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In Hollywood, No One Can Hear You Care

Posted by Sunday on Apr 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm in Apocalypse, Movies

You’re at an upscale restaurant. You’ve ordered an appetizer of steamed mussels in fennel and new timothy hay shoots. It seems to be taking an exceptionally long time to arrive, but your waiter is attentive, refills your water glasses and gets you another free basket of warm, fresh bread. When the mussels finally appear he sincerely apologizes for how long it took. That’s okay, you gush, because the mussels smell like heaven and you drank your wine too fast and on an empty stomach. It’s turning out to be a nice evening.

Around this time, you notice that the couple recently seated next to you is looking grumpy. They’re older, stiff, and barely speaking to each other. You feel a surge of appreciation for your partner – at least the two of you can make an entire conversation out of the merits of generic Froot Loops. But you’re distracted by the older couple, their overt wealth paired with their obvious disgruntlement. The man says something rude about the kind waiter and you feel a prickly thrill of indignancy. You’re still a little drunk, now from the second glass of wine, and you fall into a temporary fantasy where you are going to say something scathing to the man.

The waiter returns with a gratinéed oyster platter for the couple much faster than youd received your mussels. Before the couple has a chance to say anything, the waiter insists that the oysters are on the house, and can he get them anything else graits? A bottle of champagne, perhaps? The couple sullenly agrees to a bottle of champagne.

Wait a fucking minute! You sit upright. Wait a goddamn fucking minute – is that how this works? Your understanding and tolerance goes unrewarded? Your lack of hideous diamond Rolexes? The waiter is instantly transformed from a harried but capable food intermediary to a pandering, greedy and despicable shit. From that point on your meal is tainted. Part of you is embarrassed at your own reaction and dreads and hopes in equal parts that the waiter is going to make it up to you in a quieter, more bonding way later, but by the time the interminable meal is over you aren’t even making eye contact with him anymore and he drops the check to the table without a word. You go over the check and find that you’ve been overcharged for the wine. Miserably, rather than spend another minute feeling terrible and watching the hideous monster couple next to you wordlessly shovel crème brûlée into their gobs, you pay the bill and leave. But not before guiltily making sure the tip was slightly less than 15%.

Okay! Now you’re in the mood to understand what I’m about to tell you!

This may or may not feel like a spoiler to you. Continue reading at your own peril.

rec_poster.jpgIn 2007 a Spanish zombie movie called [●REC] was made, filmed “reality” style (think Cloverfield). A television reporter and her cameraman accompany an emergency services crew on the night shift as a part of a planned and ostensibly normal feature. They answer a call regarding an elderly woman trapped in an apartment building, only to find the building dark and other tenants apparently gone. Zombies! Hooray!

When the crew tries to leave the building they find they are trapped inside by a government quarantine, at which point they argue the possibilities of escape. So. What could be bad, right?

Well, in a apparently never-before done move, the movie [●REC] was optioned simultaneously for what some people are calling a “remake,” a term I find misleading and inaccurate. Simultaneous filming? Doppel-filmed? While technically a remake since the Spanish [●REC] was made and released first, certain elements keep me from committing. For starters, the American version of the film, Quarantine, is an almost word-for-word, shot-for-shot redo. The American actress wears the same outfit and screams in the same parts. Jaume Balagueró wrote and directed both films. Much of the crew was the same.

Then there is the subject of availability and intention. From what I am reading, there is no North American release of a subtitled [●REC] scheduled yet. This doesn’t mean it won’t be released, but confirms that there was a clear, intentional split between the two films: one is intended for Spain and Europe, and the other is intended for America. Americans will be able to get copies of the Spanish DVD, but there may never be an American release. For those that are new to this dimension: DVDs are released in regions. Read all about it, if you’re bored.

What does this all have to do with a fancy dinner, you ask? Calm, my dumplings. Calm.

The rumor is that Quarantine is the ugly stepchild. The filming is sloppier, the screams louder, the camera shaking more pronounced, the costs higher – in other words, a big fat American horror film. Somehow Americans – who are horror connoisseurs in that adolescent way in that we’ll watch anything no matter how awful – are getting stuck with a kindly, special-made piece of crap. Is it because our standards are lower? Most certainly. We’d be dragged to a zombie movie kicking and screaming if it meant having to read fucking subtitles. But make a shittier version in God’s English? HELL YES.

Here’s your dinner film. You’d paid full price for the exact same thing done better elsewhere. Enjoy.

Slated for release in October of 2008, the upside is that Quarantine stars a favorite young actress of mine, Jennifer Carpenter, who stole the show as a demonic/terrified teen in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Spanish trailer for [●REC]

English trailer for [●REC]

Trailer for Quarantine (allow page to sit for 10 seconds and trailer will automatically start)

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April 24th, 2008 | Apocalypse, Movies

One Response to “In Hollywood, No One Can Hear You Care”

  1. Zombie Jesus Says:

    I’m a pretty big fan of contemporary foreign films, and it’s been kind of upsetting seeing the American remakes. I haven’t seen Funny Games in either the German or American version, but that was another shot-by-shot one apparently. I’ve heard that The Edukators is being remade or was remade, which sucks balls. The worst of the worst American remake ever IMHO was City of Angels, the Americanized Der Himmel uber Berlin/Wings of Desire starring…Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. FUCK. THAT. MOVIE.

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