Movie News

SUNDANCE ’08! One Spy’s Breathless Report on DIARY OF THE DEAD And HAMLET 2!

Published at: Jan. 26, 2008, 5:26 a.m. CST by Moriarty

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Normally I’d at least throw in a few paragraph breaks, but I like the way this guy’s one solid paragraph sort of imparts his enthusiasm for the entire experience. Like he just couldn’t wait to tell us. And I love his nickname. Made me laugh. Because I am evidently thirteen years old. Check it out:

Hey there fellow geeks, Ah, January and once again there is actually a cool reason to live in Salt Lake City. Every year I try to hit up a movie or two from the Sundance festival, and this year I saw a couple of pretty good ones. So let us get right into it. First, I caught a screening of George A Romero's Diary of the Dead. It would be impossible to not want to think it's Cloverfield with zombies, but really DOTD has very little in common with Cloverfield other than the cameraman constantly saying things like "I'm just going to keep on filming so someone can see what REALLY happened". The plot is pretty simple with Diary of the Dead, some students are making a movie for their class at Pitt University, and the zombie apocalypse goes down. Well, most of the crew wants to find their loved ones and they start off in a RV to do so. From there everything goes down the crapper. But do you care about the story or the kills. Before the movie started, I said to my brother who went with me, "As long as there are three good zombie kills, then I'll be happy." Well, there are more than three and I don't want to spoil any of them, but let me say this: Amish zombie warriors should be in every zombie movie ever made from now on. As a hu! ge hater of Romero's Land of the Dead, which I looked forward to from conception, I was wary that he would continue on his downward trajectory. Well, fellow haters, I would say that Diary of the Dead is a huge step up from Land of the Dead. Going back to a smaller budget and a smaller story was a wise choice, and I say that I would gladly pay to see the sequel. And now for something completely different, Hamlet 2. I bought my tickets for this one well before it's large payday, and it was on the strength of one Mr. Steve Coogan. I've been a fan since 24 Hour Party People and enjoyed his funny parody of himself in both Coffee and Cigarettes and Tristram Shandy. Mr. Coogan, I must say, pretty much rules in Hamlet 2. His American accent is goofy and his haircut is almost as lame as Javier Bardems, but hopefully he will break out in the USA with this role. He plays a failed commercial actor named Dana Marschz who now teaches drama in Tuscon, AZ. He writes plays based on recent films (Max Fisher would be jealous of his "Erin Brockovich".) After getting a much larger class because of budget cuts, then finding out his own class will be part of the same budget cuts next semester, he decides to write his own original work, "Hamlet 2". With a time traveling Hamlet trying to fix all the stuff that happened in the original, his play end! s up turning into quite the controversy. Once again, I don't really want to spoil too much, but my sides ached as they put on the play and did their musical numbers, including the awesome "Hard Rockin Sexy Jesus"(this may not be the exact name, but I was laughing too hard to remember it perfectly). Most of the performances in the flick are strong, including Catherine Keener as Dana's wife and Elisabeth Shue as herself. SNL's Amy Poehler pretty much steals every scene she's in as an ACLU lawyer who is helping Dana make sure his play is seen. The kids in the drama class are pretty good as well, but Phoebe Strole is a stand-out as the drama nerd/racist. Anyway, I would say if you are a fan of Coogan's or like strange, quirky comedies about social freaks, check this one out when it's released. Thanks fellas, and if you use this, call me taintyourwagon.

Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:40 a.m. CST

    LAST!

    by jesterean

    And, dude, LOTD rocked the apoc.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Halcyon Days.....

    by zufflezipperfish

    Why can't they make another Dawn of the Dead styleee film....

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Third is the new First

    by classyfredblassy

    The once great Romero has lost it. The trek downhill started with Day of the Dead.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Fourth is even better

    by quantize

    really

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Tokyo Drift

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 6:46 a.m. CST

    2 Rosencrantz 2 Guildenstern

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST

    2 Be or not 2 Be

    by PoweredUpPacman

    aka Captain Obvious...

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Yorick's Revenge

    by PoweredUpPacman

    Ok, enough already...

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:40 a.m. CST

    MySpace Page of the Dead

    by Iowa Snot Client

    A dessicated chihuahua turd in a JCPenney parking lot is a huge step up from Land of the Dead.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:54 a.m. CST

    "I've been raped...In the face!!"

    by SkinJob69

    This line killed me- One of the great running gags in Hamlet 2. Agree it was hysterical, particularly the musical numbers (BTW it's "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus"). Steve Coogan nails the lead character with his child-like optimism and innocence. Poehler is great as an ACLU lawyer with no scruples (kinda redundant, there). Pretty damn funny overall- will definitely see it again in wide release-

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    What's so funny about "Tainty Our Wagon"?

    by SuperSneaky

    Hehehe, just kidding Mori, just kidding.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Cloverfield with zombies = REC

    by CuervoJones

    What´s happening?

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 8:40 a.m. CST

    "2 Rosencrantz 2 Guildenstern". That's pretty damn funny.

    by CreasyBear

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 10:07 a.m. CST

    dairy of the dead

    by rxse7en

    zombies love warm milk.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Shakespeare

    by brassai2003

    would have used paragraphs....James Joyce you are not.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 10:40 a.m. CST

    I really liked Land

    by EvilGeek1

    It gets such a hard time. I think it's unfair to judge Romero by his previous works. When he made Dawn and Night it was a completely different time. Society as a whole was different back in the 60's and 70's. That's not to say Land was a classic. It was a passable zombie flick. One of the things I loved, which everybody hated, was the cartoonish element Romero injected into the movie. The world and characters of Land were like they came straight out of a comic book. I thought that was cool. It was a change of pace, as it came out at a time when movies started this whole "realistic" thing, which at times I find just boring and lacking creative spunk!

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST

    I know everyone has different tastes

    by smackfu

    but really, saying you liked Land of the Dead is like saying you liked Robocop 3. It was fucking TERRIBLE in every way a movie can be terrible. The writing was bad, the acting was bad, the music was bad, the cinematography was bad, the characters were unbelievable stereotypes. LotD had the production values of a Canadian made-for-tv movie. This fucking guy had 2 decades to come up with another sequel and this was it? People should go to prison for making movies like LotD.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST

    smackfu

    by EvilGeek1

    Cmon' man. That's a bit harsh. I can understand where you're coming from but it wasn't THAT bad. It's not really one of those movies where you can dissect the different elements and present a thesis on it. It's a zombie movie! Not a great one! But still...

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Diary of the Dead is doomed at the box office

    by HudLives

    No matter how good it is, the moivegoing public at large will right it off as a "Cloverfield" rip-off. Shame...

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    MAX FISCHER IS MY HERO

    by haggardatbest

    Just so you know. "Hamlet 2" sounds fantastic.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Diary of the Dead was the best thing at Sundance 08!

    by Jawa 007

    And why does everyone hate on Land of the Dead? I loved it. It's nowhere near Robocop 3.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Just about to watch a bootleg version of Cloverfield!

    by EvilGeek1

    Huzah!

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Smackfu...

    by Dr. Chim Richalds

    That is the most accurate review of LoTD that has ever been written.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 1:31 p.m. CST

    "The trek downhill started with Day of the Dead."

    by Gwai Lo

    Why do people always malign Day of the Dead? It's fucking awesome, easily my favorite, if not the best or most important of the series. Night and Dawn were seminal but Day is still a great zombie flick.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 1:44 p.m. CST

    LAND OF THE DEAD is good stuff

    by Hikaru Ichijo

    Romero gets to do whatever he wants with a Zombie movie, including delivering an understated Zombie movie. Maybe you don't agree, but if you're right, than he should at least be getting royalties from every other filmmaker who makes a Zombie movie.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2

    by strangernparadis

    Yorack Boogaloo

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 2:37 p.m. CST

    "The trek downhill started with Day of the Dead."

    by Ray Gamma

    Day of the Dead is easily the most underrated horror film of all time. </P> <P> George A Romero himself said that it's his favourite of all his own "dead" movies.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Both films are rubbish...........

    by godhatesyou

    Cheap and nasty shit...........they really were filmed on a cheap camcorder.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Land of the Dead...

    by rxse7en

    is on TNTHD at 5:30pm EST. :D

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 4:26 p.m. CST

    The most underrated Zombie movie

    by EvilGeek1

    has to be Zombie Flesh Eaters! Without a doubt! It's the only zombie movie where you'll see a zombie go head-to-head with a shark!

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2.The Hamletting!

    by travis-dane

    thats all.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:07 p.m. CST

    LotD; Zombi 2; 'Part II' movies

    by FatherMcGruderKicksAssForTheLord

    Land of the Dead was in fact a trainwreck, and even GAR admits it (I believe he even cited the fuckfest of studio interference on that flick as a principal reason for going "indie" on Diary, but don't quote me on that). Just watched it again last night, and it doesn't even feel like a Romero movie at all, in my opinion, <p> Zombie (as it was released here in the states) is definately a favorite of mine, but I don't think it holds a candle to NotLD or DawnotD or even Day of the Dead, and it's not even my flat favorite Fulci film ... The Beyond holds that honor. <p> ALL '_______ II' movies shall hereby be dubbed "_______ II: The ______ening"

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST

    DAY has some of the best gore special effects ever

    by George Newman

    I Love DAY OF THE DEAD, it is certainly my favorite of the series. the gore is just so thrilling.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2 this time even more Hammy!

    by skywalkerfamily

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Methinks found footage is a particularly effective gimmick

    by TerryMalloy

    It lends the supernatural/unbelievable a bit of realism. Helps me suspend my disbelief.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Land of the Dead on TNTHD

    by haggardatbest

    Because who doesn't love watching movied edited and with commercials? I know I love it!

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Dear George, please invent a new monster

    by skywalkerfamily

    Signed, the movie going public.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:25 p.m. CST

    Hamlet will return in...THUNDERBALL!

    by I Dunno

    MST3K, ftw

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Just so I don't look retarded

    by taintyourwagon

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 7:42 p.m. CST

    maybe i shouldn't do that first, now i do look retarded

    by taintyourwagon

    i did break that stuff into paragraphs, so I don't know what happened. But then again, I just posted only a subject so maybe I'm just an idiot. And how could I forget it was Rock me sexy jesus....and land of the dead still sucks but diary was surprisingly strong

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    It's not your fault , taintyourwagon

    by I Dunno

    Harry makes God knows how much on this site through advertisements and studio payola but can't spring for a post-1999 web site.

  • Jan. 26, 2008, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2 starring Jim Carrey

    by skywalkerfamily

    Alas poor Yorick. I knew him well Horatio. Hey big gulps, eh? Well, see ya later!

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: The Search for Curly's Gold

    by Dingleberry Jones

    Featuring: Jon Lovitz! Game. Set. Match.

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 12:14 a.m. CST

    Legend, Legend of Curly's Gold...dammit

    by Dingleberry Jones

    you know what I meant.

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 4 a.m. CST

    please hammer, don't hurt 'em

    by ironic_name

    arnold should play hamlet, with a machine gun. like in LAH

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Day and Land

    by radio1_mike

    How many people actually saw Day in the theatre when it was out? I did, and it friggin' rocked. Batshit-crazy insane doctor who discovers zombies may be more intelligent that we think? Underground military complex with close to the edge military psychos? How can you not love that film? Great gore... Good God, it is such an under-rated film. And Land...? Well, GAR could shit out a zombie movie and it'd still be gold. C'mon just having Asia Argento, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper in it, he should get 4 stars automatically. Looking forward to DOTD.

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST

    FUCK THIS, YA HEARD!!? FUCK THIS!

    by tHeGRinGoGenTiLE

    YA HEARD?!?!?!

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Hamlet Dynamite

    by FatherMcGruderKicksAssForTheLord

    Marcellus: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. <p> Hamlet Dynamite: DUH!

  • Jan. 27, 2008, 8:19 p.m. CST

    guess I'm jumpin on the wagon

    by ClockWorker

    DAY is definitely my favorite of the Romero series, even though DAWN is one seriously amazing movie (just re-watched it yesterday)

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