Critics Consensus: Zombieland Is Bloody Good

Plus, Whip It, The Invention of Lying, Capitalism, and the Toy Stories (mostly) hit their marks.

This week at the movies, we've got zombie zaniness (Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg); derby dolls (Whip It, starring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page); funny falsehoods (The Invention of Lying, starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner); financial follies (Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story); and a pair of Pixar classics (Toy Story and Toy Story 2, both in 3-D). What do the critics have to say?


90%
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Fresh

Zombieland

For those who think there's nothing left on the carcass of the zombie subgenre to pick over, guess again. Critics say Zombieland is a hilarious send-up of films about the undead -- with enough blood and guts to satisfy the gorehound set. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg star as a pair of non-zombies who team up for a road trip across an American landscape that's overrun with walking corpses. It's a simple enough setup, but pundits say what makes Zombieland such a good time at the movies is its boundless energy and inventiveness -- and the fact that it features one of the funniest celebrity cameos in quite some time.


79%
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Fresh

Whip It

With Whip It, Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with a girl-empowerment sports comedy. And the critics say this roller derby flick is sweet and sparky, with a breezy, unsentimental tone that compensates for the predictable script. Ellen Page stars as a beauty pageant regular who decides to try her hand in the rough-and-tumble world of roller derby -- and break out of her small-town routine in the process. The pundits say Whip It is loaded with sports movie clichés, but so what? Featuring a veritable army of top-notch actresses (including Kristen Wiig, Eve, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden and Barrymore herself), the film is both fleet-footed and good-natured.


58%
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Rotten

The Invention of Lying

Calling Ricky Gervais' brand of comedy self-deprecating doesn't go far enough -- self-immolating is more like it. And though Gervais is undeniably talented, the pundits say his latest, The Invention of Lying (which he co-scripted and co-directed with Matthew Robinson) is ambitious but uneven. The film takes place in a parallel world in which everyone tells the whole truth and nothing but all the time, until Mark (Gervais) discovers that bearing false witness will get him ahead in the world -- for a while, anyway. The critics say this is thought-provoking, inventive stuff, but despite some big laughs, The Invention of Lying eventually jettisons its originality for romantic comedy convention.


75%
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Fresh

Capitalism: A Love Story

A few documentaries have tried to grapple with the events that lead to the current economic crisis. Michael Moore goes a step further, indicting our economic system itself with Capitalism: A Love Story, and the pundits say the result is his most personal (if not his best) since Roger & Me. As usual, Moore blends stock footage, interviews, and gonzo stunts, taking aim at the system that spawned our recent financial collapse. As with many of Moore's films, some critics feel his research is thin, and that his biases overwhelm the facts, but most say his brand of cinematic rabblerousing is in fine form, with affecting tales of fiscal woe and a few big laughs. (Check out our interview with Moore here.)


100%
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Toy Story and Toy Story 2

This week, two of Pixar's crowning achievements -- Toy Story and Toy Story 2 -- get rereleased in glorious 3-D. Let us put it to you in the simplest terms possible: these are two of the best-reviewed films in the history of this site. If you've never seen them before, now's your chance to experience the magic on the big screen -- while wearing 3-D glasses, no less.


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Abel Ferrara's Chelsea on the Rocks, a documentary about New York's legendary boho residence, the Chelsea Hotel, is at 91 percent.
  • The Coen Brothers' A Serious Man, which follows a Jewish college professor and family man who's struggling to find the meaning of life, is at 81 percent.
  • Afterschool, a dark drama about a youngster whose fascination with internet videos pulls him in sinister directions, is at 73 percent.
  • More Than a Game, a doc about NBA superstar LeBron James and his high school teammates, is at 62 percent.

Finally, props to RunAmok for coming the closest to guessing Pandorum's 34 percent Tomatometer.

Comments

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Seeing Zombieland, Capitalism: A Love Story, and the Toy Story double feature this week. It will be great to see Toy Story movies on the big screen. Zombieland and Capitalism: A Love Story look great. I saw Whip It at the sneak preview last week, and I can wholeheartedly say its a fantastic movie!! Drew Barrymore is a helluva director. If you're thinking of seeing it, please do so.I would like to see it again but I want to catch up on others first. If I have time I'll check out Bright Star and Coco Before Chanel. Hopefully nothing will suddenly come up this weekend

Oct 1 - 04:42 PM

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philipiah

wow zombie land looks pretty sweet..if this is what the ycan do then i am totally awaiting the venom solo film which is being written by the writer of zombieland.

Oct 1 - 04:51 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

Is GAMER coming out tommorow?

Oct 1 - 05:06 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Nice to see "Zombieland" and "Whip It" fare better than most people thought they would critical-wise. Let's just hope they can have a good opening weekend.

"Cloudy" and "Toy Story" will split the young audience, "Lying" will draw in the date movie crowd (and might be the favorite for #1 this weekend), and of course people go to see 2 more hours of Michael Moore running his mouth. "Zombieland's" best chance might be from the horror demographic and might be able to snag some of the dating crowd (girl will go see Zombieland if the guy will go see Lying).

Oct 1 - 05:19 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

At first glance I kinda wrote Zombieland off as a shameless parody but it sounds like the characters are well written. Could be a real gem, like the american version of Shaun of the Dead or something.

Oct 1 - 05:31 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

UGH! Oh my God, it's already been out for a while. (GAMER)

ah well,

I hope to see Zombieland, but I normally don't like seeing films less than 90 minutes unless they are a cartoon.

Oct 1 - 05:32 PM

Mr. Bo Ziffer

Mr. Bo Ziffer

Wow! This is a great week for movies . . . I don't know what to see first! Probably Zombieland, but The Invention of Lying looks really funny, too. The clips I've seen are pretty cool.

Oct 1 - 06:00 PM

inactive user

Jared King

"Zombieland" looks awesome. "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" ARE awesome. I mean, we should know, we've seen em.

But "Whip It"? No thanks. Seriously, it looks bad, regardless of Drew Barrymore, who I still think is one of the better looking actress's of her time. That crooked mouth...sexy. But Ellen page can be kinda one note. That one note being smarmmy. And she's like the girl Michael Cera now, being in every "Quirky" film.

Oct 1 - 06:57 PM

Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

Definitely gonna see Zombieland and Whip it this weekend.

And speaking as a 23 year old straight male, i get the feeling that i'm gonna enjoy Whip It more than Zombieland. But i'm guessing i'm in the minority on that one. ;D

Oct 1 - 08:33 PM

richard a.

richard atkinson

Hmmm....
Maybe your right.
For something new and informative...check out www.singlefilm .com
A pick of the week at barnesandnoble.com and listed as a top seller

Oct 1 - 08:55 PM

richard a.

richard atkinson

Hmmm....
Maybe your right.
For something new and informative...check out www.singlefilm .com
A pick of the week at barnesandnoble.com and listed as a top seller

Oct 1 - 08:56 PM

inactive user

Jared King

You son of a *****.

Oct 1 - 10:50 PM

richard a.

richard atkinson

Hmmm....
Maybe your right.
For something new and informative...check out www.singlefilm .com
A pick of the week at barnesandnoble.com and listed as a top seller

Oct 1 - 08:57 PM

Throw An Onion

Joshua Mills

The Invention of Lying looks cliche but who cares its looks like its got a few funny moments that'll be worth the price of admission. And since blood and guts aren't my thing Zombieland is out. Whip It is out because I don't pay for quirky chick flicks (my apologies to people who liked this film). Michael Moore is annoying and Toy Story is genius.

I have spoken.....

Oct 1 - 09:46 PM

inactive user

Jared King

You son of a *****.

Oct 1 - 10:50 PM

707PG13

Patrick Garcia

Wow, all this week's releases are fresh!? When was the last time that happened RT?

Oct 2 - 12:24 AM

gizgoo

anthony rod

Zombieland is awesome! That was the best surprise cameo ever.

Oct 2 - 02:08 AM

PocketDweller

Dee Rosa

Saw a screening and Zombiewalk last night. Movie was tremendous and the crowd was really into it. An instant cult classic!

Oct 2 - 05:48 AM

Jon C.

Jon Cox

whew
finally, September is gone and we finally get movies that are actually good!
been a while, the last 2 really good movies were at the end of May
I figured there was no real need to review both Toy Story movies :)
I miss those movies and Im hoping Toy Story 3 can succeed just as well

Oct 2 - 07:43 AM

Gimy

Gimy Moo

urgh, critics loved Zombieland? not so pumped anymore to see it. hopefully its one of the few times critics are right. i doubt it though

Oct 2 - 07:45 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Zombieland looks terrible . . .
but the critical praise is having an effect on me; making me want to see it.
(word of mouth DOES work after all)

All the movies opening this week seem good to me; maybe its a good mood--yet its actually because the movies ARE better this week.

Hollywood wouldn't stay in business if every movie was bad.

Oct 2 - 10:15 AM

Throw An Onion

Joshua Mills

Actually judging by how many people payed to see Transformers 2 I think hollywood could probably live off of just Michael Bay movies. This would obviously be incredibly painful and we can only hope this will never happen.

Oct 2 - 01:46 PM

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