Yes please

Yes please

O, Zombieland. You inject not only life into the well worn zombie genre, but into this blogger’s fingertips as well. Shaun of the Dead this isn’t, but that’s a good thing.

Zombieland is about a group of people played by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin who survived the zombie apocalypse. Woody Harrelson in particular shines as a macho, zombie slaying warrior and he nails his part perfectly. The rest of the cast does a good job, but the funniest performance of the entire movie comes from a surprise star cameo that I won’t spoil for those of us that haven’t seen it. Jesse Eisenberg plays the awkward teenager character perfected by Michael Cera in every role he’s ever been in, and Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are believable in their roles as the female con artists.

This movie is a lot of fun. There isn’t a whole lot of downtime or wasted scenes. The constant stream of character beats, humor, and zombies keeps the movie fresh from start to finish. Occasionally the movie steps back from all the humor and absurdity to reveal something about one of the main characters and their lives before everything went to hell. These small scenes never take you out of the movie and are believable, a sign that this is more than just mindless entertainment. I know, a good movie hidden under a zombie movie. Whoda thunk it? This focus on characters and character interaction elevate the movie to a higher level than similar movies that focus on sex and shock kills. Not that there aren’t any gruesome deaths in this movie. There are. Plenty.

If you’re looking for a good movie to kick off the fall season, this one. Right here. More than just zombies, Zombieland is the best romantic horror comedy of the year. Even if it is the only horror romantic comedy of the year.

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We're here to evict you, fookin prawn

fookin prawns

Fred’s take:

District 9 is brilliant. Luminary. A fucking torch in the desolate landscape that is this thing called culture. And this is true on all levels. Yes, it is an exciting and well-paced action movie. The alien tech in here is just ridiculous. More people explode than you could ever possibly expect, and that is awesome.

But you can go see poorly directed and confusing action with way more explosions in GI Joe and Transformers 2. So why should you care about District 9? Because it has the thing that those movies forgot about – characters. Neill Blomkamp does a masterful job of creating characters that you actually care about. The main character starts off as an asshole but becomes the hero you’d hope him to be in a believable fashion, while the other major character you follow is an alien that is incredibly expressive without ever saying a word that you would understand.

And District 9 is smart. It is a story that you have not seen before (unless you watched Blomkamp’s short film that he expanded for this). None of the usual cliches from sci-fi are present here. I don’t even have the words to express my sheer joy and wonder at having seen this movie. Go watch it if you like an action movie that also has brains and (dare I say it?) heart.

Back up, BAMF coming through

Back up, BAMF coming through

Matt’s take:

District 9 is the sci-fi movie I’ve been waiting for. It proves you can marry the explosions of The Transformers and the brains of Moon and come out the other side with one of the best movies of the year. And these explosions have purple electricity arcing through their smoke clouds. Take that Michael Bay.

District 9 is all about the alien Prawns (a derogatory name given to them by humans) and their oppression at the hands of MNU. Wikus van der Merwe (played by newcomer Sharlto Copley) comes into the scene as the leader of an MNU initiative to relocate all of the Prawns to District 10. He starts the movie as an ignorant, bumbling racist, but he’s not unlikable. He almost comes across as childlike with his sweater vest and parted hair and the way he gets excited when he talks about his wife. He’s a very human character that I could relate to and his evolution over the film is believable and even heart wrenching at parts.

Blomkamp should also be lauded for giving the aliens emotion and making me care about them. Here are these hideous bug creatures that would terrify me if I bumped into one in a dark alley, but by the end of the movie I found myself completely sympathizing with them (it doesn’t help that there is an alien child that’s really cute).

This might not just be one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen, but one of my favorite movies period. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I am very much looking forward to the next movie Neill Blomkamp has up his imaginitive sleeves.

The Prisoner redux

August 12, 2009

So not only is AMC doing Walking Dead, but they’re also doing a new version of The Prisoner, a classic 17 episode miniseries about the community where they retire spies.

RESIST BAMF

RESIST BAMF

And so one man must try to escape. They also use these big white floating bubbles to capture those who try to get away.

omnomnom no escape

omnomnom no escape

The original was an awesome show, AMC is a kickass cable channel (see: all their recent original programming) and they got Ian McKellan for the remake. Loving it.

signing off//

<3

Hooooooooooooo boy this is an exciting announcement folks. AMC, the same network that puts out Mad Men, picked up the rights to Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Easily one of my favorite comic books, and not just because it has zombies. This is human drama at its finest. And who, you may ask, is attached to write, direct, and executive produce? Why, it’s Frank Darabont! Famed adaptor of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist to the big screen! His film adaptation of The Mist in particular leads me to believe he is the perfect man for the job.

Full story at The Hollywood Reporter. Try to keep the squeels of joy to a minimum.

Just a couple of badasses

This is how you do it

DoubleBear Productions made an announcement that has my mouth watering. An RPG set during a zombie apocalypse. Here are some of the details straight from DoubleBear founder Brian Mitsoda:

-Set during the breakdown of society as emergence of zombies causes widespread panic and disorder.

-Slow, shambling zombies. Spreads like a virus/bite transmission. No, you are not a zombie, that would be stupid.

-Serious examination of a national crisis or natural disaster. Humans and a lack of order are a bigger threat than the undead. Think Hurricane Katrina, Children of Men, Dawn of the Dead NOT Resident Evil, Return of the Living Dead, zombie shooter-type games.

-Game is about survival. Scavenging resources, exploring the area, dealing with other survivors, and managing a “shelter” of sorts are the main focus of the game. More on this later.

-Game is open-ended. There are characters and events that could happen, but the story depends on where you go, what you do, and who you meet.  Of course, there’s a lot more to this and we’ll go into more details as time goes on.

Did he…did he name drop Children of Men? Shelter management? And did I mention this guy worked on Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines? If you can’t tell my excitement gauge is set firmly to “Giddy”. Expect me to post any updates about their game on this site. Because I think I’m in love.

Dragon Age: Origins is the newest RPG from Bioware, makers of Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic. It’s their self titled “spiritual successor” to the beloved Baldur’s Gate, and it shows. I managed to get some hands on time with the Xbox 360 version at Comic Con and I enjoyed the time I spent with it. The character customization, the dialog, and the combat system all seemed up to par. I got some loot, which is always a video game favorite of mine. This all seems good, and it is. However, there’s just something about this game that nags at me in the back of my mind. The violence.

Here is the old logo when the game was known simply as Dragon Age:

Classy, right?

Classy, right?

And here is the logo when it became Dragon Age: Origins:

Not so much

Not so much

You’ll notice that someone wrote Origins in a blood smear beneath the original logo, and that Dragon Age became dingy and speckled with blood. But it doesn’t stop there, no sir!

Here’s the box art for the game:

I just want to rinse it off

I just want to rinse it off

That is a dragon shaped pool of blood. Even the EA logo is made out of blood.

This theme keeps going. While playing as my wood elf, I came upon some ancient ruins, and inside were some giant spiders. As soon as I killed one of the mangy beasts in hand to hand combat, my character was covered in gore from head to toe. It was especially bad when I went into a conversation with my elf buddy because it zoomed in on his blood covered face. You think these guys would bring a wet nap or something with them.

This is what I'm talking about

This is what I'm talking about

None of this makes me think this game is going to be less than fantastic. It just seems to me like Bioware knows that they already have the RPG fan in their pocket, and now they’re trying to appeal to the Halo crowd by making their game look as gritty and violent as possible. Honestly, it just feels a little weird to me. And in case you were wondering, I’ve never had a problem with violence in video games before.

Dragon Age: Origins is being released this fall on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3, and is a serious conteneder for the game I buy next semester.

I don’t often bother with news around here, so you know that when I do it’s something to get excited about. Valve announced today that a new downloadable campaign is being released for the original Left 4 Dead in September on PC and Xbox 360.

The best part for me is, and this is something that I’m really excited about in Left 4 Dead 2, is that this level bridges Mercy Hospital and Death Toll. Narrative! And here’s the obligitory movie poster in all its glory:

O Hell yea

O Hell yea

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be downloading this bad boy the day it’s released on Xbox Live. (for 560 Microsoft points of course)