State of Emergency: Accident at a chemical plant. Lone survivour. Mutant zombies. Barricaded in. Headshots and axes… You know the drill. What sets this apart from the tons of zombie movies out there is that it has an indie sensibility about it. It’s heavily character based, spending the entire time with Jim and his backstory – the only drawback is that it’s fairly familiar. There’s a few action scenes, but more impressively, several very well crafted moments of crazy tension and all-round creepiness. The film tips it’s hat towards Romero through countless references, and while that’s no bad thing, it does miss out the very important ‘social’ slant that elevate the Romero films from good to fantastic. The zombies are pretty cool, standing ominously still – relying on hearing – then hulking out and fighting! One even talks, which is a bit weird. It also looks very slick, being filmed on Red Ones. State of Emergency feels quite simplistic held up against its contemporaries, like a throwback zombie film – and while it may not be the most original or action-packed film in the genre, it’s a solid watch, and shows some great potential from Director Turner Clay / The Clay Brothers.
The Hangover Part II: Take my review of the first film – change mentions of ‘Vegas to Bangkok and it’s a job well done! Realising that the one-man wolf pack and Leslie Chow (the only two that pull off ‘funny’) were the best things about The Hangover, these two characters get even more screen time and gags than before. Once again, the humour is very Lad / Frat friendly and doesn’t appeal to everyone. Not much else to say other than it’s even more crass and offensive than the first, and seemed to have longer periods where nothing amazingly funny was happening. It’s good, but definitely more of an expansion pack than a new addition. Kudos to the people responsible for taking Hangovers for from a low-budget comedy to the biggest comedy of all time in 2 films!
Richard Pryor Live in Concert: a 74 minute stand-up show filmed at one of Pryor’s 1978 gigs. Starts with an onslaught of “Whiteboys do this stupidly, niggers do it a different way” observations, although they weren’t as frequent after the first 15 minutes. In the course of this he covers topics as diverse as: police methods, dogs, death, fathers, camping, boxing, running, kids, Chinese people, and sex all with enthusiasm and fantastic execution. As someone that’s performed stand-up live and enjoys the genre, it’s clear that Pryor was light years ahead of the curve with his personification of things, delivery, voices and acting. Unfortunately, because this gig – and Pryor – are now so famous all of the best bits are shown on every TV clip show and countdown. Although it’s clearly a great performance, the focus of race throughout puts me off a bit. Pretty dated, slightly risque but unquestionably funny.