What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
CHICAGO – Fans of zombie comedy will soon get the chance to see two beloved blood-and-yuks classics at the largest outdoor theater in Illinois. On Thursday, May 17th, WBEZ’s fourth annual “Off-Air Series” will present a “Drive-In Zombie Apocalypse Double Feature” pairing “Zombieland” with “Shaun of the Dead” at the Cascade Drive-In, 1100 E. North Ave., in West Chicago.
CHICAGO – “30 Minutes or Less” isn’t a complete disaster but it definitely falls into the sophomore slump category given the general awesomeness of Ruben Fleischer’s incredible comedy/horror/action hybrid “Zombieland.” This follow-up would barely be noticed if it didn’t involve so many talented people taking a step down from previous work. Jesse Eisenberg rules in “The Social Network”; Aziz Ansari rules in “Parks and Recreation”; Danny McBride rules in “Eastbound & Down”. There’s really nothing about “30 Minutes or Less” that comes close to ruling.
CHICAGO – Forget “Zombieland,” “Stake Land” is a much scarier place to be. Jim Mickle’s smart, atmospheric vampire thriller has been given a stellar Blu-ray treatment from Dark Sky Films and is quite simply the horror HD release of the year so far. Horror fans are often (justifiably) complaining about the current state of the drama but “Stake Land” should silence them for at least a few days.
CHICAGO – Playing not unlike a much darker version of “Zombieland” (in that the post-apocalyptic creatures are similar and the veteran/rookie duo at the core not far off Woody & Jesse), “Stake Land” is a confident piece of genre filmmaking that not only deserves a wider audience but hints at truly great things to come for its talented director. It’s far from perfect but it’s incredibly promising, unlike the future of the characters it presents.
CHICAGO – The horror/comedy “Zombieland” is one of the few 2009 films to honestly deserve the overused phrase “thrill ride.” From the opening shots to the best post-credits tag in years, “Zombieland” attempts nothing but pure fun and completely delivers.
CHICAGO – Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg make an amazing comedy/horror duo in “Zombieland,” which is one of the most out-of-left-field surprises of 2009. It’s a great film that has been perfectly captured in the production notes in four words: “‘Midnight Run’ with zombies.”