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What We Do in the Shadows (2019)
Better Than the Movie (which I also love)
What We Do in the Shadows follows a small group of vampires who live together on Staten Island and the adventures they wind up in.
The movie, which follows a different group in Wellington, New Zealand, is excellent and I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it before. If you love the movie, you will love the show! What makes the show better than the movie comes down to the episodic nature of television. The episodic format means plot-lines can begin and end more quickly than the movie, characters can be developed more and they can be thrown into a wider variety of crazy situations. The movie had great world-building but could only do so much with an 85 minute runtime, and the show furthers that simply from having more time.
The show would not work if Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, who wrote/directed/acted in the movie, were not onboard. They ensured that the tone, production design, shooting style, and humor were all on par with the film. Thank goodness season 2 is on the way!
The Dead Don't Die (2019)
Jarmusch's Zombie flick is dead on arrival
First off I gave this movie 6/10 because the cast is great, as is the overall production value. The movie also has a plot that begins and ends (something a shocking number of movies don't have). That alone warrants 6/10 in my book.
After Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and Paterson (2016), both films I absolutely LOVE, Jarmusch seems to want to move in a less philosophical and goofier direction. Both those films are quiet, thought-provoking, and uneventful but not in a bad way.
The Dead Don't Die feels like Jarmusch trying to make an event film, as well as a statement on American sociopolitical culture today, on Hollywood today, as well as pay homage to classic zombie films. With so many characters and so much disconnect between them, as well as so little attention given to the themes, the film ultimately is... a mess. There is a meta framing device that doesn't really work too.
In trying to touch on all these things and their great complexities, Jarmusch winds up effectively analyzing none of them. Themes are lightly addressed before quickly being swept away and replaced with something else. Same could be said for the characters and subplots. There is fun to be had if you enjoy weird and offbeat movies, but this is sadly a weak outing for Jarmusch. I'd much sooner recommend other zombie comedies such as Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, and Return of the Living Dead before this one.