Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Zombieland Is Bloody Good

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

by and | October 1, 2009 | Comments

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?



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.


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.


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.


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.)


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 BrothersA 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.

Tag Cloud

Family historical drama asian-american Animation Film Festival Turner Classic Movies screen actors guild El Rey children's TV Heroines Reality Hear Us Out anthology Shudder Brie Larson Extras franchise cancelled TV series slashers BET Awards Nat Geo Hallmark Christmas movies based on movie best Spectrum Originals zombie video on demand docudrama Acorn TV discovery Sundance Now teaser cars Freeform Disney Channel Lifetime Amazon 2017 A&E WGN period drama Mindy Kaling Logo Emmys Columbia Pictures Calendar Toys movie Best and Worst canceled TV shows Sci-Fi parents christmas movies Masterpiece Video Games breaking bad Star Wars renewed TV shows comic USA Network Comics on TV dceu E3 jamie lee curtis Arrowverse Stephen King Kids & Family Valentine's Day crime drama BBC One sitcom Tubi PBS space Infographic crime thriller chucky Tomatazos Horror Endgame thriller Amazon Prime Video news Thanksgiving sag awards DC streaming service Travel Channel Paramount CW Seed Pop TV Holiday Sneak Peek Peacock cults 007 Amazon Studios Mystery revenge RT History biography golden globes First Reviews elevated horror dogs Starz Music Fox News satire cooking mutant Women's History Month Ovation game show TCA Winter 2020 Trivia YA Mary Poppins Returns VOD blockbuster FX romantic comedy Turner dark Pirates sports Action latino Cartoon Network HBO Go DirecTV book Marathons Spike dragons ITV Avengers Walt Disney Pictures DC Universe ghosts cartoon FOX CMT Character Guide unscripted GLAAD Trailer FX on Hulu Classic Film TV Land Nickelodeon Black History Month Rocketman festivals award winner vampires serial killer MTV cats San Diego Comic-Con miniseries south america FXX Pop Spring TV Martial Arts documentary concert TNT mission: impossible Sundance First Look psychological thriller toy story AMC 2019 nature Anna Paquin hispanic crime travel quibi Baby Yoda casting The Walking Dead BAFTA LGBT spider-man Syfy Fall TV YouTube 71st Emmy Awards Teen Biopics Election ABC Family criterion stand-up comedy SXSW Crackle Set visit 2020 Song of Ice and Fire stoner USA politics independent Film Hallmark Winter TV TIFF Photos Pride Month Country twilight Marvel directors Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Lifetime Christmas movies Mary poppins IFC all-time a nightmare on elm street Crunchyroll name the review Superheroes Showtime TruTV Marvel Studios Comic Book Elton John reviews Discovery Channel cancelled TV shows Musical series rotten movies we love scary movies harry potter Holidays Emmy Nominations Warner Bros. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina dramedy die hard reboot VH1 YouTube Premium Creative Arts Emmys versus documentaries Vudu Lucasfilm RT21 LGBTQ Netflix PaleyFest Disney BBC America Western Apple TV+ MSNBC Tarantino Certified Fresh films Tumblr joker ABC Lionsgate mockumentary movies The Arrangement Chernobyl Watching Series 45 political drama Funimation Rock cancelled television SDCC Bravo Binge Guide 2016 Super Bowl TBS Reality Competition Apple game of thrones anime cancelled Epix Adult Swim witnail adventure MCU Summer kids National Geographic Comedy WarnerMedia zero dark thirty 20th Century Fox Trophy Talk Interview supernatural Marvel Television boxoffice TCA Red Carpet Amazon Prime Premiere Dates talk show Awards Tour Year in Review Winners romance Cosplay transformers adaptation Mudbound Opinion TCA 2017 Hulu diversity BET Black Mirror Sundance TV critics NBC Schedule Shondaland Apple TV Plus DGA richard e. Grant what to watch OWN finale true crime natural history green book Netflix Christmas movies Cannes New York Comic Con universal monsters 24 frames justice league police drama Oscars strong female leads Television Academy 2015 Academy Awards HBO singing competition Mary Tyler Moore Writers Guild of America spy thriller television Awards comedies Ellie Kemper robots The Purge Nominations 2018 video The Witch Star Trek YouTube Red HBO Max See It Skip It OneApp screenings Polls and Games Box Office CBS war doctor who facebook child's play free movies ratings GoT The CW TV spinoff disaster werewolf science fiction 21st Century Fox NYCC composers 4/20 tv talk medical drama X-Men Pixar Disney streaming service spain Countdown foreign Paramount Network Comedy Central halloween IFC Films zombies Christmas psycho APB sequel social media Captain marvel technology BBC Fantasy History Esquire Universal indiana jones Podcast TV renewals comics animated Grammys American Society of Cinematographers comiccon A24 Drama aliens dc CBS All Access E! Quiz President Food Network DC Comics Rom-Com Britbox batman Disney Plus blaxploitation Pet Sematary VICE GIFs TCM ESPN Rocky spanish language theme song hist streaming cinemax Ghostbusters PlayStation TLC crossover Sony Pictures Disney+ Disney Plus Superheroe indie CNN binge Musicals Dark Horse Comics cops SundanceTV canceled