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Posts Tagged ‘history of violence’

zombie

Zombieland: Zombies used to be funny because they weren’t really scary. Nobody ever appreciated a George Romero film during the Seventies because it frightened them. You’d have to be the in-bred child of a hysterical Jellyfish and an agoraphobic Pomeranian to actually fear those zombies. By the time Nineties hit, zombies had become more efficient. They changed their plan of attack; sprinting instead of walking real slow, ambushing their victims and such. Some even carried guns while others had ferocious pets. Their sense of irony seemed nastier than ever before too. Films such as 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, I Am Legend and those George Romero remakes took themselves seriously, as was evidenced by their emotionally-cathartic climaxes and at least one genuine attempt at being mushy.

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Enter Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland. Nearly 87 minutes of back-slapping and sometimes stomach-aching fun. Not since Simon Peg’s outrageously original Shaun Of The Dead has a monster movie been this funny. Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus) is actually Woody Allen trapped in a 24-year-old indie actor’s body. Seriously, if Mr Allen was about 180 years younger and stuck in middle of a zombie wasteland, he’d act just like this. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin act all unnecessarily mature, but it makes sense given their characters’ survival instincts. A minor quibble, if it qualifies as one, but more and more I have started to believe that Abigail won’t play the Bee Girl in Blind Melon’s comeback music video and that’s just sad.

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Woody Harrelson is Tallahassee – a kamikaze killer a.k.a random zombie’s worst nightmare. His anger management issues are pure hilarity as is his obsession with Twinky bars; and I can’t even begin to mention how awesome that 5-second banjo tribute to John Boorman’s Deliverance was. The star of Zombieland however is Bill Murray who makes a cameo appearance as himself.  If John Hurt deserved an Oscar for 15 minutes of acting in History of Violence, then Bill Murray needs to be given at least two-thirds of a Polynesian Island and a lifetime supply of medical marijuana for the awesomeness he brings to Zombieland for about ten minutes.

As for the storyline, well here you go…two guys, two girls, 33 rules, and one zombie apocalypse.  Bring it fucking on.

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will-smith-in-seven-pound-001Seven Pounds: I detested The Air I Breathe for its feeble attempts at feigning intelligence. A lot of film directors feel the need to infuse some sort of pretentious intellectualism or quasi-theatrical drama into their films to give them credibility. But I ask you, since when did we, neanderthals, NOT enjoy stupid films? Remember Independence Day? Big, fun, cool visuals and er… Will Smith. Hell, sometimes even silly dramas find their way into my heart. Case in point, Green Card and Paradise. Gabriele Muccino’s Seven Pounds is a lot like our colleagues, yeah you know, those ones who read a couple of Nietzsche quotes on brainyquotes.com and all of a sudden think of themselves to be connoisseurs of existentialism. “It’s an extraordinary journey of redemption,” scream IMDB junkies. Give me stupidity over pretensions, I mumble.

00092428_The Accidental Tourist: Legend has it that the jury at Academy Awards took time-off from smoking crack in 2005. They put the crack pipes down long enough to nominate William Hurt for best supporting actor for his 15-minute powerhouse performance in Cronenberg’s History Of Violence. He’s one of the most important actors of the Nineties and look no further than Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist to have a peek into Hurt’s virtuosity as a performer. Also starring the ever-fantastic Bill Pullman, Geena Davis and Katheleen Turner, the film revolves around Macon Leary (William Hurt) – a travel writer for corporate travelers, now trying to get his life back on the road after a tragic accident leaves him desperately cynical towards everything furry and warm. Geena Davis, for once, does not suck and does her best “Minnie Driver” impersonation yet. Kathleen Turner and Bill Pullman, well…they couldn’t suck even if they were forced at gunpoint to act in a remake of Casablanca.

2008_changeling_001Changeling: Clint Eastwood would have got the “comeback of the year” award every year since 2000 but the thing is he never went away. In 2003, after nearly three decades of mediocre acting, mediocre directing, spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harrys, Mr Eastwood hit his peak as a director with Mystic River – a riveting drama that boasts of talent such as Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. It won Clint Eastwood two Oscars. In 2004, he made Million Dollar Baby and subsequently became the proud possessor of four more Oscars. His next two films were not as critically acclaimed but nevertheless added to his Oscar loot with four nominations and another gold statuette. Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood are probably going to be nominated for the Oscars this year for Changeling – a film that was seemingly made for that very purpose. Now, now…it’s a neat film with no jarring flaws but once again, a thread of vacant emotions – similar to that which destroyed Million Dollar Baby’s credibility towards the climax – rears its ugly head. Jolie cries so much in this film that after a point, you almost find yourself rooting for the prodigal “son” to turn evil and run his mommy down with a tricycle.

Long story short, “Mom loses son. Son comes back. Son not really ‘real’ son. Mom finds out. Evil policemen have other plans.” Oh well, at least more Oscar worthy than “poor boy meets rich girl, screws over Billy Zane, screws rich girl in a different way, everyone falls of the cruise ship and the most annoying person on-board survives”. You want proof of the old man’s talent as a director? Go watch Bird.

zoe-bellDeath Proof. For my money, the third best Quentin Tarantino film behind Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Released in 2007, Death Proof was Tarantino’s tribute to B-grade action of the Seventies and Eighties. A sleazy, gory and stylish nightmare with an opening sequence so preposterously retro and so elaborate that it makes the discourse on Madonna at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs seem like a passing thought. A fitting tribute to non-kitschy influences of liberal thinking, I guess. What many don’t know is that Death Proof is also a tribute to J. G. Ballard’s superb novel – Crash. And to think director Paul Haggis stole some of the book’s best lines, made a corny movie and won a friggin’ Oscar for it. Eishhhh. Remember Don Cheadle saying, “People would crash into each other just to feel something (pause)…anything”. That was so ripped off from Ballard that it almost immediately ceased to be funny. Hmmm…anyway coming back to Death Proof. It’s fun, mindless and a whole lot of Zoe Bell (as Zoe Bell) beating the shit out of Kurt Russell. It’s almost endearing how earnestly Zoe chases Kurt down and opens a can of whoop ass. Now who do I have to kill to see her kick Michael Douglas’ ass?

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