The Week in Film: Benevolent Zombie edition

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The undead or a lifeless film in which three legendary actors may very well be dead: your choice.

In Theaters

Warm Bodies(Summit Entertainment)

Warm Bodies
(Summit Entertainment)

Warm Bodies, director Jonathan Levine follow-up to the excellent 50/50, stars Nicholas Hoult (who probably doesn’t want to be known as “the kid from About A Boy” now that he’s 23, though it’s still the best way to identify him) as a zombie named R.  After saving human Julie (Teresa Palmer) from an attack, he develops feelings for her and begins behaving highly un-zombielike, much to the confusion of her undead-fighting father (John Malkovich).  I don’t understand the appeal of The Walking Dead or the reanimated corpse genre as a whole, but with a cast that also includes Analeigh Tipton (Crazy Stupid Love; Damsels in Distress) and Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine; Cedar Rapids) and a tongue-in-cheek approach slightly reminiscent of Zombieland, the film is easily the week’s most appealing new release.

Stand Up Guys(Lionsgate)

Stand Up Guys

On paper, Stand Up Guys sounds like a winner.  Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin as reuniting former con men is more than enough to get my attention, as is the conundrum of Walken tasked with killing his best friend, a newly-paroled Pacino, lest he be shot.  Directed by character actor Fisher Stevens (perhaps best known as Kyle Chandler’s buddy in Early Edition…no, not the cat), the actual product is far less fun than its collective talent suggests.  Perhaps if the actors had used zombies as their inspiration, the film would have more of a pulse.  Look for my review on Friday.

Fleeing the Scene

The unfairly ignored The Last Stand bids adieu, as do two very different takes on the crime genre, Gangster Squad and Broken City.  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around…


Arguably the most fun I had at the movies last year, Martin McDonagh’s masterfully written and acted Seven Psychopaths leads the way.  A much smaller though nearly as pleasant film, Hello I Must Be Going, is also worth checking out for its humor and Melanie Lynskey’s fine performance.  For those seeking a taste of October in the middle of winter, there’s also the better-than-advertised Paranormal Activity 4 and the kid-friendly animated Hotel Transylvania.

On Netflix Instant

Though not exactly a film, the Netflix original series House of Cards has considerable big screen players.  Produced by David Fincher, written by Ides of March scribe Beau Willimon and starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Kate Mara, the political thriller has garnered attention since it was first announced nearly two years ago.  Netflix is releasing all 13 episodes at once, wisely embracing that many viewers watch the entirety of a television series over the course of a weekend, and giving subscribers the opportunity to do just that.  I am reviewing the series for Boston’s Under The Gun Review and will be reeling off episodes as quickly as possible.

Also available beginning this friday are a good number of quality returning titles, namely Trading Places, Top Gun, Terms of Endearment, Stardust Memories, Shaolin Soccer, The Sea Inside, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Ordinary People, all three Naked Gun films, Nacho Libre, Liar Liar, Happy Gilmore, The Gift, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  I’ll add in links once the films become available.

And lastly, there’s Texas Rangers, starring James Van Der Beek, Ashton Kutcher, Dylan McDermott, and Usher.  Billed as a major fresh-faced Western during the heyday of Dawson’s Creek only to be shelved into obscurity, it’s a film that keeps me curious, though I’ve still yet to check it out.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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