Thursday, June 19, 2008

Extra Extra! [•REC] Rex Romero in '07!

Apologies for recent lack of updates, multiple video projects. Here is a very modern post.

Seeing [•REC] in Spanish worked. The subtitles file didn't, and the movie was just that scary. My day job requires me to watch countless clips of raw news footage and I wouldn't have been able to tell this from a Primer Impacto special on Univision.

Until the demons come out. Are they demons? Zombies? Not knowing is better. Not seeing is better.

Soon this will be remade as "Quarantine" here in the States. Soon the dvd of the original will be released stateside to promote it. Why not give the better Spanish version a spin?

This is finest POV camera horror film ever made. Not a tall order to beat, there's only a few others - Cloverfield, Blair Witch,
and Man Bites Dog which is more of a black comedy owing inspiration to a specific scene from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

There's also this stoner gore nonsense which I can't really qualify as movies. The creators were initially planning on leaving unmarked tapes in public places, supposedly.

[•REC] is so fucking good about what to do right with this subgenre concept that I'd rather unload on the more publicized entry from last year, George A. Romero's (the A stands for "Another zombie movie") Diary of the Dead.

Romero's scriptwriting has gone to shit. It's overwraught, ponderous and contrived. He goes so far as to end with the exact same scene from the original Night, plus narration on what it all plus.

The dialogue never ends. Considering the relative sparseness of the original trilogy- in all it's operatic glory, but here we're supposed to believe naturalism. and then the acting teacher says "it appears the dead are waking up!"

If you ignore the awful monotone girl narration, and take it as a comic book romp through a zombie movie in the ultimate 3D, it's mildy enjoyable. Land of the Dead was also a romp through a bad liberal political cartoon would-be Brecht, complete with a black revolutionary leader zombie who storms the rich white man's mall. As anti-corporate genre splatter satire they both fall pathetically far behind from Robocop or They Live.

Unfortunately you can't ignore the overwrought music, a far cry from Goblin or John Harrison. [•REC] has none I can remember.

Diary takes the far more compelling satirical target of mass media and how our forms of mass and interpersonal communication have mutated since the advent of personal computers, the internet and digital video. The itch in the back of my skull is that the original trilogy didn't need specific targets like Bush or the (c)orporate media.

The original three stories were survival stories whose sociology was timeless. Perhaps in two years the next one will be about
environmentalism. Whoopee.

Filmed in Canada, there's an absolute coldness to the air and film stock. Too many movies these days are pale blue or steely grey or sickly green. Day had the most contemporary cinematography of its time and its color pallete was thoughtful.

The characters are supposed to be shooting DV but it looks like film. Between making home movies and seeing Inland Empire twice in the theater I think I know the difference.

The main characters are whiny film school "kids" and that was especially unbearable. Romero's appropriation of unbearable student film style is what makes the rub. Romero's filmed on film his whole life and doesn't know what a student film looks like, and doesn't have the aesthetic courage to go total handheld amateur the way [•REC] or even Blair Witch did if memory serves.

The only compelling scenes are vignettes entirely separate from the narrative, found video - home movies. Perhaps if Romero had directed 90 minutes of them...

Our main characters are Directing majors! Kill them all, zombies, chop chop.

A couple years ago I remembered one of my fellow students getting to sit in on the editing of Land (also shot in Canada) and I flipped. This was when Romero's return to the living dead was something to look forward to.

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