Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright

Staring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield

Rating: ★★★½

Shaun Of The Dead is a British comedy about two best friends encountering a zombie invasion in London. Where most zombie films focus on the undead, this film takes a different approach and is more like a sitcom focusing on ordinary life problems but with flesh eating zombies getting in the way. Best-buds, housemates, drinking partners and lazy morons Shaun and Ed (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost) aim to fight away the shuffling zombies roaming London rescue loved ones and go to the local pub, The Winchester for a nice pint.

The film opens with a list of mocking ironic hints at a zombie invasion, almost teasing you. While the real world has its problems so does the world of Shaun, spending all his time in the local pub with Ed and working in a poxy small retail store his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) leaves him. However Shaun will fight for her and try and get her back but first a trip to The Winchester with Ed and a few beers. Waking up after choking on his own dribble Shaun and Ed realise that Zombies are walking the streets of London. Ignoring advice and love for classic records they fight back in hope of saving Shaun’s mum Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and getting back Liz.
In true comedy style they bash and bump their way through the undead with a cricket bat and shovel all fuelled from a can of coke and a Corneto. Shaun of The Dead plays to the humorous British stereotypes with the characters of Shaun’s mum Barbara and her husband Phil (Bill Nigly). In the face of death and hell the two stand firm in true British style by running bite wounds under a cold tap, putting on the kettle and making sandwiches. The play on the stereotypes brings laughs so credit to writers Edgar and Simon.
Shaun of The Dead is a very different take on the somewhat exhausted genre of zombie films. It creates many laughs and that’s down to the comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who act very well as clueless morons. All in all this film gives you exactly what you expected, lots of laughs and comical idiotic ways of killing zombies. The best “zom-com” out there and possibly the only one with a soundtrack that includes Queen, a must watch film so don’t miss out.

Into The Wild (2007)

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama

Director: Sean Penn
Writers: Sean Penn (screenplay), Jon Krakauer (book)
Staring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart
Rating: ★★★★½
Into The Wild is a film that’s based on a true story and an adaptation of a book, Sean Penn captures every bit of emotion possible creating an inspirational, beautiful, sad and influential film that you will always remember. Words won’t do justice to just how good a storyline this film has, the fact it’s based on a true story just adds to the emotion and wonder. It has a fantastic crew that shows when looking at the film from the technical point of view, it also features a cameo of all star actors and actresses from Vince Vaughn to Kristen Stewart.

Emile Hirsch plays the character of Chris McCandless a young man who has it all, youth, wealth, intelligence but it isn’t what he wants, he just wants to live to be out there. After graduating from Emory University with straight A’s he abandons his old life, his possessions, his car, he gives his complete $24,000 savings to charity and decides to hitchhike his way to Alaska to live in the wild as Alexander The Supertramp. He rebels against his demanding snobby parents (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt) and leaves his bewildered sister (Jena Malone). On the way of his great adventure he meets some extraordinary and different characters that shape his new life.

The film skips between Chris in Alaska at the end of his adventure to how he got there and the lessons he learnt and the people he met, finally they meet and the film follows the present day. The characters he meets all vary giving not only Chris advice but you feel the audience life lessons. He meets the characters middle aged “hippy” couple Rainey and Jan (Brain H. Dierker, Catherine Keener) to the likes of an old man Ron (Hal Holbrook) not only is it inspirational and heart warming but the relationships and bonds formed are truly heart warming.

Sean Penn has adapted the book very well, staying close to the original source. He was helped along the way in creating this wonderful film by an excellent crew, credit should be given for a inspirational mood setting soundtrack by the sound department. The acting was outstanding, Emile Hirsch adapted very well not only mentally but physically to play the character of Chris McCandless, for me it’s one of my favourite performances in the last decade. All in all Into The Wild is a must watch film, not only is it a inspirational story but a serious one about a boy who was lost due to his desire to live. It deserves its status as the 165th best film of all time and its many wins and nominations, don’t miss out.