Weekend Viewing Roundup & Warm Bodies Review

It’s a pretty uneventful weekend for me movie-wise, but I got to meet up my old college buddy I haven’t seen in years! So it was a lovely weekend in that regard though she’s as far away from being a cinephile as it gets. The last movie she saw at the theater was Nacho Libre, ahahaha.

TheFamilyPosterWell, I didn’t get to the theater nor any screenings this past week. I’m definitely NOT missing out on The Getaway based on Terrence’s review, ahah, it looks so darn awful from the trailer alone. I am looking forward to screenings in the next two weeks though, I’ve rsvp-ed for Don Jon, Gravity, and Runner, Runner. Oh and also the mafia comedy The Family w/ Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. Trailer looks meh but I’m hoping it’ll still be good with a cast of THIS caliber.

So this weekend I only watched Warm Bodies and rewatched one of my fave Bond films, The Living Daylights. I guess I was inspired by Zoë’s excellent review recently where she praised Dalton’s take as Bond (atta girl!) So yeah, TLD AND Dalton as 007 is still as awesome as the first time I saw it.

Here’s my review from this weekend:

WarmBodiesPoster

I’ve been curious about this zombie comedy for quite some time as lots of people seem to love it. Now, I’m not a fan of the popular Zombie sub-genre, I think I’ve only like one zombie movie and that is Shaun of the Dead (I love 28 Days Later too, but that one is SO much more than just a zombie movie).

As with most zombie movies, some sort of plague has come over the world which render most humans to become walking corpses. This movie still pretty much subscribe to what we typically assume about zombies: they walk slowly, they eat brains and of course they look like decayed corpses, though the zombies in this movie seem to look far less gory, and sometimes they’re pretty agile too. One twist in this story, which was based on a novel by Isaac Marion, there are certain levels of being undead. There are Zombies and there are Boneys, which are zombies who’ve lost all traces of their humanity and flesh, so basically they’re skeletal zombies, preying on anything with a heartbeat.

Being that it’s a zombie romance, of course it’s entirely predictable that the protagonist R (as he no longer remembers his real name), falls for a human girl and saves her from a horde of fellow zombies. The first meeting of R & Julie amidst a zombie attack isn’t exactly a meet-cute, but it’s certainly amusing. After having eaten up her boyfriend, R ends up saving Julie (Palmer) and takes her to his house, which was a discarded plane. Because zombies talk like lobotomized Tarzan, the VO narration helps us get into R’s head. He a pretty astute thinker for being a zombie, ahah. Of course this being a fantasy horror flick, absurdity is to be expected, but even so I feel that Julie is way too soon to be so comfortable with R. I guess I could see it with vampires as they have this cool, sexy vibe about ‘em, but flesh-eating zombies are just gross. In any case, R & Julie got on pretty quickly. The scenes of them playing together, listening to records, etc. reminds me of 80s/90s rom-coms. The soundtrack is a hoot, I grew up listening to songs by John Waite (Missing You), Guns N’ Roses (Patience), Bruce Springsteen (Hungry Heart), etc. which gives this movie a retro feel of sort.

WarmBodiesStills

So what happens next is also predictable. The warm relationship he has with Julie somehow revives his humanity and there’s a scene where his heart actually starts beating once more. It’s an interesting twist on how our heart ‘skip a beat’ when we’re in love, ahah. Not only is this change affects R, but this odd transformation ends up spreading to the undead population like a virus. None of this is explained very well in the movie, just like we never really know how they got infected in the first place. Now, some critics call this a Romeo & Juliet story with zombie. Heh, apart from the balcony scene, and that ‘R’ might stand for Romeo with his Julie(t), it’s not exactly an apt comparison.

Thankfully, some of the inconsistencies and clunky dialog didn’t derail the movie. Both Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer (a Brit & Aussie sporting believable American accent) are more than serviceable. In fact, Hoult is a bit better — and ironically more soulful — here than in the abominable Jack & The Giant Slayer. Palmer’s face & lithe figure at times reminds me of Kristen Stewart, but she’s a hundred times more expressive! John Malkovich is entirely wasted here though, he probably could do this role in his sleep, ahah.

I enjoyed this enough but I’m quite puzzled by the high rating (81% Rotten Tomato score?) as overall it’s just ok, but not great. It’s not in the same league as Jonathan Levine‘s previous film 50/50, which I’d think is far more challenging project given the difficult subject matter. I do appreciate the fact that this one is reinvention of a popular horror genre, but I don’t think it’s all that groundbreaking. In terms of a novelty twist in a classic genre, I actually like the vampire thriller Daybreakers a lot more than this one. This one does have some fun moments though, that scene where R told Julie to walk like a zombie so she doesn’t get eaten is hilarious! It’s definitely better than Twilight (but what movie isn’t?) and the humorous tone makes it all the more watchable.

3 out of 5 reels


Well, that’s my weekend roundup folks. What did YOU watch this weekend?

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53 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup & Warm Bodies Review

  1. I just got back to some serious film-watching today after taking a week off. I saw “The World’s End” (awesome) and the U.S. cut of “The Grandmaster” (terrible, the Chinese cut was way better) but neither of them was nothing compared to the trailer of “Bad Grandpa”. OMG, I laughed my ass off seeing that trailer.

  2. I was surprised how much I liked ‘Warm Bodies’. It’s not great, but it was kinda fun. And I’m looking forward to ‘The Family’, if for nothing but that cast. Thanks, Ruth.

    • Yeah, it was fun indeed. It helps that they got a decent cast for the two leads. Oh yeah, the cast of The Family is what sold me. Tommy Lee Jones is pure comedic gold IMO!

  3. I didn’t see any new movies over the weekend, it’s football season so that’s mostly what i watched, still fuming about the Vikings’ loss. Although now that I have Chromecast, I’ve finally watched the first season of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I’m officially addicted to it.

    Warm Bodies looks interesting, not something I’d want to see right away. I appreciate they’re trying to do something new with the zombie genre but it looks too silly to me. Yeah 28 Days Later is my favorite zombie movie too, Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead comes a close second.

    • Interesting choices for favorite zombie flick. Nothing comes close to beating the original Night of the Living Dead for me. It’s my favorite horror movie of all time. I liked 28 Days Later but I always start losing interest in the final act. For me the movie begins to either lose its focus or just focus on things that didn’t interest me at all.

      • I like Romero’s original zombie flick, very creepy and well made but I just loved what Boyle did with 28 Days Later. He kick started the trend where zombies can move fast instead of just movie like turtles, lol. I also loved the final act of 28 Days Later, it showed that the ugliest monsters aren’t the zombies but humans.

      • Hi Keith, yeah I think the first half of 28 Days Later is much tighter, as the final act is too action-packed. I do like Cillian Murphy’s excellent performance, and a young Naomie Harris (Skyfall) in a pretty memorable role.

    • Hi Ted, sorry to hear about the Vikings. Ivan stopped watching after 2nd quarter, it was a terrible game. I think Ponder’s days here are numbered. I like Cranston but I don’t know if I can get into Breaking Bad though.

      Warm Bodies is interesting, esp. if you’re a fan of the zombie genre. It does have a lot of silly stuff, though probably intentional.

      • Yeah it’s such a shame that Ponder is the team’s QB, I believe the Vikings can win the Superbowl this year if they have a competent QB. He basically cost the team the game yesterday, nothing new there.

        You know I didn’t expect to like Breaking Bad, just wanted to find out what all fuss was about and I was surprised how funny the show is. It does have some intense moments but the writing and the story is quite excellent.

        • Yep, I think Ponder’s probably gonna be traded off pretty soon, I don’t think anyone’s been happy w/ his performance.

          That’s cool about Breaking Bad. I actually read a lot of reviews and no doubt it’s a great show. I just don’t think I can get into the subject matter and violence in it though.

  4. No movies here either. The cruddy theater season continues and the one film I was anxious for (The Hunt) left Thursday before I could see it.

    I thought Warm Bodies was a nice surprise, at least the first half. In fact, I laughed a lot during the first half. But for me it grew weaker as it got later in. Unfortunately I deflated what was a fun film. Still a 3 or 3.5 for me. Don’t remember which I gave it.

    • Oh boy, sorry to hear The Hunt already left your theaters, such a bummer! Be sure to rent it in Blu-ray Keith, the cinematography is gorgeous!

      Yeah, lots of funny stuff going on in the first half of Warm Bodies, it was a fun nod to the genre though overall it’s not really that groundbreaking to me.

  5. Good review, Ruth, I liked Warm Bodies a bit more than you did, agree the soundtrack is indeed excellent. As you mention, I think there’s some social commentary there, about yearning to be alive again, but often falling victim to habits. Plus that being in love, makes us feel more human, and can change how we perceive the world.
    Seems there are parallels to the classic zombie movie Dawn of the Dead (1978), the zombie’s aimless walking, and their mindless bumping into each other, which maybe is pointing a finger at inhuman behavior today, when people listen to their ipods, and look at cell phones, barely acknowledging people around them.

    • Hi Chris! WOW, interesting what you got out of this one, sounds very deep! I guess now that you think about it, the commentary of how we’ve become zombie-like with our iPhones, mobile phones, etc. is there, though I didn’t make the connection whilst I was watching it, ahah. I do like the idea that love can change us for the better, however cheesy it may sound :D

  6. Still have not seen Warm Bodies, but I did watch World War Z this past weekend and I really liked it! Saw quite a lot of other movies as well: The Big Hit, We’re the Millers, Star Trek Into Darkness and Profile of a Killer. Enjoyed most of them….

    • Hi Nostra! Oh I actually haven’t seen World War Z yet but that one intrigues me as well. It’s got a more serious tone than this one but I like the fact that both of these aren’t the typical gory zombie flicks which I don’t care for. Glad you saw a bunch of movies and enjoyed ‘em, I do like the new Star Trek sequel and We’re The Millers is surprisingly funnier than I’d imagine.

      • I was asked if I wanted to see a screener of Profile of a Killer. I could ask the producer if they can contact you about it if you want (I assume they would like an extra review of the film)

  7. Would you believe I watched Warm Bodies? I was intrigued by the trailers when they were first released but never made it to the movie theatre to see it. I agree with your review that it was okay and not great and I saw that number on Rotten Tomatoes and wondered about it, too.

    • Hi Brenda! I take it you’re not a zombie genre fan either? Yeah I was intrigued by the good reviews, but I’m glad I didn’t go to the theaters to see it. It was fun but only worth a rental. I think my comedic taste is totally opposite of critics, ahah.

  8. Hi, Ruth:

    Nice choices and critiques!

    Evidently, feigning being a flesh eating Zombie is very much a Stanislavski “Method Acting” kind of thing. An interesting idea that panned out at about 2/3 of a good film.

    I’m hoping De Niro can redeem himself comedically as the patriarch of a mobster family on the run when not in hiding. The dialogues between De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones have all kinds of potential to be awesome!

    • Some actors subscribe to zombie ‘method acting’ even when not required! :D Hoult is perhaps the most soulful zombie I’ve ever seen on film, ahahahaha

      Yeah, I so hope The Family is good. I LOVE Jones effortless comedic style, he really was the highlight in Captain America with his deadpan delivery. I like DeNiro but I don’t hold him in a pedestal like most cinephiles.

  9. Good review Ruth. Tres as LTBM also reviewed this and he isn’t much of a zombie lover either. I liked you comment about Palmer looking like Kristen Stewart at time, I thought the same thing! And you’re right on about Malkovich. I wonder why he was even cast there in the first place. Just not much for him to do.

    • I think there’s an exception to every genre, though I don’t usually seek out zombie movies, ahah.

      From certain angles I thought she could be Kristen’s blond sister! Malkovich is just phoning in his performance, but can’t exactly blame him as he’s not given anything to do!

  10. “It’s definitely better than Twilight (but what movie isn’t?)” LOL.

    I think they are in similar genre, except this one is zombie, not vampires. And the leading actress looked like blonde Kristen Stewart. This is definitely better. But the funny thing is, as I watched this and think how a movie can be spooky and funny at the same time, it’s like Indonesian horror comedy TV series, only this one have a beautiful life lesson in it (and executed very well). Sorry you didn’t like it better. Guess it was predictable. I love the soundtrack too!

    • He..he.. I have to put that in there as it’s also a twist on a horror genre w/ a young cast. Plus w/ Palmer looking like Kristen Stewart I just can’t help it. She’s a much better and more likable actress though, even more impressed by the fact that she’s an Aussie. Both of their American accent are spot on! I enjoyed it enough but it’s not exactly a great movie or anything.

      Oh, there’s a horror comedy TV series in Indo? What’s it called?

        • Ahahahahaha! Pocong! It’s been a while since I heard that. That’s even more gross than a zombie! I kinda think the zombies in Warm Bodies are way too pretty though, I mean Nicholas Hoult is gorgeous even as an undead! :D

  11. I still haven’t seen Warm Bodies the main reason for which I want to see it is Malkovich so it’s disappointing to read he was wasted here. RT ratings are nuts these days – The World’s End has 90% and it was an awful film.

    • Hi Sati! Oh no, if you want to see Malkovich in this, I won’t bother. He’s not in it very much. Have you seen RED and RED 2, he’s sooo hilarious in those and have a lot of scenes, too.

      Yeah, I don’t put much stock into RT scores anymore. At least in comedies it seems I almost always disagree. Yeah, The World’s End is really not that funny, I wonder sometimes if they’re watching the same movie?? I mean, I LOVE the cast but it doesn’t always translate to a good movie.

  12. I saw Ironclad (2011) James Purefoy stars in this tale based on true events. After King John (Paul Giamatti) went through the motions of signing the Magna Carta in 1215, he hired mercenaries from Denmark and took out violent, bloody and cruel revenge on the barons who supported it. James is superb, as usual, but now I need a modern day, silly comedy where no gets killed as an antidote!

    • Ahah, you’ve been indulging on Mr. Purefoy lately haven’t you? I might check this one out but maybe after Solomon Kane ;)

      I also indulged in watching Timothy Dalton this weekend so I guess we both got a dose of sexy Brits :D

  13. Yeah, I’d give Warm Bodies the same rating. I watched some films from 2007 this weekend, including Death Proof, Sunshine and Lust, Caution. I also rewatched Atonement and American Gangster.

  14. Like you I’ve got low expectations for The Family and reading through your comments the lack of interest doesn’t auger well. As it doesn’t release here in The UK until October I’ll be interested to hear what you think if you do see it.

    • Hello Paul! I will go see it tomorrow, even if it’s just for the cast. I quite like Tommy Lee Jones in comedies, he’s got such a deadpan delivery that’s so fun to watch. I’m sure Michelle’ll be great in it as well.

  15. For some reason, I wasn’t aware Jonathan Levine directed Warm Bodies. I loved 50/50, but I’m not sure I will be too keen on a zombie romcom.

    I caught up on my project a bit over the weekend. It’s getting to be crunch time, and I still have nearly 20 movies to go… will be a tight fit!

    • Yeah, I love 50/50, it’s heartbreaking but also hilarious. Ahah well if you’re a big fan of Romero’s zombie movies I figure you might not be so into Warm Bodies.

      WOW, 20 movies to go? By year’s end you mean right? You’ve got such discipline on this project, Eric, well done!

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