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If nothing else, this movie will leave you a Nicholas Hoult fan.
Warm Bodies has sort of been marketed to the twee/Twihard crowd. Quirky hipster romance… with zombies! appeals about as much as overwrought, mentally unstable romance with zombies. Thankfully, Warm Bodies is not like that. The first clue that it’s more than just cashing in on the newish preoccupation with love stories about formerly scary monsters and insecure Mary Sues comes from, as usual, who made it. Johnathan Levine is this movie’s first and foremost not-so-secret weapon. You might remember a movie called 50/50 that made you cry. Yeah, he made that.
But really, this is Nicholas Hoult’s movie. After seeing his performance in this, I finally get why they fucking cast him in everything. He’s that good. And since the premise, let alone the conflict and resolution, of this story completely relies on his engaging the audience, it’s even more noticeably a big win for him.
In spite of what ridiculous “purists” are going to say about the idea of a zombie rom-com, Warm Bodies is fucking delightful. It’s tonally sharp, interested in the zombie apocalypse as a grand metaphor (been a while since we saw that shit), and charming like a stuffed penguin that maybe eats brains sometimes. Read the rest of this entry »
A new type of princess.
Pixar has done nothing for me since Up. I’ve never understood why people like the Toy Story movies as much as they do and the less said about Cars 2 the better. Now in what is a landmark moment that should have come a decade ago, Pixar decided to make a movie about women. Not only is Merida (Kelly MacDonald) the first female protagonist in a Pixar movie, this is the first time a Pixar film has focused on an exclusively female relationship: that of mother and daughter. Though destined to be a Disney Princess (another first for Pixar, getting a character into that vaunted club), Merida is a new breed. Gone is the tacit assurance that finding love and getting married is the apex of womanly existence. You have to hand it to Pixar: when they join a club, they aim to change it. Maybe this is because Brenda Chapman, getting credit both as a writer and director on the project, is a woman. She was the first woman to direct a major animated feature for a Hollywood studio (The Prince of Egypt). So there’s a lot of new ground being broken by Brave behind the scenes.
In terms of quality, well, Brave is every bit as good as the typical Pixar movie. It’s got the same beating heart beneath the action and comedy, the same simple but completely human themes running through its somewhat fantastic story. Above all, it’s really about relationships between people and strong emotions expressed through clear, confident storytelling. This is another one of those cases where they make it look easy over there. It’s got a little The Little Mermaid mixed into its DNA and I don’t just say that because half the characters are gingers. There’s the same narrative of the rebellious young woman only this time, it’s her mother and not her father she’s rebelling against. Add in some colorful secondary characters, a magic spell, and some danger and you’ve got a solid formula that, while not groundbreaking, allows everything about Brave that is groundbreaking to breathe. Read the rest of this entry »