“The Dead Don’t Die” But They May Be the Last Ones Here to Turn Out the Lights

Sheriffs Don't Die!

Your local sheriffs scrambling to fathom the zombie menace in a film that could also be called The Living Don’t Live. Ooh, paradoxes.

I remember reading about the films of idiosyncratic director Jim Jarmusch in the Movies section of Entertainment Weekly throughout the course of my now-lapsed 28-year subscription, but I’ve never made an effort to watch one for myself till now. Inertia can be a pathetic anchor like that sometimes. And it’s far too easy to get distracted in a universe of nigh-unlimited cultural options, where the human mind can only hold so many directors’ names in its head at any one time, presuming one is making an effort to retain them.

When I saw Jarmusch’s name on the trailer for The Dead Don’t Die, I knew this could be no ordinary zombie film. After a long journey that involved me showing up at the wrong theater, driving halfway across the city to the correct one, nearly having a breakdown when I had to brake for a funeral procession, and arriving with plenty of minutes to spare thanks to a glut of trailers that stalled for time in my favor…then did I see my prophecy fulfilled.

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Yes, There’s a Thing During “The Grand Budapest Hotel” End Credits

Grand Budapest Hotel!

Fans of the Ralph Fiennes catalog may be disappointed The Grand Budapest Hotel doesn’t invite obvious Voldemort jokes. I’m reminded more of The Avengers. No, not Marvel’s.

Representing for first-half-of-the-20th-century world history in this year’s Academy Awards race is The Grand Budapest Hotel, the most Wes Andersoniest Wes Anderson film ever to Wes Anderson a Wes Anderson. Granted, I’ve only seen four of his other films, and this one’s probably a patchwork homage to nineteen different foreign films I’ve never heard of, but if nothing else it sums up all his past trailers and adds nice costuming flourishes and some charming fake backdrops.

Fun meta-trivia: this entry began as the fifth installment in my ongoing “MCC Home Video Scorecard” series, which is where I’ve lately been clustering my impressions of movies seen not in theaters. This time, I lost control and Budapest crowded out the other three movies I’d planned to include here, so now it has an entry all to itself. I saw this as part of my annual Oscarquest, and so far it’s been the cheapest of this year’s contenders to watch. It took some persistence to catch this affordably, as it’s no longer on Redbox and we don’t subscribe to the correct premium-cable channel, but three visits to the Family Video down the street finally paid off in the form of a $1.00 DVD rental. If you’d rather avoid the thrill of the case or if you hate money, you can also spend $13-$16 through the usual instant-streaming outlets, or Amazon has hard copies on sale for ten bucks (DVD and Blu-ray) as of this writing. Depends on whether or not less substance is worth more money to you, I guess.

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“Snowpiercer”: No Saints After the Apocalypse

Snowpiercer!

“Marvel Team-Up” presents Captain America and the War Doctor in Snowpiercer.

Sure, a bleak Korean sci-fi film based on a French graphic novel, delayed for months while studio heads squabbled over whether or not to delete nearly 20% of it before letting Americans see it, doesn’t sound like the perfect star vehicle for Chris Evans, cinematic hero of this summer’s Captain America: the Winter Soldier. It’s certainly not a vote of confidence that the Weinstein Company compromised by leaving it intact but downgraded to a limited-release run with minimal advertising. In the hands of an unkinder corporation, Snowpiercer could’ve found itself sentenced with immediate relegation to the Walmart $5 DVD bin.

Thanks to exactly one theater in all of Indianapolis, last weekend I had the chance to witness one of the darkest, riskiest, most thought-provoking spectacles of the year. Considering the competition is mostly sequels, I’ll admit that’s not saying much.

– All aboard for the Trip to Bountiless…->

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