on September 18, 2009
Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge zombie fan. Whether they're Romero's slow-moving shamblers or the fast-moving runners from Return of the Living Dead / 28 Days Later, I will give any zombie movie a try. Enter Zombieland, which when I heard about it, I instantly thought of that direct-to-DVD drivel you see on the rental store shelf that can barely pass as a B-movie. After watching the trailer however, I was genuinely intrigued. Luckily, my friend managed to get her hands on a few preview passes and what I saw was one of the most fun and enjoyable movies I've seen in years.
I'll say it now: This movie is NOT scary. If you go in expecting scares and frights, you're in the wrong place. While there's the occasional "boo" scare, Zombieland is a horror-comedy in the vein of Evil Dead II,The Return of the Living Dead,Shaun of the Dead, etc. As a matter of fact, the director was inspired by Shaun of the Dead to make Zombieland. The horror-comedy mixture is is a very hard thing to pull off, but this movie does it pretty well, leaning more towards the comedy.
The cast is great, with Woody Harrelson being the stand out. He is such a great tough guy and delivers some truly great one-liners that it brings back memories of his Natural Born Killers days. Jesse Eisenberg is the "goofy dorky guy" that keeps popping up in movies these days. He does a good job, but is nearly indistinguishable from someone like Michael Cera, who plays the exact same role every time. I liked this guy better because frankly I'm sick of seeing Michael Cera these days. Emma Stone (aka Jules from Superbad) plays a good tough girl and looks exactly like she did in Superbad, which isn't a bad thing. Abigail Breslin is fine, but she felt slightly out of place. There's also a bigger-than-a-cameo role by one of the funniest actors of all-time, but I don't want to spoil it here. Trust me, it's hysterical.
That's about it for the cast, except for the zombies themselves, which are very well done. They're gross, gooey, and vicious and the make-up and special effects look fantastic, especially now in the age of CGI crap. The movie does not skimp on the gore, so be prepared for a healthy serving of blood, guts, and zombie bites. The post-apocalyptic scenery looks amazing and really pulls you into the film. Zombie fans, you will not be disappointed.
The comedy is executed quite well. While whether something is funny depends purely on personal taste (pun intended), I think this movie balances gross-out humor, sight gags, witty banter, black comedy and plain-old "Number 2" jokes perfectly. One of the funniest bits is when Woody Harrelson's character rides a roller coaster while simultaneously wielding a shotgun and shoots zombies that follow him around the track. It was clever and a blast to watch. Think of your favorite comedy; Zombieland is probably not as funny as that, but it will definitely make you laugh. It's not the funniest movie ever, but it does an admirable job.
Other than that, I can't think of anything else to say. I have minor nitpicks, but most of them are standard horror clichés that didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the film itself. Do yourself a favor and check this one out, it's a great horror-comedy.
on October 3, 2009
Right from the start Zombieland is in your face. The opening sequence alone is just great and recalls Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide. Also, it doesn't try to copy Romero's Dawn of the Dead or any of the other countless zombie movies.
It's a very direct film that doesn't waste time with needless character buildup, that would only slow the pacing. Characterization is achieved in between humor and action sequences and that approach works well.
Zombieland starts by introducing the overly cautious and neurotic, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) who reminds me of Woody Allen back in Allen classic comedy films of the 70's.
Columbus is the quiet geeky guy who probably spent his high school years over thinking every detail and was quite possibly bullied by jocks. Now in a zombie infested world, he is forced to become more manly and athletic when taking on the undead.
Then there's Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who is the gung ho bad ass. I think every zombie movie needs a Tallahassee type because they are so much fun to watch. Harrelson really steals the show in Zombieland. I don't think I've seen him this good since Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. He looks like he could have fun in any situation in life pre or post zombie infected. I like the scene where Tallahassee is standing next to a bright yellow Hummer and just randomly firing a machine gun.
Next up are the manipulating sisters, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone) who are both cute and annoying. I was annoyed with their characters at first and as their characters developed they became a little more tolerable. You also need sisters like this in a post zombie world because they will keep you on your toes. They are fun in their own ways and have both survived tough times together. Their strong bond makes them believable and you accept them for who they are.
With all the wonder characters and backgrounds aside, this is really about killing zombies. Who doesn't want to roam America's highways shooting zombies?
It's the ultimate road movie, as the four travel together and fight hundreds of zombies along the way.
As much fun as that is, the ending sequence at the amusement park, cranks up the fun a lot higher. The combination of rides, amusement park games, and shooting zombies is very entertaining.
Director Ruben Fleischer does a tremendous job directing action in the last half of Zombieland.
That's what these movies are all about to me. The cheap thrills of just going for it and taking out all that pent up aggressive shooting, stabbing, running over, hammering, and beating the undead any way you can.
Overall Zombieland is a lot of fun and a good way to kick off this Halloween season. I hope more horror movies come out this good in Halloween.
Some of my favorite Zombie movies are Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Zombi 2, Undead, Shaun of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, Cemetery Man, Tokyo Zombie, Braindead, and The Dead Pit.
Zombieland deserves its place in the upper echelon of the Zombie movie canon.
on October 20, 2010
I generally rate movies on, "Will I Buy This Movie?"
If I can buy the movie, it's a movie I'm willing to watch again, and exceptional. This is one such movie.
Not saying there isn't gore, as there is some gore (blood smears, zombies tearing out some tendons), but this is also not like typical horror movies in which someone takes a chainsaw and you see the whole scene.
This is a fantastic comedy. Brilliantly done.
Think "Scary Movie", but not utterly idiotic and stupid.
There's some suspense which I guess classifies this as a mild horror movie (keep in mind, I wasn't scared at all during this movie, I don't think it's a real horror, it's more of a comedy). But more than anything is the humor which is just excellent.
Characters are all quite awesome. There's basically four characters and the rest are zombies.
The BluRay quality is exceptional as well.
Just love this movie, that's all I can say
"Zombieland", the new film starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as four of the few remaining humans living on planet Earth, is one of those movies that almost looks too good when you are watching the trailer. The Coming Attractions make you laugh and laugh and you suspect all of the funny bits were included to get some butts into seats. After watching the trailer, I feared the film would be a let down. There is no way it could live up to this two-minute clip reel.
Happily, I was wrong.
"Zombieland" begins with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) giving us a brief recap of what has happened to this point. Short story even shorter, zombies have overrun the planet. As Columbus is one of the few remaining humans, he has developed a list of rules he uses to survive. He quickly recites the rules, such as "#7 Avoid Public Bathrooms", the rule appearing onscreen in large block letters as we watch a vignette illustrating the same rule (Mike White in an amusing cameo). We also learn that he is on his own and trying to get home, living on the hope that someone in his family might still be human. He quickly meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) when his Escalade complete with a modified cowcatcher careens through a freeway of abandoned cars, almost hitting Columbus. The two men learn they have very different purposes in life. Columbus just wants to stay alive and Tallahassee is searching for Twinkies. He simply wants to find as many Twinkies as he can, the golden snack cake, his favorite treat. The next day, they enter an abandoned supermarket and meet Witchita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, respectively) two sisters who are trying to survive. Because they are all loners, they decide to try to remain as impersonal as possible and refer to each other by the name of their hometowns. They decide to work together and make their way to the West Coast. Along the way, they make two more very memorable stops. They also kill a lot of the zombies standing in their way.
I almost get the feeling that someone involved with this film turned on a stopwatch and mandated everything had to keep moving and the film would nor run more than 90 minutes. Generally, I sort of revel in films that allow the characters to grow and breath, provided they actually grow and breath, but "Zombieland" keeps things moving and the film benefits from this extremely fast pace. It moves so fast it doesn't have time to make mistakes, to seem slow and boring. Because everything keeps moving, you feel like you have experienced a fuller, longer, more fleshed out film.
As soon as we meet Columbus, we are thrust into the middle of this landscape, this story, we meet these characters. The film doesn't waste time setting everything up, explaining what has been happening. We learn this later, through some remembrances and as illustrations to some of Columbus' rules.
Because the film starts with these rules, we immediately learn two things about the story. First, zombies are running amuck. Second, Columbus is the type of guy who would be very comfortable making lists of rules. Later, we learn a little about Columbus' last and first experience with a girl and this also helps to illustrate why he is the type of guy who would go around making rules, lists, things to keep his life running smoothly and efficiently, to keep some order in his life.
But Columbus has learned to adapt to the new world order and has become quite adept at survival. He has learned how to shoot a gun, and what to do with it (related to one of his rules) and has learned how to keep a few steps ahead of the marauding zombies.
When he comes across Tallahassee (Harrelson), the two couldn't be more different. But this also makes them a good pair. Tallahassee is amused by Columbus and willing to give him a few pointers. And Tallahassee is so different from Columbus, the young man likes the dichotomy.
And Tallahassee's quest, to find as many of the remaining Twinkies left on the planet is amusing and continues to provide comic relief as his search becomes more and more desperate.
Emma Stone ("Superbad", "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past") and Abigail Breslin play the two sisters who will do anything they can to stay alive and stay together. Initially, they are reluctant to open up to the two men, but they quickly realize they need their help and can provide something to the group. Wichita also realizes Columbus is extremely interested in her, constantly flirting, and she enjoys the attention.
As they make their way across the US, they decide to make a funny, and very memorable pit stop leading to an incredibly funny extended cameo by a well-known comedian.
"Zombieland" is a lot of fun and plays like a roller coaster ride filled with laughs and chills and thrills.
on August 23, 2011
I think this movie is great from beginning to end. Sure there are some predictable parts, some corny parts, but it's a comedy about zombies. I don't know how many times I've watched it, but just writing the review makes me want to watch it again.
And in all seriousness, I've learned quite a few tips on how to survive once zombies attack. Between this and playing Left 4 Dead, I'm set.
on September 14, 2011
I usually don't like horror themed movies but Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead are two Comedies that I liked watching. Zombieland jumps right into a world of that is full of zombies are sick from one man eating a hamburger. Columbus, the protagonist survives by his list of rules. The rules is the beginning of the comedy because of the way they first explain and show them and then throughout the movie the rules randomly pop up. This movie is very gory and does have a significant amount of foul language. There is no sexual innuendo besides a scene early on where a cute girl falls asleep on Columbus on the couch just because she is so scared. I liked how the writer put Tallahassee, the critic, with Columbus throughout the whole movie. They make a good polar opposites tag team. Tallahassee is the rough and tough character that survives through just plain killing the zombies; where Columbus survies through strategy and the rules. I give the movie a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I haven't bought it yet and I probably won't unless it goes on sale, but it is still worth renting more than once. I wouldn't recommend it for families or people that can't handle bloody gore in a movie or a high amount of language.
on December 18, 2011
Undoubtedly, this summer has been an odd one, clad with unwarranted, bloated blockbuster successes coupled with breakout surprise hits that are deserving of their recognition.
"Zombieland" maintains the summer theme while allowing it to progress into the late fall. Certainly, there are more enjoyable experiences to be had at the cinema, and this hybrid movie is not without its glaring faults, but said issues are inevitably pushed to the wayside when one realizes that, between Harrelson's hilarious antics, Eisenberg's charmingly awkward quirks, and newcomer Ruben Fleischer's strikingly unique style, "Zombieland" is an underdog that battled through the industry's preconceptions and emerged victorious.
Ladies and gentlemen, I never thought I would say this, but say hello to a horror/action/comedy conglomeration that actually works. Truth be told, ambitious projects that have attempted to tackle both comedic and horror-based elements in cinema have proven to be less than lucrative, and rarely sit well with critics. To see a cast and crew - many of which young talent, no less - overcome said odds is nothing less than staggering, and they are deserving of only the highest accolades.
Not to say that "Zombieland" is prodding at the shallow end of genres; on the contrary, this is a movie that deceives in the most polite way possible. What may be perceived as a clumsy, bloody action romp is dead set on telling a coming-of-age tale; the zombified civilization rotting amongst them is only a convenient backdrop that lets Fleischer tell his story with style and thrills.
And this movie certainly has each in spades. This is a movie that gives so much more than it asks for, pleasing its audience incessantly and without the need for cheap tricks or cop outs. Fleischer works wonders with the pennies he's given, resulting in a polished product that is rarely conservative, but always deliciously entertaining.
That said, "Zombieland" would be without much of its charm had it been deprived of Harrelson, Eisenberg, Stone, and Breslin. This tag team quartet's interplay is immaculate and hilarious, with Eisenberg, especially, marking himself as a new talent worth keeping a very close eye on in the future. Harrelson is predictably fabulous, falling into his role smoothly, and always hitting the right notes that make him a jerk worth loving.
However, despite a premise that oozes scope and possibilities, "Zombieland" never quite reaches its true potential. Ultimately, it aims lower than it really needs to and hits accordingly, but the ambition feels greater than the resulting execution. That said,jJuggling so many genres and themes while simultaneously keeping the audience bouncing is a difficult balancing act, and Fleischer should be commended for his efforts and eventual successes, even if bits and pieces remain untapped.
But to dwell on what could have been is unfair to the fully realized product, which is, simply speaking, one of this year's most satisfying films, period. Oh, and it's home to one of the greatest cameo appearances in movie history.
on December 27, 2011
We just finished watching Zombieland for the first time, after my son told me I had to watch it because it was soooo funny. My daughter says it's one of her favorite shows. Okay, so I agreed to watch it. There were moments in which I admit I chuckled. With so many zombie movies, zombie books, and so much recent zombie humor, this takes all those stereotypical zombie things and puts them together into one movie. It's not cheesy, but it really is corny. The rules were kind of cute too, something I'll definitely keep in mind for my future, just in case the zombie apocalypse ever does happen.
I hope Tallahassee enjoys his Twinkies. He deserves them for his performance in this movie.
If you're wanting just a stupid movie that's a bit silly and sappy, then watch this one. It's not meant to be serious, so don't take it that way and just enjoy the little things.
Oh, and one last thing: If you like Bill Murray, he pokes a little fun at himself in this movie, and that was kinda funny to watch too!
on March 26, 2014
This is the second best zombie comedy after Shawn of the Dead. High praise I know. I also know that you find Jessie Eisenberg as irritating as the rest of us, that's okay he doesn't drag the film down too much. Woody Harrelson shows yet again why he's the biggest star to come out of Cheers. The actor who shows up in the surprise extended cameo is worth the price of admission alone. Overall an enjoyable romp.
on July 17, 2013
I have never been a fan of zombie fare. I usually don't like over-the-top hijinks movies. I prefer my plots (and characters) complex and love it when they make me think. Thus, one would assume that "Zombieland" is not for me. Yet, I enjoyed the experience because it is just so much doggone fun!
For a basic plot summary, "Zombieland" sees young Columbus (Jesse Eisenburg) surviving in a post-apocalyptic U.S.A filled with zombies. He manages to stay alive by following a strict set of rules like "always check the back seat" and "never be the hero", for example. Columbus then finds an unlikely partner in Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is a zombie-killing legend. When sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) enter the picture, the foursome must try to cope in a world destroyed by the flesh-eating monsters.
What makes this movie work so well is that director Ruben Fleischer knows how silly this genre truly is and thus this whole film is about poking fun at itself. It is kind of ironic that those people (like me) who dislike the zombie genre will probably like "Zombieland" better than others because of that tongue-in-cheek nature. Zombie material either has to be played perfectly straight (like "The Walking Dead"), or this completely opposite approach, which lets us laugh at how ridiculous the whole scenario truly is.
The acting from that main foursome only helps to suck in viewers, as each of those four turn in a wonderful performance. Harrelson almost steals the show, Eisenburg is the perfect "loner/nerd", and Stone/Breslin make their characters come to life as well. A longer-than-usual "cameo" from Bill Murray is also a highlight.
Thus, even though I usually despise zombie-related fare, this one held my interest all the way through. I could have even watched more material, as it was so funny and fresh.