Review: Warm Bodies (2013)

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The zombie genre has had a surge of popularity as of recently.  From The Walking Dead to the upcoming World War Z (2013), zombie’s seem to be everywhere in popular culture nowadays.

So in the midst of this flesh eating gore fest of a genre, we’ve got Warm Bodies (2013), based on the book by Isaac Marion, which takes a different kind of approach to the typical zombie film.

Warm-Bodies-r-warm-bodies-33683203-1200-825R (Nicholas Hoult) is an unusually introspective zombie who longs to feel human again. When he and a group of other zombies are feeding on a group of human’s who are scavenging for supplies, he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) and feels an urge to protect her, rather than attack and eat her flesh.  As their friendship develops, R starts to become more human.  Witnessing this change in him, the other zombies start to regain their humanity back as well. And together, humans and zombies must bridge the gap between them and protect each other from a mutual threat: the “Bonies”.

I never got to see Warm Bodies in theaters, but I’ve been wanting to see this for some time now, even though it kind of reminded me of a zombie version of Twilight when I saw some of the trailers for it.  However, it looked different, and I was curious.  There is a love story in this movie: R and Julie (Romeo and Juliet, anybody?).  However, it’s not the complete focus or theme of the film.  Warm Bodies is not a zombie version of Twilight because it possesses not only a better love story, but also a better plot in general, as well as better acting.

Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer are great.  They brought personality to their charactersWarmBodies and I loved watching them on screen- together and separately.  The rest of the cast does a good job on their part, but film mainly focuses on Hoult and Palmer.  I especially enjoyed Hoult because he brought life to a character that is a lifeless monster.  It was fun to watch.

I really enjoyed the tone in the film.  For a movie about the zombie apocalypse, it was quite humorous.  I mean, there were serious parts in the film where it was necessary, but they never lasted long enough to put a damper on the rest of the film.

But one of the most interesting things about Warm Bodies is that it is told from the point of view of a zombie, something that I’ve never seen done before.  R longs to feel human WARM BODIESagain: he wants to feel emotion, dream, and connect with the world around him.  He collects objects like vinyl records because it makes him feel more alive.  I found this whole concept so interesting because I felt myself relating to R, even though he’s a zombie and I’m a human.  But, like R, as humans, we want to connect with others; we all have emotions, dreams, goals, and conflicts; we all long for companionship.  I mean, I know on occasion I’ve used the phrase “I feel like a zombie” anytime I’ve ever felt disoriented or depressed or so stressed out about life that I would just shut down and stop thinking.  It kind of reminded me of the social commentary on consumer culture that George Romero made with Dawn of Dead (1978), minus the fact that there’s no emphasis on consumer culture in Warm Bodies.  The lesson that can be taken from the movie is that the only necessities that humans truly need to be happy aren’t materialistic ones.

Keep in mind though, even though I just went into analysis mode with this movie, Warm Bodies isn’t a masterpiece in any way whatsoever.  It’s more “date night” material, if you will and it doesn’t really offer a definitive reason for why the zombies start to become human again; but I would argue that we never really get a definitive answer for the origins of the zombie virus that infects humanity in zombie films either… Also, if you’re looking for horror and gore, this is not the movie for you: it’s not scary or gory at all.

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In short, Warm Bodies is simply a pretty cool movie.  It’s entertaining, has good acting, a good plot, and is an interesting take on the zombie genre.

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Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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I didn’t anticipate that it would take me this long to see Silver Linings Playbook (2012)!  I meant to see it when it was released in theaters, however, other things got in the way.  In the meantime, I had heard some good things about it, and some not so good things.  So when I finally watched this movie, I tried to clear all that out of my head so that I could form my own opinion… with only a little bit of bias I suppose.

246_SLP-09226[1]--621x414Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has just been released from a mental institution and moves back in with his parents (Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver).  His goals include getting his old job back, reconciling and reconnecting with his ex-wife, and trying to find the “silver linings” in his life.  This proves tough, however, as he is also trying to deal with his bipolar disorder.  When he meets a girl named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), they form a friendship that ends up helping one another in more ways than they imagined.

Fun fact about Silver Linings Playbook: if you ever wanted to know what my hometown of Upper Darby looked like, all you would have to do is watch this movie because it was filmed there!  I remember all the hype going on during the making of this movie, and how annoying it could get (thank you strange movie person for the directions, I had no idea how to maneuver around the town I’ve lived in my entire life).  However, it was really cool seeing some familiar places featured in the film like the Llanerch Diner, Prendie, and the Lansdowne Theater.

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Back to the film… I didn’t really know what to expect from it.  It seemed like it was marketed as a rom-com but watching it, it definitely didn’t feel that way even with the romance factor present.  It was so much more than that.  The film is basically about people trying to deal with their mental illness, and life in general.  It’s crazy at times, as well as heartbreaking.  There was a bit of a cynical tone to the movie, which I appreciated because I can be quite a cynical person, however it was balanced out nicely with the positive message that is portrayed- there is always a silver lining, you just have to find it.  It may take time, but if you try to be positive and let go of all the negativity that life throws at you, you’ll be able to attain it.

silver-linings-playbook-review3Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were great in this film.  Cooper’s always been one of those actors who played that douche bag in that one movie, so it was nice seeing him take on a more serious role; and boy did he nail it!  Lawrence is one of Hollywood’s best young actresses at the moment and she does a fine job next to Cooper, which earned her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.  The supporting cast also does a great job and really helped tie the movie together.

If you go into Silver Linings Playbook with the idea that it’s some generic romantic comedy, then you’re dead wrong.  The film deals with mental illness, and real emotions that people go through, while reminding us that we’re all kind of “off our rockers” in some way.  It’s a film about seeing the positive in seemingly impossible situations.