Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

LAND OF THE DEAD - Reviews and Discussion Thread

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

LAND OF THE DEAD - Reviews and Discussion Thread

Old 06-19-05, 12:38 PM
  #1  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 163
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LAND OF THE DEAD - Reviews and Discussion Thread

Please use this thread to discuss and review Land of the Dead after you have seen the film.

I started the other link about Universal promoting the film and now that it's release week and the film is being promoted to the best that Universal is going to do let's put that one to rest.
Old 06-19-05, 03:36 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 5,610
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For some reason I think some people will be dissapointed with this film. They shouldn't be, but they will. My review from the previous thread:

I saw this film yesterday.

I loved it, but it's not as great as Dawn '78, which is my favorite one. The film wasn't without it's faults, but I still really liked it. This film has a very different feel to it. It has tons of human characters in it, so they really are equal to the zombies in terms of #. The city has hundreds, if not thousands of people in it. Only thing that slightly bothered me was that
Spoiler:
Big Daddy acts a bit too human. I know that they're evolving and getting smarter, but he almost just walks around like a regular guy in one part of the film


Tons of violence. I don't know how they got away with all this stuff in an R-rating. People being ripped apart (including an arm being ripped in half starting at the top of the hand...the zombies grab onto the guys fingers and pull them apart as if it was a wishbone from a Turkey!) Really good effects.
Old 06-19-05, 07:41 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Drop's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Edison, NJ
Posts: 2,037
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't think I'll be dissapointed. I love Day of the Dead, and so many people give that crap. If it is as good as that, than I will be extremely happy.
Old 06-19-05, 08:04 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,752
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Same here,infact I liked Day more then Dawn but I also figured this wouldnt be a let down,thank's for the early reveiw.
Old 06-20-05, 12:02 AM
  #5  
Needs to contact an admin about multiple accounts
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 2,730
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
VARIETY...

George A. Romero's Land of the Dead


A Universal release of a Universal Pictures/Alliance Entertainment presentation of a Mark Canton-Bernie Goldmann and Romero-Grunwald production in association with Wild Bunch. Produced by Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Peter Grunwald. Executive producers, Steve Barnett, Dennis E. Jones, Lynwood Spinks. Co-executive producers, Neil Canton, Ryan Kavanaugh. Directed, written by George A. Romero.

Riley - Simon Baker
Cholo - John Leguizamo
Slack - Asia Argento
Charlie - Robert Joy
Kaufman - Dennis Hopper
Big Daddy - Eugene Clark
No. 9 - Jennifer Baxter
Butcher - Boyd Banks
Pretty Boy - Joanne Boland
Teahouse - Krista Bridges
Pillsbury - Pedro Miguel Arce


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By JUSTIN CHANG
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
George A. Romero shows 'em how it's done in "Land of the Dead," resurrecting his legendary franchise with top-flight visuals, terrific genre smarts and tantalizing layers of implication. Nerve-shredding fourth installment may not fully reclaim the visceral or satirical impact of the writer-director's 1978 masterpiece "Dawn of the Dead," but it's still a satisfyingly splattery feast of guts and ideas. Though Universal isn't flogging it half as aggressively as last year's "Dawn" remake, pic should grope its way to killer B.O. with no small help from Romero cultists, whose devotion will be nothing short of zombielike.


The horror maestro has come a long way since the third film in the cycle, 1985's "Day of the Dead," and an even longer way since his seminal 1968 classic "Night of the Living Dead." This time around, Romero is playing with bigger stars and a higher (though still modest) budget of about $15 million, as well as a new shooting location (Toronto, instead of his native Pittsburgh).

That said, "Land" is a tour de force of not only independent filmmaking but independent thinking, rigorously worked out on all craft and technical levels yet enlivened by its twisted engagement with the real world.

Romero's apocalyptic vision of an earth beset by endlessly self-perpetuating flesh-eaters remains as relevant and resonant as ever, and this time he's even injected some not-so-subtle political invective into the proceedings. At one point Kaufman, a corrupt, gray-haired city official, declares, "We don't negotiate with terrorists," making this the second actioner in recent months, after "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," to lob a grenade in the direction of the White House.

The city in question is one of humankind's last remaining holdouts, an island metropolis surrounded by water and electric fences that keep out the walking undead. Perched in a high tower that dominates the skyline, Kaufman (Dennis Hopper, his brow furrowed with self-entitlement) owns everything and everyone in the exclusive community of Fiddler's Green, advertised as the place "where life goes on," and where upper-class citizens are admitted only via waiting list. Those still outside on the streets, meanwhile, are in the early stages of revolution.

Cholo, one of several soldiers sent out on rescue missions to bring back food and supplies, sets things in motion when Kaufman refuses to let him move into Fiddler's Green. The disgruntled mercenary (a hot-headed John Leguizamo) promptly hijacks Dead Reckoning, an armored military vehicle that holds enough firepower to bomb out the city, which he threatens to do unless Kaufman meets his demands.

In response, Kaufman commissions Cholo's superior Riley (Simon Baker) to recover the stolen tank, accompanied by sharpshooter sidekick Charlie (Robert Joy) and gold-hearted hooker Slack (Asia Argento, putting a tough-talking spin on a familiar role).

Tension between Riley and Cholo, effectively fleshed out by Baker and especially Leguizamo, reps only one of the story's intriguing contrasts. Both guys want out of a nightmare situation, but where Riley hopes to start over away from civilization, social-climbing Cholo wants to retreat inside, into the ranks of the city's elite.

Romero clearly has a lot on his mind, working through issues of class, segregation, individualism and personal responsibility. As always, the scenario eerily and amusingly mirrors the times: Astute viewers will laugh at how the undead phenomenon has already become commercial fodder in the form of theme-park-style attractions and bloodsports. More chillingly, the gleaming facade of Fiddler's Green implies an entire nation struggling and failing to lead normal lives in a war zone, turning against itself in the process.

Most suggestive of all are the zombies themselves, who have become frighteningly resourceful and smart, having learned to communicate as well as use tools and weapons. Unlike the trendy, fast-moving denizens of the recent "Dawn" redux and "28 Days Later," Romero's walkers still shamble along slowly, yet with an increasingly purposeful gait that makes them seem all the more human. They also look more realistically undead than ever, thanks to pic's ace makeup team (led by Greg Nicotero) and special contact lenses that lend their eyes a bluish, otherworldly glaze.

Pic's ideas about continual evolution and advancement extend equally to the carnage, which for most auds will be "Land's" ultimate test. And Romero rises to the occasion with a mastery, discipline and gleeful sense of invention that shows just how far a slim budget can go given the right sensibility. Fans of the trademark spewing, sausage-like intestines will be quite appeased; few will be prepared for the semi-decapitated zombie (emphasis on semi) or the ugly disadvantages of having a pierced navel (you've been warned).

Romero has a way of at once honoring and updating modern horror-pic conventions, relying more here on shock cuts (with super-sharp editing by Michael Doherty) and surprise zombie ambushes than the queasy claustrophobia that pervaded "Night" and "Dawn." The upshot, happily, is a similarly blissful sense of unease.

Miroslaw Baszak's nuanced lensing, finding endless varieties in a predominantly gray palette, accentuates Arvinder Grewal's chilly production design at every turn. Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek's score is serviceably grim, with repeated patterns that evoke the restless walk of the damned.



Camera (color, widescreen), Miroslaw Baszak; editor, Michael Doherty; music, Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek; production designer, Arvinder Grewal; art director, Douglas Slater; set decorator, Marlene Puritt; costume designer, Alex Kavanagh; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Robert Fletcher; visual effects supervisor, Jeff Campbell; special effects supervisor, Brock Jolliffe; special effects makeup supervisor, Greg Nicotero; second unit director, Nicotero; stunt coordinator, Matt Birman; associate producers, Silenn Thomas, David Resnick; line producer, Dennis E. Jones; assistant director, Martin Walters; casting, Marci Liroff. Reviewed at CineVegas Film Festival (closer), June 18, 2005. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 93 MIN.
Old 06-20-05, 12:13 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Matthew Chmiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 13,263
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Wow! Variety actually liked something! It's a shock!

Now I cannot wait to see this movie tomorrow night!
Old 06-20-05, 12:41 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 8,086
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"We don't negotiate with terrorists" is a stab at the Bush administration?
Old 06-20-05, 01:00 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 6,241
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by RyoHazuki
"We don't negotiate with terrorists" is a stab at the Bush administration?
Exactly, why is there a need to look for Bush bashing in all popular culture. "We don't negotiate with terrorist" not only has been used in any movie that's ever had terrorist, but is main tennant of US foreign policy, regardless of who's in office.


That said, "Land" is a tour de force of not only independent filmmaking
While I don't want to start the debate of what's indie and what's not....isn't the fact that Universal footed the bill make this completely not indie?
Old 06-20-05, 01:10 AM
  #9  
Needs to contact an admin about multiple accounts
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 2,730
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by clemente
isn't the fact that Universal footed the bill make this completely not indie?
They didn't.
Old 06-20-05, 01:18 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 12,008
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by RyoHazuki
"We don't negotiate with terrorists" is a stab at the Bush administration?
Air Force One was so ahead of its time.
Old 06-20-05, 09:47 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 1,499
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Old 06-20-05, 10:24 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Drop's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Edison, NJ
Posts: 2,037
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well although I don't think the line itself is a stab at the Bush administration, Romero has admitted the Kaufman is basically Bush. So yes that line is a stab.
Old 06-20-05, 01:54 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: City of the lakers.. riots.. and drug dealing cops.. los(t) Angel(e)s. ca.
Posts: 54,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
While you're at it, It's not like Romero has ever done social commentary in his film or anything..

Yes, he could say that it was suppose to be a jab at bush, but it really isn't anything new in a terrorist film.
Old 06-20-05, 03:19 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 36,850
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"the second actioner in recent months, after "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," to lob a grenade in the direction of the White House."

What?
Old 06-20-05, 03:33 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 846
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Review from the Hollywood Reporter:



Land of the Dead


By Michael Rechtshaffen




Bottom line: With George A. Romero taking back the reins, his "Dead" walk again to chillingly thoughtful effect.


After having to sit back and watch others remake his zombie classics -- minus any of the trademark sociopolitical subtext -- George A. Romero has returned to the land of the dead for the first time in two decades, and it's quite evident the godfather of the modern horror film still has much on his mind.

Receiving its world premiere at the CineVegas Film Festival, "Land of the Dead" is the fourth movie in what was originally a trilogy, beginning with 1968's seminal "Night of the Living Dead," the movie that has inspired a couple of generations of filmmakers.

The latest installment could well be Romero's masterpiece. Taking full advantage of state-of-the-art makeup and visual effects, he has a more vivid canvas at his disposal, not to mention two decades worth of pent-up observations about American society.

Even those walking dead have learned a thing or two in the interim.

Romero's legion of fans as well as those who like an allegory with the emphasis on the gory will likely show their appreciation by stalking the theaters in droves, giving Universal a very lively opening weekend, while enthusiastic word-of-mouth could give those zombies some legs.

Having staggered their way through "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead," it's apparent those ever-growing masses of "walkers" have started to develop an appetite for more than just fresh flesh.

Following the grunting lead of Big Daddy (Eugene Clark), an imposing gas station attendant, the living dead have begun to sort of re-enact their once-normal lives prior to their affliction.

Meanwhile, the remaining affluent and powerful among the living have fortified themselves in an ivory tower -- a luxury complex called Fiddler's Green, which effectively looks down upon the less fortunate of the city's inhabitants who struggle to survive in the dangerous streets.

It's all the domain of the powerful Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), a slick CEO who keeps himself sequestered in the Green while hiring a group of mercenaries, led by Riley (Simon Baker) and his second-in-command, Cholo (John Leguizamo), to run retrieval missions beyond the electrified fences for luxury items.

But even as they plow their way through the armies of "stenches" in a massive armored vehicle called Dead Reckoning, there's an unstoppable unrest brewing among the dead and the living alike that's about to reach a boiling point.

Although Romero ventured outside his native Pittsburgh to shoot this one in Toronto, it's very clear, from the flag-waving vigilantes to the anti-terrorist rhetoric spewed by Hopper's big-money operator, that most criticisms are being leveled due south of the border.

But those familiar with Romero's work know that doesn't mean they're in for a Michael Moore diatribe. The horror show is still the main attraction, and "Land of the Dead" delivers the goods in harrowing, visceral heaps.

Bolstered by a talented cast that also includes Asia Argento as a tough cookie ex-hooker who joins Baker's entourage, the film never skimps on atmosphere, which at times verges on the horrifically poetic.

Adding to the uncompromising effect is Miroslaw Baszak's night-drenched cinematography, Michael Doherty's tight edit and a pulse-pounding score by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek.
Old 06-20-05, 03:41 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 8,086
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by RocShemp
"the second actioner in recent months, after "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," to lob a grenade in the direction of the White House."

What?
How could you miss that? It was so absolutley obvious that Palpatine was George Bush and Jar Jar Binks was Karl Rove.
Old 06-21-05, 01:48 AM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Matthew Chmiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 13,263
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Saw the film tonight at a sneak preview and I loved it. While not nearly as great as the original Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, it is superior to that of Day of the Dead (which I thought was the weakest of the series by far due to the film's crawling, slow pace). Of course, as others mentioned, the film is not without it's problems.

The first three focused on a small group of characters in their tight surroundings which created a nice, lovely dose of claustrophobia (which made the situation the character were in even scarier). However, with a bigger budget in hand, Romero changes everything up for the fourth outing. In turn, we have numerous characters in a larger area to roam around where havoc can occur. Sadly, due to this, character and plot development are thrown right out the window as we don't have enough time to focus on everyone and the problems at hand. I would also blame this on maybe not enough of a budget and the "urgency" to produce a quick, action-filled zombie film. The film, without credits, barely runs that of 90 minutes and it flies at you fast. It feels as if you were in the theater for 30 minutes and you leave the theater just wanting more.

Now as I mentioned a few sentences earlier, character and plot development are sacrificed whereas in Romero's earlier zombie films, they were the top priority. We never really get to know the characters at hand and some end up with that cliched action-movie feel. In addition, there are tons of minor characters who you don't even know who the fuck they were or what the hell there purpose was in the film. This was my big concern of the film as Romero always let the audience know why characters were there and what their motives were. Also, there were a few plot holes that one could drive a truck though. For example...

Spoiler:
Said plot hole number one: Can somebody tell me how the "poor" people of the city survived the attack at the end of the film while everybody else was ripped to fucking shreds? I know they had weapons whereas the rich people had nothing, but there were A LOT of them to survive an attack on such a massive scale.

Hopefully the eventual unrated cut of the film will expand that of the film's plot and give more insight to the characters or hopefully the "planned" sequels will give us that. Who knows, eh?

Plot and character problems aside, the film is simply a fucking blast. Not only does Romero provide a fast-paced (and slick) horror film, we get the social commentary that is just loved by everyone and we get the occasional bits of humor thrown around here and there. Just like the original Dawn, Land of the Dead is a horror film with action and comedic elements held together by gripping social commentary which in turn makes the film have one hell of a creepy vibe. Throw in some fantastic gore effects (oh God, I want an UNRATED version of this film badly) and you end up with a product that the entire family can enjoy.

If you're a fan of Romero or have never seen one of his films yet, Land of the Dead is easily one of the best bets you can take this summer.

Last edited by Matthew Chmiel; 06-21-05 at 01:52 AM.
Old 06-21-05, 08:59 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Drop's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Edison, NJ
Posts: 2,037
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great review, thanks. I'm so psyched. One thing, could you expand on the lack of character development. Also do you mean that we don't learn about the characters or that the don't characters go through a change?
Old 06-21-05, 10:38 AM
  #19  
Moderator
 
Giles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 33,509
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
Throw in some fantastic gore effects...and you end up with a product that the entire family can enjoy.
well that's a winning endorsement...
Old 06-21-05, 01:07 PM
  #20  
Inane Thread Master, 2018 TOTY
 
OldBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Are any of us really anywhere?
Posts: 38,373
Likes: 0
Received 7 Likes on 7 Posts
these reviews make my mouth water!!!
Old 06-21-05, 01:09 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Matthew Chmiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 13,263
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Drop
Great review, thanks. I'm so psyched. One thing, could you expand on the lack of character development. Also do you mean that we don't learn about the characters or that the don't characters go through a change?
The characters in the film never change. Simply out the gate you have:

- The hero who wants to get out.
- The hooker who wants more out of life.
- The burned retard who wants make sure the hero is alright.
- The hispanic crook who wants to be accepted in society.
- The rich politican who only cares about money.

And so on and so on.

Unlike say Dawn and Day, you never see the characters have any mental anguish from the situation that they are in. They pretty much have set goals and they do not change from the plan. Sure, there is a little bit of change to one character, but it's pretty much predictable after the first act.

I also forgot to mention that the events in Land take place over a two-day period so maybe in this case the lack of character development is acceptable, but if Night could have it, so can Land (ya know?).
Old 06-21-05, 01:16 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Matthew Chmiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 13,263
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Giles
well that's a winning endorsement...
Sadly, at the sneak last night, there were quite a few children under the age of six there. While I'm not one to quickly jump on said parents for not knowing how to raise a child correctly, but that's another debate for another thread.

And yes, before anyone asks, the film is hard R. While it never goes into NC-17 territory, some of the gore effects are pretty gruesome and whenever somebody is shot, we do see sprays of blood coming out of them (unlike the piece of shit Resident Evil films).
Old 06-21-05, 06:20 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Drop's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Edison, NJ
Posts: 2,037
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well Matthew, if I may disagree. I don't feel the other living dead movies had much character development either. Dawn is the only one, and in that I would say Fran has the most. Peter

Who changes in Night? Ben was still the same. Cooper slightly changed, but was still a big asshole. Barbara was the biggest offender, she was catonic the majority of the film. The other characters died and stayed the same.

In Day Bub gets the most characterization. Sarah changes very little. She was stubborn throughout the whole film.
Old 06-21-05, 06:36 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Matthew Chmiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 13,263
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Well Matthew, if I may disagree. I don't feel the other living dead movies had much character development either. Dawn is the only one, and in that I would say Fran has the most. Peter
Fran goes from a woman who has no idea what the hell she's doing and has no clue what the hell is going on to someone who takes charge. Peter, despite staying calm the entire film, almost loses it near the end with his attempted suicide. Flyboy went nuts as the claustrophobia set in. If that's not character development in a horror film, then I don't know what is.

I haven't seen Night in a while, but the "few" who made it towards the end of the film lose almost all their cool and begin to go crazy (with the exception of Barbara and Ben) once the claustrophobia sets in and the fact that there's nowhere to go as zombies are surrounding the entire house.

Same applies to Day in a sense. As the claustrophobia sets even more in and as the zombies start to weasel their way into the base, everyone just goes apeshit. And yes, Bub did have the most characterization, as he was the only character worth giving a shit about.

With Land, no character (except the character of Cholo) changes. They're pretty much the one-dimension character thoughout the entire running time. With Romero's past three films, we see the characters progress for the best or the worst (usually it's the worst). With Land, everyone's pretty stubborn in trying to get their way. Not Day of the Dead Sarah and Major Asshole stubborn, but still stubborn (but at least the characters in Land are likeable).

Spoiler:
And while Land has a huge body count, none of the main characters die with the exception of Cholo (the one character with development) and Kaufman (the villain). While I want a huge body count, I want a good part of the "main" cast to get offed. I'm sorry, but after the past three films and the amount of main characters to get killed in each, it feels sort of like a cop out. I still enjoyed the movie tons though.

Last edited by Matthew Chmiel; 06-21-05 at 06:39 PM.
Old 06-21-05, 06:47 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Rypro 525's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: a frikin hellhole
Posts: 28,263
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
regarding the so called lack of development, Romero has stated in the dawn commentary that he doesn't care about the characters, doesn't really like going for stars. he is more about the premese then anything else.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.