The View From Here

Zombies, Will Ferrell and the hunt for Keith Richards...

Michael Bonner

Last night, I went to see the first 25 minutes of 28 Weeks Later – the follow-up to Danny Boyle’s British zombie film, 28 Days Later.

It’s becoming common practice for film companies to screen what footage they can of a movie while the director still tinkers away on the special effects. It’s not an entirely satisfactory method of previewing a movie, and you can never quite shake the suspicion that you’re not seeing all the film because – whisper it – well, it’s crap.

That said, 28 Weeks Later – which opens next month – looks promising, thanks in no small part to the work put in by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. He directed a movie called Intacto that came out in the UK in 2003; a cracking and imaginative thriller about a group of people with the ability to transfer, and steal, luck. With 28 Weeks... he works to equal Boyle’s fantastic opening sequence to 28 Days... – remember Cillian Murphy walking through empty London streets? We get a shocking prequel/flashback showing what happened to a group of survivors during the initial outbreak of the Rage virus that turns its victims into zombies. Cutting to the present day, the repopulation of London is being overseen by an American-led NATO force and one of the survivors from the prequel, played by Robert Carlyle, is reunited with his daughter and son. Fresnadillo deploys a series of beautiful helicopter shots to illustrate the deserted London, looking down on the City, landmarks just drifting by underneath, empty, ghost-like.

It’s a great start, anyway, and I look forward to seeing the rest of the film. Out next week is Boyle’s own new film – Sunshine, a sci-fi movie about a group of astronauts sent on a mission to reignite our dying sun. Boyle embraces the inevitable sci-fi comparisons by foregrounding references to the genre’s canon – Alien, 2001, even Silent Running. And it looks fantastic, full of seductive images and effects. We’ll publish our full review online next week.

I also caught a screening of Blades Of Glory, the new comedy from the mighty Will Ferrell, here teamed up with Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder, and on release in the UK from next week. It’s a major improvement on Heder’s last film, the disastrous remake of School For Scoundrels with Billy Bob Thornton. Heder and Ferrell play two rival ice skaters, banned from singles tournaments for brawling on the winners' podium, who’re forced to team up to enter a competition. Ferrell’s a pompous, preening egomaniac! Heder’s a sensitive, caring type! They hate each other! Cue… conflict! Yes, it’s one joke movie hung around their wildly different personalities – but Ferrell and Heder have enough chemistry between them that the brisk 98-minute running time never flags. Delighted, also, to find back on youtube the brilliant Saturday Night Live sketch, “More Cowbell”. Ferrell’s finest moment, perhaps? If you’ve never seen it, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBqPHJhmFHo

I’ve been scrutinising the first trailer for the new Pirates Of The Caribbean film for glimpses of Keith Richards as Cap’n Jack’s dad, Teague Sparrow. Sad to report, I can’t see the old bugger anywhere, but his presence in this third and final Pirates movie is pretty much all that’s going to get me in to see it after the disappointment of last year’s tiresome Dead Man’s Chest.

Anyway, if you see Keith -- tell him we said hello.

See you next week.


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