Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Review

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed the first Zombieland. It even just made it into my list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies. Is the sequel as good as the first film? Of course not. Are they ever? You’re talking ten years since the last one, though. We’ve had zombie overload since then. We’ve had almost ten years of The Walking Dead, which gets more and more and MORE shit every year (why do I keep watching it?!). Double Tap has nothing that feels the tiniest bit original, while I think the first film managed a bit of originality despite not being the first zom-com. I’m a little disappointed but admit that I like these characters and enjoyed seeing them again. Well, maybe not Jesse Eisenberg (Twat).

I have sequel review burnout. I’m running out of things to say about cashgrab sequels & reboots & remakes. I’m also bored with October Horror Month. I want to review the non-horror stuff I’ve seen lately. Joker. Judy. Hustlers. The Farewell. Terminator: Dark Fate, which I saw last night and am hating more and more as I think about it. Leave classics the fuck alone! I think Dark Fate is what’s made me lose the desire to write about pointless sequels. Double Tap didn’t piss me off like Dark Fate, though. It wasn’t a sequel that we needed but there’s no harm in it.

Meh. Woody Harrelson is by far the best thing about these two movies and I really enjoyed his character once again. I could kind of take or leave the rest of them, though, and I don’t think the new additions were anything special. Zoey Deutch was fun but kind of wasted as I think she deserved a better character. And… Hmm. Zombies. There are zombies. The movie is actually less gory than The Walking Dead but the zombie kills are more fun. Maybe The Walking Dead should add some humor to stop the show being so damn boring.

My Rating: 7/10

My rating is too high. I think I’m just being nice because I like Woody.

Oh, and they opened this movie with Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. So we’ll say my rating got an extra half a point for Woody and half a point for using one of Metallica’s best songs…

The Frame, The Fits & Before I Fall Movie Reviews

Here are three quickie reviews for three more movies before I post my 2017 end-of-year lists. Two are 2017 (UK release) films & I try to review all current movies by the end of the year. The other one is just one that I really really liked. Here we go…

The Fits (2015)

Directed by Anna Rose Holmer

Starring: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers, Antonio A. B. Grant Jr.

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Toni (Royalty Hightower), an 11-year-old tomboy who struggles to fit into a girls’ dance troupe, which begins to suffer from an inexplicable epidemic of violent fits.

My Opinion:

This film is a hard one to explain. It’s indie as f*^k and I’d never ever recommend it to anyone other than hardcore film fans (like you guys!). Yeah, it’s one of those festival films so it’s 2015 but was only released in the UK this year. It’s good. It’s “arty”. Royalty Hightower, who plays the “11-year-old tomboy”, is the best thing about it. From what I read, a real life dance team was found for this film and Hightower was one of them. She feels very real, probably due to the fact that she wasn’t an actor. I think, with young people in films, it’s sometimes better when they aren’t from an acting background as actors can come across as too fake.

I watched this because I was intrigued by the synopsis (and also because I was short on time & it’s only 1 hour & 12 minutes!). I read this at Wikipedia, which explains where director & writer Anna Rose Holmer got the idea for the film:

“While developing the script, Holmer was inspired by real-life stories of communities succumbing to fits of hysteria. She first became interested in historic cases of mass psychogenic illness and conversion disorder while producing Ballet 422 (2014). Examples of outbreaks of seizure-like attacks and uncontrollable spasms date back to the Middle Ages, but there are still cases of this occurring today. In 2007, a group of high school girls in Virginia suffered from “twitching arms and legs” that eventually resolved itself. Holmer’s research into this subject, specifically cases like the Dancing Plague, and the pattern of these fits emerging amongst young women inspired her to explore the nature of this subject in a coming of age dance-film.”

Bizarre. I’ve never heard of this sort of thing. Anyway, if you watch this, don’t expect a straightforward exploration of this topic. Or any exploration whatsoever. The film is quite atmospheric, which is something I enjoy but won’t be to everyone’s taste. This probably isn’t a great comparison but this film reminded me a little bit of the feeling I had while watching Picnic At Hanging RockPicnic is certainly the better film but I liked the mysterious tension throughout The Fits. It deserves a higher rating than I’m giving it but I have to say this is one of those movies that you’re unlikely to watch more than once and a lot of people would find it very slow & be frustrated by its lack of explanation. It’s very well made and I loved its originality, however, and I liked how “real” the characters felt. I’d be interested in seeing more films made by Anna Rose Holmer. 

My Rating: 6.5/10

Before I Fall (2017)

Directed by Ry Russo-Young

Based on Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Jennifer Beals, Diego Boneta, Elena Kampouris

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over and over, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.

My Opinion:

Teen movie based on a YA novel! Once again, I’ll admit to still enjoying teen movies & YA fiction. Us adults were teens once – we can still relate! I was actually going to read this book before the movie but gave up after having it on reserve at the library for ages. Yeah, the library! I’m a library nerd. I realized fairly recently that, like, you can read books from there for free. πŸ˜‰

Anyway. This is Groundhog Day with the twist being that this pretty teenage girl has to relive the last day of her life over & over again. She tries to make changes each time to see if she can stop the cycle, which always results in her death at the end of the day. Zoey Deutch plays the main girl. She’s so adorable. She looks soooo much like her mom Lea Thompson!

I really enjoyed this movie. It certainly won’t be winning any Oscars and the plot felt far from original but I love the “Groundhog Day story” that has been done so many times (I badly wanted to see Happy Death Day this year as well but didn’t manage it). It’s always fun to see the different ways this storyline can play out. I’m not sure why this didn’t come out in cinemas in the UK like it was originally meant to as it’s better than half the shit that gets a cinema release.

I can’t give this a higher rating as I have to admit that, while it’s fun & I liked it far more than I was expecting, it still felt quite shallow. The whole point is that Deutch’s popular character starts to see what life is like for those in her high school who don’t have it as easy as she does. Her boyfriend and her circle of friends are the popular assholes that most of us despised in school. Deutch is the “nice one” of the group anyway so it feels unfair that she’s the one with this fate. The story also feels a bit too forced and the characters are extremely one-dimensional. Other than Deutch, everyone is a “popular asshole!” or “unhappy & uncool nerd!”. Teenagers are more complex than that. Still, I liked this movie. Deutch has her mother’s charm. Also, this movie has a Grimes song in it (Genesis)! I love Grimes (I wrote about her HERE). I’ve included the video for Genesis at the end of this post.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Frame (2014)

Directed & Written & Music by Jamin Winans

Starring: David Carranza, Tiffany Mualem, Cal Bartlett, Christopher Soren Kelly, Anthony Nuccio

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Two strangers find their lives colliding in an impossible way. Alex is a methodical cargo thief working for a dangerous cartel. Sam is a determined paramedic trying to save the world while running from her past.

My Opinion:

I loved this movie. One of my favorite blogs here is mossfilm because he’s introduced me to a lot of great obscure sci-fi movies that I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. The Frame is one of these films. I’m not going to say a lot about it as his review is PERFECT (you can read it HERE). This is my favorite genre and I love when we get a film like The Frame, which feels truly fresh & original. It’s a bit arty smarty-pants but I loved the story and the fantastic visuals.

I don’t know how to discuss this one without giving too much away. The mossfilm review does say a bit about the plot if you’re interested. I think, if you love this genre and like to see a story which will surprise you & keep you guessing, you may be best going into this one knowing as little as possible. I’ll say that it tackles some interesting themes (like faith & fate) and I think it’s one from which different viewers will come away with different questions and feelings about it. For me, I saw it as a very unique love story and I thought the two main characters were fantastic (Alex the cargo thief played by David Carranza and Sam the paramedic played by Tiffany Mualem). Others will see it as something far deeper than the simple love story at its core (and it is) but, more than anything, the story itself is damn good. I watch a lot of movies so I get bored seeing the same predictable stories over & over again. I want more stuff like The Frame. I’ll never forget watching it, whereas I forget half the mainstream movies that I watch a year or so after seeing them.

I so want to talk more about this movie but I’m trying to avoid spoilers! Can someone else please watch it so we can discuss it?? πŸ˜‰ The Frame is currently available on Amazon Prime Video in the UK & I highly recommend checking it out before it disappears since it’s an obscure one that could later be hard to find. Here’s a spoiler-free way of describing it: The Frame is like a really good long episode of Black Mirror. But more arty. And what I’ve seen of Black Mirror so far is great. Watch The Frame.

My Rating: 8/10

There are a couple of trailers for The Frame. One gives away too much of the story so I don’t recommend that one. The one below shows only images from the film. Still, I recommend knowing nothing beforehand but this is the safer trailer if you’re interested:

And this is the video for the Grimes song Genesis in Before I Fall. It’s weird. I love it.

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) ReviewΒ 

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Directed & Written by Richard Linklater

Starring: Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.

My Opinion:

I love Richard Linklater and Dazed And Confused is a favorite movie of mine. So, when I heard about this “spiritual sequel” to Dazed And Confused, I was SO excited! Screw all the superhero movies – this one was one of my most-anticipated films for the year. Does it live up to the hype (in my mind)?? Unfortunately, it’s no Dazed And Confused. It’s okay, though. It was an enjoyable afternoon watch (damn – I wanted that to sound more enthusiastic than it does…).

First off, I’ll say that this is a “Guy Movie” much more than Dazed And Confused was. And, hey – I honestly don’t have a problem with that. Stand By Me is a huge favorite of mine & the lack of female characters in that has never bothered me in the slightest – it’s a movie about young male friendships. Not every movie has to pass the Bechdel test to be good! But I suppose the boys in Stand By Me weren’t all “Pussy! PUSSY!!!! Want pussy. We want pussy. Tits. Pussy. Pussy!!!!!” for the entire duration of the movie. Okay – they didn’t say it exactly that way & not for the entire duration of this movie. But it’s not far off… But, hey, I was actually alive already in 1980 (when this is set), unlike a lot of younger bloggers. I think younger viewers may think these characters are exaggerated. Um, no. This is exactly what they were like. I think of the assholes I went to school with and it still amazes me that they found women who actually married them. Ugh. Anyway, don’t worry – not all the male characters are assholes. Linklater has given us a wide range of personalities just like in Dazed And Confused, so you’ll have your favorites & least favorites. The focus of this movie are these male baseball players so it’s fine that the female characters take a backseat. I just preferred Dazed And Confused feeling a bit more balanced in giving us more female characters (most of which were more than just “pussy” – we only get one girl like that in this one).


Look! It’s “the girl”!

Okay – that was my one main complaint that I had to get out of the way. I think it was also sort of a warning to younger bloggers. I honestly don’t think you’ll like this movie if you’re from a younger generation. Sorry – this movie wasn’t made for you anyway (which is fine – most are so it’s nice to have some films made for us old folks). πŸ˜‰ You won’t have the same sense of nostalgia (thank you for once again giving us a great soundtrack, Mr. Linklater!) and you won’t be able to relate to these characters (or at least understand them since you knew so many guys like them).

My second complaint is that this didn’t feel as “natural” as Dazed And Confused. It felt a little too forced at times. I did appreciate how, through going to several different parties, Linklater shows us several different types of people in 1980 America. The jocks, the stoners, the punks, the disco fans, the drama majors, even the stereotypical country bumpkins. Which was fun! But, like I said, also a bit forced. I suppose it doesn’t help that Dazed And Confused exists so everyone is going to compare the two. Would I like this one more if that one didn’t exist? Yes, I think I most definitely would. The problem is that we’ve seen this movie before but done better.

Okay – I want to round this up by sounding more positive. Because I did like this. If Linklater makes another “spiritual sequel”, I’ll most definitely be watching it! This is an era I love and I’ll always have an affection for movies set in this time period (or, even better, actually made in this time period). To hear the music and see the clothing and the hairstyles and the record players and the cool album covers (actual albums! that you can hold in your hands!!) makes me smile. Oh how I miss that time! I’d go back there if I could (yes – even though the guys could be horribly sexist). At one point the hubby said “do you think younger people watching this will think it’s odd that all these characters are actually talking to each other?”. Yes, I sit here now typing this on my phone. I love my phone. I love technology. But I’d give this shit up in a heartbeat to go back to a simpler time and have proper conversations with people.

My favorite scene was probably when a few of the guys were sitting around (smoking weed, of course) and just chatting about music & The Twilight Zone. One dude was very proud of his big collection of Twilight Zone episodes that he’d videotaped (and labelled with all the episode titles!). I recognized the titles and, when they talked about one specific episode, I turned to hubby & said “Eye Of The Beholder“. In my defense, they chose one of the most well known episodes. But, yeah – I had a very similar Twilight Zone video collection & that character clearly would’ve been my boyfriend out of all the guys in this. And, luckily, he wasn’t totally sexist! Too bad he was a stoner… πŸ˜‰

As a final note, the hubby & I kept noticing that these relatively unknown actors all seriously looked like existing actors. The hubby thinks that Linklater probably had existing people in mind then hired lookalikes. What do you all think? The main guy is SO Matt Dillon (also a bit like Jason London in Dazed And Confused). And the girl so eerily looks like Lea Thompson. There are a couple that have a total Matthew McConaughey vibe while the hubby swears that one guy is way too Jeremy Piven-like. Oh, and one guy really reminded me of Billy Crudup in Almost Famous (I didn’t realize until afterwards that he was the hot guy in the Teen Wolf TV show. Anyone watch that?? I gave up after season one). 

Anyway – time for me to shut up since I’m just rambling now. I enjoyed this but didn’t love it. Maybe it’ll grow on me. It did give me warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feelings, though, which is what I was hoping for. 

My Rating: 7.5/10


Look! It’s “the girl” again! πŸ˜‰

I have to end this with a song as Richard Linklater so carefully chooses the music for his films and he once again has a great soundtrack. I know I should post Van Halen’s title tune but it’s not my favorite. I’m also mostly into rock but, if I’m honest, the below song is probably my favorite from the film. Here’s Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) by Parliament:

**Oh! I meant to add that there’s hardly any baseball in this movie about baseball players. Thank f*^k! But it’s inspired me to maybe do My Top Ten Baseball Scenes In Movies (from a hater of sports). πŸ™‚