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CAN: Land of the Dead



Hey hombres, Arrow here reporting from Cannes for JoBlo.com. I had to wear a suit tonight. I loathe suits and I loathe ties even more than suits...but it was worth it. Nights like the one that went down on this Friday the 13th couldn’t get much better! You see, JoBlo and I got to walk the star-studded and camera-laced “red carpet” to attend a screening of the first 15 minutes of George Romero’s Land of the Dead. Sure beats playing X-Box at home!

The Red Carpet begins!

The great George Romero, the class-act Simon Baker, the sexy Asia Argento, her boyfriend (with his trusty back-pack) and the film’s producers were all in attendance. We walked the carpet behind them and once inside, an obviously moved Romero took the stage to thank his cast, producers and family. Then the film began…and…well…it was as I expected: a pure to-the-core, George Romero Zombie movie. YESSS!

The man JoBlo and Arrow coming in!
(Damn, I forgot to remove my Press Pass...I'm a mess!)

Drunk (I respect that) and lovely, Asia Argento!


The fifteen minutes we sat through were presented to us as the first fifteen minutes of the film. It should be said that JoBlo thinks it was a bit from the middle of the movie and time will tell if he’s wrong or right.

Pssst: He's wrong...

The film starts with two teams scavenging for supplies in the “undead” filled city. Riley (Simon Baker) and his crew are on one end while the rebellious and “spear gun” equipped Cholo (John Leguizamo) does the same with his boys on the other. Right off the bat, it’s obvious that there is a clear contrast between the two characters. Riley feels (maybe too much) while Cholo obviously doesn’t give a damn.

Throughout the initial moments of the raid, we're shown the undead in an even more sympathetic light then they were in Romero's last 3 Dead films. They're starting to communicate between each other, they're learning about the environment around them and every time one bit the dust, the leader of the undead “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark) would be mournful, hurt and pissed. Yes, our little zombies are growing up!

So, as they loot the city, the humans keep the undead busy with Dead Reckoning, a massive and armed to the teeth combat vehicle (nice rocket launchers on the rig) that spits fireworks out into the sky. You see the bright lights keep the dead busy as the humans do their Drug/Food store "shopping". Big Daddy tries to wake his zombie brothers and sisters by shoving them, but to no avail, they are transfixed on the bright lights. Eventually something goes wrong (the fireworks device block) and the undead snap out of their trance. They become a problem.

Riley orders a retreat back to camp, but stubborn Cholo really wants to raid a liquor store where booze is worth a lot of money out there. He gets his liquor, but at the expense of one of his men’s life who gets bitten by a zombie. Not wanting to become one of the undead, Cholo’s companion puts his gun in his mouth and blows his head off.

The two teams swiftly head back to headquarters, some are within Dead Reckoning, others are on motorcycles. Machine guns fire heavily as the two teams slaughter a slew of undead. “Big Daddy” grabs hold of a machine gun from one of the driving-by humans. He watches his foes drive off over the horizon as a horde of undead gather behind him. "Big Daddy" figures out how to hold the machine gun properly, lets out a guttural scream and marches forward after the humans in a determined fashion, with his army of the dead behind him. That was the end of the fifteen minutes.

After that, we were shown an extensive teaser trailer filled with quick-cut clips from the film (loved the shot of Asia fighting in a ring) and I’m sure we’ll see that bit online soon enough.

"I'm sold on the film, George!"


I loved every damn second of it! When the fifteen minutes were over, I so wanted more! Here are a few of my likes:

  • The dialogue was almost poetic in its grimness and subtle religious tone, especially from Riley. I have a feeling that I’ll adore the character.

  • The overall feel was one of decay and dread. It looked like a Romero Zombie movie! That’s the best compliment I could give it!

  • The overall mood reminded me of "Dawn of the Dead", mixed in with "The Road Warrior" and Romero's own "Knightriders".

  • The KNB zombie designs/gore were incredibly detailed and deliciously graphic. I haven’t seen realistic, animatronic zombies (with minor CG enhancement) look so damn good in while. As for the red splat: a head ripped off one’s body, gut munching (like the old days), brains blown out, endless squib shots, a flesh stretching bite…all in 15 minutes...yes, I was a happy gore fiend.

  • The tension between Riley and Cholo has the potential to make for quite an interesting relationship. Two sides of one coin. I can’t wait to see how far they’ll take it.

  • The action scenes were tightly shot and exciting to witness. No quick cut madness here…we see everything and with panache at that!

This film looks like it will blow our undead sox off to dead sox heaven! I CAN'T FREAKING WAIT!

Dennis Hopper and his gal leaving in front of us


After the clip, JoBlo and I left the theatre. On our way out, we ran into George Romero, the cast and the producers. I went up to Romero and the first thing I told him was “I’m sold”. He smiled, shook my hand and thanked me for the positive feedback. After that I asked George for a picture and he gladly said yes, even though he couldn't wait to smoke his cigarette. Not to go all genre fan-boy on you here, but it should be said: if 5 years ago you’d tell me I’d be at Cannes, taking a picture with George Romero on the red carpet, I’d yell out obscenities at you. But it happened, yes...I was somewhat overwhelmed. I guess it was worth wearing a suit and tie after all! Thank you, JoBlo.com!

Now let's get them well earned drinks bre!



Source: JoBlo.com



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