Movie Review: Warm Bodies

ANYONE who knows me knows I love me my Zombie films.  Lately there have been a lot of Zombie films too.  We’re sort of in a zombie renaissance.  I feel we’ve reached a point now too where there are so many that the only real point of producing new ones is to mess with the formula.  Perhaps that’s why Romero’s last two films were not really all that well received…  where he was once experimenting with the formula he himself developed, his last two were really more of the same.  Maybe I’m being a little harsh, I haven’t actually seen Survival of the Dead (so I am only going by heresay, but the heresay on it is pretty one note) but I can’t imagine anyone really standing up for Diary of the Dead.  It can’t stand up to any of his earlier efforts, even Land of the Dead (Romero’s only full on mainstream film I can think of).

In any case, I’m getting a little side tracked.  Continuing the trend of monkeying with the formula, Warm Zombies…  I mean Bodies was just released.  It’s not particularly heavy or deep, but it is a lot of fun, very sweet, and more then a little heart warming.  It may be the first Zombie movie I can think of with told from the Zombie’s perspective, with a zombie protagonist.  On that note it does cheat a little.  I don’t mind the inner dialogue of “R” (he can’t remember his name, only that it starts with R) but they do have trouble straddling the line of mindless automaton, and thinking and feeling zombie.  It’s a difficult juggling act, which they don’t completely succeed in, making the zombies a little inconsistent from one scene to the next, but given what they are trying to do with the story, it’s hard to imagine how it could have been handled differently.  Zombie movies tend to be very much about setting up a system of rules, and then showcasing what those rules mean for the universe, and here they aren’t able to follow there own rules 100 percent, so you end up with a few leaps of logic that don’t make a lot of sense.  It’s a minor nitpick though, and remember we’re talking about a movie involving walking corpses who not only eat human brains, but literally eat their memories.  That leads me to an interesting point in this film, they introduce a new rule to the mix where zombies experience the memories of their victims by eating their brains.  This to my knowledge has never been suggested before, but makes a good explanation for why zombies specifically eat brains, but still leaving the more general carnivorous proclivities intact.

One thing I find interesting about the whole genre, is by and large there has been a shift in tone from one of general hopelessness to one that actually feels rather uplifting.  This is strange because right now it seems to me that most movies and genres are actually trending the exact opposite.  Everyone seems to have a very poor outlook on the future right now, but looking at the modern state of Zombie films, you have a feeling of “We’re gonna make it after all”.  Maybe the makers of Zombie films just feel that hopelessness has been played out.  In any case, this movie has as hopeful a message as you could possibly want.  Not only would we survive the zombie apocalypse, but one day will learn to be best friends with the zombies!  (it doesn’t come across QUITE as cheesy in the movie)  This I think is very nice message for our times.  I think the hopeful outlook is something people need right now.

The actors mostly acquit themselves nicely, though the heroine is really kindof a bit bland.  John Malcovich is always a nice addition to any movie, and though he is a bit underused as the heroines obsessed militaristic father, his few scenes really shine.  “M” is also a very nice character played in an unusually strait manner by the usually comic Rob Corddry.  He is R’s best friend whom R often ALMOST has conversations with!  And of course we come to the protagonist, R, who really steals the whole show.  His “inner monologue” if it can be called that, really holds the whole thing together, and makes you feel for this mindless automaton.  He also handles his gradual transition from traditional moaning and groaning zombie to thinking feeling and speaking “almost” human quite well.  He is played by Nicholas Holt who seems to be a bit of an up and comer right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his career take off in the next few years.

All in all, 8 out of 10 stars!  (I’m not really very good at quantifying my ratings….  I may have to put some thought into a more coherent ratings scale!)

Bonus Review:  Die Hard 57 – Yippy-Ki-Yay?  Yippy-Ki-Nay Mother F&^%er!

Movie Review: Alex Cross

I’m certainly not the biggest Tyler Perry fan in the world.  So, when Ellen said she wanted to see Alex Cross, I have to admit to some morbid curiosity over how on earth Tyler Perry of all people could ever take over a role from the great Morgan Freeman.  Tyler Perry as it turns out, is no Morgan Freeman.  But in his defense, Morgan Freeman couldn’t have made this garbage heap of a “film” (quotes added for sarcastic effect) any better.  In fact Tyler Perry, in an unusual display of restraint on his part, is the best thing about this movie.  When Tyler Perry is the best part of your movie… you have problems.

Where to begin…  The script is the easiest target I guess.  If I turned this in for my final in my BEGINNERS screenwriting class, I would have flunked hard!  Alex Cross is a detective, a doctor, and a brilliant mind.  How do we know this?  We are told.  Repeatedly.  One character even goes out of his way several times to call him “Detective Doctor Cross”.  But the only actual detective work we see him do, is to “decipher” how On-star works, and “deduce” that a drawing the bad guy left at a murder scene is in actuality a mad fold-in revealing his next target.  Yeah.  He is followed around by his best friend, whose only purpose in the film seems to be to constantly spout “we’ve been best friends all our lives.”  He does NOTHING else in the movie.  I guess Hollywood felt the “film” (once again, sarcastic effect) didn’t have enough white.  Also in this movie is Alex Cross’s wife, who we are told is pregnant, whose sole purpose is to get killed, and provide motivation for our hero, and Agent Sever (Criminal Minds joke there) who is apparently banging Cross’s best friend.  This is, according to several characters, against the rules.  Why?  No one says, but then no one really seems to care that they are so blatantly breaking the rules anyhow.  She’ll be dead twenty minutes in anyway, only in the movie to provide motivation for Cross and Best Friend anyhow.  And I guess to up the white quotient a little more.  The script constantly “tells” us everything.  Characters aren’t developed, we are only “told” who they are supposed to be.  The story is completely incoherent, making one illogical leap after another.  At one point the “heroes” break into a jail, knock out and tie up a policeman, steal evidence, and give it to a man they know to be a murderer, ensuring he will get off scott free, just to get the name of the drug dealer to the man they are after.  And then there is Cross’s nana, who could have been Medea if Perry had decided he wanted a second role, but instead went to an actress with even less talent.

Which brings me to to the acting.  Tyler Perry actually tries to make his character believable, but he can do little with terrible dialogue, and brain dead decisions given to his character.  NO ONE ELSE is even trying.  His best friend says his lines, and checks out.  Rachel Nichols essentially plays the same character she did on Criminal Minds, and then dies.  The sarcastic doctor from scrubs plays….  the sarcastic doctor from scrubs in a police uniform.  And Jean Reno sits around looking embarrassed wondering where his career went.

With all this, maybe a descent director could have salvaged SOMETHING.  But instead, they hired Rob “Stealth, xXx, The Mummy 3” Cohen.  Ask for #@%^, and ye shale receive.

If you were hoping this movie would be good, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Save your money and go see James Bond when it comes out.

On a side note, I saw the preview for the next Twilight, and I’m left wondering what third rate video game animators they hired to do the awful special effects.