Warm Bodies: Original idea, familiar approach
THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS
This movie is rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
It’s rare to find a truly original new genre emerging, but zombie romantic comedy is definitely a new one. This movie combines elements of action, horror, romance, comedy and the ever popular subject of zombies to create something that is wholly unique. That doesn’t change the fact that the way the movie plays out is all too regular.
The movie is told mostly by listening in on the thoughts of R, a zombie who is discontent with his life of shuffling around in a world filled with other zombies. He longs for more, and when he comes across a beautiful human survivor, he begins to feel things he thought were impossible.
The idea of a zombie/human love story is a little gross, and truthfully, that’s one of the reasons the movie isn’t more successful. As interesting as it all is, it’s still pretty awkward watching a romance develop between a human woman and a living corpse.
One of my main complaints is how that romance develops. Too often, modern films try to encompass romance in a series of meaningful stares and well chosen soundtrack choices that play in the background. It’s rare when Hollywood puts forth a believable, enjoyable romance, instead force feeding audiences the same over produced, under thought scenario again and again. Warm Bodies is definitely guilty of that, as there’s little genuine romance to be found in this film.
As generic as its approach may be, the ideas in this film are definitely one of a kind. The idea of zombies rediscovering their humanity is something that is really interesting to watch play out. The well done thoughts of the main character are also usually amusing, and while it is a bit strange to see a movie so dependent on voice overs, they’re well done and home to most of the film’s best jokes and lines.
There’s not much in the way of action here, but what does exist is well done. Despite the goofy plot, there’s still a very real sense of danger when things are going bad on screen. The filmmakers did a nice job of tapping into the creepiness and impending doom that make zombie films so beloved.
Ultimately, Warm Bodies wins a ton of points for originality. There are some great supporting actors, and often times the best scenes are the ones that involve people beyond the two leads. The way things play out is still pretty much the paint by numbers way Hollywood always handles romantic comedy relationships, which is a real shame, because this could’ve gone down as one of the most unique movies of all time. As it is, it could make for an interesting date movie, but more than likely should be reserved for a rental when it arrives on home video in a few months.
Home video spotlight on:
The Cold Light of Day
ONE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS
This movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and language
Very few people took notice of this espionage film when it released in late 2012, despite the involvement of Bruce Willis. One reason why this film should interest movie fans is because the star of it, Henry Cavill, will be playing the role of Superman in yet another Superman reboot coming out this summer. Sadly, if The Cold Light of Day is Cavill’s resumé, it’s not one that he should be very proud of.
The film is about a strung out business consultant (Cavill), who reluctantly goes on a sailing vacation with his family in Spain. This includes his stoic father (Willis), who Cavill has a strained relationship with. Soon the whole thing falls apart, as the family gets kidnapped when Willis’ true job as a CIA spook gets revealed.
From there the plot pretty much tells itself, as confused son Cavill has to go on the run and get involved in the shadowy espionage action. It’s about as generic as it gets, and it doesn’t help that Cavill is about as generic of an actor as they come. When he is silent you can see why he was cast as Superman, but as soon as he starts trying to act it’s cringeworthy. While not awful, he’s far from good, and his stunted attempts at emotional scenes really drag down The Cold Light of Day.
Fans of espionage films will find something to like here. The movie half heartedly hits all the expected espionage plot points with a mediocre level of success. By the final moments of the film I was pretty excited, not because of the action on screen, but because I realized the movie was finally almost over. That’s never a great sign.
You’d think that Willis could really help elevate the movie, but he looks bored out of his mind the short amount of time he’s on the screen. That just leaves Cavill, who is woefully underequipped to handle a leading role.
On a boring night with nothing else to do, The Cold Light of Day can fill a few hours of your life. That’s about as far as I’m willing to recommend it, though.
This Weekend at the Theater
Two new movies will be releasing this weekend. First up is the comedy Identity Thief. Jason Bateman co-stars as a man whose identity gets stolen by an over the top petty criminal, played by Melissa McCarthy. This R rated comedy should have all the in your face crude humor that’s to be expected of R rated comedies these days, but will still likely find a good audience.
The other new release this weekend is the drama Side Effects. Featuring a long list of great actors including Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum, this film is about a therapist who finds himself on trial after his patient has a violent outburst based on his treatments. It probably won’t make much money, but this looks like a quality film that might be worth checking out.
Releasing on home video this week is Alex Cross, Flight, and Here Comes the Boom.
Ten Great Romantic Comedies
#10 27 Dresses
#9 Music and Lyrics
#8 Stranger Than Fiction
#7 13 Going on 30
#6 The Wedding Singer
#5 (500) Days of Summer
#4 In the Land of Women
#3 Love Actually
#2 Sleepless in Seattle
#1 You’ve Got Mail