Warm Bodies

It's pretty miserable to watch Nicholas Hoult play a zombie -- at least at first. In Warm Bodies, he plays a disgusting, undead sad-sack who calls himself R because he can't remember his full name. He's dirty, drools blood, has crooked teeth and shuffles around really slowly.

R still has a heart as well as a brain, which is how we're treated to his pithy, post-adolescent narration. And for half an hour, it's annoying. We have to watch him stagger around like a beaten-up drunk, grunting at his one friend (Rob Corddry) for communication, while we listen to his overly self-aware interior analysis.

When R falls in love with an uninfected girl named Julie (Teresa Palmer, who looks distractingly like Kristen Stewart) while he's eating the brains of her boyfriend (an unimpressive Dave Franco -- sorry bro, we still haven't forgotten you peed your pants in Superbad), it doesn't feel like the movie's getting any better.

And then ... it just does. R is getting better, so as he slowly becomes able to muscle out parts of his personality for Julie to see, the narration and overall premise of the movie become more credible. He tells Julie he prefers records over MP3's because of sound quality and he's able to channel his feelings through an almost hilariously literal selection of songs for her (loved hearing "Hungry Heart" and especially Guns n' Roses's "Patience," but you're really not leaving much open to interpretation with those choices).


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It all plays out basically how you'd expect, but it's cute, and that's more than I can say for almost any other zombie film. GRADE: B-

(Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language)

Bullet to the Head

In the sleepy Bullet to the Head, Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, an old hitman for whom stealth is never really a strategy. After a successful job that is anything but inconspicuous, Jimmy's partner gets shanked at a bar by mercenary Keegan (Jason Momoa). Vowing revenge, Jimmy forms an unlikely alliance with a cop named Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) who's investigating the murder of his partner -- Jimmy's first kill in the film.

Jimmy eventually uncovers some unintelligible scandal involving Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a bad guy whose most interesting -- and annoying -- characteristic is his need to use two crutches. The cast is full of wasted potential. Akinnuoye-Agbaje played Simon Adebisi on Oz. Momoa played one of the coolest badasses ever, the Dothraki leader Khal Drogo, on Game of Thrones. Christian Slater played ... well, Christian Slater's got talent, I think. But they all mail it in here, especially Slater in a scenery-chewing cameo as a local rich scumbag. Momoa tries hard to elevate his one-note psycho character, but he spends more of the movie looking menacing instead of actually being menacing.

The movie needs more action more frequently. The action scenes that work (basically the two Stallone-Momoa fights that bookend the film) come few and far between, separated by the explanation of a cloudy conspiracy, boring car chases and a useless subplot involving Jimmy's daughter (Sarah Shahi), who's mostly there to get captured and to show her breasts. And at the head of it all is Stallone, who seems to look older the worse his movie is; in this one, he looks like he should retire sooner rather than later. Grade: D

(Rated R for strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use)

Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ sweetestpete. Check whatdoUwannado.com tomorrow for reviews of Identity Thief and Side Effects.