Monday, October 5, 2009

Tarantino, Michael Bluth, and Other Joys

It's been an exciting weekend for me, as far as movies go. Friday night I got to see Zombieland and Jennifer's Body in a horror-comedy double feature with Kimi. Like any good horror film, both had interesting ideas and hidden meanings, though I feel like I may be overthinking some of them.
Zombieland had a pretty simple concept to it: a goofy-awkward guy pairs up with a gung-ho, Twinkie-obsessed modern cowboy to survive in a post-zombie-apocalypse landscape, and are eventually joined by two sisters. Trust amongst these survivors is thin: they use there destinations as their names and are constantly watching each other's moves (for good reason). However, they make a hilarious dysfunctional group, particularly Woody Harrelson's Tallahassee and Jesse Eisenberg's neurotic Columbus (honestly, he feels like a Woody Allen character dropped into Dawn of the Dead; perhaps Allen and Eisenberg should team up sometime....), whose zombie survival tips appear in print on screen throughout the movie. The interesting thing is the presence of Abigail Breslin: she is maturing into a truly talented actress, and in this, she's young enough to enjoy a roller coaster but old enough to help with driving. Zombieland is a clever and hilarious movie that both satirizes and reveres the zombie genre. And by the way, the cameo appearance halfway through is to die for.
Jennifer's Body, on the other hand, was something completely different; it was more like a cautionary tale against falling for the hot mean girl in high school because she is, you know, truly evil. Coming from the mind of Diablo Cody, it should be no surprise that all of the characters talk with the same hip, indie-cool lingo that was so prominent in Juno. This time, however, it doesn't seem so natural; only Needy, played by Amanda Seyfried, really pulls it off, and even then, she is no Ellen Page. Megan Fox, as Jennifer, feels like she's just being herself, which kind of helps the movie in its own way. In fact, she plays a literal man-eating demon girl a little too well. The movie reveres and pokes fun at traditional bump-in-the-night horror films, with Cody's well-structured script (but don't expect Oscar nominations) and Karyn Kusama's serviceable direction. It's notable the film has so many major female players when the horror genre itself is supported mostly by female audiences. Jennifer's Body's biggest fault, however, is it's clunky set-up: would a girl like Needy and a girl like Jennifer really be best friends? And, although Low Shoulder, an indie rock band planning to sacrifice a virgin to Satan to gain fame, is hilariously dimwitted, are we really expected to believe that they would believe someone who looks like Megan Fox is a virgin when innocent, nerdy-looking Needy is standing right next to her? Come on!

Now, apart from my personal movie viewing, the weekend provided exciting production news. First, Quentin Tarantino has announced that he will be making Kill Bill Vol. 3, as you can read here: I like the idea of using Copperhead's daughter, Nikki, but please, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT MAKE HER THE PROTAGONIST!!! Keep the focus on Beatrix, maybe using Nikki as a way of exploring the consequences and loose ends of exacting her revenge. Hopefully Tarantino will keep the kung-fu-movie aesthetic that made the first two films (in my opinion, his best) so good. And, in what would be a fanboy's (re: me) dream, how great would it be to have Nikki and Bebe face off in a vengeful fight to the death?
My other source of joy and joyness is the announcement that the Arrested Development movie is FINALLY getting made. Being a devoted fan of the series, I'm very glad that everyone is coming back to do the movie, especially since some of them (Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett) have found film success. Seeing the Bluths on screen again would absolutely make my life, and according to Total Film (, Mitchell Hurwitz, the series' creator, his hoping to start production in spring 2010. After five years away from the Bluths, its good to know they're finally coming back. And, as a personal note, they had better keep Ron Howard's narration.
And, just for kicks, here's a link to the greatest films never made, many of which I would have loved to see:

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