Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tokyo Zombie and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Hello again old friends. I'm officially in Seattle!  After a quick trip to Ikea for a new entertainment center and couch it was time to start again on my quest through my zombie movie library.  With two new editions to my collection i was beside myself in excitement.  My choice was the Japanese made Tokyo Zombie.  I've never seen the film but I've seen the DVD in Best Buy so it must be good....right?  As for the beer i think i need to explain a bit.  I'm still getting used to the fact that grocery stores in Washington also carry beer.  And not just your big brands either.  The PCC where i do my shopping has an impressive collection of craft beers to choose from.  I was able to pick up 2 six packs of New Belgium's beer (Ranger IPA and Belgian Tripel) for $6 each!!  Top that with some kind of Belgian/Scotch ale hybrid and a couple of 90 minute IPA's and i'm set for movie night!
The premise is pretty funny.  People throw all their junk (including dead bodies) in a landfill that eventually gets so large that it's the largest point in Tokyo, thus dubbed "Black Fuji".  Mix all those dead bodies with improperly disposed of industrial waste and BANGO! Zombies.  This is incredibly inconvenient for our two main characters.  A couple of friends with a large age difference, and a shared passion for jujitsu.  I'm not an expert on Japanese culture but here in the US of A the type of jujitsu they were practicing would be called foreplay.  Yes there is some homo erotic kind of thing going on with these two.  It's a very silly film.  It's with the flavor of Return of the Living Dead.  But, I enjoyed the first part of the movie.  Don't take it serious and it won't be too bad.  There is that strange Japanese wackiness.  For example a guy is burying his mother alive in Black Fuji as his girlfriend stands there taunting him.  Eventually the mother pisses her off and she kicks her head clean off.  Like i said.  Silly movie.  The best part of the movie is the lack of emotion shown by all actors.  It's intentional i'm sure.  The two main characters kill their boss and it's not a big deal.  Then zombies rise from the dead and it's not that big of a deal.  It's all old news for the Japanese i guess.
The beer is a favorite of mine.  I've bought a lot of $10 four packs of this beer over the years.  That was before it became a $12 four pack and then became unavailable in Alaska.  Ratebeer.com gives this beer a score of 100 overall with a 99 in the IIPA style category!!!!  That means it's awesome.  Let me explain how this beer is different for those of you that don't already know.  Normally an IPA is hopped 3 to 4 times in the brewing process.  Once for bittering, flavor, aroma, and sometimes dry hopping at the end for added aroma.  The Dogfish Head Owner/Head Brewer Sam Calagione continuously hopped his IPAs.  He started by using one of the old buzzing hockey games to drop tiny amounts of hops into the beer continuously throughout the entire boil.  This gives the beer a smooth bitterness unmatched in any other IPA ever made... anywhere......ever!  The beer is then fermented and before it goes into the bottle it's hit with yet more hops.  It's clocking in at 90 IBUs so it's bitter.  But it's smooth so you won't get that pucker like you would with something like Smuttynose's IPA.  I put this beer in my tall tulip like water glass (i still haven't unpacked my real beer glasses).  It pours a rich, crystal clear, caramel color.  It's a beautiful beer.  I usually think it's crappy that appearance counts at all in a beer rating.  I think flavor and aroma should be the only categories that matter.  But then again this beer is just gorgeous.  I have a one finger off white head that lets off an evident but not overwhelming sweet sticky hoppiness.  Citrus like all good American IPAs with just a hint of resiny pine.  There is a also caramel and toast in the nose.  The first sip is inspiring.  This is why we call it "Craft" beer.  This beer is where the science ends and the art begins.  Unique and original brewing techniques give this beer it's special signature.  The balance is perfect.  At 9% abv the rich malt pounds your tongue with caramel and toasted flavor while the hops bitter and balance it with citrus and a tang of lemons and a touch of mango.  It finishes creamy and smooth.  Die hard hop heads and those with weaker stomachs will both appreciate this beer.  If you have lived under a craft beer rock then go get this beer.
The movie progresses at break neck pace......sorta.  The zombies are all over Tokyo but our main characters have a ridicules dichotomy.  The one is the jujitsu master with good judgement and drive...the other is the bafoon.  The same character we've seen in American movies over and over.  He's the Ed of Japan.  Instead of getting necessary supplies when they stop at the store he gets a bunch of bags of chips.  He says he forgot the car keys in the building and when the entire time they were in the ignition.  He drives the wrong was on the highway for hours.  It's all there.  You think the movie is going to go in a predictable manner when BOOM!  Things get wierd.  Things turn into Land of the Dead where the rich had made a zombie free fort where they enslave the poor as their work force.  The fort is powered by a bunch of slaves squeezing hand grips attached to wires.  It's pretty funny.  But the rich need something to release their stress.  That's where things get even weirder.  There is a fight pit where slaves battle zombies to win money and possibly freedom.  But at first it's just people dressed as zombies.  Then they battle zombies who have retained their fighting ability.
I was raised by a generation of film and media that doesn't hit women.  We don't even slap anymore.  In a movie if a woman does something really evil then the man will just glare at her, or if it's really evil then another woman will take action.  Never the man though.  In the 70's and early 80's there was still some women slapping but always to calm down a hysterical woman.  I don't get why that ever worked.  But in the 70's slapping was the key to calmness.  Why is this relevant.  Because there is a scene in this movie where jujitsu master throws himself off a bridge because he has been bitten by a zombie.  The girl he got bit rescuing says something unsympathetic and the other guy sprints up to her and just clocks her.  Full fist!  I was shocked.  She gets revenge by calling him a "fucking retard" for the next five years.
Speaking of calling people a "fucking retard", the girl and the surviving karate guy (i'm not using names because it's all Japanese names and i can't remember them) live in the slave camp and have a five year old girl who doesn't talk.  The woman says it's because her husband is a, you guessed it, "fucking retard".  Well at the end of the movie as things are starting to resolve the little girl talks for the first time.  She asks her father....."Are you fucking retarded."  She says it over and over to various people she meets.  It's pretty awesome.
This movie jumps around and is just super silly.  It has the potential to be good be pretty good but if flops.  The biggest problem problem i have with this movie is one major mistake.  At one point the jujitsu master is bitten by a zombie but lucky for him the zombie had dentures so even though it broke the skin he wasn't infected.  WHAT!!! If the skin was broken (it was) then shouldn't the virus the zombies saliva have infected him.  Unless the virus is in the TEETH.  That' makes a lot of sense.  Sorry Japan.  Swing and a miss.

Until next time.

The Beer:
Aroma – 7/10
Appearance – 5/5
Taste – 10/10
Palate – 5/5 
   Overall – 18/20
Total = 45/50

The Movie:
Production – 3/5
Plot – 3/5
Gore – 2/5
Zombies – 2/5
  Overall – 2.5/5

Monday, June 6, 2011


Here is a match that 3 weeks ago would not have been a match.  You would have asked me "Hey Matt what do you think of French Zom...." right there i would have slapped you silly before you could finish.  "NO!" I would have ranted and raved as I threw old yogurt all over your stunned self.  But today, same question, and I would reply "hmmmm That's a good question friend."  What made the difference?  The Horde, that's what.

Black SheepThe Horde
UndeadThe Horde
Dead AliveThe Horde
Last of the LivingThe Horde

As you can see I've already reviewed a couple of these.  While it might look one sided to some to me this is a VERY hard decisioin.  Despite all the flaws France has as a country and a people they have crafted one of the best zombie movies I've ever seen.  If you couldn't tell i listed Australia and New Zealand as one just to make things even.  I thought they would get less upset than if i tried to make Japan and China one catagory.  It just made more sense this way.  Black Sheep will get a good review from me because it's just an awesome gory gem.  Undead was really good and Dead Alive was a "5 hand" Zombie Classic!  But have you seen "The Horde".  It's the Shindler's List of zombie movies.  It's epic.  With that said i have to give this match to France!