Family Filmgoer reviews ‘Warm Bodies,’ ‘Bullet to the Head’ and ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’
By Jane Horwitz,
Warm Bodies. Okay for high-schoolers and some middle-schoolers who can handle zombified gore, “Warm Bodies” blends non-tragic bits of “Romeo and Juliet” with a zombie saga and teen-friendly humor. R is a teen zombie who shuffles along, grunting, as words don’t come easily. His pal is M, and they and others go out looking for human brains to eat. R feels a connection to Julie after eating her boyfriend’s brain. He protects her from the other zombies; they become friends and gradually fall in love.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The movie pushes the PG-13 envelope here and there, when zombies get blown away gorily by humans or kill humans and eat their brains. The skeletal creatures called “bonies” also kill and eat other, fleshier zombies. The dialogue includes a little profanity and there is mild sexual innuendo.
Bullet to the Head. Too violent for most teens younger than 17, this crime story may interest older teens who like their crime sagas in the hard-bitten, noirish vein. James Bonomo is a Louisiana hit man who befriends a cop named Taylor Kwan. Both Bonomo and Kwan are after the same gangster. Crooked cops, gangster developers and thugs abound, and the bullets and blood fly.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Point-blank shootings involve much blood and gore. Characters use cocaine and drink booze. Naked women wander through a high-roller’s house party. An incredibly graphic autopsy scene shows a victim’s entire thorax cut open. Bullets are pried out of wounds and the wounds sewn up. The script includes strong profanity.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. This weird and ill-conceived revenge fantasy, in which the adult Hansel and Gretel get even with witches, is too gory for most high-schoolers younger than 16. The script also uses jarringly modern and strong profanity, and it brims with other anachronisms, such as Hansel injecting himself with a medieval-looking hypodermic for diabetes. Their guns and crossbows appear vaguely historic but shoot like modern assault weapons. Hansel explains that, after his and Gretel’s misadventure as children, they grew up on their own and became traveling witch hunters for hire.
The bottom line: One character is strung up and his body pulled apart, with gore flying. Other violence between witches and humans depicts hearts pierced or heads torn off, but the digital effects are so outlandish, none of it seems very real, so it feels less graphic. The film includes considerable strong profanity, back-view nudity and an implied sexual situation.
Movie 43. Not for anyone younger than 20, “Movie 43” is a collection of short, incredibly gross and sexually explicit comic films. They feature a surprisingly A-level roster of stars, including Dennis Quaid, Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Elizabeth Banks, Emma Stone, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell and more. Charlie is a wannabe screenwriter who invades a studio executive’s office to make a story pitch. The rest of the film cuts between their meeting and scenes from Charlie’s script.
The bottom line: There is no way in a family newspaper to go into more detail about the gross lewdness in “Movie 43.” Suffice it to say that it weaves sexual situations with toilet humor, psychological torment and occasional violence, and all of it is laced with profanity, some violence and psychological torment.
Parker. This watch-checker of a movie is too violent and profane for most high-schoolers younger than 17 and has scenes showing innocent bystanders at a state fair endangered by guns, explosions and fire. Mostly, the movie allows star Jason Statham to get bloodied, talk tough, shoot and stab people and bang heads, while co-star Jennifer Lopez squeaks about money and her failing real estate career. Statham plays Parker, a thief with a code of ethics. Parker’s cohorts mess up and people get hurt. Parker has it out with guys who try to kill him but fail. He then decamps to Florida, where he thinks the people who betrayed him are now planning a big jewel heist. In West Palm Beach he encounters Leslie, who gets wise to his criminal ways and offers to help him for a fee.
The bottom line: The violence includes graphic gunplay, knifings and bone-cracking fights, often with bloody wounds, plus explosions and fires that endanger innocent people. The profanity is strong. We see one briefly implied but non-graphic sexual situation and scenes with topless women.
Stand Up Guys. This gangster comedy includes too much sexually explicit language (plus a graphic visual joke), strong profanity and gun and other violence to be appropriate for high-schoolers younger than 17. College-age film buffs who know stars Al Pacino and Christopher Walken may enjoy it, though the pace is slow and the action sequences relatively rare. Val gets out of prison after many years, having taken the fall for his comrades. Doc picks him up. They pay a call on their pal Hirsch in his nursing home and have an adventure together. Alas, the fun must be fleeting.
The bottom line: The language is strong. The film includes a protracted and visually implied Viagra joke. There are strong hints of nudity. There are brothel visits. Val tries to get high snorting prescription drugs. The action features gun and fist violence that is relatively understated for an R-rated film.
Horwitz is a freelance writer.