The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

The LEGO Batman Movie
Director: Chris McKay
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Billy Dee Williams, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizondo, Mariah Carey
(I saw the dubbed German version, though.)
Seen on: 9.2.2017

Plot:
Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Will Arnett) leads a rather lonely existence. Between beating up criminals like the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and eating lobster thermidor prepared by his trusted butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), he spends most of his time alone and in pain at the memory of the family he lost. But things change rapidly when Bruce not only accidentally adopts an orphan (Michael Cera), but the Joker and pretty much the entire league of supervillains surrender themselves to Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) who just proposed a new approach to crime for the police. But there must be something behind that surrender and Bruce has to find out.

The Lego Batman Movie is a celebration and parody of all things Batman and more. It’s as funny as it is nonsensical, and yet it manages to say more about the character Batman than more serious adaptations have managed. But at its heart, there is not much behind the jokes.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson

Plot:
When Abraham (Benjamin Walker) was a child, he had to watch as the vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) killed his mother. Years later, still filled with thoughts of revenge, he tries to kill Barts and has to be saved by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who then goes on to teach him how to fight vampires – but on the condition that Abe only kills the vampires Henry points out. After training is over, Abe moves to Springfield where he works for Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) as a store clerk, studies law and kills vampires. But his thirst for revenge is still not satisfied.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is absolutely trashtastic. By which I mean, it is not a good movie, in fact quite the opposite, but it is an extremely entertaining one.

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Dark Shadows (2012)

Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: the TV show
Cast: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper

Plot:
At the end of the 18th century, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) and his family emigrate to America, where they build up a town and acquire a lot of wealth. With them came Angelique (Eva Green) and her family as servants. Angelique falls in love with Barnabas. But when he tells her that he doesn’t share her feelings, she gets so angry that she curses him to be a vampire, kills the woman he loves and buries him for almost 200 years.
In 1972, Barnabas is freed and returns to his family – or what remains of it. But also Angelique is still there and ready to pick things up right where they left them.

I was not one of the people bemoaning yet another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration – I usually like when they work together and the trailer for this film looked perfectly charming. But unfortunately the film was very disappointing.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a rewriting of Austen‘s classic novel by Seth Grahame-Smith with the goal to include zombies.

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett went to China with his daughters to train them in the deadly arts. After their return to England, their mother tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley, amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy, arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is fun. Grahame-Smiths changes don’t always occur seamlessly, but that’s alright. I got a huge kick out of the illustrations in the book and in general, I enjoyed reading it a lot. I was surprised by a few things, which I will discuss in more detail below.

387px-PrideandPrejudiceandZombiesCover

[SPOILERS for both the classic and this version]

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