Saturday, April 17, 2004

Review – Capturing the Friedmans

Here’s an interesting new twist: a crime documentary in which the criminals (or maybe “alleged criminals” would be better) actually document themselves. There seems little doubt that elderly, nerdy Arnold Friedman was a fan of child pornography. But once he was busted for kiddie porn, things swiftly went from bad to worse. Before the dust settled, Arnold and his youngest son were both sent to prison for molesting students in Arnold’s home computer classes, the ol’ man killed himself, and his whole family turned into a dysfunctional mess (not that it was a long drive for them to begin with). The story itself is sad and icky but not much more. The real fascination here lies in the obsession Arnold and his eldest son had with filming, audio- and videotaping almost every aspect of their family’s life, particularly the domestic discord that appears to grow worse and worse as the case progresses. An uplifting commentary on the essential nobility of the human spirit this ain’t, but it nonetheless probably bears a look. Mildly amusing

Friday, April 2, 2004

Review – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The original’s a classic, so there really isn’t any point in comparing the remake to it. However, I did enjoy this production more than I thought I was going to. It owes more to 28 Days Later than to Romero directly; indeed, it has a lot of the 28 Days booga-booga shots without the pretentious artiness. I also enjoyed the nods to the original trilogy (especially little things like the cameos and the store in the mall called Gaylen Ross). Some of the gooey boogers are Dead Alive silly, such as the fat woman and the baby. But for the most part the gore’s good, the chills are chilling, and the story keeps moving. I’m unlikely to watch this one as many times as I’ve seen the original, but it was thoroughly entertaining nonetheless. If nothing else it was interesting to see a movie that keeps the action going all the way through the end credits. Worth seeing