Reviews: Warm Bodies & Side Effects (2013)

My reviews of Warm Bodies & Side Effects, both February releases.

Warm Bodies: 

Finally, the first romantic comedy to come along in awhile that has managed to escape the trap of banality and cliche. Warm Bodies is a clever albeit meandering take on the tired genre, offering solid performances and moments of acute intelligence that I was not expecting. The best word to describe the experience is charming; the script provides the audience with an involving but not overly oblique plot that is meant to be taken lightly in some spots and seriously in others. It's what truly separates this film from other supernatural bore-fests such as the Twilight series or Beastly.

  While there is nothing wrong to be found in the theatrical aesthetics, the composition of the second half of the movie leaves something to be desired as far as filmmaking goes. Things really start to fall apart when the climax kicks into gear. The director, Jonathan Levine (50/50), attempts to shove in some unnecessary action in the last 20 minutes of the film, but in the end it never really amounts to anything because there seems to be nothing at stake, and the whole ordeal feels like it comes out of nowhere. Hardships aside, I enjoyed myself during Warm Bodies, so I give the film a solid 7/10. 

Side Effects:

Steven Soderbergh, one of my personal favorite directors, has created another masterful work of cinematic excellence. Side Effects, without giving too much away, follows the story of a woman (played by Rooney Mara) who is put on anti-depressants to handle her anxiety, with disastrous results. The plot is full of great twists that are supported by tightly written dialogue and ambiguous character motivations. What I liked most about the film is that I never could get a handle on who's side I should be on. There is no black or white, only grey, as the cliche goes, and this saying is definitely true when applied to Side Effects. 

I honestly can't find a fault in this film. The story was tense, the acting was great (Hey, Vinessa Shaw--remember Hocus Pocus?), and the running time was of perfectly adequate length. I really hope that this isn't Soderbergh's last film (as the rumor goes), but even it is, he made a good choice in going out with a bang. I had an excellent time with Side Effects, so I'm giving the film a 9/10. 

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