Category Archives: Movies

World War Z Review: Zombies and Brad Pitt, What More Do You Want?

7.5

I had no problem voicing my concerns for World War Z after the first trailer came out.  I read Max Brook’s novel[1] a few years ago and absolutely loved it.  It’s a refreshing take on the genre and I highly recommend it.

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[1] Did you even know it was a novel first?

If you read the novel, than you would have been shocked by how absolutely little the film has in common with the book.  Outside of there being a zombie apocalypse, you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of similarities between the two.

So, naturally, I was disappointed when I saw they weren’t being faithful to this great book.  The CGI zombies looked ridiculous and straight out of I Am Legend.  It just looked silly to me.  A PG-13 rating certainly wasn’t helping its case.

I decided to see it anyways.  And I’m glad I did, because I was 100% mistaken. It’s pretty effin’ cool.

World War Z is the perfect summer flick.  Tons of action, tons of Brad Pitt, tons of CGI.  It’s fun.

It’s not your typical zombie film either.  It had a good sized budget and it’s reflected in the huge scale of the movie. There’s a good amount of globetrotting and a lotttttttt of CGI zombies.  I thought that would bother me, but it turns out to be pretty entertaining.  Plus, the final act plays homage to your typical zombie film, with real zombies!  Okay, actors in prosthetics.

It is PG-13, so you’re not going to see people getting ripped apart like in your average zombie flick. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, the violence is pretty minimal. I certainly wouldn’t call it the best zombie movie ever, but it has to be the best zombie blockbuster ever.

Brad Pitt plays a fixer for the U.N. and that’s really all you know or even need to know.  Pitt is front and center the entire movie[2] and he does a fine job.  Although, I have to say, Brad Pitt: not a sexy runner.  You’ll see what I mean.

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[2] Seriously. Find a scene he’s not in. Hell, he’s in most shots.

The movie isn’t without its flaws; there are innumerable logistical errors and I still think it would have been better if they followed Max Brooks’s original story[3].  But, you just have to sit back and enjoy it for what it is.  I enjoyed it more it more than I did Man of Steel, for the record.

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[3] Do I sound bitter about that?

Also, they’ve apparently already greenlit a sequel.  Maybe we’ll see a faithful adaptation of the book afterall!!!!

But in the meantime, go see it![4]  What did you think? Did anyone read the book?

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[4] And then read the book, because it’s better. Okay, I’m done, I swear!

7.5

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Quick Thoughts on MAN OF STEEL and THIS IS THE END

Double feature!!!!!! Which should you see this weekend?

Man of Steel

6.4

No doubt you’ve recently heard someone say “The new Superman movie is going to be great! Christopher Nolan is doing it!”

It drives me crazy to hear that.  Nolan is listed as an executive producer for Man of Steel, but people really need to learn to take this title with a huge grain of salt.  In the TV world, the executive producer is typically the show runner and is heavily involved.  In movies?  Anything goes, but it usually means jack shit.  A lot of times, and I suspect it is the case here, it is simply a marketing scheme.  Wouldn’t you be more inclined to see a movie if you thought Stephen Spielberg[1] played some part in the production of it?

Does that mean Nolan had absolutely no part in this movie? Not necessarily, but it feels conspicuously un-Nolan.  David S. Goyer, one of the writers, along with Nolan, of the Dark Knight trilogy, wrote the script.  I’m sure Nolan was consulted here and there, but Man of Steel felt much more like a Goyer work.

So make no mistake, this is Zach Snyder’s movie.  Do not go into it expecting a Nolan film or you will be severely disappointed.

Snyder is sort of hit or miss in Hollywood.  For what it’s worth, I enjoyed 300, Dawn of the Dead, and Sucker Punch for what they were.  I didn’t even hate Watchmen.  Snyder has always been at least decent in my book and I had been thinking/hoping that Man of Steel would be his breakout film.  I regret to say that it is not.

MoS is a mess from a plot standpoint.  The opening act shows Krypton amidst war and destruction in an Attack of the Clones sort of way (yuck!) and it drags on just a little too much.  From here on, the movie moves too fast.  There’s so little character development and we jump from flashback to flashback of hobo Clark Kent’s past for a while, until we get into the actual plot of the story.  There’s certainly no shortage of action in between.  Seeing Superman fight fellow Kryptonians in over-the-top brawls that destroy building after building is pretty cool, but even that gets old after a while.  It felt like watching the same scene over and over again.

Oh, and it ends as abruptly as this paragraph.

The film is light on humor.  I suppose they were going for a darker vibe, but it didn’t feel dark so much as it did….bland.  Perhaps this was the representation. In typical Snyder fashion, there’s a constant filter placed on the screen that makes it look sort of dusky.  I found it to be incredibly annoying.

This is nitpicking, but they manage to go probably two hours before actually saying Superman.  I think it would have been a lot cooler if they didn’t say it at all.

There are some decent performances from Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and the always-intense Michael Shannon.  Amy Adams[2] does well in spite of a weak character.  I think Henry Cavill makes a pretty good Superman, even if he is a little underwhelming.  He’s jacked beyond belief and looks a good deal like Tom Welling’s Clark Kent from Smallville.  It might be worth it to see Man of Steel just to catch a glimpse of those chiseled jaw bones and pects.

After the movie, I complained that I wasn’t a fan of Superman’s origin story.  After some thinking, I think I’m just not a fan of origin stories in general.  It’s just so tried in the superhero cannon of film and the only one I truly enjoy is Batman Begins.[3]

 So yeah, pretty disappointed with Man of Steel.  It felt like it could have been so much more, but fell flat on the potential.  It’s better than Superman Returns, no doubt.  It’s awesome to see Superman flying with modern CGI; I just wish the movie itself were as awesome.

 I’m holding out hope for a sequel.  I think it has potential to get something going in a second round.  We shall see.

6.4

 

 

This is the End

8.4

It’s Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny Mcbride, James Franco, and Jonah Hill stuck in a house together during the apocalypse. Why would you not see it?!

I’d say it’s not quite as good as Pineapple Express, but it’s still great.  Really entertaining.  It’s completely ridiculous and over the top.  You’ve probably already heard this.  You already know about all the cameos and how great Michael Cera is in his five minutes of screen time. So just go see it, you don’t need a review!

“What is this?! You can’t even write 100 words about it after reaming Man of Steal for 700???!!!!” Sorry! I just don’t think there’s much that needs to be said about This is the End.  Everyone should just go experience it for themselves.  You’ll enjoy it!

8.4

You’ll probably have a better time seeing This is the End than you would seeing Man of Steel.  Thought it would be the opposite.


[1] Spielberg has got to be the pioneer of this executive producer business and record holder of most-producer-credits-without-ever-doing-any-work-on-the-film-whatsoever awards.

[2] Do we qualify Amy Adams as hot? After some discussion with my buddy Tyler, the answer is an unenthusiastic yes…I think.

[3] Are you sick of me raving about the Dark Knight trilogy yet? I don’t care. I’ll defend it to the grave.

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