Sunday, March 17, 2013

Warm Bodies

    Yes, it's another zombie movie but it has a clever twist. "Warm Bodies" asks the question, what if zombies still have a shred of humanity buried within them and still maintain memories? Nicholas Hoult stars as "R", a teenage zombie who spends his life shuffling around an airport in search of human flesh. R speaks to the audience in voice over, explaining his situation but is definitely undead.

      Like most zombie movies, its never explained why the planet has become over run with zombies but of course there is always a small band of humans left trying to survive. When Julie, played by Theresa Palmer ventures out on a supply run with her boyfriend and a few others, they are attacked by R and other zombies. It's at this point, our twist is set in motion and the story becomes rather clever. Of course, it's an obvious zombie take on Romeo and Juliet when R and Julie fall in love but it's all in good fun when love literally sparks life. 

        Ms. Palmer and Mr. Hoult are both very attractive teen actors and have good chemistry together. In a bit of strange casting, John Malkovich is Julie's dad and the leader of the humans. This is not the usual type of film you would expect to find John Malkovich but I guess every actor needs a regular paycheck. Rob Corddry, on the other hand is perfect as R's zombie "best friend"... for lack of another term.

          "Warm Bodies" is probably already gone from theaters by now as the Spring crop of films begin to arrive but it's worth a viewing paired with "Night of The Living Dead".

Oz, The Great & Powerful

     A terrific idea with a disappointing result. As a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz", it's definitely fun to revisit Oz itself and learn how the wizard became the all powerful Oz. And course, we want to know how the witches ended up on their destiny's path but lackluster direction from Sam Rami and a miscast James Franco diminish what really could have been magical.

      Mr. Franco stars but his energy level is far below what we would expect from the con man who defeats the wicked witches and wins the heart of Glinda. What saves the film from being a complete dud are the fantastic visuals and the performances of Michelle Williams as Glinda, Rachel Weitz as Evanora, and Milla Kunis as Theodora.

        Especially in 3-D, the film looks beautiful and in a nod to the original, starts in black & white in the Kansas scenes and then turns to color when Mr. Franco arrives in Oz. For an adventure of this nature, you would expect more from Mr. Rami but the director moves the film ever so slowly toward it's big climax. There are some clever nods to the original and moments of intelligent wit but it's a dull trip down the yellow brick road. Kids will probably enjoy it although the flying baboons may be frightening for little ones.