Monday, June 24, 2013

World War Z

World War Z comes into theaters with a spew of toxic buzz. Reshoots, rewrites, an overblown 200 million dollar budget and a director that almost singlehandedly ruined the James Bond franchise (Thank GOD for Skyfall and Sam Mendes). Talk about toxic buzz. Well, despite all those negatives the good news is that World War Z is not as bad as we thought it would be. Director Marc Foster, fresh off the heels of his Quantam Of Solace failure, doesn't necessarily triumph in the director's seat but he infuses his zombie film with enough jolts that you leave the theater without a feeling of having just been ripped off (Welcome to Summer 2013). Just take for example the incredible plane scene, I will say no more except that it is truly one of the most jaw dropping things I've seen in quite a while. Gripping is the right word. The same can't be said for many parts of the movie. The PG-13 rating limits Foster into fully going head on with his film. The Walking Dead this ain't. Brad Pitt, also the film's producer, is solid as Gerry Lane a former U.N specialist, now family man, faced with the daunting task to save the world from an impending Zombie apocalypse. The U.N calls him up for help, they want Gerry to find the source of the outbreak and possibly get a cure. Gerry wants none of that but the U.N bribes him with safe shelter for his family, but only if he does the job. Of course, like any hollywood macho man would do, he takes the daunting task.

The film is schizo in its ups and downs. It threatens to go off the rails but only does in spades, especially at its wimpy end. Before that, we get enough jolts to almost justify the film's preposterously high budget. Pitt is an actor you can count on, from 12 Monkeys to Snatch, he can commands the screen like not many other actors can. The mystery behind the virus is what drives the film. How did it start? Gerry gets a tip that Israel is the only country in the world to have sustained the outbreak. Gerry goes there to investigate exactly why, the scenes in Jerusalem are terrifyingly real. Just how safe is the holy city? Pitt finds out the hard way. World War Z gets the job done but it could have been so much more. an R rating would have made it twice as exciting. Just watch Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, a film this one is clearly inspired by, for a way to twist the zombie genre up from its arse. World War Z is a spectacle and aims to be that all the way through its 116 minutes. In hollywood it is no small feat to beat advanced toxic buzz. Titanic, The Bourne Identity, Gangs of New York and Avatar come to mind. World War Z is nowhere near the quality of those films, it lacks an intensity that it only hints at. Nevertheless some of its scenes will stick with you for a good, long while after the lights come up.

Summer rumblings


Monsters University (G)

Expect to read disappointed write-ups for "Monsters University" when it comes out this coming Friday, a sequel that didn't need to happen yet still did. Listen, it's not a bad film and definitely has its charms but as of late Pixar has been leaning towards more profitable ventures instead of more adventurous, intelligent fare such as WALL-E and UP. It's not rocket science, just go where the money is. 13 years ago "Monsters inc." grossed more than 250 million at the domestic box office. There's your answer, make a sequel. It's not about the creative process anymore as much as it is a numbers game, business as usual. This sequel is actually a prequel of sorts. A how-did-they-become sort of thing. It again follows Sulley and Mike, except this time they're in scare school. Sulley is better at scaring than Mike and they basically argue and bicker the entire film. Any Pixar die-hard will leave the theater with a feeling of dissatisfaction. The film has its moments such as when the "scare games" happen but it all just feels too facile, too generic for Pixar. I laughed a few times and I did care for these characters, If it was any other animation company I wouldn't be complaining as much and would just give it a solid 3 star rating .. but we deserve to expect so much more from this legendary film company.

The Internship (PG-13)

There aren't many laughs in The Internship, a film that reunites the dynamo duo of the Wedding Crashers. Of course I'm talking about Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. They play two schlubs that don't know what to do with their lives and decide to pursue a career at Google. Of course, before getting that coveted job they need to do well with their internship and win over the big wigs. Easier said than done. Everyone interning is over qualified, our two loveable schlubs are not. You're probably asking how the hell did they get in in the first place? Don't ask. In fact, don't ask about the entire movie. It's a complete disaster. A crushing disappointment. A film that is a 90 minute promoting tool for Google. How can a movie that features two of the funniest guys in Hollywood be so .. unfunny? Don't ask. That's basically what The Internship comes down to. There's a reason why it became a box office bomb in just a few week. Don't ask why.

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