“Burying the Ex” Dramatizes the Shambling Remains of an Undead Relationship

When reacting to the trailer for Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex, I remarked that it could be interesting to use the zombie story as a metaphor for a doomed or stale relationship. This film barrels down that road with fervor, and the result is an awkward on-screen relationship that despite literally decaying, just will not die. The film opens with Max (Anton Yelchin) and Evelyn (Ashley Greene) clinging to a relationship that just doesn’t work. They are horribly mismatched from the get-go: she is a vegan tree-hugger with a cause and a blog, and he works at a Halloween shop and loves monster movies and gore. Thankfully, we don’t waste time discovering how these two got together or see the early parts of their relationship, we just see the death throes. It is annoying that the only thing keeping them together from Max’s perspective is the sex – but even the melt-your-face sexiness of Evelyn isn’t enough after she re-decorates their apartment and forces him to go vegan with her, to his credit. When he finally decides to pull the trigger, and he sets up the breakup location, Evelyn is killed while crossing the street.
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“San Andreas” Something Earthquake Pun

There is an undercurrent of awkwardness in almost every large-scale disaster movie that is very difficult to shake, and it is especially evident in San Andreas. The movie very badly wants to tell us the story of heroism in the face of abject disaster – and to do that the narrative necessarily focuses on a handful of characters for the audience to relate to during the calamity. Unfortunately, when coupled with the reality of showing city-wide destruction, the massive loss of life that must take place off-screen begins to weigh down the popcorn-flick levity that San Andreas really wants to create. This very basic conflict muddies this movie somewhat, but judged on the scale of a fairly mindless summer blockbuster movie, it does far more right than it does wrong, and most of what it does wrong is almost an artifact of this kind of disaster movie.  if you’re capable of ignoring the massive loss of life occurring beyond the edges of the screen and focusing just on the characters that San Andreas wants you to, you will certainly have a fine time. If you’re not, you may start to wonder why you care so much about one girl when San Francisco just went 20 feet underwater after all of the buildings fell down and people were still trying to escape.
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