Monthly Archives: October 2011

Top Five “Zombie” Movies

There is no genre of movie out there that I love more than a good zombie movie. My husband and I have planned out what we will do should zombies ever attack, and we have a pretty good plan, if I do say so myself. There are several zombie movies out there, and many of them are great movies that deserve your time.

If you’re anything like me, this time of the year gets you in the mood to watch scary movies. I decided to compile a list of the top five “zombie” movies everyone should watch during this time of the year.

Before I get in to the list, let me start by defining zombie. To me, a zombie movie involves humans that, for whatever reason, have changed to the point where they no longer act like humans and can cause real harm to “healthy” people. Most of the time some kind of unnamed virus causes it and once you get bitten you change in to “one of them”. Of course, just like in any real zombie movie, you gotta shoot ’em in the head. Otherwise you’re just wasting ammo.

My list includes my five favorite zombie movies. Don’t be offended if your favorite isn’t on here. This is my list πŸ™‚

1. Dawn of the Dead (2004, Remake of the same name) – This is the first zombie movie I saw with fast zombies. All the z-movies I had ever seen before had slow, lumbering, moaning creatures that looked nasty, but I was pretty sure I could WALK faster than them, let alone outrun them if I ever needed to. The zombies in this movie were fast…faster than normal humans, in fact. Yikes.This movie feels authentic, in that I do feel that this is how people would truly act in this situation. You have people who are interested in helping others, and you have people who are only interested in saving themselves. You have those that are terrified and those that think their current situation is kind of awesome.

  • “Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Ty Burrell of Modern Family fame as Steve. He is very un-Phil Dunphee-like in this movie…very crass and self-serving. I love it!
  • Favorite quote – “When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”.
  • Best part – Zombie baby…you know you’ve always wondered what happens to a pregnant woman who gets infected and then subsequently gives birth…well, this movie answers it!

2. Quarantine (2008, Remake of [Rec]) – This is a double awesome whammy for me – A “found footage” movie that involves zombies? Be still my heart. The movie involves people locked inside an apartment building by a government agency due to an infection that is spreading throughout the building. The infection (some mutant strain of rabies) is causing the people to act like zombies and attack each other. The camera angles make this movie extra tense and fun to watch…only if you have a strong stomach. If you have issues with motion sickness, you might wanna skip this one.

  • “Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Jennifer Carpenter of Dexter fame as Angela; Jay Hernandez (swoon) of Hostel fame as Jake – both horror multi-players (Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hernandez in Hostel 1 & 2), they do a good job of looking scared.
  • Favorite quote – “They’re not gonna let us out of here alive, are they?”
  • Best part – Scott (the camera man) and his awesome use of his gigantic video camera as a weapon. First he kills a rat, later he kills a zombie. Epic. If you can watch this part without pumping your fist and shouting “hell yea!” at the screen, then you are no fun.

3. 28 Weeks Later (2007, Sequel to 28 Days Later) – I know, I know. I’m putting the SEQUEL on here but not the original? Yup. My list, I can do what I want. This movie picks up about 6 months into the infection, and focuses on people trying to survive and re-populating London. I chose this movie over the former because of the added human element…people really will screw each other over if given the chance. A man will leave his wife, soldiers will kill those they are meant to protect. It adds an extra layer of terror…not only are the people on the OUTSIDE trying to kill you, but the people sitting next to you might harm you also. Damn. Also, I love listening to the accents. I’m a sucker for that kinda thing.

  • “Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Rose Byrne of Bridesmaids fame as Scarlet; Jeremy Renner of The Hurt Locker fame as Doyle; Harold Perrineau of Lost fame as Flynn; Idris Elba of Thor fame as Stone
  • Favorite quote – “You said you saw mom die!”
  • Best part – The beginning when the man leaves his wife to be killed by zombies so that he can escape. Its awful, but it sure does make you think…who can I actually trust to help me when stuff goes down? What makes this part extra awesome is the fact that the wife actually…well, I guess I can’t tell you that. Go watch it yourself.

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004, comedy) – Yes I know. A comedy? If you haven’t ever seen this movie, stop what you are doing and go watch it now. I’ll wait…Back? Awesome. This movie is a sort of parody of zombie movies. While it definitely is a zombie movie in it’s premise, the way the characters approach it is where the comedy comes in. “What should we do if a zombie outbreak occurs?” – Head to the local pub of course. “Hey, we can kill these zombies by hitting them in the head with records” – yea, but only throw the bad ones. Keep the good ones. Mistaking a zombie for a drunk girl, remaining completely oblivious to the zombies surrounding you because of your limited human interaction on a day to day basis. All very true.

  • “Wait don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Simon Pegg of Star Trek fame (he’s Scotty) as Shaun – This was the first movie I ever saw him in, and he is brilliant.
  • Favorite quote – “Don’t forget to kill Phillip!”
  • Best part – When faced with the obstacle of hundreds of zombies standing in the way of their pub fortress, the group decides to try and imitate the zombies in order to slip by them undetected. I of course have mastered my own zombie imitation, and watching each character make their initial attempts is hilarious.

5. Zombieland (2009, comedy) – This movie is awesome. I love this movie because it has rules for surviving a zombie outbreak! How awesome is that? When researching the rules, I found out there are actually 32 rules for survival that they created for the movie…we only see a fraction of them. The rules we see in the movie are:

  1. Cardio
  2. The double tap
  3. Beware of bathrooms
  4. Wear seat belts
  5. Travel light
  6. Don’t be a hero
  7. Limber up
  8. When in doubt, know your way out
  9. Check the back seat
  10. Enjoy the little things

Really, aren’t these rules we should all live by anyway?

  • “Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Emma Stone of The Help fame as Wichita; Abigail Breslin of Signs fame (one of my guilty pleasure movies) as Little Rock; Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network fame as Columbus – This is really the first time I had ever seen Emma Stone in a movie and I loved her! Then the rest of America fell in love too.
  • Favorite quote – There are tons of awesome quotes from this movie. One of my personal favorites, because I share this sentiment – “I hate coconut. Not the taste, the consistency”
  • Best part – Nothing is better then when Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee, meets Bill Murray. For the purposes of keeping this post clean I won’t quote exactly what he says but THAT is easily the most quotable line in the whole movie. Go watch it. Now.

Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: In Time

Let me preface this review by stating one thing – I am NOT a Justin Timberlake fan. Not even in the NSync glory days did I love JT…I was in love with Lance Bass (yes…I know). I wanted to see this movie because I thought it was an interesting, original concept. Plus it reminded me of Dane Cook’s DMV in the year 3000 skit.

Question time!

“What is this movie about?” – Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) lives in a time when there is no money…time is the only currency. You stop aging at 25, and you are given a year. After that, you have to earn more time if you want to stay alive. Everything costs time – coffee, bus fare, rent. The rich can live “forever” while the poor die in the streets. Will happens upon a man with more than a century on his “watch”. The man has been alive for over 100 years, and naturally, wants to off himself. He transfers his time to Will and proceeds to “time out” (die). Of course, the “time-keepers” think Will killed the guy and a man hunt follows. Will uses his riches to head over to “New Greenwich” and live it up…it is here he meets Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), a rich, bored, daughter to a boring character. They of course fall in lust love instantly and after Will “kidnaps”Β  Sylvia, they begin trying to get enough time so they can give back to the poor. The rest of the money involves them trying to outrun the cops while giving the rich people’s time to the poor people.

“How are the special effects?” – Minimal on the special effects in this movie. Probably the best special effects involve the “watches”. In one scene, Will and Sylvia are under water and it’s cool to see the glowing green of their “watches” under the water. Other than that, not much in the special effects department.

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – Sylvia is played by Amanda Seyfried who is famous for Mean Girls and Mamma Mia. She’s a little hard to recognize with the severe brunette hair and heavy make up but that’s her! Cyllian Murphy of Batman Begins fame is also a major player, while Olivia Wilde of House, Tron and Cowboys and Aliens fame is on the screen for less than ten minutes as Will’s ill-fated mother.

“Anything I should know going in?” – There’s a lot of vocabulary that they throw around in this movie that might be confusing. So I made you a handy-dandy reference sheet.

  • Watch – Green digital numbers that everyone has on their left arm. It keeps track of how much time you have left, and you pay for things by getting your arm scanned. You can also transfer time to someone else. People in the movie keep their “watches” covered so that others do not know how much time they have.
  • Time Zones – Equivalent to neighborhoods. Poor people live in one time zone, rich people live in a different time zone. You have to pay a hefty amount to enter each time zone (a month, two months, a year) and so many of the poor have never been in the more affluent time zones.
  • New Greenwich – The richest time zone
  • Time-keeper – Cops. These guys are in charge of making sure the time doesn’t get distributed incorrectly.
  • Minute Men – Criminals. These guys kill others for their time.
  • Time Out – Die. Once the time on your watch reaches zero, you die right then and there. And no, you can’t be given more time to come back to life.

I think the movie was entertaining and worth the time (time! Get it?). I appreciate the original concept, and if you like movies like Repo Men or Gattaca, then you’ll like this movie. Parts of the story seemed thrown together at times which left a few parts feeling out of place and unexplained. However, the basic idea of the movie was well executed – Why should anyone die while others have more than enough?

Spend or Save? Go ahead and spend…but try to go for a matinee, or get someone else to pay for you. This is another movie that doesn’t run too long (109 minutes) which I appreciate. It will keep you engaged the entire time and really, it’s worth watching just for the original idea! A movie that isn’t a remake, a sequel/prequel, or about a superhero? What a novel idea! See ya next time! πŸ™‚

Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review: The Three Musketeers

Alamo Drafthouse had ANOTHER free movie night tonight (thank you!) so my hubby and I decided to (not) spend our money on The Three Musketeers. This was not really a movie I was interested in seeing, but for free? Yea, I’m there.

As usual, let’s start with the questions you probably wanna know.

“Is this movie a sequel?” – Nope. You do not have to have any prior knowledge of The Three Musketeers in order to enjoy this movie. I have no previous exposure to this story and I was able to understand what was going on easy enough.

“How are the special effects?” – For the most part, the special effects are good. There is one fight scene that seemed to be blatantly done in front of green screen with a superimposed picture of France behind it. I found this mildly distracting, but otherwise, good effects. Probably the most exciting part is a battle between two airships…I mean, who doesn’t love a good airship battle?

“Wait, don’t I know that actor from somewhere?” – The newest Musketeer, D’Artagnan, is none other than Percy Jackson himself, Logan Lerman. Interesting, he’s playing a very similar character as in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, just with worse hair. Also, as the Duke of Buckingham, Orlando Bloom was almost unrecognizable to me at first glance. It was only towards the end when he was on a ship that The Pirates of the Caribbean image flashed in to my head and I went “AHA”! So let me save you the braincells, as these two characters caused me a great amount of grief trying to figure out who the heck they were.

“Anything I should know going in?” – I am hyper sensitive to bad accents. It bothers me like nothing else. This movie bothered me immensely. Some people have British accents in France, American accents in Venice, an odd hybrid accent coming from Percy D’Artagnan…it was all so very distracting. I decided to look into this and found out that this was quite a multicultural cast! Just a sampling for you:

  • Matthew Macfayden (Athos), Orlando Bloom (Duke of Beckingham) and Luke Evans (Aramis) are British
  • Ray Stevenson (Porthos) is Irish
  • Milla Jovavich (Milady) is Russian
  • Til Schweiger (Cagliostro) is German
  • Mads Mikkelsen (Rochefort) is Danish
  • Christoph Waltz (Richelieu) is Austrian

Crazy, right? No wonder the director said “forget the accents, just say the lines in English”! It can be distracting, but for normal people (unlike me), its probably not a big deal.

Overall, the movie is good. There are good action scenes (airships!) and good laughs. There is a budding romance and evil cardinals (the religious kind, not the bird kind…though THAT would be awesome). The movie reminded me of a mix between Indiana Jones and Ocean’s Eleven…if that makes any sense πŸ™‚

Spend or Save? Go ahead and spend. It’s not very long (110 minutes) and they fill every minute with action or plot development. You won’t be bored and judging from the last three minutes, this is probably not the last one of these movies…so you might as well get started watching them now!

Paranormal Activity 3 Trailer Rant

Now that most people have seen Paranormal Activity 3, I have gotten a lot of complaints questions about the differences between the trailer and the actual movie. The trailer depicts a very different movie than the one shown in the theaters, and I personally was very frustrated by this. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, or if you HAVE seen the movie and want to be reminded just how much we were tricked by the trailer, I did a review of the trailer versus the movie. Here ya go.

Watch the trailer…

:11 – “The Knocking Game” – Not in the movie at all. Not one mention of this at all.

:46 – Kristi jumping from the top floor to the bottom, climbing the stairs later without an injury. Many people, while waiting in line to see “see it first”, commented that this part was one of the freakier parts of the preview. Not in the movie. Not at all.

:59 – “He’s standing right next to you” Kristi throws her water on herΒ  “friend” and the water briefly takes the form of SOMETHING standing there…chaos follows as the angry (wet?) demon throws stuff around. The conversation is in the movie. The water and following chaos…nope. Not at all.

1:09 – This poor man…I guess he’s a medium? A psychic? We’ll never know because this man is not in the movie at all. Not for one second. There is no scene of them sitting around a table discussing the phenomenon. This man who is featured so prominently in the preview? Absent.

1:12 – (speaking to the mom) “This is connected to your side of the family…it definitely knows about…” followed by violence from demon as his head gets slammed in to the table. I was very interested in this. Why was this happening? What has been going on in the family? We kinda find out (I guess) why its been going on…but (in my opinion) not in a satisfactory way. I’ll discuss it more once people have the opportunity to see the movie.

1:29 – The fire. This fire has been discussed in each movie. I have always assumed that the demon had something to do with the fire. I was excited to finally get some questions answered. There is no fire. THERE IS NO FIRE!!

1:33 – Mom gets yanked backwards when she says she wants to leave. As I’m sure you can probably guess, this is totally not in the movie. Not one bit.

So, like I said, I’m a little annoyed with this movie. I was expecting a completely different movie than the one I saw. There were some awesome scares and you will HATE the fan camera…its super stressful. However, I really feel like they took this movie in a direction that I think ruins the amazing continuity that the first one and second one had…which is why I liked them so much. The ending of this movie feels very Hollywood, and doesn’t ring true with everything we learned in the first two movies. This aggravates me. I feel like I was gypped from seeing the movie I wanted to see…I really feel like there are two movies out there and I saw the wrong one…

If you see the movie, please comment and let me know what you think!

Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review : Paranormal Activity 3

Before I start, let me clarify something – I am a die-hard scary movie fan. This is my favorite genre and so I equally love them and I am very hard on them. Let’s proceed.

I’ll start off by answering the questions most people ask.

“Is this movie a sequel?” – No. This is the prequel to the first two. The movies are going backwards in the order that they occurred. So on the timeline, Paranormal Activity 3 happens first, then Paranormal Activity 2, then Paranormal Activity 1. The third movie centers around Katie and Kristi (the two main characters from number 1 and number 2) when they were kids. The movie is meant to explain WHY these activities of paranormal nature are happening.

“Did I have to watch the first two movies in order to enjoy/understand this movie?” – For the most part, no. As chronologically this movie happened before the others you can see it without being lost. The very beginning of the movie refers back to Paranormal Activity 2, but someone can quickly explain what is going on to you if need be.

“How are the special effects?” – Actually, the effects in these movies have always been good, in my opinion. These movies rely mostly on building suspense while you watch minor things like doors open by themselves…which in the context of the movie can be the most terrifying part. One characters death has some pretty gory effects…the kind that make you hurt with empathy pain.

“What should I keep an eye out for?” – There is one camera that you are going to hate. Since this movie takes place in the 80s, there are no mounted security cameras. The main character has to mount his gigantic-in-all-its-80s-glory camera on the top of a deconstructed oscillating fan. This camera is a slow pan from the stairs/front door/living room to the kitchen/dining room. Things will appear in the living room and as the camera slowly moves away, the feeling of dread you get imagining whats going on off-camera is pretty intense. You learn to dread this camera. In a good way of course πŸ™‚

“Anything I should know going in?” – If you have seen the trailer, be warned. The main scares they feature so prominently in the trailer are missing from this movie. You can read my rant note about this if you’re interested. Basically, I think there are two movies out there. I saw the one that did not match the trailer. I’m hoping they release the second version.

Overall the movie is good. You will be scared. There were several times that I turned to the complete stranger next to me as we shared an “oh my god” moment after a particularly scary scene. And isn’t that the beauty of scary movies? The whole theater is connected by a common emotion.

If you like scary movies, especially those of the “this is a true story/found camera footage” variety (which I LOVE), you will like this movie. If you hate to be scared, stay home.This is my least favorite of the three movies, but it is still worth watching.

Spend or Save?Β  If you are remotely interested in this movie, Spend. You will jump, you will devour your popcorn, and you will have fun. To really enjoy it, go at night. It adds to the fun of walking through the door in to your dark, suddenly terrifying house.

Spend Your Money/Save Your Money Movie Review : The Thing

My local Alamo Drafthouse had a “free movie” day yesterday. My husband and I took advantage of this by seeing the prequel to The Thing…The Thing (creative name, I know). Though, I’m not sure what else they could have called it. The Thing Before the Thing? Anyway.
We knew this movie was going to be centered around the Norwegian’s experience with “The Thing”. It was. I’ll do this review based on questions that most people ask about sequels, prequels, etc.

  • “Did I have to see the original movie to enjoy this one?” No. The movie stands alone as an action/thrilling movie. There are a few nods to the previous movie, including the ending (which overlaps the credits, so don’t bolt out of there right away) but for the most part, this can be your first experience with this series and you’ll be fine.
  • “Is it a remake?” No. It is a prequel – it takes place BEFORE John Carpenter’s movie. The events in this movie bring you right into the beginning of Carpenter’s movie.
  • “How are the special effects?” Eh. They are what you would expect. Characters are taken over by “the thing” and while the thing terrorizes the crew members, the unfortunate host regains most of its facial features which was strange to me. It is a bit unsettling, but I actually found it more distracting than anything else.
  • “What should I keep an eye out for?” “The Thing” cannot duplicate inorganic items…meaning, pay close attention to details like e**r**g*. Trust me.

Overall the movie is good. If you like gore, action, flame-throwing, suspicious glances, and tense moments involving dental work, this movie is for you.
Spend or Save? If you like this kind of genre, Spend. It has a few good jolts, lots of tense moments, good nods to the previous movie, and a pretty good pace. Good movie to watch on a weeknight when you just want to escape the workweek.