PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (2016)

Written & Directed By: Burr Steers 
Based on the book by: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith 
Cinematography By: Remi Adefsrasin 
Editor: Padraic McKinley 

Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth, Suki Waterhouse, Bella Heathcote, Charles Dance, Sally Phillips

The five highly trained Bennett sisters in Georgian England must try to protect themselves from the growing zombie threat, find suitable husbands for themselves, battle marriage proposals and unlikely suitors, and save the country before it’s too late.


The production values, as well as costumes and weapons, are impressive allowing the film to have a sharpness most period films lack.

The film comes across as more action or even science fiction by way of steampunk rather than horror. The film also has its comedic elements, especially Matt Smith’s performance as an ever-changing suitor

Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy has an imposing state that seems to hide a viciousness that is apparent in the action scenes. But also shows his skills and defenses

I wish the same can be said of Lily James as the lead and the rest of the female cast. Those who are pretty faces and are adequate but don’t really stand out in their performances. She is engaging as a woman of the past with more modern ideas and ideals.

Natalie Portman was originally cast as Elizabeth Bennet but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Rooney Mara, Mila Kunis, and Blake Lively were considered to replace her before Lily James was finally cast. Portman remains on board as a producer. All of whom might have made the film more marketable due to name recognition and star power.

The only one who remotely makes a mark is Lena Headey who seems to play a role that might have originally been modeled for Angelina Jolie.

The film allows for originality and a fun mixture of two genres where they create to break the rules as well as play with them.

It is easy to see why this film was considered a hot property as far as adapting it from a novel to a proper film. As it allows the film to be an open bit also let’s get to know the characters.

The film seems to be fitting with what seems like get rich quick outrageousness turned into movies such as ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER and HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS. Or even films such as SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Where the title seems to tell you all you need to know. Though this film plays itself as more classy and less juvenile. Though with better production values and plenty of Nice scares that don’t seem requisite.

After David O. Russell left the project, Mike Newell (4 WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), David Slade (HARD CANDY), Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD), Jonathan Demme (PHILADELPHIA), Neil Marshall (CENTURION) (all of whom might have been better visual stylists), Mike White (YEAR OF THE DOG), Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller (21 JUMP STREET) were all considered to direct before Burr Steers was chosen.

It’s a new Genre for Burr Steers who usually directs more talkative and intimate dramas. Here he is directing a more action-oriented material. While also having the chops to get the most out of the few dramatic and romantic scenes that contain their own burning emotional suspense,

It seems only natural that we would get to these certain characters or at least the story as it is a classic and somehow mix in popular otherworldly ghouls and creatures. As I am sure werewolves are next to be mixed with some classic tale. Usually set sometime in the past rewriting history on film to create their own worlds but challenges us to wonder how they will defeat the monsters with more prominent weapons, technology, and means. At least we can’t necessarily predict how it will all turn out.

While the fight scenes are reminiscent more of BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER television episodes rather than an impressive feature film. It is nice to watch a film that challenges gender roles and gender politics. While also showcasing dangerous physical heroic female characters. Who also are the feminine characters that want to be courted even if tougher then the men who romance and desire them. Here they are characterized and defined less like amazons, but just as dangerous as they are attractive.

They spend so much time defining the world and rewriting the main characters to be be more bold and defined. That some get left behind especially among her other sisters and seem almost interchangeable if not paying attention,

The type of film for those who like and don’t like period pieces as it stays close enough to one while also having more modern conventions and genre additions.

The film manages to keep the locations seeming small and to a minimum bit keeps the film big screen grand worthy.

More an addition to have a reason for a genre expedition that adds a swashbuckler spirit to the mix as other then gore and violence as well as an overall plot that needs them to separate the material and add action.

The film does offer a set of circumstances that could truly make the film memorable would have been more tragic. had it for. The way it seemed aimed that then serves up a spectacular finale.

That ultimately might feel like a sell-out to some people, but provides a crowd-pleasing ending and hits the familiar notes for those who have read the book PRIDE & PREJUDICE or at least know the story

Though the film does tap into the desires and fantasies of the female audience by allowing them to be frilly and have an old-style classic romance and go back to a time period where courted and wooed while also letting them be kick ass action heroes. Yet still feminine. In The end, they get to have their cake and eat it too.

GRADE: C+

GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE (2021)

Directed By: Navot Papushado 
Written By: Navot Papushado & Ehud Lavski
Cinematography: Michael Seresin
Editor: Nicolas De Toth

Cast: Karen Gillian, Lena Headey, Paul Giamatti, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino, Chloe Coleman, Ralph Ineson, Michael Smiley, Adam Negaitis 

Three generations of women fight back against those who could take everything from them.


The film Plays like pop art to please the masses full Of neon coloring. As it takes a bunch of action film narratives and tries to splice them All together with some nods to film noir.

It strangely comes off kind of dull but very colorful. As we watch, trying to figure out what movie caused this scene’s inspiration. 

The action sequences are inspired and what the film depends on. As well as its Tarantino-inspired dialogue and quirkiness.

The film also like JOHN WICK tries to world build, unfortunately, it barely gives us a chance to know the characters or what is going on before a heavy emphasis on this. Which can lead to confusion early on.

Even if it more feels like HOTEL ARTEMIS with Its Rogue galleries of criminals, organizations, killers, doctors, clinics, and dealers. Though again John wick-ish with this network of criminals and yet also POINT BLANK with its organization that rules most of the underworld business. 

Just as the DRIVE inspired jacket she wears throughout 

While giving a more female-oriented point of view of the action in these types of films with a recognizable cast. Visually the film has all that it takes and is truly a style over substance but with an increasing degree when it comes to Netflix films it seems rather contained than open. Even as it works well with what it has. 

As the story is far from simple for this type of film as the action seems to follow and seems to only. Be confusing because it needs a reason to have an action sequence. 

The problem is that with all of this it still comes off limp and surprisingly a little dull. It’s like a meal that has food coloring nice to look at but ultimately something you have had before and are used to. 

As even the score tries to use Sergio Leone-inspired music or random pop hits more to fit the action sequences than anything.  Not necessarily adding anything to the emotional more like the director just thought it would be nice if this song played during this sequence. No real new meaning except for some irony.

Just as Karen Gillian is fine in the lead but is left with nothing to make her stand out. She comes off as having the skills but is pretty bland and one-note. She, unfortunately, stand out the least amongst the cast.

The only spark of originality other than color scheme comes for. The library and librarians were played by Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, and Carla Gugino. They are a nice breath of fresh air. Where the most impressive action sequence takes place. Also, the clinic is A cute sequence as well as the diner. 

Also the organization’s three henchmen they send to take her out up a challenge but seem pretty bad to be exclusive assassins. They come across as more muscle or thugs that would be back up or the type assassins have to do clean up Or dirty work for or Vice versa. Like a wrecking crew destroying and making a mess.  so that there is no evidence 

The villains offer no personality, only a stereotypical look of either Eastern European stereotypes or well-suited goons and backup men.  

It’s also a film that feels like it’s trying too hard. It wants to stand out from the rest which is understandable, but by trying too hard to be like the others or those that came before it Lacks its own individual personality and feels like a loser, and ultimately Proves to be about nothing 

It’s obviously a movie for a more mainstream audience looking. For an action escape and it works on that level but doesn’t offer anything new or original mist some nice dressing. As it definitely is more commercial and slick but offers nothing of depth. Like a best seller with no actual good writing just a story to work off of And try to live up to fill in the blanks 

Grade: C-

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES (2016)

Pride-and-Prejudice-and-Zombies-promo

Written & Directed By: Burr Steers
Based on the book by: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Cinematography By: Remi Adefsrasin
Editor: Padraic McKinley 

Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth, Suki Waterhouse, Bella Heathcote Charles Dance, Sally Phillips

The five highly trained Bennett sisters in Georgian England must try to protect themselves from the growing zombie threat, find suitable husbands for themselves, battle marriage proposals and unlikely suitors, and save the country before it’s too late.

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FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (2019)

fightingwith

Written & Directed By: Stephen Merchant
Cinematography By: Remi Adefarasin
Editor: Nancy Richardson 


Cast: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stephen Merchant, Olivia Bernstone, Julia Davis, Paul Wight, Stephen Farrelly 


A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

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300: RISE OF THE EMPIRE (2014)

300: BATTLE OF ARTEMESIUM

Directed By: Noam Murro
Written By: Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad
Based On the Graphic Novel “XERCES” By: Frank Miller
Cinematography By: Simon Duggan
Editor: David Brenner & Wyatt Smith
Production Design By: Patrick Tatopoulos 

Cast: Eva Green, Sullivan Stapleton, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, Jack O’Connell, Peter Mensah


After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land

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