REVIEW: Zombieland

15 02 2010

It seems particularly fitting that the riotous climactic battle of “Zombieland” should take place in an amusement park.  Really, the whole movie itself is like a carnival ride.  Designed for maximum entertainment, it’s a high-speed tour through the zombie apocalypse told with irreverence instead of the usual sympathy.  The filmmakers understand that the people that watch movies like “Zombieland” get a kick out seeing some comical carnage, and they give it to us gratuitously.

The humor never gets old or boring though, and not just because watching a zombie get owned is one of the funniest things ever.  Much to my surprise, “Zombieland” is also an incredibly witty movie, drawing a great deal of laughs from some uproarious one-liners.  It has the pop culture sting of a Quentin Tarantino script, which is one of the biggest compliments I could give a movie.

In fact, this is one of the rare movies where I wanted to see more.  Clocking in at under an hour and a half, it doesn’t end too soon so much as it ends too quickly for us.  As long as you don’t mind the blood and gore, watching zombies die in as many ways as the screenwriters could think of is enough to satisfy for well over the time they gave us.

The actors are all good, in particular Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee, the outrageous zombie hunter with an unnatural affinity for Twinkies.  But let’s be honest, who watches this for Jesse Eisenberg?  Or for Emma Stone?  If you’re going to watch this, it’s because you want to see some zombie horror that doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest.  Horror comedy has generally been a cult genre, but “Zombieland” is a movie that definitely has the power to make it mainstream in a big way.  This is one kickass horror comedy that will have you busting a gut.  B+

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Shameless Advertisement #3 – October

1 10 2009

Thanks to all 6 people who voted in the poll (half of which only came with prodding).  Just in case anyone has missed the explanation, at the end of my monthly preview post, I ask readers to pick the movie that they are most excited to see from that month.  The winner of this poll is shamelessly plugged on the site.

We have a clear winner this time.  Each receiving 1 vote were “The Invention of Lying,” “New York, I Love You,” and “Zombieland.”

The shameless (if it is later shameful, I’m going to be angry) advertisement of the month of October is…

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What to Look Forward to In … October 2009

29 08 2009

We give the movie industry late August and all of September to recover from the busy summer season, but in October, it starts to kick it into gear again.  Unfortunately, my most anticipated movie in October, Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” was pushed back to February.  But the month still puts forth several great movies for all tastes.

October 2

This week, I can promise you that I will be throwing my money not at a new release, but at the re-release of two staples of my childhood.  “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” will hit theaters again for a few weeks.  1 ticket.  2 movies. 3-D.  Need I say more?

The week also gives us “The Invention of Lying,” which could be a sleeper comedy hit. The movie stars Ricky Gervais, who was the lead of the British version of “The Office.” Around this time last year, he starred in “Ghost Town,” a comedy with a heart that you need to go rent now, that was dismissed by audiences. I have high hopes for his latest, in which he plays a man who tells the world’s first lie on an alternate Earth. He continues to wield the power to suit his own selfish needs. The movie also features Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and the always funny Tina Fey.

And not to mention, the week delivers Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, “Whip It.” The movie stars the irresistible Ellen Page (“Juno”) as Bliss, a teenager weary of the beauty pageants that she is forced into by her parents. One day, she discovers the world of roller derby and she finds the happiness that she has been so desperately seeking. The movie boasts a hilarious supporting cast including Kristen Wiig (“SNL”), Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden, and Barrymore herself.

And it just keeps getting better.  The Coen Brothers (“No Country for Old Men”) are back with their latest feature, “A Serious Man;” they also wrote the original screenplay.  The movie seems to be a big risk.  It features no marquee names other than the Coens themselves. The trailer is cryptic, giving no indication of what to expect from the movie. I don’t mind an aura of mystique, but this is an aura of confusion. The movie is being marketed as a dark comedy, and I pray that it is the polar opposite of the Coens’ last foray into the genre, “Burn After Reading,” which I didn’t find funny at all. The movie starts in limited release and then will slowly expand from New York and Los Angeles.

The other major release of the week is “Zombieland,” a horror-comedy with Woody Harrelson.

October 9

The only exciting movie hitting theaters across the country this weekend is “Couples Retreat.”  A comedy centered around four couples at a luxurious tropical resort that is revealed to be a marriage therapy clinic, it appears to provide something for everyone.  It has pretty women (Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis) AND funny guys (Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau).  The movie is the directorial debut of Ralph Billingsley, best known for playing Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” and the screenplay is written by Vaughn and Favreau.  Hopefully it can provide some good laughs in a season usually replete of hilarious comedies.

Opening in limited release is “An Education,” a movie that has been garnering massive Oscar buzz for months now.  Most of it has centered on the breakout performance of lead actress Carey Mulligan.  In the movie, she stars as Jenny, a 17-year-old in 1960s England who is set on going to Oxford.  However, an older gentleman (Peter Sarsgaard) comes along and sweeps her off of her feet, introducing her to a lifestyle that she immediately loves.  But reality bites, and Jenny is left at a crucial crossroads.  The movie has also generated buzz around supporting actors Alfred Molina and Rosamund Pike (the red-haired villain of “Die Another Day”).  Raves are also flying in for the screenplay, written by author Nick Hornby, writer of “About a Boy” and “Fever Pitch.”  And with the 10 nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, many people say it has a good chance of claiming one of the ten.

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