After some snarky articles in popular magazines and some online disses, Brad Pitt’s whopping apocalyptic action adventure stuns with jaw-dropping set pieces and a surprisingly character-driven story exhilarates as the ultimate zombie thriller as well as the story of a dad who just wants a world safe for his family.

Loosely based on the novel by Max Brooks – yes, he’s the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft – the Marc Forster directed epic drops a lot of the global politics that made the novel such a great read. This tense, tight film – it’s less than two hours with credits – was widely publicized as undergoing rewrites and reshoots, even after expensive CGI was partially rendered. Maybe the Blu-ray will include the deleted scenes or a longer cut. However, the great news is the seamless release version shows no hint of any such problems. In some ways, it has a cleaner through-line than MAN OF STEEL and may connect with an equally massive global audience. Anonymous insider reports suggest it needs to make more than $500 million to show a profit. That should be no problem. There are rumors that Pitt’s character, world-weary U.N. investigator Gerry Lane, is being considered as a franchise. Hard to imagine what the next adventure could possible be after this one.



Forster is obviously comfortable with choreographing the huge action and making the zombies as real as the walking dead can be. I loved the fact that they have acute hearing. We get a marvel of ultra sensitive sound design, thus making ordinary sounds terrifying in context. Pitt is terrific as an average guy in a desperate situation.

I liked the unsettling idea that people we were getting to know and care about are suddenly gone or worse, no longer among the living. Fantastic and clever location work beautifully conveys South Korea, Israel and Wales.

The zombies are horrifically frightening. They are surprisingly resilient and their reflexes are quickened in death. They mass in hordes like crazed jungle ants on a war drive. And when they smell fresh human meat – watch out. The tense and scary opening sequence of the zombies wreaking havoc on downtown Philadelphia gives us a taste of what’s to come. Just a taste, because it gets way worse.

Another thing I appreciated is that WWZ is devoid of a political message. However, there is the overriding, inescapable idea, and it is this: we are one human family on a fragile planet and we are vulnerable.





This is the 75th anniversary of Superman’s birth in a comic book. I must say, he is looking better than ever in this bold, often dark, action-filled origin story.

If you’re expecting to see Clark Kent hard at work as a newspaper reporter, or the crippling dangers of Kryptonite, or extended meditations in the Fortress of Solitude, or Superman’s spit curl, or his trademark yellow underpants worn over tights, you will be disappointed.

But you probably won’t even think about these things in this superbly visualized, surprisingly relevant, visceral reboot of the ultimate all-American action hero.

Like Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy, this reimagining of our most beloved comic book superhero works itself into the pulse of who we are and what we want in a semi-serious summer popcorn movie. That’s a tricky dance to master.

Director Zack Snyder, Producer Nolan and writer David S. Goyer have given us an emotional and surprisingly visceral film that assumes we know nothing at all about Superman’s past. It also allows for an easy embrace for those who are steeped in all the branching threads of previous Superman movies and comics. But here, he is truly born again.
Henry Cavill is a brilliant choice to wear the cape and he does not disappoint. He has a look and the right voice and he moves with an unworldly grace at times. And most of all, we feel the burden placed upon him as he unravels the mystery of his truest self.

Man of Steel

The movie story is set-up as scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his baby son, Kal-El, to earth from their ravaged and dying planet just before a military coup courtesy of rogue General Zod (a terrific Michael Shannon). The action jumps to earth 33 years later — it’s a kind of Christ story, in case you missed that. At its heart, MAN OF STEEL is about Kal/Clark discovering his great and strange powers, his integration into humanity, his understanding of his origin and purpose. And then there’s the persistent dilemma of becoming the hero that rescues a world that fears him from Zod’s pending annihilation.

I wonder if I’m alone in feeling a little put off by Kevin Costner’s pretentious, self-conscious Iowa farmer as Superman’s adoptive dad? Diane Lane is great as the farmer’s wife and Kal/Clark’s caring mom.

This is a gritty retelling of an American myth that is beyond iconic. It’s told in a non-linear way with a lot of flashbacks and much time on Krypton and with Jor-El’s “ghost.” It veers at times to a costumed, fantasy sci-fi movie that seemed derivative. I tapped my foot waiting for the story to return to earth. Some of the action is at time hard to follow but still thrilling. Cavill’s somber take on his character works most of the time but I so wanted to feel moments of wonder and, yes, joy.

The exhilarating action is extreme and satisfying and almost non-stop. Is there a single scene that does not explode into some kind of action set piece? It’s a loud movie. Hans Zimmer’s thundering score serves it purpose in fueling the cinematic adrenalin.

Even though I avoided reviews and even trailers, this was not exactly the movie I was expecting. It was better and worse. Unquestionably, there were great moments in a not always great movie.