Monday, October 5, 2009

Nog Visits Zombieland and Has Some Praise for Gervais!

Zombieland is thoroughly enjoyable. If I had to quibble, I suppose Jesse Eisenberg's voice-over is occasionally too quirky for its own good (along with the pop-up messages on-screen reminding us of his various "rules" for surviving in the new world of "zombieland."). And young Abigail Breslin (it's Little Miss Sunshine her own self!) isn't given much to do (though she looks to be having a great time in the midst of the gleeful violence and vulgarity). But why quibble at all with something this fun. Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson have a nice camaraderie together and the "secret" 10-minute appearance by a famous star is absolutely inspired and wonderfully morbid. It will need a place on your shelf right alongside Shaun of the Dead. Watch it often.


The Invention of Lying proves, moreso than Ghost Town, that the edgy comedy of Ricky Gervais can exist (more or less) comfortably within the confines of what is essentially a romantic comedy. In this tale of an alternate world whose citizens haven't yet developed the capacity for manufacturing fiction (until Gervais's Mark comes along), Gervais manages, throughout a lengthy middle section of the film, to tread into some surprisingly risky religious commentary (suggesting, like the famous routines of George Carlin, that the 'man in the sky' is a pretty remarkable "whopper" that people are willing to accept). In the film's funniest scene (which reaches a near Python-esque level of absurdity), Gervais, with a set of pizza box "tablets," hands down a new set of truths to a populace who has just discovered this "man in the sky" and demands answers, which of course only bewilder them further ("Did He save me from the crash?" "Yes." "Did He cause me to crash?" "Yes."). As some critics have pointed out, there's an impressive subversiveness in asking your audience to play along with a belief that runs counter to what most audience members would profess. And although the film eventually becomes more interested in its central romance than in its big ideas, which is disappointing, there's still more than enough to make this worthwhile, from the incessant barrage of cruel jokes Gervais seems to delight in leveling against himself and his persona to some wonderful sight gags regarding such ideas as how advertising functions in a world that can only tell the truth: "Pepsi: When There's No Coke." Recommended!


  1. I'm hoping to get around to Zombieland this weekend. The Invention of Lying may have to be a rental, though. Movies are expensive in Miami. I have to REALLY want to see something for it to be worth the price of admission.

  2. Ah, yet another reason for you to move back here and see movies with me!

    So how's Whip It? Is it derby-tastic?

    I better check and see if you blogged on it!

  3. I can vouch for ZOMBIELAND's awesomeness: ZOMBIELAND is awesome.

    And now I want to see THE INVENTION OF LYING. Damn. And I want to see THE INFORMANT. And WHIP IT. (But maybe THE KANSAS CITY BOMBER first?) And. . .CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY. And. Um. Other stuff. Oh: and the Palace is screening the original PLANET OF THE APES.

    Beth, how in the hell did you comment on this thing before me?

  4. I like it when both my readers are reading!!

  5. Whip It was pretty good. Not the best movie ever, but a fun movie about chicks in fish-nets who skate around and beat the crap out of eaach other. I give it a tentative recommendation.

  6. You (and the trailers) had me at skating chicks in fish-nets. But somehow I'm slow getting around to it, despite its obvious appeal!

    Or maybe I should just go to the KC roller derby? But I think Ellen Page is probably more my style!

  7. I agree with Beth. It was fun or whatever. Page is adorable. But. Not like -- amazing.