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Dawn of the Now Playing

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previewing World War Z, Monsters University, The Bling Ring, and Much Ado About Nothing

 While I was perusing IGN.com this week, I came across an article that left me with a simple smile.  It contains slight spoilers from Man of Steel (not the big one though) so consider yourself warned.

Begin Man of Steel spoilers

In the article entitled ‘What Would Man of Steel’s Destruction Cost?’ the Watson Technical Consulting outfit figured out how much damage was caused in the final battle, both in terms of money and lives.  The results were pretty astounding.  Quoting from the article:

The WTC estimates that in the days after the attack, 129,000 people would be confirmed killed, nearly a million would be injured, and over a quarter of a million would still be missing. The impact “seemed to be similar to an air burst from a 20kt nuclear explosion in terms of shock effects, but without the radiation or thermal effects.”

Additionally, some $700 billion in physical damage would be done to the city. Cleanup, economic impact, and other costs would eventually bring that number into the trillions of dollars. (To give that number some real-world context, one of the worst events in U.S. history -- the 9/11 attacks -- cost $55 billion.)

-          Scott Collura, http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/06/18/what-would-man-of-steels-destruction-cost

 

Superman’s final battle is more than 10 times worse than 9/11.  Isn’t he supposed to be saving us? 

End of Man of Steel spoilers

 

Now it’s time to get to the matter at hand.  Zombies are invading us again, and once again, they’re in PG-13.

 

WORLD WAR Z

 

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself. *

 

The Good – Max Brooks, the son of comedy icon Mel Brooks, has become one of the definitive voices when it comes to the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  His books The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z are looked upon in reverence by many in the literary crowd as the best when it comes to the genre.  World War Z in particular has a substantial cult following.  Its biting social commentary rips into America’s isolationism, a corrupt and incompetent government, and the emotional toll of what these policies do to its people.  There’s no central main character.  Instead it’s a series of stories and interviews from the survivors of the apocalypse.  It’s a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.

 

The Bad – I always held the belief that the book was going to have trouble being translated to the screen, and from the many stories about this production, it has proven to be right.  Numerous production delays and an extensive reshoot of the third act pushed this film back from its original release date of December of last year and caused the budget to skyrocket to around $200 million.  Just to reiterate, this is a zombie picture.  Its appeal is mostly limited.  Then, the producers neuter the concept down to a PG-13 to try and make as much of it back as they can, which does NOT appeal to that limited audience.  I don’t think this movie will bomb, but it will have a hard time to make its budget back.  It may have decent reviews at the moment, but consider me doubtful.

 

The Ugly – The trailers have thrown many ‘iconic’ glimpses at the screen (one of which is the Starship Troopers-esque ladder of zombies against a wall).  For me, the image I will retain is a photoshopped poster.  Someone from College Humor subtly added a flying zombie cat.  I crack up whenever I see it.

 

World War Z is rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

 

A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University -- when they weren't necessarily the best of friends. *

 

Brief Thoughts – For the most part, I’ve always have a distain towards children animated movies.  Only a select few have been anywhere close to good.  The one studio that escapes this criticism is Pixar.  These folks know how to tell a great story that appeals to both children and adults alike.  Their missteps have been few and far between, and even then those films are superior to most in the genre (Brave, for example).  The return of the Monsters, Inc. crew in this prequel does raise some doubts.  It feels more of a cash-in than their usual greatness.  But as far as cash-in’s go, I’m pretty sure this one will be one of the better examples.  After all, this does look like a kid version of Animal House.

 

Monsters University is rated G.

 

THE BLING RING

 

Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes. *

 

Brief Thoughts – Emma Watson is trying to distance herself from her Harry Potter days and it’s working.  Outside of her hilarious cameo in This is the End, she has kept to mostly the indie circuit with Perks of Being a Wallflower and this film.  The Bling Ring is written and directed by Sofia Coppola, daughter of the Academy Award winner Francis Ford Coppola, of whom I have had limited exposure.  The only movie of hers I’ve seen was The Virgin Suicides.  I liked that very dark film, so there may be some hope yet for this one.  Although, they did cast Paris Hilton as herself.  That is always an ominous sign.

 

The Bling Ring is rated R for teen drug and alcohol use, and for language including some brief sexual references.

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

 

A modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words. *

 

Brief Thoughts – It’s a modern day retelling of one of the Bard’s classic tales.  It also has the feeling of a fan film made on the cheap.  And that’s exactly what it is.  Filmed in secret over 12 days and shortly after shooting one of the highest grossing and reviewed super hero movies ever, Joss Whedon gathered a large group of his friends together and shot it at his own house.  Those friends just happen to be many people that he has worked with for many years, including Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Alexis Denisof, Ashley Johnson, and Sean Maher.  Outside of Nathan Fillion (TV’s Castle) and Clark Gregg (Agent Colson in the Marvel movies), those names will be mostly familiar with those who follow Whedon (I’d like to think of myself as one.  I’ve watched his shows dating back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  Count this as one fan film that I’m interested in seeing.

 

Much Ado About Nothing is rated PG-13 for some sexuality and brief drug use.

 

That will do for this week.  Tune in next time when Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy bring down the house.  Until then, remember that beauty is a witch against whose charms faith melteth into blood.

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