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Zombieland

“God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends,” Brian Cox, as screenwriting guru Rob-

ert McKee boomed in 2002’s Adaptation. “That’s flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voiceover narration to explain the thoughts of a character.” It would seem easy to confuse Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick with said flaccid, sloppy idiots (ugh, nasty combo, amirite?), but there’s enough sweet-Christ awesomeness in their Shaun of the Dead-for-Yanks blood feast that we’ll forgive Jesse Eisenberg’s constant exposition. The plot hinges on black humor survival tips, after all, and the use of flashy graphics to convey post-apocalyptic principles like “double tap” (that would be with a firearm), “don’t be a hero” and “check the back seat” is all part of Zombieland’s uniquely selfaware aesthetic. Bonus points for a) Emma Stone’s star-making turn, b) abetting Woody Harrelson’s comeback (still not sure that he ever actually left), and c) the uncredited cameo of the year that, well, you should’ve seen for yourself already. Sony Pictures

Up in the Air

Greenberg

goer a while to acknowledge Up in the Air’s charms. The first 15

king of upper-middle-class-whites-got-it-rough-core. Sounds like a recipe for no-thanks with a side of fuck-that, but only because the preceding sentence is a dickish generalization that doesn’t remotely take into account the subtlety and versatility both actress and writer-director bring to their craft. Ben Stiller is the titular Roger Greenberg, a super pleasant combination of emotional cripple and immature asshole. A fortysomething letter-to-the-editor-writing layabout snob still harboring delusional fondnesses towards old bands/girlfriends, he’s watching his brother’s house/dog in L.A.—Gerwig is the family’s quirky but sweet personal assistant. Baumbach specializes in conversational interplay that peels back layer after layer of stereotype, and we soon learn that Gerwig is far more grounded and stable than the manic pixie dream girl sketch we assume her to be. Her tumultuous, at times crushingly awkward courtship with Roger is representative of Baumbach’s most insightful work. Next time you want to skewer Stiller for cashing in on the latest installment in the Focker series, remember that it probably makes gems like this possible. (Just kidding—he’s still a sellout.)

One imagines that it took even the most open-minded movie-

minutes was quite the smarm-fest, with Juno helmsman Jason Reitman two-shotting reams of interminable blather between George Clooney and Vera Farmiga’s frequent flyers, two human beings seemingly without a single identifiable reason for existence aside from reaping the myriad material benefits of their soulless corporate whoring. But things slowly become less obnoxious (despite the pterodactyllike squeal that passes for Anna Kendrick’s voice), then less predictable (Clooney, who travels across the country to fire people, is in danger of getting downsized himself when Kendrick points out this shit can be done remotely over video), then before you know it, Up in the Air becomes a graceful depiction of two grating careerists learning to stop believing their own bullshit and maybe try an adult relationship for once. Oooh, almost forgot: Danny McBride kind of gets to play a real human being! Paramount

Greta Gerwig is the queen of mumblecore, Noah Baumbach the

Focus Features

cowbell

39

Dimple Records' In-Store Magazine, December 2010  
Dimple Records' In-Store Magazine, December 2010  

"Indie Rock with a Slice of Green." Cowbell Magazine features Cee Lo Green, Daft Punk, plus our lists of the top albums, games and dvds of t...