BIG RELEASE: Warm Bodies (Feb. 1)
THE BIG PICTURE: What's a human guy to do? First the vampires and werewolves started stealing the hearts of all our gals -- and now zombies are getting in on the warm-blooded action. Warm Bodies is, arguably, the first zombie rom-com -- though future film scholars could also make the case for many of Katherine Heigl's passionless rom-coms (she may one day be seen as a pioneer of the genre). Based on the popular novel by Isaac Marion, this killer lover story follows Julie (Teresa Palmer) and R (Nicholas Hoult), her would-be zombie killer turned would-be zombie suitor. Of course, Julie's dad is the human general bent on eradicating the undead. It's the post-zombie apocalypse Romeo and Juliet.
FORECAST: Warm Bodies will certainly fill the seats with warm bodies. Supernatural romance is like catnip to teenage moviegoers -- not mention 20-somethings and creepy middle aged woman finally getting bored of watching endless loops of Jacob's shirtless scenes from Twilight.
As for the future of the genre, what else is left to do? I have two suggestions: Scales of Love, in which the Loch Ness Monster (with the ability to shapeshift into Zac Efron one night a week) falls in love with a monster hunter's beautiful daughter; and Flesh and Bones, in which a skeleton falls in love with the teenage daughter of a curmudgeonly family doctor.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Bullet to the Head (Feb. 1). Hey Hollywood, listen up! The 1980s called and they want their simplistic, macho film titles back! The Last Stand, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is already in theatres. And you can thank his brother in muscular arms, Sly Stallone, for Bullet to the Head, which has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Jason Momoa and Christian Slater co-star. It's about a hitman, a cop, vengeance and... does it even really matter? If you're the kind of person who wants to see a movie called Bullet to the Head, this one's for you. I can't wait for Steven Seagal's inevitable comeback in Kick Me in the Crotch.
BIG EVENT: Do No Harm (Jan. 31, CTV/NBC, 9 p.m.)
BIG PICTURE: This show's plot is my new alibi. If I ever wake up disoriented in a wrecked hotel room next to naked women I've never seen before, I'll just show my wife Do No Harm's pilot on the PVR. "See honey, I've got the same condition as THAT guy. It's medical. Totally medical." This new series is a modern re-telling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Do No Harm stars Steven Pasquale as Dr. Jason Cole, a brilliant, compassionate neurosurgeon -- who just happens to have a sociopathic, hedonistic alter ego named Ian Price. For years, Cole has suppressed his dangerous ugly side with a powerful sedative, but now his body is becoming immune to the serum. Ian is getting back out of his cage -- and he's bent on making Dr. Cole's life a living hell.
FORECAST: First a zombie version of Romeo and Juliet and now Mr. Hyde has been reinvented as "Ian." This is not a good week for English literature professors.
BIG RELEASE ON JAN. 29: Tegan and Sara (Heartthrob),
BIG PICTURE: Identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin have long been the darlings of Canadian indie rock. But the Calgary-born duo's latest album finds them exploring unfamiliar territory. Known more for coffee shop confessionals than dance floor drivers, the twins turn it up a few notches in this effort. Instead of folk-driven whimsy, their new songs are powered by synthetic pop (but their signature vocals are still unmistakable).
Forecast: Whatever beat they choose to march to, Tegan and Sara are stellar songwriters. Heartthrob should hold your attention.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Lisa Loeb (No Fairy Tale); Local Natives (Hummingbird). Cut her some slack. Your life wouldn't feel like a fairy tale either after singing the song Stay millions of times. Meanwhile, indie pop outfit The Local Natives are getting a lot of buzz for Hummingbird, their aptly titled debut.
"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop culture offerings is just what we need. With that in mind, here is what's on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.