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Entries Tagged 'Horror Comedy' ↓

Zombieland

What is it about zombies that make people create such a natural tie-in to comedy?  It seems that there have been more horror-comedies that were about zombies than any other monster movie I can think of.  There will be lots of comparisons made of this movie, from first time director Ruben Fleischer, and the Simon Pegg classic “Shaun of the Dead.”  I’m a HUGE fan of “Shaun” and in my opinion, “Zombieland” stands up, toe-to-to with it; the only difference being that “Shaun” was the dry British version and “Zombieland” is 100% USAsskicking.  The film starts off with a cold opening followed by opening credits that not only set the tone for the film, but sets the level of violence as well.  This is not a movie for the squeamish.  If there’s some horrible act of violence coming up in the film that you just know they’ll cut away from because it’s much too graphic, guess again ’cause they’re showing it.  In fact a big part of the comedy of the film is the shock at how high they’re willing to take some of the gore.  The movie stars Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Emma Stone (“Superbad”) and Jessie Eisenberg (“Adventureland”  I guess he can’t stay away from movies with “land” in the title).  Eisenberg is still very new on the scene and he’s apparently who Hollywood calls on when Michael Cera says “no” to a role because the two are virtually the same person.  Just like Cera, he can play one kind of part, and that’s the awkward, shy, funny guy and he plays it well.  That’s pretty much the cast of the movie minus a hoard of the undead.  The only other person in the movie is a cameo that should go down in history as the BEST CAMEO IN ANY MOVIE EVER MADE!  What the director, Fleischer, did in this was keep the film funny from beginning to end.  He didn’t fall into the trap of it getting too serious or too scary or too sappy at all.  His #1 goal in this was to make sure you have a damn good time watching it and you’re entertained; he doesn’t fall short of that one bit.  The only issue that it runs into is that it has a saggy middle act.  It starts strong, ends strong and gets rather dry in-between.  It’s still very funny, but looses its zombie allure by not having any scares, jumps or action for about 40 minutes.  Of course he makes up for that and then some with the climax.  The credit in this film can be spread evenly all the way around.  Not one actor carries it more than the others and they all seemed like they had a blast filming it…I know I would.  If you have a strong stomach and a sick sense of humor, then “Zombieland” is your idea of a fun night.  If you don’t, well…let’s be honest; a movie called “Zombieland” probably didn’t appeal to you anyway.
Zombieland (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A-

Jennifer’s Body

The writer and producer of this movie, Diablo Cody, was the person behind the Oscar-winning film “Juno,” and in my opinion, is a writer to be respected.  She has a great way of creating dialogue that sits in a world inbetween fantasy and reality, while keeping it very funny and thoughtful…much the same Kevin Smith used to do in the ’90s.  (Sorry Kevin, you had a good run.)  But in “Jennifer’s Body” that style got the tone of the movie wrong.  You can’t have a movie that is a horror comedy spoofing it one second and snarky the next.  I enjoy both types but combining both in the same movie is just confusing.  A movie like “Shawn of the Dead” was a perfect horror comedy because it was a great horror movie that happened to be funny.  There are some scenes in “Jennifer’s Body” that are legitimately chilling.  It’s easy and satisfying to have a demonic possession movie use long-lasting images stay on a screen with no action, just to freak you out.  And the star of the film, the stunning Megan Fox, seemed like she reveled in doing that.  You can see the macabre, blood-filled smile on her face is almost indistinguishable from whether or not it’s the character “Jennifer’s” or Megan’s.  The same blurry line of real and fictitious emotion can be said for co-star Amanda Seyfried (“Big Love,” “Mamma Mia!”) and her looks of being creeped out.  Both girls are really good in this.  Director Karyn Kusama is also really good, although she lets her fascination with lesbianism get the best of her with a very sensual scene between the two stars that has absolutely no purpose in the film at all (although I did enjoy watching it).  The problem for this movie comes squarely on the shoulders of Cody and her ridiculous script.  I honestly feel like giving this movie a much worse grade than I gave it just to punish it for coming so close to being a good movie and then crashing and burning as badly as it did.  There is one single scene that was the tipping scale for me.  “Jennifer’s Body” had me!  I was buying all of it and enjoying most of it until the scene that explains what happened to Jennifer that was so poorly done that it just made me angry.  It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t scary, it wasn’t good storytelling.  It was lazy and stupid.  In fact it was so stupid that I didn’t even care about what happened in the rest of the film.  I sat there half concentrating on the climax of the movie, while the other half of me was still dwelling on how a good movie could go so wrong.  Pity too since you’d think someone with the first name Diablo would do a great job writing a movie about the demons.
Jennifer’s Body (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: C