There's no getting around it: Zombies are funny. I think they stopped being scary for me along toward the end of "Night of the Living Dead." OK, maybe in a few others, like "28 Days Later." They're the Energizer bunnies of corpses, existing primarily to be splattered. But who would have guessed such a funny movie as "Zombieland" could be made around zombies? No thanks to the zombies.
In its amiable, quiet PG-13 way, "The Invention of Lying" is a remarkably radical comedy. It opens with a series of funny, relentlessly logical episodes in a world where everyone always tells the truth, and then slips in the implication that religion is possible only in a world that has the ability to lie. Then it wraps all of this into a sweet love story.
We'll have to take their word for it (that "Love Happens").
Why bother to remake "Fame" if you don't have a clue about why the 1980 movie was special? Why take a touching experience and make it into a shallow exercise? Why begin with an R-rated look at plausible kids with real problems and tame it into a PG-rated after-school special? Why cast actors who are sometimes too old and experienced to play seniors, let alone freshmen?
Let me search my memory. I think - no, I'm positive - this is the first movie I've seen where the hero dangles above a chasm lined with razor-sharp peanut brittle, while holding onto a red licorice rope held by his girlfriend, who has a peanut allergy, so that when she gets cut by some brittle and goes into anaphylactic shock and her body swells up, she refuses to let go, and so the hero bites through the licorice to save her. You don't see that every day.
Just what we were waiting for, "Twilight" for boys, with Megan Fox in the Robert Pattinson role, except
The magazine rack at 7-Eleven doesn't have many real magazines. No Economist, Vanity Fair, Discover or the New Yorker. It's mostly pseudo-magazines, about celebrities, diets, video games and crossword puzzles. Except for one: Vogue. The other day I bought the September 2009 issue, which ran to a little under 600 pages. That may sound like a lot to you, but actually it's a marker of hard times for the economy.
The first images are spellbinding. In close-up, thick fingers make the final stitches in a roughly humanoid little rag doll, and binocular eyes are added. This creature comes to life, walks on tottering legs, and ventures fearfully into the devastation of a bombed-out cityscape.
Granted that they're now human beings and not cartoons, Mike Judge's characters may never grow much smarter than Beavis and Butthead, who launched him on his career. The people in "Extract" are not as stupid as the ones in "Idiocracy" (2006), his previous film, but then those idiots had the benefit of a few hundred extra years during which to refute Darwin by evolving less intelligence. The "Extract" people work in a bottling plant that's up for sale when everything goes wrong in the life of its owner, Joel (Jason Bateman, of "Juno").
It is not much fun to laugh at a crazy person. None, I would say. Sandra Bullock plays a character who is bonkers in "All About Steve," which is billed as a comedy but more resembles a perplexing public display of irrational behavior. Seeing her run around as a basket case makes you appreciate Lucille Ball, who could play a dizzy dame and make you like her. Overacting is risky even in a screwball comedy. Perhaps especially.
"The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" is a cheerfully, energetically and very vulgar comedy. If you're OK with that, you may be OK with this film, which contains a lot of laughs and has studied Political Correctness only enough to make a list of groups to offend. It takes place after a failing car dealer calls in a hired gun and his team to move goods off the lot over the Fourth of July.
Luckily I saw "Woodstock" again in April, so it was fresh in my mind while watching "Taking Woodstock," Ang Lee's entertaining new film about the kid who made it all possible - in Woodstock, anyway. This was Elliot Teichberg, a young interior designer who leaves a New York City career to return home to upstate New York and help his parents bail out their failing and shabby motel.
The Malbys are just plain nice. That's the only word for them. They're a goofy, strange, California suburban family who love one another and share the same sunny sense of humor and nothing terrible ever happens to them and it's all for one and one for all.
Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" is a big, bold, audacious war movie that will annoy some, startle others, and demonstrate once again that he's the real thing, a director of quixotic delights.
I suppose there's no reason the first alien race to reach Earth shouldn't look like what the cat threw up. After all, they love to eat cat food. The alien beings in "District 9," nicknamed "prawns" because they look like a cross between lobsters and grasshoppers, arrive in a spaceship that hovers over Johannesburg. Found inside, huddled together and starving to death, are the aliens, who benefit from a humanitarian impulse to relocate them to a location on the ground.