Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

16

“My daughters are trained for battle, sir, not the kitchen.”
– Mr Bennet

SYNOPSIS: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies. – via IMDB

Guys. Guys. Let’s just talk about this. I cannot believe that I had so much fun with this movie. I mean seriously. Take a classic and add a ton of zombies to it? Not traditional zombies either, mind. How exactly was that supposed to work out? Super fun, let me tell you that! I am so pleased that Natasha enjoyed this so much and made me watch it, as I had zero designs on checking this out before she insisted. Now I have seen it a few times and still think it is so much fun. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies totally embraces all that is ludicrous about it, and delivers on so many fronts. Like Warm Bodies, this is a movie that has no right to be as good as it is, and yet here we are.

Right off the bat, I must say that I enjoyed the cast. I think everyone was well cast and they all seemed to have a total ball. Sam Riley is an actor I quite enjoy, and do wish he was in more things. He’s an absolutely brilliant Darcy, and there is just no way that you are not in love with the dude when all is said and done. For reals. Riley just sneaks up on you – he delivers a harsh Darcy, a man so reserved and focused, and before you know it, you are like oooooooh… totally get why Elizabeth would fall for him. Then there is Lily James, and she is a wonderful Elizabeth Bennet. Got mad love for this character – ballsy, educated, can take care of herself and is strong? So ahead of her time and a great feminist? Hells yeah. I was rooting for her all the way. I absolutely loved watching her and Riley together, they had lovely chemistry – so contained and yet completely through the roof. Jack Huston is another actor I particularly enjoy, and I so wanted to trust Mr Wickham, but he is a smarmy bastard. Pretty one, but still.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Mr Collins and Matt Smith’s portrayal. It is evident he is having a blast portraying such a total twat, and is beyond exasperating. My inner feminist was just like “wtf” the whole time, and yet his character made me laugh and groan, and that is purely down to how well Smith played Collins. Charles Dance was also great as Mr Bennet, and I had a lot of respect for how he saw his girls as more that just marriage conduits. Well played, sir!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies totally embraced its weirdness. Right off the bat it has a crazy opening (that elaborate story and animation was really cool), girls with all sorts of weapons in all sorts of places and mad training and a mother who just wants them to marry rich. It’s insane. While being totally out there yet still loyal to the source material, this movie looks good, too. The sets and costumes are really good, and it does not come off as a budget film. It goes all out, and it really helps the cause.

As you can tell, I thought the movie was a lot of fun. Don’t go into this and expect to see the classic as you have come to expect. Why can’t people just accept this as a fun adaptation, not something competing with a classic? Don’t take it too seriously. For reals, it will ruin the experience. It is silly popcorn entertainment that is actually put together quite well, and has a cast that just makes it well worth the watch. It’s funny, it’s ridiculous, it has zombies and manages to convey a classic love story, where you get involved and want to root for Darcy and Elizabeth to just, you know, find each other. So I think in terms of that the movie delivered, and I would say watch it if you are not going to nitpick for issues and can just shut your brain down at the door and have some fun.

Review: Darkness, Take My Hand – Dennis Lehane

7

darkness, take my hand dennis lehane cover

Kenzie & Gennaro #2

Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are back when they are called in by Eric Gault, an old teacher of Patrick’s, to help Diandra Warren. She claims that her son, Jason, is being stalked by the Irish mob after she has a girl see her about dating an abusive Kevin Hurlihy and she receives a photograph of Jason and a threat. She feels that he is in danger. It seems like a routine case, and the pair take it up immediately. Angie is still binging after her split from her abusive husband Phil, and Patrick is dealing with the guilt of not being there for Angie enough due to his newly formed relationship with a doctor named Grace. Grace has a daughter, Mae, who adores Patrick and vice versa. He seems to have the perfect relationship and is truly happy.

Nobody seems to be stalking Jared, and after meeting with the Irish mobsters through their contact, Bubba Rogowski, they start to wonder if someone is playing a prank on Diandra Warren. A girl from the neighbourhood, Kara Rider, dies shortly after speaking with Patrick, and before they even know what is going on, there is a body count piling up. The latest death seems to point to an old case from back in the day when Patrick and Angie were kids, and Alex Hardiman was imprisoned for the brutal slayings in the area at the time. Still, Patrick starts to dig, and soon he learns that some of the latest victims’ families received photos like Diandra Warren did, and he and Angie realise too late that Jason was in danger, and he is found murdered.

Torture, dismemberment, murder, mutilation. It seems the way to go for the current serial killer. Devin Amronklin and Oscar Lee of the Boston Police Department calls Patrick and Angie in, they need all the help they can get, and Patrick and Angie keep getting tied back to what is going on. Angie and Phil, too, seem to be spending too much time together, but not so much to reconcile. Angie finally signs her divorce papers, and Phil and Patrick have their first civil conversations in years. From boyhood friends to enemies, the two have a lot to discuss. Patrick, meanwhile, goes to see Alex Hardiman in prison, and soon starts to wonder if there is more going on than he is familiar with, and again the topic is broached as to Hardiman having a partner on the outside. The more digging they do, the more it seems that whatever is going on now is linked up with their own childhoods. Threats against Patrick and Angie start surfacing, and they know that they are in danger, and Patrick starts to really worry about Grace, the first woman he has ever really let into his life, and her daughter.

Who is butchering these people and why? Who was killing the people all those years ago? Does Alex Hardiman have a partner? Is he even involved with what is going on? Can Patrick protect Grace and Mae? Will they be safe? Will Angie ever deal with her divorce from Phil? Will Patrick and Phil manage to stay at this civil place, continue to work through their differences and maybe be friends again? Will Patrick and Angie stop whoever is hunting them before they, too, are dead?

GRADE 8I liked this one. I liked it a lot. It’s no secret that I am a fan of Lehane’s work, not at all, and I thought that his debut novel, A Drink Before The War, was a damn fine first novel. I really liked Patrick and Angie, so I knew I was definitely going to be back for more. Darkness, Take My Hand is so different from its predecessor that it’s scary, and not in a bad way, either, just so we are clear on that front. Initially it took me by surprise a bit that Patrick would be in a serious relationship, though I was not surprised that Angie was on a party mission after splitting from Phil. The case that they got from Diandra Warren started simply enough, and the next thing you know, the story is racing along, mob members are involved (and I do so love reading about the Mafia), an insane serial killer is on the loose, Patrick and Angie are in trouble again, and they are still dealing with the things that came up months before with Marion Socia. Obviously nothing can be easy for them. I had a good few laughs at Angie and her threats in this novel, that woman is badass. The attitudes of her and Patrick were vastly different from the last book in that there were less jokes between them and there seemed to be some distance, too. Angie was putting up a good front but not quite pulling it off, and Patrick was in a really confusing place for him (psychologically, of course) with dating Grace and loving her and her daughter. I loved Bubba making an appearance again. I know he is a total psychopath and all that, but I find him seriously entertaining. Oscar and Devin, too, though totally less psychopathic. I liked the story and I thought the plot sped along nicely and never lost you along the way (always a winner for me), and I thought it was amusing to find a Scorsese reference in here. I can certainly recommend this series wholeheartedly.