Adventureland


Viewed – 27 March 2010  Blu-ray

With the advent of the Twilight saga, Kristen Stewart has quickly become a household name and one of the more interesting rising stars.  This amiable teen comedy-drama follows a college graduate (Jesse Eisenberg) who is forced to take a dead-end job at a local amusement park to pay for his University scholarship, and there he meets a bunch of likable co-workers who learn him the true meaning of life … mostly by falling for a girl, and learning some hard lessons along the way.

This charming movie is held together by some quality acting, especially from Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as the troubled girl whose life is more complicated that Eisenberg first realises.  Ryan Reynolds is on hand as a cool maintenance engineer come rock musician who gets all the ladies attentions, and along with some comic turns from various other characters – this is very entertaining.  I had trouble deciding whether this was trying to be a full on comedy or a meaningful drama, and the movie as a whole sat uneasily between the two, and how things unfold isn’t particularly fresh or original, but the performances alone keep this from turning predictable.  It dabbles in some mature themes as far as sex & relationships go, and it’s put together very realistically, capped off with an excellent 80’s soundtrack. 

A worthy evenings viewing by anyones standards.

Verdict:  4 /5

Zombieland


Viewed – 25 March 2010  Blu-ray

I like zombie movies.  This long running genre of horror never seems to lose its appeal for some reason, and every few years or so goes through a reinvention, be it another George A Romero comeback or an inventive Brit comedy like Shaun Of The Dead … something about these marauding flesh eaters seems infinitely watchable.  So here we have another entry in the cannon, this time with more of a comedy flavour as a group of miss matched characters are flung together in the midst of the zombie apocalypse, and at first they seem more interested in getting on each others nerves than worrying about their own survival, and it’s this banter and squabbling that brings the movie to life.

The cast although small are brilliantly picked, with current nerdy actor for higher Jesse Eisenberg (step aside Michael Cera) narrating proceedings effectively, quickly teaming up with gung-ho Texan tough guy Woody Harrelson (who admittedly gets all the best lines, but hey, it’s Woody – and he’s naturally brilliant) – and then we have the two female siblings; the gorgeously foxy Emma Stone (basically living Lindsey Lohan’s career for her) and plucky 12 year old Abigail Breslin.  Together they make for a very watchable and above all else likable bunch of anti-heroes, who take on the zombie horde with hilarious results.  With a razor-sharp script with some very quotable dialogue (see if you can guess all the movie references), a memorable cameo from Bill Murray as himself, and some quality zombie slaying action, this is every bit the Saturday night pop corn crowd pleaser it was designed to be, and ok it’s a touch low-budget, which restricts the zombie kills really delivering … but none of that matters when the movie is so much fun!

Verdict:  4 /5