Zombieland (2009)

Earlier this week I went to the local theater and saw Zombieland. The film had been getting good reviews, and the few people I knew that saw it seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. So, I figured I would go check it out. Unfortunately the film ultimately disappointed.

The trailers I saw of the film made it look like it was going to be a comedy with zombies in. Kind of like how Resident Evil is an action movie with zombies in it. This was not the case. The movie opened with a strong horror element, as it was plagued with cheap shock scenes. This set a bad tone for the film, as the shock scenes never came back, but the threat was there.

There were comedy elements throughout the film, but they didn’t feel right for the setting. And, quite frankly, most of the jokes really weren’t very funny. I cannot remember laughing once throughout the entire film. Part of the problem was that that film took itself too seriously, inconsistently.

Mixed into the horror/comedy was coming of age drama. At the end they tried to force a lame moral to the story: “if you don’t spend time with people, you might as well be a zombie” or something like that. I guess it had something to do with the main character, and the world coming to an end to finally force him “out of his shell.” It was like they were trying to make the film something more, but it didn’t really work.

Much ado was made of the cameo in the film. I had my fingers crossed for Bruce Campbell, but that was too much to ask. The cameo was actually just Bill Murry. Granted, I like Bill, and I guess that is a big deal for a random zombie movie, but it didn’t really do it for me. Like pretty much everything else in the filme, it just didn’t feel right.

As you may have guested, my biggest problem with the film was the identify crisis. Is it a horror movie? Not really. Is it a comedy? Sort of. Is it a drama? I guess. It is good? Not really.

So, while there were interesting points in the movie, it was mostly disappointing, and run of the mill. I will give the film a 0 on my Undecim scoring system.

District 9 (2009)

district9-posterDistrict 9 (D9) was easily one of the best movies of the year thus far. However, this is not saying much as the movie selection has been lack luster at best. Prior to District 9 I can think of only two films that I actually considered to be good. The first was Watchman, but it was too heavy handed and bombed in the box office. The second was Star Trek, which I still believe was an excellent movie and was enjoyable to watch, although the story was somewhat lacking. D9 falls right between the two.

While it is unfortunate that the Halo project fell through, it is nice to see some of the assets get reused, even though the good guys from Halo end up being the bad guys in D9. It was a treat to see the twist on the assets that would have been used, such as MNU battle rifles, the pelican that was the prawn command module, the modified warthogs, etc… Granted the movie in no way was billed as a recycled Halo. And, knowing nothing about it would not have hurt the movie. D9 is excellent in its own right.

There is an interesting mix of story elements, and gory violence. It works well without going too far in any particular direction. So, by the end of the film you feel full without leaving a bad taste in your mouth. All of the roles were played fairly well. It was nice to see some fresh faces that capably covered their characters. And, while this movie takes many queues from other scifi fair, it was relatively original.

One of the main reasons I really enjoyed this film is because it was not a sequel, prequel, or remake. I am so sick of the modern mentality of just remaking things. And not just good things, anything, so long as it isn’t original. And, to make things worse these shit films are being pushed by popular actors in order to pad the box office receipts. The era of the nostalgia film really needs to come to an end. But, I am not going to hold my breath, because these shit movies continue to rake in the cash. But, I digress.

The film was good, and I am recommending it to people. I am keeping this commentary short, because there are thousands of detailed reviews of the film, so this is just a general recommendation for my viewers. On my special undecim punctum scale, I have decided to give this film a solid 3. This means it was a pretty good film, but it is not one that I will frequently watch again in the future. Everyone reading this should go out and see the film and support something half way original.

Transformers 2: Initial Reaction

transformers22Well, Transformers 2 has finally arrived.

Based on what I saw of the movie (I missed a few minutes, but more on that in the follow up post) I would say it is the perfect summer blockbuster. It hit all the primary criteria:

  • Popular with teenagers (six theaters sold out in Grand Haven for the midnight showing)
  • Ample humor spread throughout
  • Over the top drama
  • Tons of action
  • Attractive protagonists
  • A bad story that manages to pull together action sequences

There are a few things that will seem a little wacky to old Transformers faithful, but this is made up for but Optimus Prime kicking some serious ass.

I’ll post more thoughts on the film tomorrow when I am actually awake.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen – Midnight Showing


The local theater finally got around to announcing that they will be doing a midnight showing of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Tuesday at midnight. This is excellent news, as it will save me a trip to Muskegon.

However, even though I am going to see this early in a crappy theater, I do want to see it on IMAX since they’re doing special IMAX scenes for this film. However, I am not very interested in the prospect of being crammed into one of those little IMAX seats when the theater is filled to the brim with people. So, for those people that frequent the IMAX in Grand Rapids, what are the best “off hours” that has a chance of not being sold out.

Also, as you can see at the top of this post, I decided to include the de facto “transformers 2” marketing photo. However, in the interest of limited originality, I decided to crop it down and toy with saturation and blur to make the only important part “pop.”

That’s all for now. I plan on writing up a proper post after having viewed the film.