George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead

In a world where the dead rise to menace the living, rogue soldier Crocket (Alan Van Sprang) leads a band of military dropouts to refuge from the endless chaos. As they search for a place “where the shit won’t get you,” they meet banished patriarch Patrick O’Flynn (played with zeal by Kenneth Welsh), who promises a new Eden on the fishing and ranching outpost Plum Island. The men arrive, only to find themselves caught in an age-old battle between O’Flynn’s family and rival clan the Muldoons. It turns out that Patrick was expelled from the isle for believing that the only good zombie is a dead zombie, while the Muldoons think it’s wrong to dispatch afflicted loved ones, attempting to look after their undead kinfolk until a cure is found. But their bid for stability on the homestead has turned perverse: the undead are chained inside their homes, pretending to live normal lives – and the consequences are bloody. A desperate struggle for survival will determine whether the living and the dead can coexist.

Such apocalyptic themes have long haunted George A. Romero, much to the delight of his legions of fans. He now follows Crocket, a minor character from his last film, Diary of the Dead, to present a new doomsday scenario. In that film, Crocket made a brief appearance with his militia to appropriate the heroes’ supplies at gunpoint. For Crocket’s subsequent journey, Romero does something that most horror directors have neglected to do in recent years – he uses the genre to address societal issues. Romero here creates a world in which he can wrestle with the human condition while simultaneously finding new and creative ways to exterminate lurching flesh eaters.

The film is also a sharp subversion of the western. It can be seen as a reflection of William Wyler’s The Big Country, in which stubborn clans feuded as larger troubles raged. We needn’t look further than today’s news headlines to see examples of such fracture and to understand how it prevents more significant problems from being solved.

Fear not, Romero is still determined to give you gruesome and macabre thrills, but will also serve up a bloody little parable on the side. So who are you going to side with, the living or the dead?

[Synopsis courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival]

Being Charlie

Charlie Mills has just turned 18 and is running away from rehab – again. Returning home, he is shocked to learn that his father, a former film star currently running for Governor of California, has staged an intervention, with the goal of making Charlie address–and, hopefully, conquer–his substance abuse issues far from the harsh glare of the media. Reluctantly, Charlie enters a new adult facility where he meets a kindred spirit, Eva, and their budding romance looks like it might be an antidote to his strained relationship with a highly preoccupied father and overly indulgent mother. The question is, will these two kids help each other or lead one another down yet another rabbit hole? Facing more obstacles, restrictions, disappointments, and even tragedies than any 18 year-old should have to, Charlie is forced to begin the difficult but necessary journey to self-discovery and acceptance.


Having no memory of sexually abusing his daughter, a convicted father discovers he may be a part of a nation-wide conspiracy.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Middle school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for self-described “wimpy kid” Greg Heffley, who discovers a frightening new world teeming with boys who are taller, tougher and hairier than he is — and decides to document it all in his diary.

Small Time

Inspired by a true story, Al Klein (Meloni) and his longtime friend, Ash Martini (Norris) own a used car lot. These two know every trick in the book when it comes to selling cars. Martini is a good time charley, who never settled down. Klein, however, still pines for his ex-wife Barbara (Moynahan) who left him years ago for a more successful man. After their son, Freddy (Bostick,) graduates high school, he decides to forego college in favor of selling cars with his old man. Klein is thrilled when Freddy moves in with him—it’s the first time these two have lived under one roof since Freddy was a kid. Barbara, on the other hand, is very far from thrilled. But what’s good for Klein might not be the best thing for Freddy, as Freddy quickly transforms from innocent young man into a seasoned car salesman… leaving Al with a tough decision to make.