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Anchor Bay's January '06 Releases

All Souls Day (July 7/05)

While All Souls Day should be commended for trying something different with the well-worn zombie genre, the film's positives are ultimately undone by some seriously uneven pacing and a screenplay that places far more emphasis on backstory than necessary. In terms of the latter, the opening half hour features two prologues (!) that attempt to explain how a small Mexican town became overrun with zombies - although since certain bits of key information aren't divulged until late in the film, both sequences come off as needless and dull. The film's midsection, revolving around a quartet of friends that must contend with said town's undead menace, is a considerable improvement over the sluggish first act, and successfully delivers the sort of bloody hijinks that one expects out of a zombie flick. But screenwriter Mark A. Altman insists on returning to that tedious backstory - involving the efforts of a vicious crime lord (played by Danny Trejo) to achieve everlasting life - and compounds it by including the cryptic shenanigans of the hotel's hostess (Laura Harring). Such elements come off as superfluous and distracting, and one can't help but wish Altman would've just focused on the walking dead/randy teens fracas.

out of


My Big Fat Independent Movie (January 13/06)

Despite the best intentions of all involved to turn My Big Fat Independent Movie into the next Airplane! or Naked Gun, the film instead comes off as a subpar spoof effort along the lines of Scary Movie or Spy Hard. One could easily point to the inferior performances, low-rent production values, and flimsy storyline as the cause of the movie's speedy downfall, but it'd be a lot easier (and accurate) to place the lion's share of the blame on the desperately unfunny screenplay. Writers Chris Gore and Adam Schwartz pack their script with references to various well-known independent films, including Pulp Fiction, The Good Girl, and (naturally) My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but fail to elicit laughs from their inclusion; instead of going for a witty, satirical sort of vibe, the two emphasize low-brow jokes and extremely obvious attempts at parody (ie the glowing item inside the Pulp Fiction briefcase turns out to be...a smoked meat sandwich). Even the "celebrity" cameos by folks like Bob Odenkirk and Clint Howard fall flat, although one can't help but admire Project Greenlight winner Pete Jones' self-deprecating appearance. It's easy enough to see what the filmmakers were attempting to do with My Big Fat Independent Movie - this is a genre that could stand to be taken down a peg or two - but the unrelentingly amateurish atmosphere ultimately transforms the film into a tedious mess.

out of

© David Nusair