With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
Consider this: standstill traffic, sudden explosions, people fleeing, lots of screaming. It’s the doomsday scenario Chuck Norris and less-hirsute far-right extremists said would happen if we elected Barack Obama as president — either time; pick one — but it’s also the opening moments of World War Z.
The Z stands for “zombies,” of course, but World War Zis an action-thriller, not a horror flick. Like TV’s ridiculously popularThe Walking Dead or 2009’s more-fun-than-funny Zombieland, it’s a watered-down depiction of the days and nights of the living dead — a zombie film for who people who can’t handle a “real” zombie film.
In other words, it’s a real summer crowd-pleaser, far from the trash heap as years of bad buzz have suggested. That said, it’s entertaining without approaching extraordinary.
Directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), World War Z is based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name. While that book — good, not great — was episodic in nature with oral accounts gleaned from across the globe, the movie opts to tell only one of its ostensible stories, and from a singular perspective: that of former UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt, who also serves as producer).
Gerry rather reluctantly leaves his wife (Mireille Enos, TV’s The Killing) and two daughters on a military aircraft while he trots around the globe, helping to pursue a cure to whatever virus has caused this pandemic. No matter his (thinly purposed) destination, super-fast zombies are present for a greet-and-eat. Repeat until the two-hour mark.
I give World War Zthis: It wastes no time on setup. It doesn’t need any.
What it does need is — no pun intended — more meat. I understand a PG-13 rating represents the film’s best shot at recouping its reported $200 million-and-up budget, but the movie feels so neutered and toothless in its bloodlessness. Shouldn’t a depiction of a global catastrophe come equipped with a serrated edge?
And shouldn’t audiences be able to see all of it? It could be the fault of the completely unnecessary 3-D, which results in a darker screen, but comprehending any nighttime action sequence is difficult. Forster’s jittery camera and the Slap Chop style of editing only worsens the situation.
Although his hair proves a distraction, Pitt makes for a fine host on his travelogue of terror. Too bad Enos can’t be in the thick with him. She’s such a headstrong actress that it’s frustrating — demeaning, even — that her role in this World Waramounts to moping on a cot. —Rod Lott