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DVD Reviews: Zombieland
Adam Volk is a freelance writer and film reviewer. To read more of his witty blatherings go to: www .zombie -geek.com
Zombies – if you’ll pardon the pun – have been done to death over the past few years. Fortunately, the brain -splattered horror comedy known as Zombieland has reanimated the rotting carcass of the undead genre.
The plot follows a group of four survivors who cross paths in a world which is overrun with the living dead, yet inexplicably lacking in Twinkies. What follows will have you both laughing out loud and wincing in disgust, effectively burying Shaun of the Dead and shambling into the spotlight as the greatest zombie movie of all time. Two severed thumbs way up.
A Serious Man
The Coen Brothers are one of the few filmmakers who seem to be able to leap effortlessly between cinematic genres. Yet in A Serious Man they return to their roots with a pitch black comedy that follows the seemingly benign existence of a 1960’s Minnesota physics professor struggling with his dysfunctional family life. The premise may sound painfully boring, but with a razor sharp script and an incredible performance from relative newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man may be a serious contender for being one of the best films in the Coen Brothers’ already impressive cinematic repertoire.
Matt Damon packs on the pounds in The Informant!, a political comedy and self-professed ‘true story’ which delves into a murky world where the morals of corporate big wigs are as questionable as their choice of facial hair. With director Steven Soderbergh at the helm, the film is entertaining and clever, though at times a little guilty of rehashing the same satirical rhetoric (yes, corporations are run by dicks, we get it).
Funny and insightful, The Informant! also proves what school yard bullies have known for years: no one likes a squealer.
Law Abiding Citizen
A former CIA techie (Gerard Butler) watches as his family is murdered before his eyes, only to have the killer walk free thanks to some legal wrangling by a wily District Attorney (Jamie Foxx). Ten years later Butler goes all Count of Monte Cristo on the asses of those responsible with a series of explosive, high-tech death traps. The premise is intriguing, but with the exception of a few entertaining action set-pieces, Law Abiding Citizen never really gains any momentum, instead devolving into a ham-fisted diatribe about the justice system that even OJ could appreciate
Breaking Bad: Season 2
AMC may have earned critical acclaim with Mad Men, but the groundbreaking network’s Breaking Bad is easily one of the most brilliant and ballsy series on television. The show follows the life of a small town high school chemistry teacher (played convincingly by Bryan Cranston), who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, secretly starts his own drug lab as a way to support his family. Season 2 of Breaking Bad takes the series to an entirely new level, hitting all the right notes as a character study in meth, madness and morality.
If we Canadians are known for anything it’s our ability to weather the cold, which is why Whiteout may not be ideal viewing for those of us hoping to forget the long, dark winter. The frostbitten film follows a hottie U.S. Marshall (played by Kate Beckinsale) who must solve a grisly murder at a remote research station in Antarctica. Unfortunately, Whiteout gets mostly snowed under with mediocre performances and a largely forgettable storyline. Worst of all, save for a quick shower scene at the start of the film, Beckinsale spends most of the film bundled up in a parka. Now that’s cold…
Based on a novella from Richard Matheson, The Box offers up a classic Twilight Zone premise: a couple (played by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) receives a mysterious box which, with the press of a button, grants its owners a million dollars. The catch? Someone they’ve never met will die. The concept may sound cheesy but under director Richard Kelly (of Donny Darko fame) it comes across as believable, if not a little convoluted. Where the film really shines though is in Kelly’s inspired 70’s setting and atmospheric cinematography, both of which are dripping with Kubrickian style.
It’s almost scary to think of the amount of time your average 18 to 34-year-old male has spent playing Halo. Which is why twitchy button mashers will probably lose their shit over Halo: Legends, a film which blends slick Japanese animation with dual-wielding, Covenant-killing action. Comprised of seven animated shorts which flesh out the back story of the Halo universe, the film perfectly captures the legendary game franchise – with the exception of being called ‘a noob’ over Xbox LIVE by obnoxious thirteen-year olds.
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