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"WARM BODIES" (PG-13)
NICHOLAS HOULT, TERESA PALMER, JOHN MALKOVICH
Who knew zombies could actually be lovable?
That's the essence of this offbeat zombie film that manages to overcome middling expectations and be--believe it or not--sort of sweet.
It works because Nicholas Hoult and a rambling narration make you believe that even though he's a full-fledged zombie, regularly chowing down on brains, he'd rather be a regular guy.
Events run down a pretty predictable path when his character, R (he can't remember the rest of his name), sees the pretty Julie (Teresa Palmer) during a "dinner" attack on humans.
It quite literally jump-starts his heart, slowly transforming him from bona fide zombie to something more human with a real crush on Julie.
This works because the story seeks a low-key, sweet vibe and rides it through to a feel-good conclusion, with the entire story a metaphor of sorts about the transforming power of love.
One quibble: Julie should have made "R" brush his teeth before kissing him. You know, what with the brain-eating and all.
Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language. 97 min. [MC, RA, RF]
"STAND UP GUYS" (R)
AL PACINO, ALAN ARKIN, CHRISTOPHER WALKEN
Though the film takes two twists after a strong opening, there's still power and charm in the pairing of Al Pacino and Christopher Walken as reunited con men.
Pacino's performance is a bit over the top, but as the friend put in an impossible position--he is ordered to kill his pal as punishment for a mistake decades earlier--Walken's touching performance alone makes this worth seeing.
Rated R for language, sexual content, violence and brief drug use. 95 min. [PV]
"BULLET TO THE HEAD" (R)
This tale of a crook and a detective joining forces to hunt a New Orleans boss is as tired as star Sylvester Stallone looks onscreen.
It's not terribly bad, but it's not very good, either.
It makes you wish Mr. "Rocky" would simply quit trying.
Rated R for strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use. 91 min. [MC, RA, RF]
HOW WE RATE 'EM
H Don't waste your time.
HH Nothing special
HHHH A must-see