Media | A2Q Archives | A2Q #40: The "National Pride" Edition | May 20, 2008: Welcome to this week's highlighted home video releases, focused entirely on the American market. Sorry, rest of the world. While you riot for lack of food, we waste 27% of all the food available to us. USA, USA! Oh yeah, and sometimes we get movies earlier than you.


Roundup by VsRobot | Posted May 20, 2008


Pick Of the Week


Diary of the Dead
Romero is the undisputed master of the zombie horror film. His trademark is injecting a touch of social satire into his undead apocalypses, as in 1968's Night of the Living Dead (which explored racism) or its sequel Dawn of the Dead (which skewered shopping mall and consumer culture). In Diary of the Dead, Romero's fifth zombie flick, he explores the responsibilities of citizen journalists in the YouTube era by showing this zombie apocalypse from the point of view from a group of young film students, one of whom sees the end of the world as a great subject for a documentary.

Unfortunately, satire works best when it's subtle, and between the heavy-handed narration and didactic monologues, Romero's thesis is endlessly expounded upon. However, he has still got the touch when it comes to visceral thrills and comedic horror -- not much tops this film's tense hospital sequence or the sheer fun when the group comes across a bad-ass Amish farmer armed with a scythe and dynamite -- and while Romero doesn't quite live up to his masterful legacy, Diary is still a fine addition to the zombie genre. And it's a fun way to kill an hour and a half, too... and then eat its delicious brains. MNNNARGH


Also Out


Finishing the Game
Bruce Lee died before finishing filming on The Game, and this comedy imagines what casting his replacement might have been like. I can't wait for the sequel, which will presumably reimagine the frantic efforts to edit around Brandon Lee's death during the filming of The Crow as a teen sex comedy.


National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets
The first National Treasure was a thinly-veiled attempt to cash in on The Da Vinci Code without actually paying for the license. I wasn't a huge fan of the film, but after seeing how terrible the actual Da Vinci Code movie was, I'll admit it managed to do a few things right. The second film reportedly retains most of the goofy charm of the first film: Grumpy cynics like me need not apply, but if you're looking for a family-friendly adventure to tide you over until Crystal Skull is released, I'm sure you could do worse.


Strange Wilderness
A stoner comedy for those of you who found Harold and Kumar too high-brow.


24: Season One: Special Edition
Here's a fun new trend! So, all of us who are big media enthusiasts have probably realized that double- and triple-dipping DVDs is the norm. This is pretty frustrating if you buy a lot of DVDs and care about the features -- sometimes a movie will be re-released with only one or two additional features, but if it's a movie that you care deeply about you end up buying it over and over. For me, I've bought Evil Dead 2 three or four times to get the incremental improvements, and over the course of my life I've probably bought the original Star Wars trilogy a dozen times: The bootleg Betamax, various VHS versions, the laserdiscs, the bootleg DVDs of the original versions AND the special editions, and the two different official DVD releasess. )And golly, I just can't wait to buy 'em again on Blu-ray.)

It was partly rerelease fatigue that transformed me from a DVD buyer to a DVD renter, which is also why I titled this column after the ubiquitous button on Netflix or Blockbuster Online. It used to be that TV-on-DVD was pretty safe from this marketing practice -- rest assured, this is wholly due to marketing, as new releases are given heavy priority at retail over catalog titles -- but with the recent news that Firefly is getting re-released along with this week's 24 double-dip, it looks like TV-on-DVD enthusiasts are going to discover what the rest of us have known for a long time: Collecting DVDs is a sucker's game. With Netflix, video-on-demand, Apple TV, etc., you can have a large media library at your fingertips instantly without ever buying a packaged copy of a movie or TV show.


Blu Reyes


A wonderful week of Blu-ray releases. Paramount is starting to get up to speed on Blu-ray and it shouldn't be too much longer before their high-profile Blu-ray titles are released day-and-date with their DVD counterparts. Cloverfield and There Will Be Blood are both well worth watching if you didn't grab 'em when they came out on DVD, and V For Vendetta is pretty decent. (Unless you talk to Alan Moore. But why would you do that?)


Housekeeping


Cover art courtesy of Amazon. The normal question, the first question is always; are these cannibals? No, they are not cannibals. Cannibalism in the true sense of the word implies an interspecies activity. These creatures cannot be considered human. They prey on humans. They do not prey on each other, that's the difference. They attack and they feed only on warm human flesh. Intelligence? Seemingly little or no reasoning power, but basic skills remain a more remembered behaviors from normal life. There are reports of these creatures using tools. But even these actions are the most primitive, the use of external articles as bludgeons and so forth. I might point out to you that even animals will adopt the basic use of tools in this manner. These creatures are nothing but pure, motorized instinct. We must not be lulled by the concept that these are our family members or our friends. They are not. They will not respond to such emotions. They must be destroyed on sight! Follow me on Twitter. You can also e-mail me at vsrobot [dot] blog [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!