Surprise. Surprise. Warm Bodies is not as bad as it could’ve been.

And it could have been really bad.  A zombie love story?? Really?  Well, yes, and the best part is that it works!  Warm Bodies mixes romance, comedy and a bit of action in a refreshing-fun way.  Although it borrows from standards in each genre–together it creates a whole new experience–and scores high marks just for its cleverness alone.

My first draw was Jonathan Levine.  I loved 50/50 and had to give Warm Bodies the benefit of the doubt, since he adapted the script (based on  Isaac Marion’s novel) and was directing it.  And I must say, Levine does not disappoint.  He takes his time and makes the right choices here.    By keeping it light and poking obvious fun at the mythology, he is able to allow you to accept the premise and even start to care for the characters.

It also helps that the cast is perfect.  I think a zombie protagonist is a hard sell, but Nicholas Hoult makes it look easy.  In the hands of a lesser actor, it could have been stiff or unbelievable–instead he is charming and funny–this guy has talent.  Teresa Palmer is less talented (let’s be honest)–yet, she warms up to you and you can’t help but cheer for her and understand her choices.  I credit Levine for that.  Add the wonderful Rob Corddry (zombie best friend), Analeigh Tipton (human BF) and a restrained (and awesome) John Malkovich and you have a solid cast.

I enjoyed Warm Bodies way more than I expected.  It’s light and fluffy–but also creative and unlike any movie other movie out there.  Even with the Romeo and Juliet overtones–Levine is able to find a fresh approach to…well…everything.  😀   Original–fun–unique twist?  Hey, that’s better than most.  I will take it.

Warm Bodies Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Zombie Movie HD – YouTube

 

 

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50/50 = 100% Awesome!

Balance.  That is a tricky feat in Hollywood storytelling.  Many films struggle to find the right tone or direction–and sometimes you find it–the perfect balance.  50/50  sounds like a downer–a young man is diagnosed with cancer and we get to watch his experience.  Woohoo!  Fell good movie of the year–right?  Actually…yeah, it is!  I laughed out loud, cried a bit and LOVED every minute of this film.

I should also tell you that I am a huge fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  He continues to impress me.  From 3rd Rock from the Sun to Inception.  His young career is filled with memorable, wonderful performances and 50/50’s Adam is another one to add to the list.  If Joe doesn’t receive an Oscar nomination I will be upset because his Adam is layered and nuanced.  An everyday guy faced with a difficult roadblock on his life’s  journey.

A nice surprise is Seth Rogen.  Who I like, but can be a bit annoying sometimes.  Not this time.  As Adam’s best friend Kyle he shines.  All his strengths are highlighted and he very funny.   Add a fabulous Angelica Houston,  the adorable Anna Kendrick  and a getting good at being nasty,  Bryce Dallas Howard and you have a strong supporting cast.

The biggest credit must go to screenwriter Will Reiser, who was inspired by his own battle with cancer and has created this lovely, heartfelt, funny and realistic story.  His timing is perfect.  Just when you think it is too deep or serious, the tone changes smoothly and you find you are laughing–even if you don’t think you should be.  I will keep an eye on this guy.

Not to be overlooked is the director Jonathan Levine.  He directed the little known gem titled The Wackness back in 2008 (if you haven’t seen it–check it out–it is quietly good).  He deftly tells this story by showing details rather than telling you.  It works.  You learn more about these characters by these actions, than by anything they could have said.  I will definitely be watching his career.

Dez and I were lucky to get to a preview screening of 50/50 and we both agreed it is one of our favorite movies of the year–so when it goes wide on September 30th–put it on your MUST see list!  You will not regret it!