I know, I know. I have continuously failed to update this blog with fully-written reviews of the films I’ve seen in 2013. Part of the reason is because of my rigorous job at Darien Lake, but I don’t tend to play blame games. I’ve become exceedingly lazing in keeping up with my writing, I’ll admit it. That being the case, justice must be served. Listed here in alphabetical order will be my reviews of all releases in 2013. Each review is out of four stars as always.
56 Up — 4 stars — The eighth chapter in Michael Apted’s “Up” series catches up with the original group of orphans he has interviewed every seven years. He started this project with Seven Up! in 1964, interviewing a group of orphans in Britain how they wanted to grow up. How did they feel about marriage, about having kids of their own? What was their view of the world thus far? To everyone’s amazement, all of the original kids are still alive for the latest edition to this series. Some are recently are still marries, some were married in previous parts of the series but have since been divorced. Apted has done something revolutionary here. Every seven years he allows his viewers to peak into certain lives, subsequently allowing ourselves to peak further into our own lives. That’s Apted’s main goal: for his viewers to ask themselves how much they’ve changed the past seven years.
A Dark Truth — 1 star — I won’t lie to you. I had to read the plot synopsis of this film on IMDb to confirm I had seen it. I wish I had done so instead of actually watching this easily forgettable, sorry excuse of cinema. This is another of those films that appears randomly thrown together for the sake of being made because that’s what studios do, I guess. This is a waste of time, energy and space on this post.
A Good Day to Die Hard — 1.5 stars — During John McClane’s tenure as America’s Superman from the Bronx, he has killed so many terrorists, sometimes professionally, sometimes accidentally. He and his family should be in the Witness Protection Program by now, and be paid handsomely for nearly sacrificing himself since that daunting night at the Nakatomi Tower. But no, John still doesn’t even receive affection from his son, he says the ancient movie cliche “You were never there, Dad.” If my Dad was John McClane, and I assure you he isn’t, I would idolize him and ask him to teach me his moves in case I need to halt a global threat or two. 25 years after the first film, this time John and his son, Jack (Jai Courtney, a great villain in Jack Reacher), are the only capable men to stop a threat in Russia. I mean, it is Russia, it doesn’t have a competent military or anything. The film adds up to nothing more than a slideshow of shaky, incomprehensible bullet fests with the bad guys having Stormtrooper Syndrome, and the good guys rarely missing a target. Bruce Willis seems especially tired here, and doesn’t even pretend like he’s having fun replaying the most iconic role of his career. Unfortunately, this is the first bad film in the Die Hard series. Yet hope still shimmers for this franchise, and so I calmly brush this nonsense aside and hope they get it right next time. Hiring someone other than director John Moore, who hasn’t directed a good action film yet, would be a start.
A Haunted House — 3 stars — It seems I may be alone on giving this raunchy comedy a positive review, but so be it. I found Marlon Wayans’ screenplay careful not to tread into total ineptness. He was very knowledgeable about the handheld horror genre when writing and acting out this material. He’s charming and likable on the screen, and I look forward to his next picture.
Allegiance — 1.5 stars — An army medic learns his son back in the states is terminally ill. His Lieutenant attempts to help him go AWOL to see his son one last time. That’s all there is to this simpleminded waste of footage. None of the characters are credible enough to seem real, we don’t care about what happens to them… and here I go again, repeating myself about a similar problem in another bad movie. Maybe one day all filmmakers will think of the audience first before choosing to make a cheap dollar off of something that isn’t worth Abe’s nostril on a penny.
All Superheroes Must Die — 1 star — All Superheroes Must Die is to filmmaking as Lebron James is to basket weaving. This project exploits no imagination or inspiration from its creator Jason Trost, who directed, wrote, produced, edited and starred in the lead role. He is the leader of four superheroes who wake up to a Saw-esque situation of a man on a TV telling them to follow his instructions so no one gets hurt. The characters and their dialogue are all recycled from melodramatic monster flicks on the Sci-Fi network. Every scene is so bad it’s hysterical, yet at least these guys looked like they had fun making this mess with less than a shoestring budget. So it has that going for it.
Baytown Outlaws, The — .5 star — I would have payed good money to sit in on the conference meeting between the screenwriters and the members of the studio that funded this project. “Okay guys, so our movie will follow another band of stereotypical rednecks borrowed from Deliverance,” the writers say. “Keep going, we’re interested,” respond the studio executives. “Great! Like we were saying, our rednecks meet a beautiful woman whose godson is kidnapped by generic villains we’ve seen in the past. Then countless Mexican standoffs will ensue, the bad guys die, the redneck gets the girl, and there you have a movie.” That must have been one offer impossible to pass up.
Beautiful Creatures — 3 stars — Boy, the trailers really misguided me on this one. I avoided premiering this picture, in fear it was a defective attempt to cash in on the popularity of Twilight. While it may have been, I never felt so while watching Beautiful Creatures, which is better than any of the Twilight pictures. Most of the success stems from the two leads, Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena (Alice Englert), who aren’t overwritten with gushy dialogue. Ethan is a good ol’ boy, who feels an inexplicable connection with the new girl in town. She accepts his love, and nothing could possibly ruin it. But, oh no! She reveals she is a witch! This gimmick didn’t seem phony to me, because we learn of the witch cult that raised Lena. When she turns 16 years old, she will be overcome by either the forces of light or darkness, because what other forces could there be? The forces of grey? Of course, if she continues to love Ethan, she will be taken over by the darkness for sure. This all adds up to another metaphor for teenage chastity, much like the Twilight saga. But this couple’s love is so sweet and involving, I couldn’t help but root for them.
Bullet to the Head — 1.5 stars — Sylvester Stallone didn’t have an acting hiatus like Schwarzenegger did, yet the latter actor had a better year in the movies. While Schwarzenegger actually portrayed a character in The Last Stand, Stallone borrows his ancient tough guy persona that hasn’t disappeared since First Blood. This film seems to have time traveled from the 80’s with its disgusting racist puns, mostly directed towards Sung Kang’s character, and Stallone acts like he never left the 80’s. The only excitement came from watching the main villain’s right hand man, played by Jason Momoa, a martial art Swiss army knife. He held more screen presence than Stallon’s racist, tired character did throughout the picture. I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie about him next time around. Or maybe I should be careful of what I wish for.
Broken City — 3 stars — So this is a political thriller that worked for me. Usually, I find myself drowsy after discovering the ensemble of characters of involved, and the labyrinthine conflicts within the ensemble. Political thrillers are often too melodramatic for me, in turn melting the realism away like The Ides of March and Lions for Lambs. Instead we get a coherent and exhilarating thriller involving Detective Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) and Mayor Hostetler (Russel Crowe). The film opens to Taggart standing in the streets holding his firearm; a body lies motionless in front of him, while sirens howl in the background. We steadily get the facts, but I dare not spoil the plot as that’s where all the fun lies. Great performances by Wahlberg as a middle-class hero and Crowe as a corrupt official are refreshing for the tired genre. We believe in these characters, and what they stand for.
Crawlspace — 0 stars — According to IMDb, this role of footage referred to as a movie was only theatrically released in Australia, the UK and Japan. That fact makes me reconsidering visiting those countries.
Freeloaders — 0 stars — One of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen. The people who wrote the script act must have come from Mars. I’m not certain those involved in making this project have ever seen a movie before, or know what one is. This will have audiences sitting there stupefied, having wasted about 77 minutes they will never get back. Don’t be one of those people.
Gangster Squad — 2 stars — A once-in-a-lifetime cast is poisoned by a terrible script that’s predictable and cartoonish in its attempt to portrayal of LA cops in 1949 trying to bring down mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). This is an Unstoppables wannabe, which also had predictable faults but was realistic and hard-hitting. This project seems concocted out of the minor leagues of filmmaking, from the kinds of minds that makes action flicks that target adolescent audiences who crave explosions and gun fights.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters — 0 stars — As I previously reported on my Facebook after having witnessed this film at my beloved Regal Cinemas on Transit Road, following the closing scene of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters I found an apple core beneath my seat and chucked it viciously at the screen. Normally I’m against using cliches in my writing, but I must report this movie literally sent chills in my skin, and every one of those chills wanted to find those involved with this project and send them to cinema purgatory for having crafted this debacle. I hated the senseless plot that only served an excuse for the audience to witness people being slaughtered on camera. I hated that Jeremy Renner, a great actor, signed up for this movie to cash in on his previous successes. I hated that director Tommy Wirkola, who made the bloody yet intelligent and hilarious Dead Snow provided me so much hope for this picture’s success from his previous film. I’ve seen some bad movies, too many probably, but I haven’t hated one so since Lay the Favorite from just last year, and that’s a compliment to Lay the Favorite. This movie will make my Worst Films list this year.
Horrid Henry: The Movie — 2.5 stars — Horrid Henry: The Movie, based on the popular British children’s program, had me pondering back in nostalgia to the days when I idolized such Nickelodeon gems as All That, The Amanda Show and even Rugrats, the standard childish yarn that followed kids or pre-teens who always knew how to outsmart, out-think and outmaneuver the stubborn adults who never knew any better. I could tell instantaneously that the show Horrid Henry is in this great tradition of outlandish toilet humor, herding in younger audiences in like sheep. Look, kids like this stuff, and Theo Stevenson plays the title role like a flute. He’s a gifted kid actor, holding your attention and giving you someone to root for. The film itself unleashes enough creativity to keep the gears turning, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Horrid Henry: The Movie is harmless enough to leave on to occupy the littleluns, yet annoying enough to keep parents in the lobby and talk to each other instead.
I Am Not a Hipster — 4 stars — Here’s is an example of why I adore movie so much. I Am Not a Hipster touched me in such a way, I felt I knew its characters for years. Dominic Bogart plays indie musician Brook Hyde. We first meet him attending an interview on a talk radio show to promote his recent album, during which he acts apathetic and disturbed. He hates receiving commercialized attention for his work, and hates having to go through the standard routines of promoting his music only to be heard by a few hundred followers. This is a great performance that will certainly be overlooked for Academy season, which is a true shame. Bogart portrays a self-destructing man spiraling down into a haunting comfusion and frustration about the limits of life. This movie spoke to me on the level that personal favorites Platoon and Pulp Fiction have.
Identity Thief — 2 stars — I like Melissa McCarthy. I like Jason Bateman. Both starred in first-rate comedies, Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses respectfully. Director Seth Gordon was the mastermind behind Horrible Bosses, which made me laugh obnoxiously nearly every scene. Gordon’s new film, Identity Thief, had me stoned faced, leaving me starving for a laugh, maybe even a chuckle. Identity Thief is so cruel in its depiction of McCarthy’s character I could hardly stand it. We are supposed to adore and root for McCarthy, like her Oscar nominated character in Bridesmaids. In that film, we met a caring, yet outlandishly blunt woman who was there for her gals when they needed her. Here, McCarthy’s character is painfully annoying, careless of anyone else’s feelings. I have no doubt there are people like this character in real life, but that isn’t a good excuse to make a movie about that person. There is one magical scene, however, when McCarthy finally opens up to Bateman and reveals her personal back story in one heartbreaking long shot. McCarthy can act damn well. I wouldn’t mind seeing her in a serious drama someday, she seems like she can do it all. At least she had the decency not to star in Movie 43.
John Dies at the End — 1.5 stars — I dunno, there was something about this movie that made me resist it. Its credibility is one of the issues. I never once felt that any of the characters involved were really in danger, or were real at all. This is another one of those randomly put together, cookie cutter quirky independent films that tries too hard to be original. Story takes a backseat to attempting being creative and groundbreaking. As much as I could tell, the human race is slowly being taken over by shadowy, alien-like beings, who body snatch people so we can never decide who is on what side. But frankly, this premise was too complex for its own good, and was not fun to sit through.
Knife Fight — 1.5 stars — Remember when I talked about bad political thrillers that have too many characters you don’t care about and that act so fake it’s unbearable? Knife Fight is a prime example. This easily forgettable waste of eyesight has cookie cutter dialogue, a throwaway title and just tells another story about some political campaign scandal that we’ve all seen from better movies. So, yeah, don’t see this one, not that you’ve ever heard of it anyways.
The Last Stand — 2.5 stars — He’s baaack. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his starring debut since Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines 10 years ago. Since then, besides governating California, he has made awesome cameos in films like The Rundown, Around the World in 80 Days and the Expendables series. For a majority of the 80’s and 90’s, Schwarzenegger was the head interface of action movies. He remains capable in The Last Stand, a simplistic yet effective bullet festival that proves the Austrian native can still win our hearts, the big lug. Solid supporting performances by Forrest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman, and a cameo from Harry Dean Stanton to top it all off, The Last Stand is easily good fun. With the dress shoes finally hung up, it’ll be interesting to see Schwarzenegger dust off the cleats and hopefully provide some top-notch thrillers again.
Lore — 3 stars — One of the year’s most overrated films is Lore, a WWII film shot in Germany about a German family, but shot by an Australian director and submitted by Australia for the last Academy Awards. Abandoned by her parents near the end of WWII, a teenage German teenager must lead her four young siblings to safety after Allied Forces take over their town. Eventually they meet a man impersonating a Jewish runaway, and he swears to protect them as well as he can. I found no motivation why a stranger might do that to five kids, but hey, I didn’t live in that era. So they travel with their new companion, and nothing too special happens. This is a decent movie with heartfelt intentions and great acting all around, but the writing felt too forced for my taste, and I don’t consider this a great movie unlike most critics.
LUV — 3 stars — No coming-of-age film has ever been told like this. Vincent (Common) allows his 11-year-old nephew to skip school and takes him on a ride along to several business meetings, pitching his crab house to potential investors. Vincent doesn’t intend to raise Woody with a ghetto mindset, or does he? Common’s performance is mainly what made this movie for me, those deceptive eyes and cheeky smile prove to mask his true intentions from Woody, and the audience, too. It’s never clear if Vincent tags Woody along to really teach him about manhood or prompt the investors’ minds, which adds an odd mysteriousness to the film. And with an unexpected showdown in the final scenes with Danny Glover and Dennis Haysbert, this one will stick around in your mind for a while, even being a movie this small in the grand scheme of cinema.
Mama — 2.5 stars — A standard horror enterprise, that includes some memorable cinematography – one double-framed shot still lingers in my memory – and intense acting from Jessica Chastain that the horror genre normally doesn’t deserve. Guillermo del Toro – the brains behind the Hellboy series and Pan’s Labrynth – produced this project, and probably should have spent time editing the screenplay to make the film not so typical. But in a year that started its horror package with Texas Chainsaw 3D, you tend to give decent films like this a little slack.
Movie 43 — 0 stars — This is the worst movie of the year. I decided that back in the January when I premiered it. This movie isn’t just hateful, it’s humanely incompetent. I’m not certain any of the studio executives who approved this project, the directors and writers who crafted it, or the actors who forever blacklisted their resumes for appearing in this soul-sucking, dreadful, forced, numbing chunk of crap. Readers, when I or anyone else from now on talk about pieces of crap, we must all hold hands and stand in awe of Movie 43, and its abiding grotesqueness. I think back to the scene from Jurassic Park, when Jeff Goldblum’s character nonchalantly removes his glasses and stares at a mountain of dino droppings. “Now that is one big pile of s**t,” he said. If only the makers of this movie could be worthy of such praise.
My Best Enemy — 2 stars — During WWII, a Jewish captive swaps identities with his friend, who happens to be a Nazi. Ha, great punchline. I am still puzzled as to why anyone with a solid brain stem would consider this premise the makings of a comedy. Perhaps director Wolfgang Murnberger might have been influenced by Tarantino’s quirky, almost cartoonish Inglorious Basterds, only the latter took the violence seriously while embracing the old-fashioned war epics that influenced him. Murnberger’s reason for making this product is unclear to me; this material made less of an impact on me than the short films from my alma mater’s media production class.
Noobz — 0 stars — Hey, Freeloaders and Movie 43, long time no see. I want to introduce you to another throwaway comedy. Guys, this is Noobz. All three of you share so many characteristics, I thought you would hit it off immediately. What characteristics, you ask? Well, for starters, all three of you were written by beings from another planet. None of you act like you’ve seen a movie before, or know what one is. After meeting all three of you, I took a scorn towards the current generation of cinema, and thought about checking myself out of watching more. All three of you should forever be ashamed of considering yourselves funny, and should consider an early retirement. Okay, well it’s been nice knowing you, gotta run and see worthy movies from now on. I’ve already given you three more attention that you deserve.
Officer Down — 1 star — This film might have suited better as an episode of Law and Order, or a made-for-TV movie at best. This is another forgettable story with a plug-in plot and title. Boxofficemojo.com says this film profited $1,463 theatrically worldwide. That could have repaved a highway or two.
Parker — .5 stars — The third movie I premiered during the weekend of Movie 43 and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was Parker, or as refer to it to my friends, Jason Statham: The Movie. In fact, most of the films that Statham stars in can be labeled as such, since they are always assembled from the Jason Statham assembly line. Listen, the man has great screen presence; that glare makes me watch my back. But he has to be involved with better directors, writers, producers, the works. Director Hackford, who made this film, previous had grand success with such entries as Ray, The Devil’s Advocate and An Officer and a Gentleman, but I think he entered the wrong genre here. If Statham can collaborate with such action experts as Sam Mendes (Skyfall), Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) or Brad Bird (Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol), then maybe the movies can take him seriously again. Apparently he is signed on to costar in the next Fast and the Furious picture, so hopefully he doesn’t butcher that series’ consistent success.
The Playroom — 3.5 stars — Once in a while, when browsing through random movie titles, you’ll stumble across a gem that catches you off your guard. The Playroom takes place during a single evening inside the home of a middle-class family in the 70’s. Every scene seems to be unfolding naturally, as if unrehearsed. The film opens to the four children of the family getting home. Maggie (Olivia Harris) is the oldest of the bunch, and meets her boyfriend Ryan (Cody Linley) in her garage to lose her virginity. “Do you love him?” Maggie’s kid sister asks later on in the film. “No,” she admits. I sincerely felt I was watching a documentary or reality television during all of this. The film is relentlessly honest about how family members treat each other. When the father gets home, played by one of my favorite actors John Hawkes, family secrets are slowly unraveled. He holds a spelling test at dinner. “Spell matrimony,” he asks his wife. This line purposely hints at the audience without informing the kids, because these types of dilemmas weren’t important during childhood. At that age, the most vital problems were getting good grades so your parents wouldn’t yell at you, have fun playing with friends and family, and so forth. This film is perfectly in tune with what what’s at stake with each age group, that many viewers will recall similar events in their own lives.
Quartet — 2 stars — Dustin Hoffman’s all but incoherent directorial debut ranks second in the list of recent films with “Quartet” in the title. Last year’s A Late Quartet was a challenging melodrama that took us backstage to witness four aging musicians clash and question each other’s morals. Hoffman’s film, on the other hand, is a watered down portrait of retired musicians roaming around a nursing home talking about the good ol’ days and old flings. Actors Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter), Billy Connolly (the Irish father from The Boondock Saints) and Michael Gambon (the second Dumbledore) are genuine in their respective performances; they seem like they’ve really known each other for ages. Well, in real life they have. Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, why I’ll never guess. But that’s not important. What’s important is missing this film.
Safe Haven — 2.5 stars — As far as mushy rom coms go, Safe Haven is one of the more acceptable entries. This is the first Nicholas Sparks film adaptation I’ve seen, so no I haven’t tried The Notebook, A Walk to Remember or Dear John, so a true comparison cannot be made by me. But, on its own terms, Safe Haven does not go over the top in the soap opera department, and focuses enough on real life struggles to recommend to Spark enthusiasts. Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel have great chemistry with each other, and they connect in a gradual, modest way. They don’t have that immediate starring contest at first glance because they know each other is The One. No, they fall for each other because each one feels half empty, and need to fill the void. Katie (Hough) and Alex (Duhamel) need to be needed.
Side Effects — 3.5 stars — This is the first great movie I remember seeing in 2013. This is reportedly the great Steven Soderbergh’s last feature film, which is an injury I don’t believe Hollywood can recover from. Emily (Rooney Mara) is finally cleared to leave jail, serving a sentence for attempting suicide. Her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum), is still worried about her mental state. Dr. Banks (Jude Law) prescribes a new experimental drug called Ablixa. I’ll tread through the spoiler swamp carefully, only to reveal that this Ablixa, appears to have horrendous side effects on Emily, including sleep walking. Mara provides an Oscar-caliber performance as an empty woman who has nothing left to lose, although voters will probably forget this February release, which is a shame. This is a Hell of a thriller, with high intelligence and gradual pacing.
Spiders — 2 stars — This film was more fun than it probably intended to be. Yes, the special effects are cardboard, and the plot is simplistic and it all adds up to nothing. But this movie reminded me of another big spider movie called Eight Legged Freaks, which is far superior. This is another apocalyptic movie that centers on a divorced/separated couple, where the father wants to see the child more but the mother doesn’t think he’s responsible enough. The acting is far better than this movie deserves. I don’t exactly recommend this trashy picture, but if you crave some simpleminded fun, this is about the cut off line.
Stand Up Guys — 3.5 stars — I’ll watch any film that stars Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. I’ll even watch a documentary involving the three of them, sitting comfortably in a diner, talking about whatever they deem worth talking about. Stand Up Guys will probably be the closest I ever get to that documentary, and it mostly consists of Pacino and Walken talking about the past, most of the time at a diner, other times roaming stranded street and alleys, and even in a graveyard. And the premise is the most fascinating thing: Walken’s character has been ordered to execute Pacino, and Pacino knows it. But he won’t run from his dear, lifelong friend. This film noir clutches onto the value of friendship like a lifeboat, showing that when you eventually reach a certain age, all that matters is who you know and who knows you.
Storage 24 — .5 star — This film contains better acting than it’s worth. Like Crawlspace, this low-budget bloodbath follows a group of people who get picked off one by one due to a monster roaming about. If the monster looked even reasonably believable, if the special effects were up to date at all, if the plot was just the bit more interesting… well I probably still wouldn’t recognize this movie. According to boxofficemojo.com, this film grossed $72 worldwide. High fives, all around.
Struck By Lightning — 2 stars — Despite the film’s quirky humor, it ultimately fails by depending too much on its hateful main character. Chris Colfer from Glee who stars and wrote the film is convincing as the elaborate, self-centered lead, but watching him for 90 minutes is unbearable to the point of walking away from the screen. The opening shot is unintentionally hilarious, but hopefully you don’t find out why for yourself.
Supporting Characters — 3 stars — It’s clear to me that screenwriters Tarik Lowe and Daniel Schechter grew up watching Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith films. Here’s a rare film that takes such great care of its dialogue and character development that each line feels like taking another bite out of the best apple pie ever made. The leads, Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (Tarik Lowe himself), are two amateur film NYC editors who frequently talk and debate about movies and women. Nick has his beloved, committed girlfriend, Amy (Sophia Takal), and Darryl has since girlfriend of a few months, Liana (Melonie Diaz, who was also great in this year’s Fruitvale Station). Many of the problems that Nick and Darryl are circumstantial and natural. Amy wants to get married, Liana does not. Nick doesn’t want to get married, Darryl does. Nick is an especially great character, because I can think back to so many people I’ve met who act just as he does. So on top of everything and sarcastic, but is careful not to boss anyone around. He loves the joy of making movies, and is willing to fill in all the small voids to make each scene perfect. I wish more people would be like Nick in Hollywood.
Texas Chainsaw 3D — 1.5 stars — This is the seventh installment of the Leatherface franchise, and you can bet your next paycheck it won’t be the last. The first 1974 cult classic was ripe with quirky authenticity, the rest are worth less than nothing. Texas Chainsaw 3D isn’t the worst installment, but that still doesn’t make it worthy of an audience.
Warm Bodies — 3 stars — I’ve been waiting for a movie like this for some time now. After countless movies, good and bad, about zombies engulfing intestines and so forth, I’ve always been curious about the possibility of a film that peers through the zombie point of view. Jonathan Levine, who also directed the magnificent 50/50, knows to tread carefully with his characters and shows compassion towards them. We meet a zombie, R (Nicholas Hoult), who only remembers the first letter of his name before he joined the undead. He meets Julie (Teresa Palmer). Hmm, R and Julie? Sounds familiar. Soon, the couple admits they have fallen deep into gushy, Twilight-like love for each other, and wouldn’t ya know, R’s undeadness slowly starts to melt away. Despite the film’s corny message, I felt it was expressing how dead people are nowadays towards each other. A bad economy has forced people to exclude others from their concern, and slowly their love for the fellow human being dwindles into nonexistence. Warm Bodies is about the importance of human feeling, passion being the main subject. It’s sweet, cornball, and shows more regard towards the human race than most other films do.
Yossi — 4 stars — It took some extra time after having seen this film to appreciate it as much as I do now. This is a plain as day film, with its centerpiece a gay Israeli man, Yossi (Ohad Knoller). Unlike most films, this film doesn’t automatically clue you in to his sexuality, and I found that brilliant and refreshing. First, we see a normal day in the life of Yossi, with no hint that he’s gay. He gets hit on by the secretary at the clinic he works at. He does physicals on patients. We learn he is a former soldier in the Israeli army. Then the film cuts to Yossi masturbating from gay porn. This fact is surprising, shocking us isn’t the film’s plan. We are supposed to take Yossi’s sexuality matter-of-factly and just role with it. This is one of the best films I’ve seen about gay people, because it doesn’t speak its opinion frankly to the camera. We are instead meant to sit and observe Yossi, who is still coping from the loss of his gay lover a decade ago in the prequel Yossi & Jagger, of which I only discovered after watching this film and quickly watched to compare with this film. Yossi is better, because it only deals with Yossi instead of wasting time with too many other characters like the first film.