Tag Archives: lena headey

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Wrote this last week. Sorry I’m posting late. I’m just really busy. Enjoy.

Here’s the thing with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It’s just not that good and when I say that, I mean that as a compliment if you can believe it. Some zombie movies are not meant to be analyzed and critiqued and documented like a medical examiner over a corpse. Some are meant to be torn apart with hacksaws and thrown in a receptacle labeled, “Danger: Hazardous Material” and thankfully so, considering some of the truly deprecating material that comes out of the film industry in the early months of every new year. Burr Steers, aside from having an intriguing name, is an unknown and will stay that way with his directorial style because, like it or not, he’s just not that good. This Jane Austen parody is far better than the film from 2005, at least in my eyes, but it’s not because of Steers’ ability to properly diagnose classic literature, his technique in panning the camera, choreographing stunts or developing imaginable characters. No, Steers’ asset is his own inadequacy. Steers is unable to attain any real cement in his mixing pot, anything excessively heavy that makes the popcorn bag feel a lot heavier. Instead, he just keeps spinning that wooden spoon. I may or may not be referencing a famous Adam Sandler film here. Moving on.

No, what Steers does is make this liquid that I guess you could say is about as appetizing as getting an ice cream cone at McDonald’s for a dollar because let’s be honest, what you’re eating is probably not ice cream, both because you got it from McDonald’s and because it’s a dollar, which if that doesn’t raise your suspicion about what you’re putting in your mouth than I don’t know what will. Eventually, how low a price is shouldn’t comfort you anymore but disturb you, but I digress. Basically, Steers isn’t the guy you want doing the icing on your wedding cake.

Where Steers belongs in the bakery, to keep the metaphor going, is in the batter mixing, because believe it or not ladies and gents, it’s actually incredibly difficult to make something with zombies excessively unappetizing. Throw some fair makeup and visual effects in there, give us a hero or heroine that is either somewhat admirable or scares the life out of us and you are going to find an audience that will pay money for that. It doesn’t have to be spellbinding, glossy or overly dramatic, although that is what the loyalists of the genre, such as myself, would prefer most days. However, when you’re as starved for a movie as I am in a series of what can only be described as after products of IBS, then your standards slowly start to sink like the ice cream off that cone the drive-thru employee is handing to you right as it spills all over the front of you in your car. In most circumstances, you’d be more than upset. In fact, you’d probably get on CNN for throwing a five-minute long hissy fit and giving that employee a dissertation on the non-importance of the fast food industry and the lack of a case the minimum wage movement has, but that day is not today. No, this time of year, a one-dollar cone of vanilla at McDonald’s is better than no ice cream and you’ll make due with that, because in January and early February, that’s how far gone you are already, New Year’s resolutions be damned.

This zombie novella is lighthearted and rudimentary in its execution. If you’re expecting mind-blowing content out of this or anything made this early in the calendar year for that matter, you need to lower your standards. With that said, 2016 could have started a lot worse. The cast is likable and honest to the original material and the addition of zombies in Revolutionary War era England is a unique sight to behold. There’s no denouncing that.

I’ve spent most of this review bashing this film but honestly, I enjoyed it. Critically, it’s not there and I’m certainly not going to recommend it, but if you’re desperate to see a moving picture that doesn’t make you want to run to the toilet and vomit, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies can be that film for you. It’s not going to invoke a lot of emotion, there’s a specific plot point that makes no sense and will make you want to throw you hands up in the air and the conclusion feels too swift, but as an overall product, especially this early in 2016, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies leaves a positive impression.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Avengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappie)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (CreedScouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseCrimson PeakThe MartianBlack Mass)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2Beasts of No NationTerminator: GenisysBlack SheepTwisted)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (EverestHerculesThe SentinelMad Max: Fury RoadBlitz)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (War, The Ridiculous 6The Lost BoysZombeaversCrank)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic FourThe Boy Next DoorThe Colony)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: 67.

All this mockery aside, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a popcorn film that you can watch with friends on a busy Friday night. You don’t have to pay attention during every minute of the thing, you can feel free to talk over points that you deem uninteresting and your experience won’t be any less than if you had watched every breathing second of it. If you’re looking for cheap entertainment and a laugh or two at the pure obnoxiousness of this whole charade, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is your thing. At least until Deadpool comes out this week and we finally get the real treat of February.

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Movie Review: 300

[ 300 POSTER ]One of the more famous stories of history gets its chance at the big screen in 300, starring Gerard Butler as the great Leonidas. I remember before I watched this film for the first time how everyone at school said it was like the best thing ever. Then I watched it and I was like, “how was that the best thing ever?”

Most people know the story of the 300 and those that don’t had an easy time following this because the background was laid out pretty clearly. It’s very organized and precise in the story it’s trying to tell although not every part of the story is necessarily worth telling. There’s a lot of narration and tons of slow motion, which Snyder has grown notorious for overusing. If you haven’t seen the Everything Wrong With 300 on YouTube yet, here’s a link. The creator of the Everything Wrong With videos, CinemaSins, calculated there was around a half hour of slow motion in the film. Is there far too much of it? Certainly, but it has the potential to be entertaining and more often than not it is. The action scenes are pretty cool although very unrealistic sometimes. For example, chances are you won’t separate a limb from a body in one swing. I’m not throwing my hands up because I’m not outraged about it, just something that by the end of the film I thought had been thrown in my face way too much. Action scenes in slow motion are cool, but action in real-time is preferred, at least for me, unless you’re demonstrating extreme detail that makes a scene significantly more awesome. Overall, my action lust was fulfilled.

The characters and plot are a different story. While plenty of this material is historically accurate, I felt like Snyder had the opportunity to make this story more than it was. While David Wenham does a fine job with his narration, I would have liked to have heard the story from Leonidas’ perspective because after all, isn’t he supposed to be the main character? I know why they have Wenham narrate: it goes along with the story but I don’t see why we couldn’t have had at least some of the story told from Leonidas’ point of view. The more things you give Butler to do, the more of a character he becomes, which means more chances for the audience to connect with him. With Leonidas being such a famous hero, you would think this would have been a likely approach for Snyder to take but for some reason he decided not to. With Leonidas being just as famous as the great warrior Achilles, I’m not sure why he took the approach that he did. Perhaps he felt that adding too much depth to Leonidas’ character would take away from the action or that Butler wouldn’t be able to pull off the portrayal, I don’t know, but Snyder most certainly let the opportunity pass him by. Furthermore, the story doesn’t always focus on the Battle of Thermopylae and the 300, but on Lena Headey and life back in Sparta, mainly her character, Queen Gorgo, trying to get the senate to send reinforcements to Leonidas. It’s not all that important and I’m not that interested in it, mostly because I know the only reason I’m watching this is because Snyder couldn’t figure out what he was going to do to extend the running time a little more. The subplot isn’t worth watching and all you really want is to fast forward to the next time Leonidas is screaming about something patriotic and killing Persians. Movies are supposed to be more than this, but 300 isn’t looking for that.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Lone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic, The Other Guys)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (The Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for 300: 77.

300 may have been responsible for jump-starting Zack Snyder’s career, but when the dust clears proves to be an overrated and over-hyped blood and gore bonanza that guys love simply because of the raw intensity it provides.

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