February 1, 2013, - 4:59 pm
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the trailer . . .
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