What’s Seattle Saying – February 1, 2013

WhatsSeattleSayingLogoEach week, Should I See It will be looking to its left and to its right, collating the thoughts of many of the film reviewers and writers located in and around the Seattle community.

OPENING IN SEATTLE THIS WEEKEND (February 1, 2013):

  • Bullet To The Head
  • The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animation
  • The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action
  • Stand Up Guys
  • Warm Bodies

See what the Seattle critics say about these films…after the cut!


BulletToTheHeadPosterBULLET TO THE HEAD
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang
Rating: R (for strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use)
Genre: Action
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Director: Walter Hill

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Based on a graphic novel, Bullet to the Head tells the story of a New Orleans hitman (Stallone) and a DC cop (Kang) who form an alliance to bring down the killers of their respective partners. – Warner Bros.

 

 

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Bullet To The Head?

X - NoBrian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
Ending the blandness of it all with a BULLET meeting head might be a bit harsh – but I would have easily settled with a ball peen hammer.”

X - NoRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“For this outing, Hill appears to have thrown in the towel.”

X - NoErik Samdahl, FilmJabber
“…the cringe-inducing dialogue makes you want to put a bullet to your own head.”

X - NoAllen Almachar, The MacGuffin
“…a lifeless story with a lead performance that barely registers any kind of active participation..”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
Truth of the matter is, this ‘80s style barnburner kept me entertained…

Tim Hall, The People’s Critic @ SeattlePI.com
X - No“The 91 minute runtime says two things: 1) it’s going to be fast paced action 2) There’s no time to develop any characters.”

X - NoBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“Get rid of all the unnecessary chatter. These guys aren’t interesting in the slightest.”

X - NoSoren Andersen, The Seattle Times
“Give “Bullet to the Head” this: It delivers on the promise of its title.”

Sylvester Stallone, building off of his Expendables-led resurgence, returns with Bullet to the Head, a cross-pollination of culture, violence, action and adventure, and violence. Seriously, do we really have Stallone, Pacino, Walken, and Arkin anchoring the new release calendar? Wow. Directed by famed director Walter Hill, Bullet to the Head has a disappointing national response from critics, and a dismal response locally. Nationally, Bullet scores 46% and our panel finds one lone endorsement.

OscarShorts2013poster1THE OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2013: ANIMATION/LIVE ACTION
Starring: Various
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Various
Running Time: 88 Minutes (Animation) / 114 Minutes (Live Action)
Director: Various


WHAT IS IT ABOUT – The Animated Short Films?

Adam & Dog (director: Minkyu Lee, USA) The story about the dog of Eden. What happened in those first days of Creation that made Man and Dog so inseparable? The dog, as he lives through this curious world, encounters a strange creature; a human being named Adam – and with that discovers a new found connection to the world.

Fresh Guacamole (director: PES, USA) Learn how to transform familiar objects into Fresh Guacamole!

Head Over Heels (director: Timothy Reckart, UK) After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. When Walter discovers a long-lost memento of their wedding day, he tries to reignite their old romance. But it brings their equilibrium crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way to put their marriage back together.

Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ (director: David Silverman, USA) Maggie Simpson spends a day at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center where she is diagnosed at an average intelligence level. Longing to be grouped with the gifted children, Maggie finds her destiny by rescuing a lonely cocoon from Baby Gerald, who is busy smooshing butterflies.

Paperman (director: John Kahrs, USA) Paperman follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him. – Shorts International.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT – The Live Action Short Films?
Asad (director: Bryan Buckley, South Africa) Set in a war-torn fishing village in Somalia, an all Somali refugee cast brings to life this coming of age fable of a Somali boy who is faced with falling into the pirate life, or rising above to choose the path of an honest fishing man.

Buzkashi Boys (director: Sam French, Afghanistan) Set against the dramatic landscape of contemporary Afghanistan and the national sport of Buzkashi – a brutal game of horse polo played with a dead goat – Buzkashi Boys tells the coming of age story of two best friends, a charismatic street urchin and a defiant blacksmith’s son, who struggle to realize their dreams as they make their way to manhood in one of the most war-torn countries on Earth.

Curfew (director: Shawn Christensen, USA) At the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his nine-year old niece, Sophia, for the evening.

Death of a Shadow (director: Tom Van Avermaet, France and Belgium) Soldier Nathan died during World War I. A strange collector imprisoned his shadow and gave him a new chance: a second life against 10,000 captured shadows. It is love that guides him, as his purpose is to meet Sarah again, the woman he fell in love with before he died. But then he discovers that she’s already in love with someone else, jealousy clouds his mind and pushes him towards a bitter decision, not without consequences.

Henry (director: Yan England, Canada) Henry, a great concert pianist, has his life thrown in turmoil the day the love of this life, Maria, disappears mysteriously. He’ll then discover the inevitable verdict of life – Shorts International

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT The Oscar Nominated Short FIlms for 2013?

Check - YesRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“This year’s collection of both animated and live-action short films that garnered Academy Award nominations. The latter tend to be a heavy and somewhat obvious bunch, but the animated films are a real delight this time.”

Check - YesErik Samdahl, FilmJabber (Animated / Live Action Short)
“All five (Live Action Short) movies are strong contenders. Among the five films nominated for Best Animated Short at this year’s Academy Awards, there are two legitimately great films.”

Check - YesJeff Shannon, The Seattle Times
No comedies among the live-action nominees (except one that’s not very amusing) and no obvious winner in the animated category, which is full of whimsical marvels.”

Check - YesMichael Ward, Should I See It (Animated / Live Action Short)
“This year, the five Animated Short Film nominees offer a dizzying blend of creativity. (The Live Action Short Films) …all carry deeply emotional stories with something tangible people can relate to.”

Now an annual event that Oscarwatchers circle their calendar for, the annual presentation of nominated Animated and Live Action Short films is always a popular event. With the documentary short films arriving soon, tentatively scheduled to arrive in Seattle next weekend, these packages have a unanimous 100% consensus from local and national critics. A dazzling mix of animation styles and a far-reaching range of subjects and themes, both fantastical and steeped in of the moment realism, the Short Film voters of the Academy seemed to put together a powerful slate of nominees.

StandUpGuysPosterSTAND UP GUYS
Starring: Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken
Rating: R (for language, sexual content, violence, and brief drug use)
Genre: Comedy
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Director: Fisher Stevens

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Val (Al Pacino) is released from prison after serving twenty-eight years for refusing to give up one of his close criminal associates. His best friend Doc (Christopher Walken) is there to pick him up, and the two soon re-team with another old pal, Hirsch (Alan Arkin). Their bond is as strong as ever, and the three reflect on freedom lost and gained, loyalties ebbed and flowed, and days of glory gone by. But one of the friends is keeping a dangerous secret- he’s been put in an impossible quandary by a former mob boss, and his time to find an acceptable alternative is running out. As the sun rises on the guys’ legendary reunion, their position becomes more and more desperate and they finally confront their past once and for all. – Lionsgate.

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Stand Up Guys?

X - NoAdam Gehrke, Adamgehrke.com
“…the screenplay feels like a poorly tailored suit for these three greats, relying on what feels like cliché dialogue and half baked character development.”

Check - YesMoira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
“…sometimes you watch a movie because you want to watch a particular combination of actors hang out. That’s the reason to see “Stand Up Guys,”…”

Given an Oscar qualifying run in December 2012, Stand Up Guys was largely ignored by every one with influence on the Oscar season. While Jon Bon Jovi’s well-received theme song had some thinking Stand Up Guys could land a Best Original Song nomination, we all know that the film came up short. Critics across the country were less than impressed with the film, directed by actor Fisher Stevens, his first feature-length film in over a decade. Only two reviewers on our panel were able to see the film and split on the film. The Tomatometer carries a 36% score.

WarmBodiesPosterWARM BODIES
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer
Rating: PG-13 (for zombie violence and some language)
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Horror
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Director: Jonathan Levine

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
A funny new twist on a classic love story, WARM BODIES is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world – Summit Entertainment.

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Warm Bodies?

Check - YesAdam Gehrke, Adamgehrke.com
Wry wit and just the right amount quirk make for plenty of playful pokes in the eye for zombie lovers.”

Check - YesBrian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
“…a lighthearted, cheerful, funny, optimistic and sometimes gross look at the power of love – and how it can overpower the urge to mindlessly rip someone apart and eat them for lunch.”

X - NoRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“This zombie-apocalypse romance has a single joke, and repeats it with deadening regularity, although it also expects you to takes its sincerity straight at the end. Tedious.”

Check - YesBrian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
“Said undead isn’t akin to Edward, Jacob or any other beasty, nor is the movie a sappy yarn of love conquering all…”

Check - YesErik Samdahl, FilmJabber
“Though on the surface it is a zombie comedy, Warm Bodies is, at its heart, a surprisingly sweet romantic comedy.”

Check - YesAllen Almachar, The MacGuffin
This is not your typical zombie movie, and that is good thing. It bends the rules to allow something sweet to rise to the surface.”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
“…achieves a heartfelt ebullience that’s inspiring, and for a movie about the undead watching this made me feel as alive as anything I’ve seen in ages.

X - NoBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“It’s got some laughs, but for the most part this is a rather forgettable feature.”

Check - YesTim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
“…turns out to be a heartwarming story about a zombie’s quest for something more.”

Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times
Check - Yes“There’s plenty of desire and resignation in human and zombie camps alike in this movie, suggesting life is a relative experience.”

Michael Ward, Should I See It
Check - Yes“…one precocious zombie-infused romantic comedy, nailing down a sharp wit, self-deprecating tone, and engagingly playful demeanor.”

Warm Bodies offers a different take on the romantic comedy and zombie movie. Jonathan Levine rose to prominence with his second film, 2011′s 50/50 and his return has been met with mostly open arms. Playing quite well with Seattle critics, Warm Bodies has impressed enough critics nationally to become the first legitimate 2013 wide release to achieve a 75% or better on the Rotten Tomatoes scale.

FINAL CONSENSUS:

There is surprising heart with zombie rom-com Warm Bodies, while the Academy made Oscar night quite difficult in selecting fantastic nominees in the Animation and Live Action short film categories. Bullet To The Head was mind-numbing while the Stand Up Guys were not widely seen.

COMING TO SEATTLE NEXT WEEK:

  • Identity Thief
  • Side Effects

What’s Seattle Saying surveyed critics include:

Adam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
Brian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
Robert Horton, Everett Herald
Brian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
Erik Samdahl, FilmJabber
Laremy Legel, Film.com/Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The MacGuffin
Sara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
Tim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
Brad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The Seattle Times
Ian Dinsmore, Seattleite
Michael Ward, Should I See It

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