Cinema Digest 2013 – Week 6

Warm Bodies (2013)
WARM-BODIES

Two things to get out of the way: I love zombie movies but I’m not what you would call a purist. I’m totally open to different interpretations of zombie lore. I like Romero‘s Day of the Dead just as much as Zack Snyder‘s Dawn of the Dead remake as much as Lucio Fulci‘s Zombi 2 as much as… you get the idea. I don’t think there should be just one version of a zombie. However, I just couldn’t buy the idea that “love” could cure rotting, dead flesh. I understand the metaphor; It’s so heavy handed you’d have to be an idiot to not see it. The film is occasionally funny and clever but ultimately gets weighed down by improbable character actions, an unconvincing premise, and the aforementioned heavy handed message. It’s not a horrible movie but if you’re looking for a good zom-rom-com, watch Shaun of the Dead instead.

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Bullet to the Head (2013)
bullet-to-the-head

It makes sense that Sylvester Stallone would want to continue trying to relive his 80’s film career. That’s when he was at his most popular. But at a certain point, he really should move on. Neither of the Expendable movies were good and now we get a grittier version of an 80’s buddy cop movie. The problem here is that even though it follows the standard buddy procedure, it’s really more about propping up Stallone at the expense of his teammate, Sung KangKang is constantly belittled, endures racist remarks, and must often be saved by Stallone after screwing up. He contributes nothing and leaves no impression through no fault of his own. The script just doesn’t give him anything to do but occasionally look at his phone and tell Stallone where the next guy to beat up is. The film is completely derivative and it’s really telling when the best part of your movie is Jason Momoa. And who had the bright idea to make the most incomprehensible man in Hollywood the narrator?

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Season of the Witch (1972)
seasonofthewitch

George Romero is probably almost exclusively known as a maker of zombie films but he’s actually made more non-zombie films. Season of the Witch, despite its title, is really more of a drama/thriller than horror and like all of Romero‘s films has a strong thematic undercurrent. Here, he’s dealing with the (then) rising feminist movement and the loosening moral code of the day’s youth. The story focuses on a middle-aged wife and mother of a teenage daughter. Her feelings of isolation in a misogynistic world and discontent with her joyless marriage drive her to experiment with witchcraft. Through it, she feels empowered and it’s not long before things start going wrong. While it’s very low budget is felt and the actors aren’t that great, the film is quite interesting and as always, Romero has a lot of things to say.

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Identity Thief (2013)
identity thief

Can we, as a people, agree to be done with the comedic-road-trip-with-two-mismatched-individuals-who-eventually-learn-that-perhaps-they-have-more-in-common-than-they-thought-and-grow-to-respect-each-other movies? It’s been dead and buried for years but we keep digging up the rotted corpse for yet another romp. By this point, the limbs are hanging on by just by the sinew, the skin is now the consistency and color of turkey jerky, and the odor is aggressively assaulting the senses. There’s little humor to be found, the entirety of the plot is ludicrous, Jason Bateman is playing the exact same character we’ve seen since Arrested Development, and they spend so much effort making Melissa McCarthy an absolutely horrible person in the first half that it’s practically impossible to like her when you’re supposed to later on. Let’s please just put the corpse back in the ground and leave it there. Better yet, fill in the grave with cement.

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Spiders 3D (2013)
spiders

I consider myself to be well-informed about movies but I had not heard of this film at all until I saw that it was playing at my local cineplex. And since I love horrible, z-grade movies, there was no way that I could resist this one. It begins when a Russian satellite carrying genetically mutated spiders crashes into New York. The spiders take up residence in the subways and grow really big, really fast. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the plot. It’s ridiculously plotted, horribly acted, the special effects are terrible, and all of it unintentionally, absolutely hilarious. I had a better time watching this than most of the movies released in 2013 so far. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a terrible movie but at least it’s so terrible that it’s funny.

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Side Effects (2013)
side effects

I don’t want to say much about the film because spoilers would come fast and heavy if I were to get too in depth with the plot. I can say that if this is indeed Steven Soderbergh‘s final theatrical film, it’s a hell of a great film to go out on. It’s a nail-biting thriller with great performances from Rooney Mara and Jude Law and a great script that, like the best of Hitchcock‘s films, twists and turns and then twists and turns some more until you can’t even guess as to where it’s going to go next. Of all the films from 2013 that are currently in theaters, this is easily the best. So if you’ve been holding out on going to the theater until the January slump is over, you can now safely venture out to your nearby movie house for this one.

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