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MOVIES: Goal of the Dead - Presentation and trailer

With the World Cup in full swing and the zombie craze still going strong, I wanted to tell you about a film I watched last night and thoroughly enjoyed : Goal of the Dead, a comedy about football and zombies.

Full title : Goal of the Dead - Première mi-temps / Seconde mi-temps (First half / Second half).
Genre : Zombie comedy.
Duration : 121 minutes (though technically it is split in two 65-minute parts with a "previously" sequence at the beginning of the second half).

It's a low-budget film shot in 8 weeks, and they wanted to release the Blu-ray/DVD in time for the World Cup (June 11), so Goal of the Dead was released in a few theaters on February 27, and then there were a handful of showings in a handful of independant theaters (which aren't used to this kind of independant films), so it didn't really have much of a proper theatrical run.

And now, it's out on DVD/Blu-ray in France, and it will be released on July 9 in the UK.

They're not hiding their influences, with the title and Shaun of the Dead being mentioned on the slipcover, though it's because that film is a perfect example of how to mix horror & comedy, not because of similarities plot-wise.

Here's the pitch : A big Ligue 1 football team, Olympique de Paris, goes to the small town of Capelongue to play a French Cup round of 32 game against the local amateur club. Olympique de Paris has two major players, up-and-coming star Idriss Diago and soon-to-be retired Samuel Lorit, coming back to Caplongues 17 years after he left his hometown to greater glory in professional football. Locals don't care for him at all, especially one shady doctor whose son plays in the Capelongue team. And then things take a turn for the worse…

Trailer :

Directed by : Benjamin Rocher (La Horde) and Thierry Poiraud (Atomik Circus: Le retour de James Bataille).

Written by : Nicolas Peufaillit (La horde, Un prophète, Canal+'s Les revenants) and Marie Garel-Weiss (Atomik Circus: Le retour de James Bataille).

Starring :

- Alban Lenoir as Samuel Lorit, the fading star of Olympique de Paris.
- Charlie Bruneau as Solène, a Canal+ journalist.
- Tiphaine Daviot as Cléo, a young girl who wants to meet Lorit.
- Ahmed Sylla as Idriss Diago, the new star of Olympique de Paris.
- Alexandre Philip as Pitt, a Capelongue supporter.
- Vincent Debost as Nounours, a Capelongue supporter.
- Benoit Moret as Michel, a Capelongue supporter.
- Renaud Rutten as Pierre Lorit, police officer and Sam's father.
- Bruno Salomone as Marco, Idriss's agent.
- Patrick Ligardes as Coubert, Olympique de Paris's coach.
- Joana Person as Béné, she's Cléo's friend.
- Sébastien Vandenberghe as Jeannot Belvaux, star player of Capelongue's club.
- Phillippe du Janerand as Dr. Belvaux, father of Jeannot and doctor.

My opinion :

I watched it last night (there was no World Cup game for once), and I had a blast. They poke fun at egotistical football players, hooligans, agents, doping, etc. Great cast, great characters, great soundtrack/score, great lines (it's not very scary, but that's wasn't the intention which was to be funny, and it's got lots of funny moments), great pacing (that's important because you can't just have 120 minutes of zombie attacks, and I thought it was well-structured from start to finish).

And great special effects, too : it doesn't look cheap at all, in fact it looks better than it had any right to be given how tough it was to finance the film. The fact that it takes place mostly at night and that there's a good photography help with the limited SFX. It's well done, it's the type of thing that could be successful in DVD/Blu-ray, and I hope it will be.

By the way, it has to be said that three actors starring in Goal of the Dead (Alban Lenoir, Alexandre Philip and Benoit Moret) also star in a great OCS comedy series, Lazy Company, a comedy series set in 1944/1945 in France. They play US soldiers in a very incompetent squad. There are ten 25-minute episodes each season.

Here's a trailer with English subtitles for Lazy Company season 1 (season 2 aired a few months ago and season 3 will the final one - the last season set during WW2 at least) :

OCS, short for Orange Cinéma Séries, is known for airing basically everything from HBO and a few other quality series (Justified, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Boss, Spartacus, Black Sails, etc.). They've recently produced a few original comedy series such as Lazy Company, QI (a porn actress decides to study philosophy), and France Kbek (an absurd, meta, unconventional comedy that is just too weird for TV, I love it).

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