Flicksadaweek: Shaun of the Dead, The Ladykillers

I don’t want this blog to be just a bunch of reviews of media that I consume–hell, two months in, and I don’t know exactly what I want it to be just yet–but anyway, saw a couple good flicks over the last week. I’m a Coen Brothers junkie; have been ever since Raising Arizona. (Best. Comedy. Ever.) Ladykillers was really more of a cartoon than an actual flick–every quirky character was dialed up to 11 and painted in one color. Tom Hanks’ bizarre Colonel Sanders-versus-Tennessee Williams mashup commandeers every scene he’s in, but Marlon Wayans (playing the same lunatic homey he played in “Don’t Be a Menace…”) and JK Simmons as a civil rights activist-turned-demolition expert are also reliably fine. The plot’s simple–collection of nutjobs, led by Hanks, steals cash from a casino by tunneling from a sweet old lady’s home–and it’s not the Coen Bros.’ best work. But it may be the only film in history where a garbage barge is a persistent and resonant visual metaphor.

Shaun of the Dead is about thisclose to being a cult classic; too many dead spots (ha!) slow down this tale of British pub slackers against the undead. It’s damn funny in spots, winking smartly at its audience–early in the flick, as a depressed and indifferent Shaun rides the bus, folks around him are coughing fitfully and, in the background, dropping to the ground dead. Best scene of the movie is when Shaun and his drunk buddy (whose name escapes me–Vic, I think) encounter a zombie in Shaun’s backyard–“I think she’s sweet on you, mate,” Vic says as Shaun tries to avoid getting bit by the zombie. Shaun and Vic then throw an entire laundry basket–including the basket–at the zombies, to no avail but lots of the funny. See it, preferably after a few pints.


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