New Movie Releases: Winter 2013

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies follows an introspective zombie who, much like the rest of the population, is cursed to walk as the undead feeding on human survivors.  During a routine meal, he meets a beautiful girl that he suddenly feels compelled to protect.  As their relationship begins to grow, so does the temperature in his body as he slowly begins to regain his humanity.  This effect starts to the other zombies, leaving hope for humanity.  But the trigger happy humans aren’t quick to jump off the zombie band wagon.  The ferocious Bonie zombies, or zombies who have decayed to nothing but bone, threaten both zombies and humans alike.

The story is one of the more unique to come along and works pretty well.  The first bit of the film is a bit slow, but not in an all bad way.  As it moves forward things start to pick up a bit as the audience is given an inside look at the zombie’s side of things.  There is little explanation as to how the change really occurs, but it doesn’t make a difference to the story; it’s just a little irritating.  There was a little irrationality in the actions of some characters in some situations.  But all in all the film is kept pretty light, even during the darker moments, and somehow manages to deliver an effective love story.

Safe Haven

Assuming a new haircut and a tight-lipped persona, Katie, an abused wife, gets off the bus at Southport, secures a job at the local waterfront diner in 10 minutes flat, rents a picturesque cabin in the woods 10 minutes or so later, and soon begins trading cautious yet demurely smoldering glances with the local general store proprietor.  He is portrayed by Josh Duhamel, and his character — a widower with two children — is the safe haven of the title.

The movie is a classic romance with a dramatic undertone.  Katie’s husband is still looking for her, and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats waiting to see when he will find her in her new home.  Julianne Hough does well enough, though her singing and/dancing career thus far has trained her to oversell, as opposed to sell, and act more naturally.  All in all it’s a good, cute movie.  Nicholas Sparks knows his audience, and this movie is a perfect Valentine’s Day romance.

Beautiful Creatures

Based on the first book in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s bestselling young-adult series, “Beautiful Creatures” is a pure pop-culture confection.  The movie has a cool alt-rock sound thanks to the haunting music of the Brit band thenewno2, and a graceful grunge look.  To put it in perspective, the movie reaches the artistic heights hoped for, but never quite scaled by “Twilight.”

The film is set in the fictional Gatlin, South Carolina, a small town in old-South sentimentality and superstition.  There are two mysteries, according to Ethan, our narrator — why anyone stays and whether the crumbling plantation called Ravenwood is haunted.  Like Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” one of Ethan’s favorite books, he is wise beyond his years and his thoughts frame the story.  Things in the quiet, predictable town are set on edge when Macon Ravenwood’s, the town shut in, niece Lena Duchannes.