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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies & Hail, Caesar!

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for unlikely bedfellows Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Hail, Caesar! 
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing important that you won't have gotten from a couple of pretty awesome trailers. First on the docket: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. A bit of classic literature gets the Walking Dead treatment. 
Oh, Jack Huston, the things I do for you. Nevermind the things I *would* do for you...the things I *do* do for you. Zombies are kind-of the "it" monster these days, but, being more of a vampire girl myself--and not having gone anywhere near Jane Austen since a forced high-school acquaintance--I might have taken a pass on PPZ if not for the presence of the talented and dashing Mr. Huston. 
Not surprisingly, though, it was a far less annoying experience than that Nicholas Sparks disaster I was forced to watch last year. Getting the obvious out of the way first: If you look at the name "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies" and think "That's stupid!" well...this isn't the movie for you. 
Like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the concept's chief appeal is in its utter ridiculousness. PPZ isn't quite as tongue-in-cheek as one might expect, but it's still good fun. Highlights include a strong leading turn by Lily James, a solid array of impressive female heroes, nice costumes, good fight choreography, and some sweet zombie effects. 
Like World War Z, these undead don't just shuffle along; if you're running, odds are they can catch you. Of all the non-traditional aspects of PPZ, that one is, perhaps, the most disquieting! On the downside, it takes a full 39 minutes for Jack Huston to appear onscreen. (Did I clock it? Yes, I did.) Sam Riley is so miserable looking throughout I feel sure he'll be tapped to play Athos in some future version of The Three Musketeers. 
The movie's not overlong, but it does feel slow at times; a little trim might have served it well. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies clocks in at 108 minutes and is rated PG13 for "zombie violence and action and brief suggestive material." 
A definitive answer to Hollywood's female problem, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is a good time that's well worth a look. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, PPZ gets seven. 
Next on my agenda: Hail, Caesar! In 1950s Hollywood, a studio "fixer" has his hands full when a marquee name goes missing. 
My smarter, funnier cousin once said that the Coen brothers' idea of a comedy is about the same as Iron Tail's idea of coloring Easter eggs. (If you're young, look it up.) I don't find that as true here as it sometimes is, but their humor is an acquired taste; if you don't love Hail, Caesar!, you'll probably hate it. 
Though the movie's been touted as a love letter to Hollywood's Golden Age, if we're being honest, it's more of a hate letter, spotlighting everything hilariously stupid about the big studio experience of the 50s. Josh Brolin is fantastic in the lead and, even after all these years, it does my tiny heart good to see his name atop such a list of Hollywood A-Listers. 
George Clooney's buffoonish superstar is a laugh every time he's onscreen. Channing Tatum continues to surprise as a real asset to seemingly every movie that'll have him. (And does he have the MOVES!) 
I wouldn't be me if I didn't name check a couple of my favorites who turn up in roles so small the characters don't even have names: Fisher Stevens and Patrick Fischler. 
Great to see ya, guys! Hail, Caesar! features a solid mystery that ties together the various movies within the movie. The film is consistently funny, with some laugh-out-loud moments, and boasts top-notch performances from a bunch of top-notch names, as well as charming choreography from the master, Tony winner Christopher Gattelli. 
There's also a small cameo by Mr. Jack Huston, which allows me to deem yesterday a "Jack Huston Film Festival." Day = Made! Hail, Caesar! runs 106 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some suggestive content and smoking." 
The finished product falls a little short of its stellar trailer's promise, but Hail, Caesar! is a fun, clever picture that should please most moviegoers. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Hail, Caesar! gets seven. 
Hope everyone enjoys their Super Bowl Sunday. Until next time...........yay, football!! 

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