Dawn of the Dead (2004)

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

I normally use the first paragraph or so of my reviews to outline the plot of the film. However, in terms of Zack Snyder’s semi-remake of George A. Romero’s 70s horror movie, that plot can be summed up in one word: Zombies. Ok, maybe two words: Zombies attack. Or ten: Zombies attack a town, survivors hole up in a mall. Yeah, that’ll do it. Either way, it doesn’t really need an entire paragraph to talk about it, because as set-ups go it’s a fairly rudimentary one.

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Man Of Steel

On the planet Krypton, the elders have disrupted the planet’s core and caused it to begin to erupt. Everyone on the planet is doomed, except for a small, barely explained plot contrivance that allows one newborn baby to be launched in a pod and sent to another planet that will be hospitable to him, but where the atmosphere and density are different enough to provide him with extraordinary powers. Krypton explodes, but the baby arrives safely on Earth, where he lives his life as a loner, the last of his kind, until General Zod, an exiled Kryptonian soldier, and his crew discovers the baby – now a man named Clark – on Earth. Look, it’s fucking Superman, alright? You know what happens. Alien baby, adopted by Ma and Pa Kent, Dad dies, kid can fly, run really damn fast, x-ray laser vision, falls in love, glowing green rock, Daily Planet, threat against the planet, saves the world. Yadda yadda yadda.
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Pre-View: Man Of Steel

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve never been a fan of Superman. He just seems too uninteresting as a character, with his only inner turmoil being his fish out of water last-of-his-kind predicament, that I’m sure would become annoying and whiny if dwelt on for too long. My disinterest with him also stems from the fact that I’ve spent so little time with the character. I have technically seen Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman, but I can’t remember a single thing about it (literally nothing), and my hatred for Superman Returns is well documented. I also wasn’t much of a fan of Smallville, barely making it halfway through the first season, and I doubt I’ve seen more than a couple of episodes of Lois and Clark, although I did like Ben Affleck’s performance as George Reeves in Hollywoodland. As such, I can’t say I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Man Of Steel, despite the interesting trailers and general buzz over it all.
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300

300thmovie! Yes! Nailed it! This has been a plan from the outset, that the 300thfilm just had to be 300, and lo it has been done. Finally I can stop checking the count every day of how many films I’ve watched and just get on with watching more and writing posts (I won’t).
Based on the incredibly stylish graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), it could be argued that this two-hour fight scene suffers from a severe case of style over substance, with a small squadron of 300 Spartan warriors heading out to take on the thousands-strong army of Persians out to conquer their land, but whilst there is some accuracy to this, there is quite enough story behind the oceans of cool.
The Spartans, led by Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas in a role that remains his calling card after six years of mostly forgettable romcoms and mindless shooters, have been trained since birth to feel no pain or mercy – or cold, judging by how little they wear – and all live to fight, and die, honourably in battle. One soldier, when questioned as to why he has brought his adult son along to fight, replies that he has others to replace him.
It’s impossible for a man not to watch this and feel inferior. Some may see it as a rabble-rousing celebration of what it truly means to be a man – fighting and killing, safe in the knowledge your son will carry on your name – but personally I see it as a reminder of the garage-worth of spare tyres congregating about my torso, and how I’ve managed to survive almost 25 years without so much as throwing a punch. I can almost feel my ovaries forming.
The combat, and believe me there’s an awful lot of it, is wonderfully choreographed, and director Zack Snyder utilises a deft blend of colour, lighting, slow motion, shadows and speeding up to showcase its full glory. At times it feels more like a videogame, as the quantity and skill level of the foes to be vanquished steadily increases.
The occasionally flits back to Sparta, where Leonidas’ Queen (Lena Headey) tries to convince their council to send reinforcements, do a good job of breaking away from the otherwise incessant violence, but some touches – the giant troll, a bizarre goat-creature – take away from the experience, and overly-pierced big bad guy Xerxes has a voice comically mismatched to his appearance.
Look out too for an early appearance from LifeVsFilm favourite Michael Fassbender as one of 
the 300.
Choose film 8/10