Army of the Dead ***
Horror thriller. Six years after a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, the city has been quarantined from the rest of America. When billionaire Bly Tanaka (The Wolverine’s Hiroyuki Sanada) learns the government plans to nuke the place, he hires mercenary Scott Ward (Dave Bautista from Guardians of the Galaxy) to go into the quarantined zone and retrieve $200 million from a safe in his casino.
Scott and his team only have 32 hours before the city is destroyed. If they succeed, they get a cool $50 million for their trouble. The only catch is that Scott’s estranged daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), insists on joining the team when she learns a friend has gone into the city.
Will their brains all end up as zombie chow?
This movie has been called a “spiritual successor” to director Zack Snyder’s debut, Dawn of the Dead (2004), as it’s also a zombie film but not a direct sequel. It’s a mash-up of apocalyptic survival horror and an Ocean’s 11-style heist film.
The movie is extremely gory and violent but luckily there are characters to lighten it up and provide much-needed humour, especially stand-up comedian Tig Notaro as helicopter pilot Marianne Peters and Matthias Schweighöfer as Dieter the safecracker.
And amid all the blood, guts and chaos, the strained father-daughter relationship between Scott and Kate anchors the film emotionally.
The plot is at times predictable and at nearly two and a half hours, the movie is long, but Snyder (Justice League) succeeds in holding your attention with clever story-telling and plenty of action.
If you enjoyed zombie movies such as 28 Days Later (2002) and World War Z (2013), this one should be right up your alley. – LARA ATSON
2021. 148 MIN. 18HLV. AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX.
Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar *** 1/2
Comedy. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, co-writers of the hit movie Bridesmaids (2011), co-star in this slapstick comedy.
The film is about middle-aged friends Barb (Mumolo) and Star (Wiig) who go on their first holiday where they find adventure and love while trying to evade a villain.
The movie doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a fun and funny film intended to entertain viewers with its nonsensical monologues, ridiculous musical inserts and silly murder-mystery plot.
It has an easy flow that will lift your spirits, and the cast deliver great comedy, especially Wiig with her hilarious and expert character transformations, and Jamie Dornan (50 Shades of Grey) who also surprises with a fabulous singing voice.
It’s quite wacky but does touch on some meaningful themes, such as the importance of friendships and midlife fears of change, all while coated in full-tilt silliness, with a homage to spy movies and parodies of everything from Titanic to Stranger Things thrown in.
You’re likely to laugh out loud throughout, something we could all do with right now.
– CAMILLA THOROGOOD
2021. 108 min. 13. AVAILABLE ON APPLE TV+.
Game Builder Garage ***
This is a fantastic learning tool for budding game developers or anyone interested in the nuts and bolts beneath the surface of videogames.
But those expecting to make games within minutes might be disappointed as Game Builder Garage is a much deeper and fully featured game-building toolkit than its bright, colourful graphics might suggest.
The tutorials are simple enough to follow, and it quickly becomes apparent just how much is possible. But the overall package is let down by the difficulty in finding other players’ games. It’s also rather a small community compared to similar games such as PlayStation’s Little Big Planet or Dreams.
However, Game Builder Garage is still a great place for wannabe game designers to cut their teeth and learn a lot of the technical ins-and-outs of game design in its raw form.
– GARETH SEILER
AVAILABLE ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH.