Sunday, February 24, 2013

85th Academy Awards Post Show Review


So how did I do with my predictions?   20 out of 24.  Bam!

In general it was a lackluster Academy Awards.  Here are my thoughts:

Seth McFarlane was OK but not exceptional.  The first few minutes of stand up were a little rocky, but once he got going with the musical numbers and the bit with William Shatner, he hit his stride.  Though, as he alluded during his monologue, he was no Tina (Fey) and Amy (Poehler).  Not even close.

Pretty much all of the presenters and acceptance speeches were lame.  (Though the genius that is Daniel Day-Lewis brought some unexpected and welcome comedy and Affleck ended the night with some much needed emotion.)  It always surpises me that the greatest entertainers in the world can't be entertaining without an A-list script.  And when, oh when, will they finally do away with the technical awards speeches?  No. One. Cares.

The James Bond tribute was terrible.  How could they not bring the actors who played James Bond on stage?

There's something wrong with the music categories when the soundtrack for 'Les Mis' isn't eligible because the music isn't original (except for 'Suddenly').  It's the best film music of the year, along with 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' which didn't even score a nomination.  Besides blowing the Director nominations, this is the most egregious nomination error this year.

It's already a long show.  Did we really need Barbara Streisand's unnecessary tribute to Marvin Hamlisch at the end of the In Memorium?  (I know, I know, her voice is like buddah.)

Below is a summary of the winners.  (Those I got right are in green, and those I got wrong are in red.)

Best Picture: Argo

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz  (This was a huge surprise.  And I'm sorry Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't the surpise.  But Waltz was great, and I'm just glad it didn't go to Robert DeNiro or Tommy Lee Jones.)

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway

Best Animated Feature: Brave

Best Director: Ang Lee  (Quite surprising and extremely undeserved.  This is like salt in the wound for Affleck.)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Argo

Best Original Screenplay: Django Unchained

Best Foreign Language Film: Amour

Best Doc Feature: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Original Score: Life of Pi  (This surprises me.  It's simply not worthy.  It should have been 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' which didn't even get nominated.)

Best Original Song: Skyfall

Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Best Cinematography: Life of Pi

Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Best Production Design: Lincoln  (Not too surpising here.  This was a tough category.)

Best Film Editing: Argo

Best Sound Editing: Skyfall  tied with Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Mixing: Les Miserables

Best Makeup: Les Miserables

Best Animated Short: Paperman

Best Live Action Short: Curfew

Best Doc Short: Inocente 

56 Up / The Up Series


The Up Series is arguably the most ambitious film project ever made.  49 years ago filmmaker Michael Apted embarked on a project to select 14 British seven year olds from different socioeconomic backgrounds and follow their progress in life every seven years.  Now 56 years old, these same subjects are being interviewed for the eighth time and are revealing the intimate details of the highs and lows of their lives including marriages, divorces, kids, career changes, money issues, health problems, difficulties coping with society, and the deaths of loved ones.  In essence, this is real life for regular people, from start to finish, like no other reality program you've ever seen.  Who amongst them will accomplish their goals and live happily ever after, and who will suffer the setbacks and tragedies of life?  Some of them appreciate and try to capitalize on the recognition the project has given them, some bail out and refuse to continue on, and others hesitantly continue despite ruing the day they got involved.  It's fascinating voyeurism at its best.

For those of you uninitiated with the series, you can still watch this film, but you won't appreciate it nearly as much as someone who has followed their progress since age seven.  This is a big time commitment, with the eight installments' cumulative running time at approximately 15 hours, a lot of which are repeated clips you'll see over and over again.  And it takes several hours to really get into it.  But if you're game for a significant time investment, this one really pays off.  There's truly nothing else like it.  By now, I feel like I actually know these people and I'm honestly crushed that I won't find out what's going on with their lives for another seven years.

Grade: A

Friday, February 22, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 29 Philadelphia 2/22/13


Check out my appearance from this morning on Good Day FOX 29 Philadelphia where I offer my predictions for the Academy Awards this Sunday at 8:30.

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

In Theaters Now



(new releases are in green):

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

56 Up    Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Stand Up Guys     Grade: B+

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Snitch    Grade: B+

Parker    Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures     Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

Mama     Grade: C

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

Safe Haven     Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard    Grade: C-

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III   (VOD)     Grade: F

Snitch

 
Dwayne Johnson stars as a father who will do anything to help his son get out of serving a mandatory 10 year sentence, a punishment unfit for his crime.  To do that he needs to help the DEA, including Susan Sarandon and Barry Pepper, get a bigger fish.  Trouble ensues.
 
Johnson never ceases to impress me.  He does action, comedy, and drama and does them all well, occasionally blending all three.  There's no comedy here, but he really shines in the action and drama department.  He can take a movie that has B written all over it and raise it above and beyond my expectations.  This is not a pretentious film.  It's a popcorn movie based on a true story that keeps you entertained and on the edge of your seat until the very end.  Rock on.
 
Grade: B+

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

85th Academy Awards Predictions


Well, we've made it through the Critics Choice, Golden Globes, People's Choice, SAG, BAFTA's, and lord knows how many regional critics' awards, so it's now time to concentrate on the most well known, most watched, and most prestigious.  And, as such, below are my obligatory Oscar predictions (that you'll also find on every other movie related blog, website, and publication). 

Also, if you live in the Orlando area, tune in to FOX 35 this Friday at around 8:45 AM, or if you live in the Philadelphia area, tune in to FOX 29 on Friday at 9:15 AM.  I'll be discussing my predictions live on Good Day in two cities back to back!  Call the kids and wake the neighbors!


Best PictureArgo  (But don't count out Lincoln.  And Silver Linings Playbook has a shot as well.  Sorry, but the other six nominees have virtually no chance.)

Best ActorDaniel Day-Lewis  (To pick anyone else would just be foolish.  Too bad for Joaquin Phoenix who really nailed his performance in The Master.)

Best Actress:  Jennifer Lawrence (This is a tough one.  It could also be Jessica Chastain.  Though I've got my fingers crossed for an upset with Naomi Watts taking home the statue.)

Best Supporting Actor:  Tommy Lee Jones  (This one's a really tough call.  It could be Jones, Robert DeNiro, or Christoph Waltz.  But in my opinion to give it to anyone other than Philip Seymour Hoffman will be a travesty.  Fingers crossed, PSH!)

Best Supporting Actress:  Anne Hathaway  (Hathaway is a pretty safe bet, though Sally Field has been campaigning pretty, pretty hard.)

Best Animated Feature:  Brave  (Put your money on Brave, but it could be Wreck-It Ralph.)

Best Director:  Steven Spielberg   (People love Spielberg, but it could also go to David O'Russell as well.  I'm pretty sure it won't be Ben Affleck.  Sorry Ben.  Too soon?)

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Argo  (Though it could easily be Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Original Screenplay:  Django Unchained (This will be compensation for Tarantino not getting a nod for Director)

Best Foreign Language Film:  Amour  (No question.)

Best Doc Feature:  Searching for Sugar Man  (It's easily the most well received of the lot.)

Best Original Score:  Lincoln  (Though Life of Pi is a contender)

Best Original Song:  Skyfall   (Cool song.  But this is Les Mis' chance for some love in the category it most belongs.)

Best Visual Effects:  Life of Pi

Best Cinematography:  Life of Pi

Best Costume Design:  Anna Karenina

Best Production Design:  Anna Karenina

Best Film Editing:  Argo

Best Sound Editing:  Skyfall

Best Sound Mixing:  Les Miserables

Best Makeup:   Les Miserables

Best Animated Short: Paperman   (Though Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare is better.)

Best Live Action Short: Curfew   (The little girl's dance sequence is too charming not to win.)

Best Doc Short:  Inocente  (Honestly, I really have no idea.  I haven't seen these.  But this seems to be the consensus on the internet.)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 2/15/13


Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'A Good Day to Die Hard', 'Safe Haven', and 'Beautiful Creatures'. FOX 35 News Orlando

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In Theaters Now




(new releases are in green):

The Master     Grade: A+

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Broken City     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

West of Memphis     Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Stand Up Guys     Grade: B+

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Gangster Squad     Grade: B+

Parker    Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures    Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

Mama     Grade: C

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

Safe Haven    Grade: C-

John Dies at the End    Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard    Grade: C-

The Hobbit     Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III   (VOD)     Grade: F

A Good Day to Die Hard


Once again Bruce Willis is back as John McClane, the role that made him an action movie star.  For those of you not in the loop, this marks his fifth time in the role which he began 25 years ago.  (Who else feels old hearing that?)  You'll notice that, like many series with more than three installments, they dropped the sequel number completely.  Rather than call it 'Die Hard 5', they opted for the less descriptive and more meaningless, 'A Good Day to Die Hard'.  (Though, Rumour has it that its original working title was 'How Could the Same Thing Happen to the Same Guy Five Times?'  Of course, us old f@#%$ are just referring to it as 'Oy, Why Won't He Just Die Hard Already?!?'  But I digress.)  In preparation for this screening, I did my homework and had a 'Die Hard'-a thon last weekend, revisiting the first four.

The first 'Die Hard' is an undeniable classic, and in my opinion possibly the best action film ever made.  It's beloved by action fans and non-action fans alike because it's so much more than just action.  Every line, every facial expression, every scene, and every character is perfect.  And it's every bit as exciting today as it was 25 years ago.  The cast is perfect.  Before this film, no one expected Willis would become an action star.  He was known for his wit in the brilliant detective TV series 'Moonlighting' as well as the comedy 'Blind Date'.  But he proved us all wrong.  And Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber remains my favorite bad guy in the history of film, marking the beginning of the megalomaniacal Eurotrash villain, with his regal accent, expensive suit, and unshakeably cool demeanor.  The chemistry between Rickman and Willis was perfect and set the standard for all action films to come.  After 'Die Hard', every action movie could be referred to as 'Die Hard on a ...'  (e.g.  'Passenger 57' was 'Die Hard' on a plane, 'Under Siege' was 'Die Hard' on a battleship, and 'Under Siege 2' was 'Die Hard' on a train.)   In short, its influence on action films was immeasurable.

In my head, the three sequels that followed got increasingly worse, with the possible exception of the third being slightly better than the second.  But I enjoyed them all last weekend more than I remembered.  Perhaps it was the nostalgia factor, at least for the second and third, seeing Willis once again back in those glorious post-'Moonlighting' days, when he still had a thick head of hair, a smirk on his face, and a spring in his step.  Or maybe I was just in the right mood, but I enjoyed all of them, though some parts are better than others, and none of them hold a candle to the first.

And now I just saw the fifth installment and for the first time, McClane goes international, to Russia, to find his estranged and embittered son.  Quite frankly the plot seems forced, centered around a son who was never shown before and barely even mentioned, and the entire film is extremely disappointing.  It's action packed but lacks any of the charm that made the series so special.  Willis has been reduced to a near-supporting role, almost playing second banana to his uncharismatic offspring, played by Jai Courtney.  There's almost nothing here that makes this seem like part of the franchise, except for the occasional Willis one-liners like the obligatory 'Yippee Kay-Yay Mother @#$%$&', and even that felt forced.  We all get more serious as we get older, but all the fun of the early installments is gone and unfortunately they didn't take nearly enough advantage of the maturity and gravitas that comes with age to replace it.  I truly hope this is not the end of the series.  Take a lesson from 'Rocky Balboa' and make one final chapter to let John McClane go out in the manner in which he deserves.  With dignity.

Die Hard   Grade: A+
Die Hard 2: Die Harder   Grade: B+
Die Hard 3: Die Hard with a Vengeance   Grade: B+
Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard    Grade: B+
Die Hard 5: A Good Day to Die Hard    Grade: C-

Safe Haven


Nicholas Sparks' latest chick-lit romance thriller adapted to the big screen stars Julianne Hough ('Dancing with the Stars') as a woman on the run and laying low in small town North Carolina.  There she meets Josh Duhamel (TV's 'Las Vegas') and Cobie Smulders ('How I Met Your Mother') and begins to make a new life for herself, at least until a determined policeman (played by 'Revolution's David Lyons) tracks her down.

First, and most important, if anyone reading this knows of a small town with this many ridiculously beautiful people, please tell me.  I will move there immediately.  (That is, if they even let me cross the beautiful border.)  Of course, this isn't anything new to fans of Sparks.  He has a formula that works for him and he never seems to stray too far.  For me, this was pretty much a Vietnam-style flashback to last year's 'The Lucky One'.  It's adequate shmoopie entertainment for the love-obsessed ladies, but with its all-TV ensemble cast, it really doesn't belong on the big screen.  They should really make these for Lifetime and save us film critics (and all you accompanying husbands and boyfriends) from having to spend an evening at the theater.  Help a brother out, Nick.

Grade: C-

Beautiful Creatures


It seems like an eternity that our society has been obsessed by zombies and vampires.  I can't be the only one who's tired of it.  So it's refreshing to see a return of that once popular but long forgotten mystical being: the sexy witch.  I didn't even remember how much I missed films like 'The Craft' or 'Spellbinder' or 'The Witches of Eastwick' until I saw 'Beautiful Creatures'.  Though it's unfortunately not a completely successful return to the genre.

This film is kind of hard to get into.  There are lots of characters and it's not real clear who is who and what is what.  It's not told in typical Hollywood fashion where everything is spelled out for the lowest common denominator and you know exactly where it's going in the first five minutes.  To me that's a great thing.  But this one takes some time to get used to and can be a bit boring at times.  Though it does have a lot going for it.  The cast is an intriguing mixture of fresh faces (Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich), rising stars (Emmy Rossum), and seasoned actors (Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Viola Davis).  And the art design is beautiful, right out of the Tim Burton playbook, almost as if the sets were borrowed from 'Dark Shadows'.

Truthfully, for the vast majority of the film I wasn't exactly sure if I was enjoying myself or not.  But ultimately I feel decent about the experience.  This is not a clear cut 'see it' or 'take a pass' recommendation.  Think of it as something like 'Dark Shadows' meets 'Watchmen' meets 'To Kill a Mockingbird', but it's really pretty much its own thing.  Yet it's more likely to be compared to films like 'Twilight' and 'Warm Bodies', though it's significantly better than both of those.  Regardless, I can only hope we're reaching the end of the era of the zombie and vampire and moving on to a different and underused beautiful creature.  Long live the sexy witch.

Grade: B

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 2/8/13


Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Identity Thief', 'Side Effects', and 'Deadfall'.

FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now


(new releases are in green):

The Master     Grade: A+

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Broken City     Grade: A

Side Effects    Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

West of Memphis    Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Stand Up Guys     Grade: B+

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Gangster Squad     Grade: B+

Parker    Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Beasts of the Southern Wild      Grade: C+

The Last Stand     Grade: C+

Mama     Grade: C+

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

John Dies at the End    Grade: C-

The Hobbit     Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III   (VOD)     Grade: F

Side Effects

 
 
It's always a pleasure to see a movie that seems fresh in some way.  When you see as many as I do, every movie seems like a copy, blend, or 'homage' of other films.  But as times change so does our culture.  And the current climate we live in is one where depression is omnipresent.  We see the ads for anti-depressants everywhere we look.  It's no longer uncommon or embarrassing to be on one.  So it's about time we had a film that takes a good hard look at this affliction and the medications that are so prevalent to battle it. 
 
Steven Soderbergh scores again (much better than he did with 'Magic Mike' or 'Haywire') with a drama about a young woman, played by Rooney Mara, dealing with depression, and exacerbated by the release of her insider-trading convicted husband, played by Channing Tatum.  And Jude Law and Catherine Zeta Jones play psychiatrists trying to help her.  The acting is top notch across the board, even including Tatum, one of my least favorites of late, and Mara, who didn't wow me like she did others in the American remake of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'.  This is a well made, well acted, dramatic, and surprising film.  Don't watch the trailers.  Just go see it.
 
Grade: A

Identity Thief


Jason Bateman plays a regular guy with a normal office job, a pretty wife, and two adorable girls.  Aside from not being able to save enough money for their future, his life is pretty good.  That is, until Melissa McCarthy steals his identity and turns his life upside down.  So he's off to track her down and bring her back to Denver to make things right in this outrageous R rated comedy.

It's ironic that this film is entitled 'Identity Thief' since it's pretty much stolen its identity from 'Due Date', 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles', 'Midnight Run', and pretty much every quarrelsome-twosome road trip comedy ever made.  And McCarthy has obviously stolen the identity of Mimi from The Drew Carey Show mixed with John Candy's Dell Griffith from 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles'.  Going on premise alone, this movie is a disaster.  Nothing about it makes sense or seems believable in the slightest.  But the primary function of a comedy is to make people laugh, and on that merit alone I must admit it adequately succeeds.  Bateman's trademark dry wit and intentionally expressionless face juxtaposes well against McCarthy's manic slapstick over-the-top comedy.  On likeability alone, primarily due to the casting, this one is probably worth your time.  Just promise not to remind me about the ridiculous eye-roll of an ending and I promise I won't steal your credit card number when you're not looking.  (Tee hee ... my fingers are crossed behind my back.)

Grade: B-

West of Memphis

 
 
Ordinarily I prefer my narrative films dark and my documentaries light.  I just don't look forward to heavy docs, perhaps because they're real and it's hard to watch dark material when it's real.  That's why I generally don't watch the news (except for Good Day on Fox 35, of course.)  So I wasn't particularly looking forward to this doc about the West Memphis Three, three kids imprisoned for 16 years for killing another child, but now thought by many to be innocent due to new evidence.  But it's a really powerful story that unfolds like a great mystery.  Did they do it?  Or was it someone else who got away scot-free?  It's intriguing, captivating, and disturbing.  And it's only flaw is its exorbitant 146 minute run time.  For a doc, that's pretty intimidating.  But it really doesn't feel long once it gets rolling.  Plus, look for appearances by filmmaker Peter Jackson, musician Eddie Vedder, and actor Johnny Depp, all supporters of freeing the West Memphis Three.
 
Grade: A-


John Dies at the End


Holy crap, this is one weird ass movie!  Of course, I expected that to some degree, since it played both the Park City at Midnight category at Sundance and the Midnight Madness category at Toronto.  And this is truly a film for the Midnight crowd.  But, holy crap, it is one weird ass movie!  I struggle to even give you a synopsis.  I know there are creatures and alternate realities and life after death and Paul Giamatti.  And I'm pretty sure it would be better to see it high (for those of you who partake in that sort of thing.)  But since I was stone cold sober, I don't know what the f--- it's about.  Of course, I do love quirky movies that are outside the box, but this one's WAY too far outside the box.  I'm not convinced there's deeper meaning that went over my head.  I think it's just one random scene after another that give you the idea that there's deeper meaning, when in fact there isn't.  And it's a bit too long and could have used a few less of those random scenes.  But, despite all that I didn't hate it.  I don't think.  I'm not sure.

Grade: C-

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III


How is it that a movie starring Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette, and Aubrey Plaza can premiere quietly on Video on Demand with almost no public awareness?  Easy.  It's absolutely terrible.

Sheen plays a man named Charlie whose life is a complete wreck.  Sound like anyone you know?  I can't help but wonder how much research he had to do.

This one's a total piece of Sheen and easily the worst film of 2013 so far.  So how did it even get made?  Well it doesn't hurt that writer/director Roman Coppola is the son of famed, powerful filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, as well as cousin to Jason Schwartzman and long time collaborator with director Wes Anderson.  In short, he's a member of the Lucky Sperm Club and this is nepotism at its finest.  Despite its cast, Coppola's film is a complete disaster and should be studied in film schools as a model for both terrible writing and filmmaking.  The original tapes should have been destroyed before audiences ever had a chance to see it to save these accomplished actors the embarrassment.  Sheen should be more ashamed of this than his infamous meltdown a few years ago.  Don't waste $9.99 and 85 minutes on it like I just did.

Grade: F

Friday, February 1, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 2/1/13


Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Warm Bodies', 'Stand Up Guys', and 'Seven Psychopaths'.

FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now




(new releases are in green):

The Master     Grade: A+

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

Skyfall     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Broken City     Grade: A

The Sessions     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Rust and Bone     Grade: A-

This is 40     Grade: A-

Stand Up Guys    Grade: B+

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

Gangster Squad      Grade: B+

Parker     Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

The Last Stand     Grade: C+

Mama     Grade: C+

Parental Guidance     Grade: C

The Guilt Trip     Grade: C-

The Hobbit     Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III   (VOD)    Grade: F

Warm Bodies


Who, except for maybe the undead themselves, isn't zombie'd out at this point?  I sure am.  We've seen zombie horrors, zombie comedies, slow zombies, fast zombies, and even a zombie TV show.  What's left?  Well, how about a zombie romance?  Hmmm, OK, that sounds kinda fresh.  But can it work?  No, of course not. 

In fact, this Zom-Com isn't romantic or funny.  And not one of the charisma-free twenty-something ensemble cast, including Nicholas Hoult, Theresa Palmer, Dave Franco, and Analeigh Tipton provides even a single memorable moment or reason to see this disaster.  And with Kristen Stewart-doppelganger Palmer cast in the lead, you can be sure this is intended to be the zombie film for the 'Twilight' crowd.  And they can have it.  I'll wait for 'When Harry Met Zombie' where Billy Crystal tries to prove that men and zombies can never be friends.

Grade: D

Stand Up Guys


Al Pacino plays a man getting out of jail after 28 years and reuniting with old pals Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin.  But these old friends won't be able to stay 'stand up guys' for long.

Prior to seeing the film, I had mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, the cast is amazing.  Yet sometimes these 'get the gang back together' reunion films can be campy and really just embarrassing, particularly if the film is too Hollywood.  But thankfully this one transcends that.  The chemistry and camaraderie work really well and that's key.  And Fisher Stevens has proven himself a capable director.  And it isn't too Hollywood at all. In fact it's kind of edgy and kind of indie, like a nice blend between a festival film and a mainstream release.  This is no Pacino classic, but it's good fun with three classic movie stars and well worth your time.

Grade: B+