Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Infected in the Courtroom

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - 2009 - Dir: Peter Hyams
Location: The Comfort of My Home - Blu-Ray


Another one of the fine movies I have to watch for reviewing purposes. In this direct-to-DVD thriller Jesse Metcalfe plays an investigative reporter trying to uncover what he believes to be a District Attorney (Michael Douglas) tampering with evidence in all of his cases where he gets convictions based on largely circumstantial reasons. His budget is cut at work so he decides to frame himself for a murder of a hooker where there are no suspects. He videotapes himself buying all of the things that the police know about (ski mask, switchblade, getting a dog bite on leg, etc...) with a newspaper proving this was done after the actual murder. Then, while on trial, his only friend who knows this secret will bring in the tape to clear his name and bust the D.A. Sounds pretty foolproof, huh? HA!

This is a remake of a Fritz Lang film noir from 1956 of the same name, the same basic story that is. Of course they have updated things and changed characters but the same basic outline is there. Peter Hyams is known for his work directing such classics as Timecop, the John Ritter TV related comedy feature Stay Tuned and End of Days, but here is attempt at bringing that noir feel falls flat. All of the style beautiful cinematography known to the genre are not there. Some of the dialog tries to imitate but cannot match the quick tongues of the 40s and 50s.

Amber Tamblyn plays Metcalfe's girlfriend and while she may not be the best actress around her name in undoubtedly fun to say. I just wonder when Michael Douglas went from being a badass to doing DVD only releases. The film isn't horrible, but I wouldn't recommend you take the time out to watch it.

Instead...


28 Days Later - 2002 - Dir: Danny Boyle
Location: The Comfort of My House - Blu-Ray


I really loved this film when it first came out and my feelings hold up still. This tale of an infection of "rage" leads England to be wiped out and those left alive have to hide and run from these killing machines. If you are bitten or get one drop of their blood into your bloodstream, or mouth, then you have only a matter of seconds before becoming just like them. In the film Cillian Murphy plays a guy who wakes up 28 days after the infection began to discover he is alone in a hospital where he had been in a coma. While walking through a deserted London he meets up with a few other survivors and they must try to survive in the land and make way to others still alive and well.

Danny Boyle created a wonderfully terrifying film. There is plenty of blood and guts, a lot of tension and enough excitement to keep your heart racing. The one complaint I have ever had with this movie is people classifying it in the zombie genre.

Newsflash: THIS IS NOT A ZOMBIE FILM!

Sure they want to kill and eat humans and if you are bitten by one you come one yourself, but that is not all a zombie is. The zombies of horror films are the living dead, here they are just infected. There is no severing the head or destroying the brain. With these infected people you can kill them like any old human, there is nothing supernatural involved. To me the more "supernatural" thing is a big factor in zombies. I know people classify zombies as mindless people but if that's the way you're going to classify then most every mainstream Hollywood film is full of them. Even in the stories origins in voodoo zombies were seen as possessed dead who would do the work of their master. Living dead, not infected. 'Nuff said.

Regardless of the whole zombie debate this is a great film and easily one of the best horror films of the decade. Maybe I'll watch the sequel again, didn't really care for it the first time. Buy the Blu-Ray here, or the DVD (which is more expensive for some reason) here.

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