Directed by Ruben Fleischer.
Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 10/3/09
In the right hands, I really do believe that
zombie movies can still work, despite a plethora of them over the
last ten years. And, kind of like the glut of new-age burger
joints that have popped up all over the DC area recently, you just
have to know where to look to find the good action and "Zombieland"
IS that good action.
That's because it's just the right mix of
laughs with some action sprinkled in for good measure. "Zombieland"
doesn't bother to set up its how-did-everyone-become-a-zombie
scenario because, at this point, we as a nation don't need an intro
to zombie flicks any more. Some strange virus made everyone
flesh-eaters, blah blah blah. Instead, we meet our hero,
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), at a gas station in Garland, Texas,
where we learn some rules about what it takes to survive in the
apocalypse, and then go from there to meet three other survivors,
all named for their home cities: Tallahassee (Woody
Harrelson), a gun-toting wiseacre who enjoys getting progressively
more creative with his zombie kills; Wichita (Emma Stone), a teen
hottie with a penchant for the five-finger discount; and, her
sister, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, all grown up after
Miss Sunshine"), who has no idea why Tallahassee loves Willie
The foursome are trying to make their way to
California to find a non-zombie outpost but "Zombieland" is all
about the ride; the script is funny, the shoot looks good for a
low-budget production, there's just enough zombie kills for a comedy
like this and while the whole movie is good, the film's last 30
minutes really rolls downhill. Harrelson is such an
interesting actor; he was great in his early film career, didn't do
much of note in the middle, then has been doing mostly small parts
over the last few years (great in
"North Country" and
"No Country for Old Men"), and with "Zombieland", reminded me of
why I thought he would be a star after "Natural Born Killers" 15
years ago. Breslin, Stone and Eisenberg do the job, although
with Eisenberg, I'm hoping that he doesn't become the next Michael
Cera in terms of consistent one-note performances as the awkward
geeky guy. (Of course, if they're paying, it doesn't hurt to
"Zombieland" was a great surprise; despite
its great trailer, I was worried that it might not deliver on the
highest level, and I'm glad to say that I was wrong.
Rating: Opening Weekend
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard