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Zombieland
Zombieland (2009)
13 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A simple, easy and fun zombie flick.

A cowardly shut-in named Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is forced to join up with a seasoned zombie slayer named Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) in order to survive the zombie apocalypse. As Tallahassee sets out on a mission to find the last Twinkie on Earth, the duo meets up with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), two young girls who have resorted to some rather unorthodox methods to survive amidst the chaos. Reluctant partners in the battle against the undead, all four soon begin to wonder if it might be better to simply take their chances alone.

Well with "Zombieland 2" coming out, streaming platforms put the first "Zombieland" on their services and I took this opportunity to rewatch it. I've only see it once or twice before, but I remember having fun with it. Although it was kind of underwhelming watching it again, it was still a really solid film.

First off, I really like how the characters are written in this story. Every single one of them has a very clear motivation and distinct personality. It makes for a satisfying journey as we get to watch them from start to finish. That's good writing and even when other aspects lack, you can rely on characters to keep you invested in the story.

The editing style was very fun and you can tell they weren't going for anything serious. While the story itself was interesting, it was really simple. If it wasn't for the performances, editing, directing, etc, it would've been a pretty basic film in my opinion. I think these aspects really stood out and brought this film to life.

Is the film hilarious? Yes, it's got plenty of funny moments. It's a movie you could easily throw on and watch it while it's in the background, or you could sit down and really invest yourself into it. There's very few layers to the story but when those layers do present themselves, they add a lot to the story.

In the end, "Zombieland" is a fun and simple film. It's not my favorite zombie film, as it's a very simple point A to point B film. Anyways, I think it definitely appeals to the mass audience and I am excited to see what they do for a sequel.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
13 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

The beginning of the end, albeit a bit empty.

The worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage.

Coming off of the insanely well made "Hunger Games: Catching Fire", we get the third entry and the start of the finale for this franchise. Look, the first film was okay. The second film was a downright amazing film. But it felt like this film really dropped the ball. Was it a bad film? No, not at all. But it felt like it was a setup for something bigger, and we don't even get that result come the second film (spoiler alert, I already watched both).

First off, I do think there's a real interesting theme and plot concepts here. This franchise, if not already, has become a very politically driven piece. Our characters are driven by the will to not just fight physically, but fight the Capitol with political devices. It makes for some really interesting perspective, even if it might leave some audiences unsatisfied.

Jennifer Lawrence, still, is a downright amazing actress. Maybe she's overrated to some people, but I think she's one of the strongest actresses in Hollywood today. She carries the character of Katniss so strongly and I appreciate her performance in and out. However, in my opinion, Josh Hutcherson steals the show. No, he's not in this film much, but he gives an upright amazing performance that just makes my jaw drop in the few scenes he's in. The cast overall is really strong and has no real glaring weak spots.

I think the reason why this entry felt so weak is because a lot of this film feels like fluff. I really do think both parts could'be been combined to make one, giant film. This felt like a setup and the payoff didn't neccesarily feel worth it. Was it well made? Yes, but it could've been so much better. I know that some general audience members will watch this and find it hard to pay attention, even though there are some really deep concepts underlying the story.

In the end, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" was a solid film, but not a great one. It could've been better and I guess that's what I'm most dissapointed about.

Us
Us (2019)
13 months ago via Flixster

A far reaching film that doesn't neccesarily reach its goal, but is still another solid entry from Peele.

Some people are calling this one of the greatest films of the year. Others are calling this a confusing mess. Personally, I lean toward the latter. While there are a ton of great things this film has going for it, it's also a bit much. I think Peele is an up and coming visionary, but he reached too far and didn't hit the mark.

First off, let's talk about performances. Of course, Lupita Nyong'o absolutely fucking killed it. She really took the lead and never let up. Winston Duke was okay. I know he's a good actor and I know that's how his character was written, but his humor felt very awkward to me. What I can't stop thinking about, however, is how fun it must've been for the actors to portray two completely different personalities of the same character. That's awesome and for the most part, everyone did fine.

In terms of theme, Peele was reaching for a story with the underlying theme of economical circumstances in life. He tried to reach far but honestly, the metaphor doesn't work the best. Sure the film is creepy and thrilling, but that deeper theme misses the mark. I can see what he meant with certain symbolic moments and scenes, but it was too far fetched. Anything can mean anything if you really think about it, and Peele had more of a messy script than a clean one.

"Us" is certainly a solid film. It's got beautiful cinematography, solid performances, and an interesting premise. However, there's a decent amount of holes here. You leave the movie with so many more questions than you expected to have and the only answer to some of them is 'plotholes'. I'm happy for Peele and the success he's getting, because this isn't a bad film, it's just overreaching.

In the end, "Us" was good. It's not great and is certainly less adequate than "Get Out", but it's not a bad film. Other than the overreaching, misfiring themes, the film is a solid thriller.