February 3, 2010


Also this week: Adam, Cold Souls, The Music Man

Highlight of the Week

Zombieland (Sony) Keeping in mind our current fixation with vampires, I'm thrilled to report that the zom-com (see also: zomedy) hasn't fully decomposed. Being that the subgenre's post-Edgar Wright resuscitation has seen more than a few flops (Zombie Strippers, anyone?), it's refreshing when a movie manages to break new ground. Zombieland may not be as radical as Wright's far more ambitious debut,Shaun of the Dead, but its decent blend of brains and 'braaaains' should satisfy zombie enthusiasts and open-minded buds along for the ride. Casting Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as a post-apocalyptic odd couple adds charm to an already appealing cast, but nothing tops last year's most inspired surprise cameo that hopefully hasn't already been spoiled for you. Respectable extras include director's, writers' and actors' commentary (Woody alone would¹ve been nicer, just sayin'), three short featurettes and deleted scenes.

Also Available

 (Fox) Don't let a naively twee romance steer you from a sharp performance by Confessions of a Shopaholic-throb Hugh Dancy. The premise of an Aspergers-afflicted man-boy with a proclivity for telescopes and mac-and-cheese borders on kitsch, except Adam slowly reveals itself to be a quietly offbeat relationship flick concerning a sweetly withdrawn guy and his doleful downstairs neighbour. A tender yet credible wrap-up puts it above most cookie-cutter love affairs. Extras: equally understated commentary, short making-of, bizarre "Life After Film School" Q&A, deleted scenes, better alternate ending.

Cold Souls (E1) In spite of being shamelessly Charlie Kaufmanesque, not to mention comparable to that episode where Bart sells his soul to Milhouse for a fiver (yup, Simpsons already did it), Sophie Barthes' feature debut about a guy who trades his soul for enhanced acting talent offers some meta food for thought. Paul Giamatti¹s unwieldy performance as the soulless self is all kinds of awkward and, well, cold, but a subplot involving Eastern European soul-trafficking is profoundly gauche in the best sense. A seasoned supporting cast and wintry photography from burgeoning cinematographer Andrij Parekh sweetens the package. Extras: Soul Extractor Slideshow, deleted scenes.

The Music Man (Warner) Though we¹re still sitting pretty for our Blu-ray copy of Warner's far superior vintage toe-tapper Singin' in the Rain, this is a worthy addition to any musical buff's high-def catalogue. The film's secret weapons are both Robert Preston's singing and dancing chops and Hitchcock go-to cameraman Robert Burks' razzle-dazzle visuals. Extras are identical to 1999's standard release but "Ye Gads!" this new transfer is mighty fine.