04/17/2014  
Stalingrad on Two-Disc Blu-ray with 3D, DVD & Digital May 13The Dave Clark Five And Beyond: Glad All Over on DVD & Blu-ray May 13Longmire: Season 2 on DVD May 13Transformers Energon: The Complete Series on DVD May 6American Jesus on DVD May 13Bad Country on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 29Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Clips and Web Sites and More!

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Cannes Film Festival Preview: Most Anticipated Movies...
Mrs Doubtfire Sequel With Robin Williams ...
Stalingrad on Two-Disc Blu-ray with 3D, DVD & Digital M...
The Dave Clark Five And Beyond: Glad All Over on DVD & ...
Brad Pitt to Star as General Stanley McChrystal in Afgh...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

DVD Review: JUAN OF THE DEAD



Studio: E1 Entertainment
Year: 2011
Cast: Alexis Díaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorría, Jazz Vilá
Director: Alejandro Brugués
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Rating: Not Rated for (violence, nudity, adult language)
Run Time: 01h:36m:00s
Genre(s): horror, comedy, zombie

"Juan of the Dead. We kill your loved ones. How can I help you?" - Juan (Alexis Díaz de Villegas)

JUAN OF THE DEAD

Buy Now @ Amazon

 
  

How will Havana respond to the zombie apocalypse? This zombie comedy from Cuba is sometimes scattershot, but also pointed, gory, and funny.

Movie Grade: B

DVD Grade: B-

We’ve seen the effects of the coming zombie apocalypse on the United States (many, many times). We’ve also seen the undead rise in the UK through the already-classic Shaun of the Dead, and well as in 28 Days Later (yes, I know, not technically zombies). Italy hasn’t been spared either, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen the dead rise in any great numbers in Cuba. Since the rest of us have had to deal with brainless hordes countless times since the 60s, Cuban director Alejandro Brugués clearly feels that it is high time that we get to see how the largely gun-less Havana responds to a takeover by the living dead. The result is sometimes scattershot, but pointed, gory, and funny.

Juan (Alexis Díaz de Villegas) is clever, 40, and extraordinarily lazy, spending his days working as little possible with his best friend Lázaro (Jorge Molina) and their pals. As the undead begin to rise in Havana, they do the best they can to avoid noticing. When things get out of control, though, Juan and his estranged daughter, along with Lázaro and the rest of their ill-matched and ill-prepared gang industriously see a business opportunity in this newly free market. “Juan of the Dead” is born...they’ll come and kill your loved ones so that you don’t have to. In spite of their quick-learned martial arts skills and inventive methods of dispatch, they are spectacularly incompetent, inadvertently killing as many live people as zombies. They’re still the only game in town, though, and so a roaring success. As Havana crumbles, Juan is forced, much against his better instincts, to become a hero. Juan’s ultimately a good guy, and its from him that the movie gets its heart. The few poignant moments don’t always blend well in tone with the (clever) gore, or with the too-obvious (often homophobic) humor (look, Lázaro’s balls are hanging out of his shorts!) but keep the violence from feeling ugly, and allows us to root for Juan and the slackers on his team.

In the now extensive pantheon of zombie films, this one lands somewhere in the middling range. Many of its tricks are well work by this point, and, let’s face it: we’re running out of ways to kill zombies. The blow-to-the-head rule about killing the undead adds to zombie effectiveness, since you can do just about anything else to one and it’ll still run, walk, shamble, or crawl at you. It’s also limiting, though...one of the genre’s core visual rules involving hitting, shooting, or stabbing dead people in the head, and after dozens of films, there are only so many types of severe head trauma remaining. Still, Juan has a visual sense of humor that sets it apart a bit, as when a building’s rickety elevator becomes a means of dispatching the formerly sweet old lady from upstairs, or when a handcuffing leads to an elaborate zombie-fight/tango number. Where the movie really stands out, though, is in its politics. Zombie films with nothing to say tend to feel like a waste, ever since George Romero invented the genre and proved in film after film that the living dead are pretty good vehicles for the type of social commentary that most commercial films wouldn’t poke with a stick. Argentinian-born director Alejandro Brugués has plenty to say about his adopted home of Cuba. In Juan of the Dead, zombies become “dissidents” as Cubans ignore the undead threat for as long as possible, conditioned and desensitized for five decades by warnings that America was due to invade at any moment. Even as the numbers of zombies grow, and Havana gradually collapses, Cubans continue in their daily routine...naturally, the buses continue to run on time, even when half of the passengers are dead. A rally of solidarity against the “imperialists” turns into a smorgasbord. The film takes its own stab at the Shaun of the Dead visual gag of a city of shambling zombies being indistinguishable at first from oblivious commuters on a typical day. And, naturally, the survivors of Havana head off in rafts when things get too tough. The parody is affectionate in its way, but still bites. Shaun is a clear and obvious inspiration here (along with Romero’s American films before it), but the formula works, and the locale makes all the difference. I’d watch one of these from every country on the planet. Can you imagine a zombie comedy set against Putin’s Russia? France? Japan? What’s required are filmmakers with a love of the genre, sharp political instincts, and tongues planted firmly in cheeks.

As for the DVD itself, the film is in Spanish with optional (default) English-language subtitles. The only extras are a couple of trailers and a fun but nonessential making-of, which is disappointing: a look at Cuban filmmaking, especially regarding so critical a film, would have been fascinating. Several deleted scenes are also included, along with comments from the cast and director. The Dolby stereo audio is unspectacular, but entirely effective. The film itself is typically dark with a muted palette of browns and grays, so it’s a good thing that the video presentation here is solid: contrast is strong enough to ensure that we’re never lost. Juan of the Dead has become a minor cult item just by making the film-festival rounds, and deserves the reputation that it’s already gained. The zombie genre hasn’t quite run out of steam yet.

Posted by: Ross Johnson - August 19, 2012, 12:13 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: zombie, cuba, havana




Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 





Covered California

Keywords

movie, cannes film festival, grace of monaco, nicole kidman, kristen stewart, robert pattinson, maps to the stars, julianne moore, foxcatcher, the homesman, tommy lee jones, hilary swank, mrs. doubtfire, robin williams, fox 2000, chris columbus, david berenhaum, drama, documentary, brad pitt, general stanley mcchrystal, the operators, afghanistan war film, david michod, gone girl gillian flynn, ben affleck, rosamund pike, elvis costello, she, nine inch nails, trent reznor, atticus ross, gone girl's score, celebrity, television, ultimate warrior, james hellwig, wrestler, heart disease, world wrestling entertainment hall of fame, animation, hbo, game of thrones, jack gleeson, king joffrey baratheon, the purple wedding, movies, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, shailene wookley, veronica roth, allegiant, divergent, insurgent, the croods, nicolas cage, joe, david gordon green, tye sheridan, late night, late show, david letterman, stephen colbert, comedy central, the colbert report, julia louis-dreyfus, seinfeld, heep, rolling stone magazine, crime, comedy, angelina jolie, big men, maleficent, unbroken, mickey rooney, a-list teenage star, andy hardy, judy garland, ava gardner

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact