‘Warm Bodies’ is hot, ‘Stand Up Guys is cold in theaters

Of the three new movies that I reviewed during the Feb. 7, 2013 edition of “Breakthrough Thinking: The Magazine,” the one that will give you the best bang for your buck is “Warm Bodies” – a horror-themed romantic dramedy that may very well warm your heart. On the other end of the spectrum is “Stand Up Guys,” a movie starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin that may very well ruin those actors’ reputations.

‘Bullet to the Head’

Sylvester Stallone plays a career hitman who enters into an unlikely alliance with a by-the-book detective (Sung Kang) to bring down the ruthless killer of their respective partners. Christian Slater and Jason Momoa also star. (R – 91 minutes)

“Bullet to the Head” is a gravely gritty crime thriller with reverberating sound effects. Having said that, its episodic nature grows old extremely quickly thereby making the film feel like it goes on forever in spite of its somewhat short runtime. Director Walter Hill’s new movie, which is based on Alexis Nolent’s French graphic novel of the same title, cycles through a pattern in which its stars Sylvester Stallone and Sung Kang track down a bad guy, beat him to a bloody pulp, put a bullet in his head and end up pointing their guns at each other. Rinse. Repeat. (Grade: C)

‘Stand Up Guys’

Al Pacino and Christopher Walken play a pair of aging con men who re-team with their old pal (Alan Arkin) for one last hurrah before one of the guys takes his last assignment – to kill his comrade. (R – 94 minutes)

One would think that a comedy starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin would consist of smarter material than just a bunch of jokes about erectile dysfunction. Granted, the condition is a considerable concern for aging men but “Stand Up Guys” goes out of it way to really nail it into the viewer’s consciousness, canvassing everything from Viagra to penile pumps instead of digging deeper into the emotionally relevant issues that it so briefly brings up. Having said that, there are glimpses of a more profound motion picture and listening to this trio of talented actors talk about anything at all is still time well spent. (Grade: D)

‘Warm Bodies’

Nicholas Hoult plays a zombie who becomes involved with the girlfriend (Teresa Palmer) of one of his victims (Dave Franco) and discovers that their romance sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world. (PG-13 – 97 minutes)

“Warm Bodies” is strangely romantic. And not just in the amorous zombie-boy-meets-human-girl kind of way but also in its overall outlook on the world – which is weird considering this is a post-apocalyptic motion picture, after all. Writer/director Jonathan Levine’s cinematic adaptation of author Isaac Marion’s novel is incredibly idealistic, pin-pointing poetry in an otherwise extremely bleak existence. In addition to being able to jump-start viewers’ hearts, the flick also stimulates their brains and taps on their funny bones with its witty and wry sense of humor. Bella and Edward have got nothing on Julie and R. (Grade: B)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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