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Out This Week (In The US): Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Race, Gods of Egypt and more

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Pride + Prejudice + Zombies – A lot of people were apparently surprised by how much they enjoyed Pride + Prejudice + Zombies. Me, I thought the trailer for it looked great, and I love a good mash-up that knows exactly how seriously to take itself. With a great cast (Lily James, Sam Riley, Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Jack Huston), terrific visuals, and some great period zombie action (plus a little romance, of course), the film is better than you’d expect. I’d say this is one of those sleeper hits that you should be on the look-out for. Trust me, you’ll be surprised by how much you enjoy it… just like everyone else.

Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition – I really wanted to like Zoolander No. 2. The first one is kind of a cult comedy classic, one of the few Ben Stiller movies that’s actually funny, either in spite of or because of its sheer stupidity. Unfortunately, the screenwriter of the original film has passed away, and the resulting second movie (long overdue and not really requested by anyone) just falls flat. While it’s nice to see the original cast back, Zoolander was really more of an anomaly than a franchise-builder. I wish this had been a really funny film that I could heartily recommend, but sadly it’s not.

Gods Of Egypt – I’m a big fan of director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City, I Robot), and while I didn’t think this film looked terribly good, I still wanted to check it out for myself. It turns out there’s a certain amount of fun to be had here, as long as you don’t expect too much. The visuals are as sumptuous as the dialogue is wooden, and the fact that the entire movie was filmed on a blue screen (why not a green screen?) gives everything an artificial sheen, but overall I had fun with this one. This is the kind of movie that would have been a huge hit in the 90s, a sort of mix of The Mummy and Clash of the Titans. If you like those movies, check this one out and just settle in for some mindless fun and adventure.

Race – I really liked this biopic of Jesse Owens, the African-American olympic champion who won a bevy of gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games held in Nazi Germany and broke down some racial barriers while doing it. Stephan James is quite good as Owens, and Jason Sudeikis turns in an excellent performance as Owens’ running coach, a man who doesn’t care a whit about Jesse’s skin color as long as he wins races. The film itself is as by-the-numbers as they come, but even a predictable, standard sports movie is still enjoyable, and this one definitely is.

Also available on Blu-ray & DVD this week:

  • Triple 9 – How do you make a movie with Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, and Gal Gadot and have nobody even know it exists? I’m not sure, but its a feat the filmmakers of Triple 9 have pulled off. This film you almost surely haven’t heard of is a cross between a heist film and a cop action flick, and the result is nothing we haven’t seen before. What sets it apart, however, is the fact that every time you turn around, another actor you like is on screen. Worth a rental, even if it’s not a slam dunk.
  • City of Women – Marcello Mastroianni stars in this surreal Fellini film about a man who wakes up aboard a train, follows a woman to a feminist convention, and ends up hiding from a murderer. Or something like that. If I’m being honest, I’m not 100% sure what this film is about, and I’m positive there’s some underlying subtext that I just don’t get. Still, the film is a visual treat, and the dream-like nature of it sums up what I think of when I think of Fellini. I can’t say it was my favorite movie, but for a film-school viewing experience, this certainly qualifies.
  • The Last Panthers – John Hurt, Smantha Morton, and Tahir Rahim star in this gripping series about a diamond heist gone wrong and the group of law enforcement professionals who converge upon the suspects. Based on the real-life “Pink Panthers” robberies, this is one of those shows that weaves together unrelated-at-first characters who slowly come together to achieve a common goal. It’s exciting and dramatic stuff, and it’s definitely worth tracking down.
  • Teen Titans Go! Season 3 Part 1 – The popular kids’ superhero cartoon returns and this is the latest collection. This zany, anime-inspired cartoon follows a young superhero team made up of Robin, Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy, and Starfire (kind of a mini Justice League of sorts). After ending in 2009, the show returned a couple years ago, and it features the same voice cast as the original series, which fans are sure to love. This two-disc set includes 13 episodes, which is a nice improvement over the four-episode discs the original show would pump out. Still not my favorite cartoon, but kids are crazy over it.
  • The Life of Verdi – If you’ve ever wanted to watch 11 hours on the life and times of noted composer Giuseppe Verdi, now’s your chance! This multi-episode miniseries features actor Ronald Pickup as the titular composer and real-life ballerina Carla Fracci as his wife. Now, personally, I think this could have been a two-hour movie and I’d have been just fine with it, but it’s clear that this was meant to be a television series event and not just a film, so in that respect it works well enough. The performances are great and the show is compelling enough, even over its bloated running time. Great for fans of period dramas and biopics.
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2 Comments

  1. I’ve been reading these Out this Week articles for a couple of weeks now and they are terrible. They are full of mistakes both spelling and grammatical. Does this writer know anything about movies? Nobody liked Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and it was a bomb at the box office. He wrote about a werewolf movie a couple of weeks ago that he clearly didn’t watch because his review was nothing about the movie. I won’t read another one.

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