Hot Tickets! US Movie Releases: Nicholas Hoult Stars In Zom Com 'Warm Bodies,' Stellar Cast Can't Save 'Stand Up Guys,' Another Stallone Doozy In 'Bullet To The Head'
We’re going to ease in to our round-up of this week’s movie releases, by starting with the ‘above average’ and moving gently down the quality scale, to the truly awful. We already know, by the fact that Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is riding high at the top of the box office, that there is literally no accounting for taste, so we will no longer try to influence your movie-going habits. We will simply present you with the facts and leave you to queue for your popcorn.
First up, Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer star in Warm Bodies, a zombie comedy that gets the laughs from Hoult’s slightly unusual zombie character who decides to save a living human, rather than chomp down on her arteries for a nice snack. Of course, that living human happens to be an attractive young female, in the form of Teresa Palmer (who, for the record, looks a lot like Kristen Stewart in this movie). John Malkovich also stars in this zom-com, which is a little bit ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ (pretending to be a zombie? Been there, done that) but looks like an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours.
Richard Roper of Chicago Sun-Times came up trumps with the most enthusiastic review so far, writing “I kinda love this movie. "Warm Bodies" is a well-paced, nicely directed, post-apocalyptic love story with a terrific sense of humor and the, um, guts to be unabashedly romantic and unapologetically optimistic.”
Stand Up Guys boasts an excellent cast. Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin. Truly, the great and the good of Hollywood are in this movie. So it must be a good movie, right? Wrong. Noah Haidle (writer) and Fisher Stevens (director) have taken a half-joke (the characters are con-men… but get this… they’re… OLD… yawn) and stretched all of the funny out of it.
Blasted by most critics as a waste of serious acting talent, Roger Ebert is among the few that reckon the cast just about saves Stand Up Guys. For others, though, it’s simply not enough. “There is a sense that everyone, this treasure trove of talent included, is waiting for something to happen, some bit of alchemy that will make the story coalesce into a whole and take it beyond the jokes about Viagra, hookers and regrets,” writes Mary F. Pois for TIME Magazine. It’s not looking good for this star-studded dud.
From a comedy that doesn’t appear to be all that funny, to a horror movie that doesn’t seem all that scary. A sequel to The Haunting In Connecticut, entitled The Haunting In Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia, this movie centers of a family that move into a rickety old house in the middle of nowhere that has a history tied up in the underground railroads during the days of the American slave trade.
Django Unchained, this ain’t, folks. Just another tired modern horror, making use of an angelic young girl getting scared in the woods, to try and spook us. It’s the Poltergeist template – little blonde girl gets taken by bad thing – but instead of an Indian burial ground and joints of meat wriggling across the kitchen worktop, we have the atrocity of the slave trade underpinning the haunting, here. Mark Olsen of Los Angeles Times is unimpressed: “the filmmakers trot out slavery as a general sins-of-the-past signifier and then have no idea what to really do with such a painful real-world issue.”
And, finally, a real doozy. Bullet To The Head. We’ve already asked the question, “is this Sylvester Stallone’s worst movie?” and whilst we couldn’t quite commit to that, it’s right up there with some of his worst. We are not alone in thinking that Stallone’s latest venture is better off avoided. For us, the biggest problem with Bullet To The Head is that it has a lead actor (Stallone, in case you’re wondering) who cannot speak properly. We seem to have forgiven this highly paid Hollywood actor this oversight, thus far, but enough’s enough, surely?
A damning, yet sugar-coated comment from Manohla Dargis of New York Times here: “No one here seems to notice that there's not much going on, including Mr. Stallone, which somehow makes it easier to watch.”