February 1, 2013, - 4:59 pm

Weekend Box Office: Bullet to the Head, Stand Up Guys, Warm Bodies

By Debbie Schlussel

I was surprised that I liked two out of the three new movies at theaters, this weekend.

* “Stand Up Guys“: Although I could have done without the extended penis, Viagra, and hooker line of jokes and parts of this movie, I actually found this Fisher Stevens-directed movie enjoyable and charming to some extent. Plus it features three actors I like: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. They play aging gangsters who get together for what seems like it might be the last time.

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Pacino gets out of prison after serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of the son of a mob boss. When he exits, he’s met by his former partner in crime, Walken, who acts like his friend, but has been ordered by the mob boss to kill Pacino by the next morning. But Walken’s reunion with Pacino rekindles their old friendship, and he doesn’t want to pull the trigger. We next see the two of them go to their old haunts, including an Italian restaurant and a brothel, with Pacino trying to relive the past and Walken saying he’s too old for that stuff. Then, they reunite with the third of their gang, Arkin, who is now living in an old folks’ home. They steal a sports car, go for a joy ride, re-visit the brothel, and engage in other exploits. And, with this, Walken again pleads with the mob boss for mercy on his old friend.


Again, while I could have done without the sexual stuff–which is kinda creepy in this instance, and while there is also some brief, mild violence, there was some charm to this coming of senior citizen age movie about old mobsters. And it’s, in the end, about friendship, loyalty, mercy, and redemption.

TWO REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Bullet to the Head“: The title of this might suggest what you want to take while suffering through this. Sylvester Stallone stars in yet the latest attempt of an aging, muscled action hero from the ’80s to repeat past successes. And it’s an epic failure. Though Stallone still looks good and ripped for his 66 years, the story in this movie is very ugly. And incredibly stupid, not to mention, cockamamie, confusing, and nonsensical. Also, the camera repeatedly focuses on a black panther tattoo on the back of a Russian hooker, but never explains why or for what the tattoo stands.

Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, a hit man who is paid to kill a coked-out former cop in a hotel room. But it’s apparently some sort of set up, and after Stallone’s friend and fellow hit man is murdered, he is out for revenge. Not sure how paying a hit man to kill someone is a “set up,” except that the people who hired the hit men want to kill them after the job is done. Stallone learns that a lawyer who holds parties with topless and fully naked women in masks (Christian Slater, who has really fallen far from his perch) and the lawyer’s boss (or something–it’s hard to tell what’s going on) is behind the whole thing. They have this big guy (Jason Momoa) who beats everyone up and does a lot of the killing. Stallone teams up with a cop–the only honest one in this movie–and, together, they fight off the bad guys through a lot of fighting, shooting, and killing.

This movie is incredibly violent, but even more stupid and pointless. A complete waste of time.

Why can’t ’80s action hero stars grow old gracefully? I guess it’s the allure of the paycheck.

THREE MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Warm Bodies“: Looking for a charming zombie movie? This is it. While you might think apocalyptic zombie movies have been done to death, this one is different. It is funny, charming, and even a little bit touching. While I didn’t buy its “zombies . . . they’re just like us” message or that zombies are misunderstood and would be nice if only we were nice to them, that’s kinda the message of this movie. Still, it was enjoyable anyway. If you are over 30 or 40, you might not like it, as it seems sort of aimed at the younger crowd, I did like it. But I hoped that the movie, with it’s wall, evil military guys, and misunderstood zombies wasn’t some sort of parable about the Palestinians or something (as Hollywood is only too eager to do).

The story: an apocalyptic disaster of some sort has happened, and most of the country is dominated by zombies (human-flesh-eating former humans without a conscience). There is no internet, and the remaining humans are walled off in one side of the city, where they are led by John Malkovich, who runs the military. Teens and 20-somethings are sent into the outside, zombie-dominated world to get medical supplies of which they are in need, and they face zombies. They fail to stave off a zombie attack when some of their guns fail to work and other mishaps occur. Julie (Teresa Palmer–who looks like a blonde twin of Kristen Stewart of the “Twilight” movies), Malkovich’s daughter, is taken by a younger zombie, “R” (Nicholas Hoult), who protects her. That’s because he’s just murdered and eaten Julie’s boyfriend, including the boyfriend’s brain. When zombies eat their victim’s brain, they get the victim’s memories, and R feels a kinship to Julie, his victim’s girlfriend. R protects Julie from the other zombies and it develops into a love story as R becomes more and more alive and human.

But not everyone back in the human world understands. Plus, there are “bonies,” which are the extreme zombies. They look like walking skeletons and despise anyone with any sympathies toward humans.

Entertaining and enjoyable, even if parts of it are a little bit hokey. It’s a zombie movie, not a masterpiece. But as zombie movies go, it’s pretty good, and the acting is good as well. Beware that parts of this are kind of graphic and it’s NOT for kids.

TWO REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

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15 Responses

Stallone’s personal life on screen would be an epic tale of
lies, betrayal, and bloody human violations that would
captivate movie audiences.
He has been extorted throughout
his career by friends, acquaintances, and family.

Anthony Pellicano is serving time for work he did for Sly,
while protecting him.

Unfortunately he managed to silence and stall projects
that would present a truly manipulated enigma.He would
have to piss off a mogul or be dead for that blockbuster to
be made.

Hollyblog on February 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Hollyblog,

I reread your comment of Feb 1, 2013 – 11:13 PM several times. I don’t get it.

Something about “extorted” through his career by friends, family, etc., and movie that would neve be made, and some guy who was protecting him and work done for him …

I don’t know what you are talking about …

Could you make it understandable for people such as me?

Thank you.

William on February 2, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Thanks, William, I thought it was me!

    Stallone didn’t stand a chance with his whack-job mother growing up.

    Rochelle on February 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Stallone, unfortunately, has become yet another in a long line of Hollywood hypocrites who make movies that are extremely violent, yet also support the complete evisceration of the Second Amendment (i.e. disarming law-abiding citizens and making them sitting ducks for not only violent criminals but also an increasingly tyrannical government), having just come out in support of the euphemistic “assault weapons”[sic] ban.

ConcernedPatriot on February 2, 2013 at 4:38 am

Along with Henry Winkler, Stallone got his start in a movie called “The Lords of Flatbush.” I liked the movie and Stallone’s character in that movie was similar to his best movie, “Rocky,” which Stallone also wrote himself. He was offered a great deal of money for the script but held out until he himself got the lead role in the movie.

Stallone was a conservative guy when he first started his acting career. Sadly, that didn’t last. Hollyweed tends to have that effect on people.

Percy Kittens Reloaded on February 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

Btw, you looked hot in that pic you took with Stallone, Debbie, when he was in Detroit to promote his movie a few years ago.

Percy Kittens Reloaded on February 2, 2013 at 10:43 am

“…this might suggest what you want to take while suffering through this.” LOL!

DS_ROCKS! on February 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Well its good to know Stallone put his recent anti-Second Amendment feelings in practice. Oh wait. He is pandering, isn’t he?

pat on February 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

“parts of it are a little bit hokey” … say it isn’t so!

Dale Zalaoras on February 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I don’t usually sleep through action movies , but I just couldn’t help it. This time I just couldn’t agree with my husband’s usual comment, “Boy, that was good!”, to justify having paid for the movie tickets and popcorn. Oh as for the tattoo, that explanation will probably be in the sequel. Yeah, right! Actually the only thing I got from that was the hooker reminded him of his daughter because they had the same tattoo. That way we were able to see what a really nice killer he was.

Janis on February 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Debbie this post brings up disturbing memories of you blog slobbering all over Sly Stallone a few years back. I say it’s time for you to move on from SS whom I once saw in China Grill in South Beach to someone more appropriate such as a similarly aged, literate Jew with an advanced degree who doesn’t have to travel with male hormone supplements or sleep with his half-sister. Also I think Chris Walken knows what happened to Natalie Wood. If you ever meet him please ask for me.

A1: Huh? I never slobbered over him. Just said he looks good for his age (and he does). I don’t like him b/c of his positions in favor of illegal alien amnesty and gun control. He seems like just another airheaded celeb to me, including when I met him. DS

A1 on February 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Debbie’s comments about “Warm Bodies” reflect my sentiments in every way. It’s a cute, charming film, pretty enjoyable even though without much style or realism. It’s not your typical zombie horror film; it’s more about teen love, done in the most unpretentious way you can imagine. I was rooting for the couple all the way through. I also liked the pal of the main girl star whose normalcy was in comic contrast to the improbable fantasy occurring all around. Though the film lacked the style, effects or cleverness of the gruesomely graphic comedy “Zombieland,” it more than made up for this in heart. Debbie’s also right that it’s distinctly targeted to teens–but that didn’t stop me personally from liking it more than most adult-targeted films.

Debbie’s also right that the picture skirts a slippery slope when it gets close to sentimentalizing the zombie unfortunates and demonizing the military (shades of “Super 8″ and “ET.”) Luckily for me, the film didn’t overdo these tendencies so that the whole picture would have been spoiled.

As for “Bullets to the Head,” on that movie, Debbie and I disagreed. This is a Walter Hill picture–one of my very favorite directors (except for “48 Hours for which he’s most renowned). He directed his pictures mostly in the eighties when big action was still popular and guys were still portrayed as guys. You can see Hill’s mastery of detail and atmosphere in almost every scene–in the bars, in the streets, in the crooked cop’s apartment. And in a Walter Hill movie, the male lead is almost always iconically mysterious and tough in a B-picture way, but done with A-picture style. As for the confusion of the plot, there is some, as there is in most gritty and violent noir (think of Friedkin, or various adaptations of Chandler and Hammet), but that’s part of the genre. In particular, the “set up” to which Debbie referred was not confusing, though. What was happening was that Stallone and his buddy had been hired to put a hit on this dirty cop; after they completed this job, when they went to the bar to get paid, the buddy is stabbed. So that’s why the whole contract was called a “set up.” Debbie wrote this explanation above, of course, and it explains what was happening.

I always seem to be defending Stallone against Debbie’s criticism, and this is ironic because I didn’t even like “Rocky” and at one time I considered this actor’s films the most miserably sentimental trash imaginable–especially the ones he wrote! I like him better now, but what really gives this picture distinction is Walter Hill’s influence.

Burke on February 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Nicholas Hoult has a great future…

dee on February 6, 2013 at 4:59 am

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