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Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Review

Good

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises of both 2014's Back to the Future and 2015's Star Wars, this immersive take on Danny Boyle's classic zombie movie feels rather undercooked. But there's a lot of fun to be had (if not many scares) spending several hours trying to survive in a world overrun by the undead.

The set-up is very clever: you are given an appointment at an NSH hospital in a secret London location, and told to wear scrubs or protective clothing. On arrival you're handed a surgical mask and ordered here and there for interviews, physical examinations and eventually an oral vaccination that seems to make everything go blurry and then pitch black. When you "wake up" all hell has broken loose, and you are sent running through a series of blood-drenched corridors and stairwells, encountering characters and settings from the film as zombies lunge from every corner. In the safe zone, food and drink is for sale, and you get a chance to relax a bit, play a game, have a dance. Finally, you're led into an inventively themed cinema to watch the 2002 film as on-screen elements are performed around you.

Through all of this, medical and military officials harshly shout instructions at you, while TV screens show news reports of chaos on the streets. Combined with the dimly lit post-apocalyptic setting, the atmosphere is enjoyably claustrophobic, only broken by the nagging sense that money is draining out of your wallet at an alarming rate. Not only is the ticket £67 (or £134 for a "premium experience"), but there are things to buy at every point, from the scrubs or coveralls to pricey cocktails served in small bottles or coffee mugs and a relatively slim selection of restaurant-priced food options.

Continue reading: Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Review

28 Days Later Review


Excellent
Although its title might lead you to believe that they actually made a sequel to the awful Sandra Bullock movie about alcoholism, 28 Days Later is anything but a journey through rehab. In fact, the disturbing, grotesque nature of the film makes rehab look like a peaceful picnic at the zoo... well, just as long as there aren't monkeys at that zoo.

The recipe for 28 Days Later is quite simple: half Outbreak, half Night of the Living Dead, and maybe a dash or two of Planet of the Apes. While the ingredients are familiar, thankfully, director Danny Boyle, who also helmed the bizarre Trainspotting, contributes his own unique seasonings, turning this acidic dish into a journey through hell-on-earth; it's one of the most frightening movies of the year.

Continue reading: 28 Days Later Review

Liam Review


Very Good
Stuttering Liam (Anthony Borrows) has problems like you wouldn't believe. For starters, he lives in Liverpool during the Depression. He's also pummelled with Catholic doctrine at school. Dad's out of work. Sis has to work as a maid for a wealthy Jewish family. And of course, there's the stutter.

Stephen Frears (High Fidelity) directs this powerful and moving work about a small facet of the past, and it's interesting to see him work without his trademark, wry humor as found in similar working-class-in-the-UK productions like The Van and The Snapper. Ian Hart is apt as the down-and-out father who gets sucked into anti-Jewish Fascism (thus endangering poor sis's breadwinning), and Borrows is a put-upon and precocious (yet not disgustingly so) kid in the tradition of Angela's Ashes.

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28 Days Later Review


Good

The eerily and utterly empty streets of a looted London in the early scenes of "28 Days Later" are a perfectly chilling primer for the gritty neo-B-movie horror to follow in this incisive, underground-styled revival of the zombie flick genre.

Seen through the eyes of Jim (Cillian Murphy), an injured bicycle messenger who has just awoken from a coma in a deserted hospital, it seems as if he's the last person alive as he stumbles alone down street after echoing street in stolen scrubs and tennis shoes, bellowing "Helllloooo!" and getting no response except from frightened pigeons.

But he's not alone. Oh, boy is he not alone.

Continue reading: 28 Days Later Review

Liam Review


Good

Directed by the versatile and perceptive Stephen Frears, "Liam" is a refreshingly modest, yet very affecting look at the bleak life of struggling class Catholics in 1930s Liverpool, as seen through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy.

Similar in setting, circumstance, atmosphere and sooty sense of humor to 1999's Irish poverty yarn "Angela's Ashes," but more a depiction of simple hardship than abject misery (no dying siblings or shoes resoled with old bicycle tires), the focus of the film is sweetly mischievous little Liam (Anthony Burrows). He's a cheerful, cherubic lad turned shy and quiet because of a wicked stuttering problem and the frightful reprimands of domineering Catholic school teachers who spend much more time browbeating the children with ominous dogma than they do exercising the three Rs.

"Your soul is filthy!" his harridan of a schoolmarm barks. "Sin drives the nails deeper into the hands of Christ!" bellows his ruddy zealot of a priest, who also comes knocking on the family's door every payday to requisition a cut of father's wages for the coffer.

Continue reading: Liam Review

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Megan Burns Movies

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

28 Days Later Movie Review

28 Days Later Movie Review

Although its title might lead you to believe that they actually made a sequel to...

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Liam Movie Review

Liam Movie Review

Stuttering Liam (Anthony Borrows) has problems like you wouldn't believe. For starters, he lives...

28 Days Later Movie Review

28 Days Later Movie Review

The eerily and utterly empty streets of a looted London in the early scenes of...

Liam Movie Review

Liam Movie Review

Directed by the versatile and perceptive Stephen Frears, "Liam" is a refreshingly modest, yet very...

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