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PCR #412 (Vol. 9, No. 7) This edition is for the week of February 11--17, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Diary of the Dead"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The Tampa Film Review for February  by Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, and Chris Woods
"Diary of the Dead"  by Mike Smith
Book Review: Full Wolf Moon by K. L. Nappier  by Lisa Ciurro
Toy Shop--R.I.P.  by ED Tucker
Roy The Boy  by Matt Drinnenberg
Roy .... Now There Are Only 5 .... Indy .... Bye Bye Roger .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1979 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Nick Alachiotis, Joshua Close and Michelle Morgan
Directed by: George A. Romero
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 35 mins

A disturbing theme has hit movies this year. That theme is telling a story through a video camera, as in “The Blair Witch Project.” Last month we had “Cloverfield.” This month brings us “Diary of the Dead,” a film that has “Cloverfield’s” on-screen shakiness but not it’s spirit.

If you are at all familiar with the work of George A. Romero, you know that the majority of his films deal with the living dead stumbling around Pittsburgh. He’s made a career out of the same storyline for the past 40 years and this film’s plot twist is what if some student filmmakers are making a zombie movie the same day as the dead start to rise? Spooky stuff, huh?

The film opens with camera footage uploaded on the Internet by a television news cameraman who responded to a multiple homicide. While setting up the shot he notices that the bodies on the stretchers with the sheets over them are starting to move. But that can’t be, they’re dead. Right?

What may have been a great idea 10 years ago has been done to death (no pun intended), which is a shame because the film has some true horror moments. Things that go bump in the night are old hat to Romero and the master gets the chance to throw in some genuine jolts. Unfortunately, the movie within the movie, titled “the Death of Death” grows annoying as the same things discussed in countless other horror films (why do zombies walk slow, etc) are brought up here. However, instead of answering those questions the film jiggles it’s way to a series of “standard” zombie attacks…people sprinting quickly through the woods only to be overtaken by the plodding creatures that want nothing but to snack on the brains of the living. And even THAT is done on a boring level. Master make up artist Greg Nicotero, who did such great work with Romero in the past (as well as “Hostel” and “The Hills Have Eyes”) is sorely missed here. If the previous“Dead” films had one thing to impress viewers, it was their grisly visual effects, which come off very slow and deliberate. I mean, for gosh sakes, if you’re doing to destroy the population of the Steel City you may as well do it with some style! The true Death of Death here is apathy.

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Diary of the Dead”

This week's movie review of "Diary of the Dead" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.