Archive for the Z Category

Zelig (Woody Allen) 1983

Posted in Woody Allen Retrospective, Z on December 1, 2011 by moviemoses

Zelig is a fake documentary about Leonard Zelig (Allen).  Zelig is a person living in the 1920’s who has the uncanny ability to look and act like the people around him.  If he is around doctor’s, he can fake being a doctor, if he is around fat people then he grows to match their size, and so on.  Dr. Fletcher (Mia Farrow) tries to help Zelig because he has no individual personality and always goes along with what the group does.

I had not seen Zelig before, but I was completely surprised.  It is not too often that Woody makes a completely sweet and charming movie but here is one example.  Here is a simple concept but taken with 100% effort and imagination.  The whole movie is shot like a documentary about this long forgotten man.  You have talking heads (played by unknowns) to give the back story and little insights into the character but the rest of it looks like found footage material.  We are shown still photos with Zelig cropped somewhere as some wacky Where’s Waldo.  Then we get grainy silent film of him meeting famous people and being in crowded sites.  All of it feels like stuff that would be logically found about this person and never strains the credibility of the internal logic of the movie.  A lot of effort went into making the movie look that way.  A lot of special effects had to be used to insert Woody into all these old photographs and to make the film look the way it did.  The movie would still look great to audiences today.

Zelig isn’t a movie that is going to have you rolling on the floor laughing.  As I said, this is a very sweet and lovable comedy.  We get the funny premise which is complete with the story of a star’s rise, fall, and rise back to fame again.  But we also get one of Woody’s most endearing characters with Zelig.  He is a shy quiet little man who always figured going with the crowd was the best way to be liked by everyone.  This culminating in the funny climax of Zelig joining the Nazi party and Fletcher having to save him.  During the course of the movie Fletcher helps Zelig find his own personality and realize how important it is to be you.  This is all complete with a nice romance between these two characters.

Like I said, this isn’t a movie that had me laughing a ton but I did love it.  The movie is so charming and so endearing it is hard not to be won over by it.  At a blistering 80 minutes, Zelig never drags and does everything it can with the premise.  This is a Woody film I will be revisiting many times in the future and I recommend you check it out if you are an Allen fan and haven’t checked this one out yet.

Zombie Strippers (Jay Lee) 2008

Posted in Z on May 31, 2010 by moviemoses

Zombie Strippers is about a government experiment gone bad where, through a series of crazy shenanigans, a stripper becomes a zombie.  Even stranger, is the zombie-ness makes her an amazing dancer and a huge attraction at the club.  The owner, played by Robert Englund, keeps her on and disposes of all the bodies of her prey.

There is a problem with doing intentional camp like Snakes on a Plane.  We laugh at incompetence, and it’s hard when you are winking at the camera and nudging us as if to say “See!  Get it!  We get this is a bad movie.”  Its the rare movie like Grindhouse that make fun of it while being entertaining.

To cut to the point: I hate this movie.  Of course, telling Spoony this he gives the smarmy reply of “Its Zombie Strippers, what were you expecting?”  Well, I expect to laugh and be entertained.  This is supposed to be a campy movie.  The problem is this movie isn’t funny.  This movie is one of the most aggressively annoying movies in a long while.  Picture a movie filled with the most annoying caricatures and you have Zombie Strippers.  Robert Englund gives one of the worst performances of any actor in quite a while.  Picture a cross between Harry Reams in Deep Throat 2 and Howard Hughes.  Now picture him turning the scene chewing to 11 and is so flamboyant even Rip Taylor would tell him to tone it down.  Its a performance that makes me question his whole body of work and whether they could have gotten any clown to do Nightmare on Elm Street.  Its that bad.  I’m not done with the acting either.  There is a female dance instructor/head stripper who is channeling her inner Yakov Smirnoff and a Mexican janitor that is just about a lawnmower short of the complete stereotype.  Like I say about Uwe Boll all the time; just because you are trying to be politically incorrect and offensive doesn’t automatically mean you will be funny.  The jokes are so cheesy that there aren’t enough rim shots in the world to make them work.

I will say there is stripping in this movie.  There is a lot of stripping in this movie.  I would say a good half of this movie is stripping because there really isn’t anything else to fill the movie with.  However if I wanted porn, I would just get porn.  After a while it gets to the point where as Mike Nelson said in Girl in Gold Boots where its just sexual wallpaper.

I was willing to give this movie a fuck you but there was one bit that made me laugh.  The bit was the final stripper fight where they are doing stripper pole kung fu and another shoots cue balls out of her hoo haa.  So if I were to give it a grade it would be like a D–.