Warm Bodies Leaves You Cold

Warm Bodies the number one movie in America last week? Am I dreaming?

First of all, with the ridiculous amount of Oscar Best Picture nominees again this year, you’d think the Academy’s plan to generate more interest in the movies would be working – at least in their favor – but instead, the top grossing movie is a pre-teen snoozer cashing in on both the lucrative zombie genre and the beastly, psuedo-horror/romance fad 13-year olds all seem to identify with these days. It’s so much cooler to be hot for vampires, werewolves, zombies and other one-off horror show freaks, than it is to fall for just a normal, run-of-the-mill kind of guy, isn’t it? Why don’t they ever make movies where the male characters are the ones falling in love with a physically flawed female character, by the way? I’ll tell you why, because Hollywood knows that in their already dwindling audience of males age 18- 35, none of that demographic wants to lust after a girl who looks like a zombie or the guy from Beastly. Not even if it was Bar Refaeli playing the part.

Lucio Fulci will likely rise from the dead as soon as he finds out about this comparison.

Lucio Fulci will likely rise from the dead to eat someone’s brains as soon as he finds out about this horrendous “inside joke” comparison.

Warm Bodies is a pathetic excuse for a zombie flick to begin with, falling way short of ever providing any sort of truly cinematic zombie movie goodness. Instead it just recycles the old zombie apocalypse theme with the people who haven’t yet been bitten hiding behind a makeshift wall somewhere in a city that looks vaguely like London or New York City and with zombies milling around outside. Warm Bodies even appears to borrow a little bit of the I Am Legend look with its laughably CGI “Boney’s.” What’s worse though is how the film expects its audience to reject every perfectly plausible zombie movie guideline they know and just blindly go with this stupid story which at one point even turns into Romeo and Juliet.

The film is void of any sincere laughs, and gets by – if on anything – on its ability to make the lead zombie boy look and act cute because he’s fallen in love with a un-zombified girl. There are too many plot holes and inconsistencies to even bother referencing them here, but suffice it to say, no one seemed to notice (or care) except me. Something about this movie spoke to people. I am baffled. Look, I’m a sucker for a good romance and I love horror films from all sub-genres, so the unique plot concept about zombies painfully being alive inside their bludgeoned heads even when their bodies are dead, and the idea that they can gradually come back to life when embraced with the feeling of love, was a huge selling point for me – but this movie completely missed both marks and gave up all its opportunities to exploit its unique storyline to the fullest.

Then there are the actors – they’re terrible. Yeah, the lead girl is cute in a rip-off Kristen Stewart kind of way, but she is ultimately and instantaneously forgettable. The boy is similarly bad – the worse zombie ever in fact – I’ve seen zombie extras play more believable and horrifying than him. The boy’s movements inconsistent, unrealistic and his moaning and groaning ability to communicate short sentences to the girl and other zombies is a real chore to sit through. Even the director Jonathan Levine clearly felt that way after he saw the footage edited together, because the amount of songs which they conveniently edit into the film to absolutely no added effect, is equally boring to sit through. I find better zombie music videos online at least once a week.

The director Jonathan Levine should be ashamed of himself. This is utterly and obviously a job he took for the money, as I can see no effort, interest or talent that was put into this – especially comparing it to previous stellar work he’s done when he’s motivated and inspired, such as the hilarious and poignant 50/50. Even The Wackness was better than this.

…As I think about it more now, maybe this is the best movie to see in theaters at this moment. At least half of the Best Picture noms are unjustified and obvious promotional tactics / pats-on-the-back, but at least filmmakers like Spielberg and David O. Russell care about their craft and what they bring to the screen and if they’re making a film for the paycheck, they put a little effort into it still. The writer, filmmakers and actors (including Malkovich) of Warm Bodies, should all be ashamed of themselves for letting such drivel cost $12.50 in pointless Cinema XD since there’s about as much XD worthy action in the movie as there is in Lincoln, and as little tangible romance as there is in Silver Linings Playbook. Go see something else.

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50/50

How much bad can you really say on a film about a young, redeemable guy who gets Cancer? I suppose not much really, but fortunately there’s very little bad to say about this new comedy/drama from Jonathan Levine. 50/50 is an inspired and inspiring look at a young man, and one with virtually no character flaws, who learns that he has a life-threatening tumor at the base of his spine. Well, that much you got from the trailer I’m sure.Watching the film in it’s entirety though, doesn’t really offer up anything that’s unique to the trailer; it’s actually a pretty predictable and even-toned film. The problem is, many of the funniest lines you’ve already seen in the trailer, and even some of the more tender moments too. Everything else is sort of meaningful filler.


Sure, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character has a moment of near mental breakdown, that’s new from the trailer (and much welcomed), but still not unexpected. Even worse, some of the scenes from the trailer are not in the actual film! Personally, I hate when that happens. It’s like, if you’re going to cut a trailer before you even have a final edit on the film, either someone’s time management skills in your post unit are lacking, or you’re marketing waaaaay too early.

The best aspect of the film is the balancing act of comedy and drama displayed from both the filmmaker and the actors. Anna Kendrick is just adorable and stands out as the near perfect girl to Gordon-Levitt’s near perfect guy. Interestingly, every character in the film finds themselves leaning on, or needing to lean on another, even the father plagued by Alzheimer’s can be said to have a moment or two of neediness. The film is really all about loyalty and how to be there for someone (and let someone be there for you) when one is in a time of need. Levine, however, fails to let his main character ever get too far away from his illness (save, one trippy, weed-infused-Macaroon induced interlude), and most of his ordeals seem to gravitate around his need to just not be alone during this horribly scary time in his young life. Fortunately, Levine sees where this obvious romantic storyline could easily and quickly develop to, and diverts it quite well.

The story and the plot will no doubt captivate audiences and win over anyone who has a heart, but honestly, if it wasn’t for the heart-string-tugging subject matter, this film would not be getting all the critical attention it has been since it’s release last weekend. All of the principle actors have been in much funnier and even somewhat heartwarmier films in recent years: Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer, Kendrick in Up in the Air, and Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, but regardless this is great date movie material and well worth the time and ticket prices in the current market of films this month.