World War Z
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and pervasive horror violence
Horror Flick Pits Pitt Vs. Zombies In Dire Planetary Scenario
After a career spent risking his life on location in international hotspots like Bosnia and Liberia, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) recently resigned from a dangerous post at the United Nations to devote himself to his family. As the story unfolds, we find him assuring his wife (Mireille Enos) and young daughters (Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove) that he quit his job to spend more quality time with them as a stay-at-home husband and father.
Meanwhile, that same morning on tv, network news anchors are busily downplaying rumors of a rapidly-spreading rabies outbreak overseas. Eventually, all hell starts to breaks loose in theU.S., too, where the president perishes and the vice president goes missing.
By the time the Emergency Broadcast System finally takes over the airwaves, the escalating zombie scourge can no longer be covered up or contained. And the pandemic, which started in Taiwan, has already overrun a dozen countries and counting.
Given the utterly desperate state of affairs, Gerry has no choice but to answer the call when he is begged by UN Deputy Secretary General Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) to come out of retirement. He agrees to join a crack team of researchers whose mission is to find Patient Zero and develop a vaccine.
But first, he secures berths for his family aboard a quarantined Navy ship sitting safely in the middle of theAtlantic Ocean. Our intrepid protagonist then boards a plane headed for parts unknown, and what ensues is a harrowing, high body-count adventure making “Pitt”-stops inSouth Korea,JerusalemandWales.
At each exotic port of call, Gerry and company encounter wave after wave of voracious zombies, which in accordance with age-old cinematic lore, can only be destroyed by burning or headshots. Of course, they ultimately figure out how to turn the tide, though the resolution conveniently leaves a loophole setting up the sequel in a planned trilogy.
Directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball), World War Z is a bona fide summer blockbuster any way you slice it. From hordes of man-eating creatures, to mob scenes of panicked citizens, to tension-maximizing editing, to captivating special f/x, to breathtaking panoramas of the collapse of civilization, to a buff matinee idol as the hero, the film features all the fixin’s to assure any audience its money’s worth of viewing pleasure and excitement.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 115 minutes
How To Make Money Selling Drugs
Tongue-In-Cheek Documentary Offers Tips On Dope Dealing
“Are you unemployed or stuck in a dead-end job? Don’t worry, we have an answer!” That is the dubious proposition made by How To Make Money Selling Drugs, a tongue-in-cheek (I pray) documentary about the art of dope dealing. The film arrives accompanied by proven provenance, as it features appearances by celebs with street cred like 50 Cent, Eminem, Rick Ross and Russell Simmons.
This fairly thorough training guide focuses on marijuana and cocaine, although its advice undoubtedly could be applied to heroin, ecstasy and numerous other narcotics as well. However, we learn that pot is probably the easiest way to get started, given that it’s a weed that all you need is water, lamps and electricity to grow. In fact, it is now the most profitable farm product in theU.S., easily outstripping tobacco, cotton and even corn as the country’s top cash crop.
According to one former kingpin, the possibility of jail time is actually worth the risk, provided you’re Caucasian, since 90 percent of the million Americans arrested annually for drugs are black or Latino. So, this illicit profession isn’t highly recommended for minorities, since the authorities not only target their communities, but employ tactics like profile stops which make apprehension all the more likely.
As hip-hop mogul Simmons explains it, “If you’re a blonde fashion model, you’re not going to jail. But if you’re a black kid from the ‘hood, you’ll go away for 20 years.” He is a big advocate of an overhaul of the laws implemented as part of the War on Drugs which has really been waged in the ghetto while lily-white suburbia has benefitted from a pass, by and large.
If you do decide to traffic in narcotics, and land behind bars, the picture has a chapter on “How To Beat An Arrest.” But, permit me in closing to urge any viewers of How To Make Money Selling Drugs to resist the temptation to attempt anything illegal you see here and to watch the flick strictly for entertainment purposes.
A step-by-step instruction video I fear might inadvertently influence some impressionable young minds to try an ill-advised line of work that will only land them in a lot of trouble.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 94 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening June 28, 2013
The Heat (R for violence, crude humor and pervasive profanity) Good cop/bad cop comedy about a straitlaced FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) who grudgingly agrees to work with a foul-mouthed Boston police officer (Melissa McCarthy) with a short fuse in order to apprehend a ruthless Russian mobster. With Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport and Tony Hale.
White House Down (PG-13 for profanity, violence, brief sexuality and intense action) Action thriller about a cop (Channing Tatum) recently rejected by the Secret Service who comes to the rescue when the president (Jamie Foxx) is abducted by a paramilitary group. With Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods and Richard Jenkins.
A Band Called Death (Unrated) Reverential rockumentary revisiting the rise and fall of Death, the short-lived, African-American trio credited with inventing punk music in 1971 before flaming out without ever releasing an album. Featuring siblings Bobby, David and Dannis Hackney, with appearances by Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins.
Byzantium (R for profanity, sexuality and graphic violence) Vampire thriller about the deadly consequences which result when two mysterious strangers (Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton), new to a coastal resort town, are unwittingly befriended by a couple of clueless locals (Caleb Landry Jones and Daniel Mays). With David Heap, Warren Brown and Ruby Snape.
I’m So Excited (R for crude humor, graphic sexuality and drug use) Pedro Almodovar wrote and directed this mile-high romantic comedy revolving around the reactions of the passengers and crew facing their mortality aboard an imperiled airplane trying to make it to Mexico City. Ensemble cast includes Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Cote Soler and Hugo Silva. (In Spanish with subtitles)
Laurence Anyways (Unrated) Out-of-the-closet drama, set in the ‘90s, examining the strain on a relationship after a guy (Melvil Poupaud) informs his girlfriend (Suzanne Clement) of his plans to undergo a sex change. Supporting cast includes Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri and Susan Almgren. (In French and English with subtitles)
Petunia (Unrated) Dysfunctional family dramedy about a couple of emotionally-stunted brothers (Eddie Kaye Thomas and Tobias Segal) whose adult relationships are in crisis as the consequence of a childhood spent under the thumb of psychoanalyst parents (Christine Lahti and David Rasche). WithThora Birch,Brittany Snow and Michael Urie.
Redemption (R for profanity, brutal violence and graphic nudity) Jason Statham stars in this vigilante thriller as a homeless and alcoholic, disgraced soldier who assumes a fake identity to revenge the rape and murder of a girlfriend (Victoria Bewick). With Vicky McClure, Senem Temiz and Agata Buzek.
Some Girls (Unrated) Screen adaptation of the Neil LaBute play about a groom-to-be (Adam Brody) who embarks on a cross-country road trip prior to the wedding to make amends with ex-lovers for his past transgressions. Co-starring Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan and Emily Watson.