LAFF 2012 Reviews: ‘Juan of The Dead’ and ‘It’s A Disaster’
So many good films at the LA Film Fest this year, it really is always so much fun to attend and I wanted to share some thoughts on a couple of my favorites, Juan of the Dead and It’s A Disaster.
Juan of the Dead
If you liked Shaun of the Dead, then Juan of the Dead is for you. Set in Havana, Cuba, we meet Juan, a down on his luck man, who decides to take advantage of the zombie infestation taking place in the city by offering his services and the one of his crew to families looking for help getting rid of their infected loved ones…. for a fee of course. Director/writer Alejandro Brugués mixes in social commentary, humor and gore to tell the endearing and hilarious survival story of Juan and his crew of misfits.
While zombies are nothing new and horror-comedy has also been done before, Juan of the Dead still manages to be original and absolutely worth the trip. In fact, it is the first Cuban zombie movie, which was quite the event when it premiere in Cuba. During the Q&A after the LAFF screening, Director Alejandro Brugués told a story of the thousands of people thatshowed up to see it in Cuba.
But all that aside, Juan of the Dead is simply a great movie. Its characters are the most unlikely bunch of heroes you’d expect in a zombie movie and that’s what makes it so brilliant. Juan may be sleazy, his right hand Lazaro may be a bit twisted, and the rest of the crew, well you’ll just have to watch the film to find out, but if there’s one thing for sure, they are survivors, unlikely ones for sure, but survivors you’d be lucky to have around…. or maybe not come to think of it (you’ll understand once you see the film).
Juan of the Dead will have one last screening at LAFF on Saturday, June 23, 10:00 pm.
Rating: 8 out of 10 stars
It’s A Disaster
It’s a Disaster is a disaster movie like you’ve never seen one and it’s brilliant. The movie focuses on four couples meeting up for their regular Sunday couples brunch and get so tangled in their personal dramas that it takes them a second to realize something wrong is happening in the city. As in bombs exploded in downtown Los Angeles a few miles from their house wrong and this could very well be armageddon.
The whole film takes place in the house and relies on the various interactions between the characters to move the story forward. There is always a risk that a movie could turn out really dull with this type of setting, but it definitely isn’t the case here. Director/writer Todd Berger has crafted such an ingenious and compelling script without a single dull moment throughout the film. But even more, Berger doesn’t go for the cheap laughs, oh no, the comedy of It’s a Disaster is quite clever and most of the time just plain “wrong” (in a good way). And yet, it also feels real in some way, which is kind of scary as well.
The film has such a great build up that the end is nothing but brilliant. I didn’t expect it, yet I don’t think it could have ended any other way. It’s quite simply perfect.
I don’t think you can explain much more about this film, it has to be experienced. But one thing’s for sure, it is one of the best films that I have seen not only at LAFF but so far this year and if you take a chance and go see it hopefully you’ll love it as much as I did.
The movie stars Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan, David Cross, America Ferrera, Jeff Grace, Erinn Hayes, Blaise Miller, and Julia Stiles.
It’s A Disaster will have one last screening at LAFF on Saturday, June 23, 2:30 pm. Go see it!
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
It’s A Disaster was preceded by an awesome short film, Bear, directed by Nash Edgerton. So original and so deliciously edgy, it is one of the best short films I saw at the festival. I loved it.
You can find out more information about the short on their official Facebook page.