always impressed and knocked out by that accomplishment in a film. Even if it plays on cliches, it works, and works me. The focus and zombie-celebrity of the dad was a little jarring at first, but I was totally willing to run with it. I really feel it's a great follow-up and riff on the new wave zombie universe created in 28 DAYS LATER. Of course, I want more!

I'm definitely gonna try and make the double feature tonight, too. Frickin frackin league night vball has been killing the Thursday options. I did manage to catch NIGHTMARE CITY after SHAUN on Saturday and love it. Very much a prototype for the 28 scenario, only, y'know, tackier. =)

cabinboy said...

Frackety frack. I'm gonna end up missing the double feature : P

zorknapp said...

We went to see Hot Fuzz again last week, its a movie that both bears, and can handle, repeated viewings, a good combination...