Rush – Beyond The Lighted Stage (2010)

This film gave me a renewed interest for the band.

I appreciated that the band has always made their music their way rather regardless of industry trends.  For them the creativity and pushing their skill is what is most important.

Using and transitioning between different time signatures has always been an important element to their music — and they do so seamlessly.  With this a musician who understands time signatures follows along and is impressed by their work and yet with the seamless transitions someone who is not musically inclined follows their music and also experiences the energy of their work.  While this makes them a musician’s band they have always also been the people’s band.

Rush – Beyond The Lighted Stage at IMDB and Wikipeida

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)

Red Blood

As far as I’m concerned Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz does not deserve the honor of a review or a comment on my webpage — but — I bought a copy, I’ve seen it, and I’m fairly thorough …. and I’ll share my opinion for other film fans of a genere to see something great or avoid something terrible.

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz = AVOID

So there are a few things that happen in HolloWood that really stink up art, films, creative ideas …. and I mean stink up like the scrapings from the dog park at the end of a July weekend.  One of them is excessive creative liberties …. “I paid for the license on this story, and now regardless of whatever that story is I can do what I want — and I do!”  Another one is the thought that world federation wrestlers, extreme fighters, or ultimate weight lifters can act …. instead of putting them out to pasture once they’ve body-slammed their brains out or whatever, someone tries putting them into film.  Sometimes that works — a great example would be Dwayne Johnson — not only did we get lucky there, we got a real gift.  Usually what’s done is they put them in high-action/low-story roles, and because there’s a bunch of action it must be a good film.  WRONG!

This film takes the setting of Outpost and tries to give the back-story — the origins of the machine and the experiments — and strings along a battle-royal with some Russian Special Forces soldiers who come off more as resistance fighters and ultimately does nothing to establish the subtitle of the ‘rise of the Spetsnaz‘.

The opportunity for a quality, meaningful, story-establishing prequel to Outpost (2008) was entirely missed with Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz.  As my understanding goes, there was more money wasted on Rise of the Spetsnaz than there was spent on making Outpost: Black Sun (2012).  Black Sun is in my mind a superior film to ROTSpetnaz.  Black Sun derivatives from the character of the original 2008 film but stays enough within the universe.  Rise of the Spetnaz just took the setting and did whatever it wanted for the sake of making some meatheads an acting career.  In Black Sun the world is being threatened by the machine and the un-dead phase-shifting nazi super soldiers, and had the money that was thrown away in making ROTSpetnaz been put to Black Sun it could have delivered this world-threat development better.

I now own the 2008, 2012, and 2013 Outpost films.  I’m glad to have seen all three to know all the ground covered with the original idea, but had I known what was done with Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz I wouldn’t have paid ten cents for a copy.

Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013) at IMDB and Wikipedia

Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Yellow Puss

The short writing about this film is this …. at one time I had a longer writing …. it’s relative to that time that I thought I didn’t need to back-up my hard drive.

More or less to say, the additional film that should have been made to compliment the original 2008 Outpost.  The story works, you get to revisit the dangerous location found in the original film and yet go further in.  The phase-shifting zombie-nazis are now more of a threat — in this case, to the whole world!  There are some creative liberties I could have done without.  The sad thing is that this film has less money behind it (or at least to my understanding) than the 2013 Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz and did far more to carry the story line.  Had only the wasted Rise of the Spetsnaz money been put to this film then Black Sun could have been even better.  If you liked the original Outpost, see Outpost: Black Sun —  skip seeing Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz.

Outpost: Black Sun (2012) at IMDB and Wikipedia

Outpost (2008)

Green Ooze
This film was my first exposure to zombie nazis. I found a copy of the film on DVD at a liquidator store for $3 — figuring that it was going to be a roach, I was just too amused at the combination of zombies & nazis, and found out that it was a fantastic film.

Oh, and if you get really opinionated about the film, you can debate as to whether or not the nazis are zombies, phase-shifting zombies, or humans transformed into ghosts. Regardless, in this humble Highland bagpiper’s z-film opinion, this flick kicks ass.

Wikipedia has said that a part-2 film — the back story — is in the works … oh yeah, bring it on.

Outpost (2008) at IMDB and Wikipedia

 

Billy Elliot (2000)

Green Ooze

At first blush this film appears to be about a boy in Northern England who trades his boxing gloves for ballet toe-shoes, and is otherwise absolutely grossly devoid of zombies. However, I am fairly sure the sick grandmother charactre is in the beginning stages of turning into an undead person. I predict that the film “Billy Elliot 2 – The Years Between” will be made; this will reveal the zombie outbreak, teen-Billy’s epic trials of battle & survival, and rebuilding of society where we rejoin Billy at the end of film 1 having freed himself from his zombie-apocalypse PTSD through ballet. Oh yeah … mark my words, Billy Elliot 2 will be made … any day now … I’m sure of it.

Billy Elliot (2000) at IMDB and Wikipedia

Beast Within (AKA Virus Undead) (2008)

Green Ooze

This film should be watched at very least because it’s directed by two people with the names Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi. From what I can tell it’s a German Z-film made for American audiences. It looks & feels a bit like 28 Days Later where an alternate version of the avian flu transmits a zombie virus. Add to the mix Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “The Birds” — and don’t forget the college slasher film element, which of course means we also see Z-film breasts — but I gotta hand it to Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi, what is displayed isn’t gratuitous as with most Z-films*. Oh, and how about this — NO JOURNEY — even though the main charactres are at the epicenter, they feel that where they’re at is the best place to be. Also, I gotta like the zombie cop who still eats doughnuts even though he’s undead, and I dig the recording of the grandfather’s voice that reminds me of Evil Dead I & II. The birds in “The Birds” were better than the digital birds appeared often enough in this film … which is saying something because I’ve never seen all of “The Birds”.
(* The display of gratuitous Z-film breasts is tastefully done, but don’t watch this with your kids … or your parents)

Beast Within (AKA Virus Undead) (2008) at IMDB and Wikipedia

 

American Zombie (2007)

Yellow Puss

A mocumentary* suggesting that the reanimated dead live among us — from wild or low functioning zombies all the way to high functioning zombies who can pass for being human**. It’s amusing, a lot of subtle humor that sometimes you have to be paying attention and think for (God help us if we have to actually think!) — it could very well be a film that was shot right before some sort of mass zombie outbreak and consequent attack. This film, however, I feel would bore the life out of a non-Z-film-fan, but would be a good chuckle to fans of zombie genre.
* Mocumentary – a fictitious documentary
** Which could help to explain a few of the people I’ve met, particularly in the work-place and management.

American Zombie (2007) at IMDB

 

28 Weeks Later (2007)

Green Ooze nearing-Yellow Puss

When I saw that a part-2 was coming to 28 Days Later I was beyond excited. Only a few years earlier I saw the original on DVD and with this addition I could exercise my fandom with everyone else … then life happened and I found myself too busy & too broke to catch 28 Weeks Later in theaters.

Now viewing this this film 364 weeks (that’d be 7 years) after the release, I’m finding myself … well, I wouldn’t say that 28WL is a warm-over of 28DL, but I’m finding it bothersome that as many images & details along with elements of Jim & Saleena’s journey were drawn from 28DL. One could argue that someone had 1/2 to 2/3rds of the concept necessary for a part-2 flick and the rest of the script was filler from the original. When you watched Batman Begins, Dark Knight, and Dark Knight Rises, did you notice the identical components between the films? I did, and I made an Excel file tracking them — it’s unbelievable — the 3 films largely work off the same scenes, stunts, etc. When it comes to 28DL and 28WL I am seriously considering making a similar file — it might predict what will bee seen in 28 Years Later.

I liked that the film was set in the after-math of a zombie out-break — I’ve seen films where a population of survivors are holding out, but not during the reconstruction of a society. Overall it isn’t that this film left me wanting more, it left me wanting at least a little better. Without giving a spoiler I will say this for the film, it has a happy ending.

28 Weeks Later (2007) at IMDB
28 Weeks Later (2007) at Wikipedia

A NOTE ABOUT THE “28 Days/Weeks Later” SERIES from BagpiperDon (06September2014)

Sometimes hind-sight sneaks up and stabs you in the back like a grumpy UFO ninja pirate. In this case, I have been holding an inner-debate for the past few weeks as to whether I should include the 28D/WLater series in my inventory. Why?

Simple, I’m not 100% convinced that these are zombie films.

In the 28-series the threat is from rage infected people and my impression is that these people become dead and continue to be animated as a result of the infection; further they are never shown as dead who are reanimated by the virus. Like the films Quarantine and Carriers, the 28D/WL-series are infection films, not zombie films. So why have I left them in my review? For that matter, why are the Evil Dead and Army Of Darkness films in my review, too?

Again, the answer is ‘Simple‘ — I like them, and this is my webpage — I can do what I want.

Maybe as zombie-film fans we need to question, though, “Do zombies have to be dead?” In VooDoo zombieism commonly is about a person who is controlled under the spell of another and during that time they are mindless, but they are not dead. The zombie genre is largely not defined, so perhaps there is room for an infection of some sort to make living people zombies. In other words, so long as people are mindless and functioning, they can be zombies … now zombieism can include office workers, managers, politicians, die-hard pot-heads, and sleep-deprived parents with newborns.

That said …

If you dislike my “It’s my webpage & I can do what I want” attitude, trust me, it’s better than having a grumpy UFO ninja pirate sneak up and stab you in the back … particularly when they have bad breath.

28 Days Later (2002)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top-10

I came to own a copy of this film by accident and I couldn’t be happier!

While I won’t give away the ending to a film, in this case I won’t give you the exact beginning either — but the film really starts when Jim, a bike-messenger wakes up from a coma in an abandoned Emergency Room.  He has to figure out the enigma of where everyone is, and what happened 28 days  earlier after he got hit by a car in London.

This was my first introduction to Cillian Murphy and I’ve come to love his work.  This was also my first introduction to Naomie Harris — who I’ve come to love … her work.  You also get to see the work of the fabulous Brendan Gleeson.  All together directed by Danny Boyle , 28 Days Later goes for your throat, your heart, and chases you down dark alleys of humanity.

Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, & Naomie Harris

This was the first time I saw fast moving zombies, and for me that really CRANKS UP the zombie threat level — the shambling thing never really did it for me. Apparently the shamble-vrs-fast thing is a debate among zombie fans — and I can see both sides of it, but after seeing fast I think I know what side of the fence I fall on…

I’ve heard that the part-2 film “28 Weeks Later” is a warm-over of the original film, but I still want to see it. There is also a graphic novel or two out there that further tell the story which I’d like to get my hands & eyes on — so the next time you’re wondering what to get BagpiperDon for his birthday, Xmas, celebration of next album release, etc … now you know.

28 Days Later (2002) on IMDB and Wikipedia

Further proof that 28 Days Later is AWESOME — here’s the review at RottenTomatoes.com

Hard Rock Zombies (1985)

Red Blood

I like bad film… but not this bad.

I picked up this film a handful of years back while in a liquidation store for maybe $5.  It was on a DVD that had 3 zombie films — Night of the Living Dead, HRZ, and another title I can’t remember right now. Out of the three films, this one is such a POS that I think the other two films each cost half of the total  price and HRZ was thrown in for free — because this is the only way the folks who produced this film could get anyone to take a copy home.

Watching this film I get the impression that the producers and crew and the whole lot behind the film normally produce and shoot 1980s porn films.  In this case they got together outside of their usual work to do something different, or maybe they were trying to get a foothold in another part of the film industry other than porn.

The audio is bad, the songs are bad, the love affair between the lead-singer of the band and the local girl who seems underage clearly verges on having a pedophile element … maybe the only good thing about this is the outrageousness that someone thought to have a zombie film that included Hitler and Nazis.

BOTTOM LINE
Do Not Waste Your Time With This Film

I like bad film but this was so much of a train-wreck that I could only stand to watch it in 10-15 minute intervals.  It’s not one of those “It’s so bad it’s good” things, it’s just outright BAD.

Hard Rock Zombies (1985) at IMDB

HRZ at Rotten Tomatoes

HRZ reviewed at SomeThingAwful.com