Monday, June 17, 2013

Quick Thoughts: World War Z, Only God Forgives, Monsters University

I surprised myself last week by dragging my lazy ass to a staggering THREE preview screenings last week, none of which I had to review... But thought I'd share a few quick words here if anyone cares to read.

World War Z - It's not as bad as the negative pre-release press (ballooning budget, last minute rewrites) would have you believe, but meh, it's nowhere near as good as you want it to be either. I haven't read Max Brooks' zombie apocalypse novel which it's based on, but word is that Marc Forster's adaptation removes everything remotely interesting in favour of making a dumb, blockbuster action-centric thriller.
The decision to keep carnage off the screen where possible to get a PG-13 rating is crippling and laughable: there's a scene where a character whose hand has just been chopped off is bandaged up with not a drop of blood in sight. You really expect us -- adults -- to buy this? There are a few suspenseful moments, and I was moderately entertained in the moment, but as the film limped to its disappointingly scaled-down climax, I started to care less and less until walking out of the film feeling unsatisfied. World War Z opens on Thursday, and if you hate 3D, I recommend that you do not see it in its worthless 3D state.

Only God Forgives - I was surprised at how quick this got a screening here.. within a couple weeks of its booing at Cannes! It's not getting boos from me though, but nearly a week since seeing it I'm still yet to be able to formulate a coherent thought about it. Any Ryan Gosling fans casually heading along to see their favourite hunky Drive star act tough and cool will probably be in for a deeply unpleasant time at the movies: Nicolas Winding Refn's ultra-stylized neon-splashed noir, set in the sordid underbelly of Thailand, unfolds with the blood-curdling, unsettling tenor of a horror movie rather than your traditional crime drama.
Gosling's performance, all smoldering glances, is even more pared-down than in Drive; how many pages of dialogue did he have to remember, like two? Maybe less. If you don't mind pure style, visuals and atmosphere over plot and everything else, Refn's film might seduce you. Dig that Alejandro Jodorowsky dedication in the credits. Only God Forgives opens August 1st.

Monsters University - I for one would prefer if Pixar stuck to new stories instead of cashing on their existing franchises, but when it's as expertly conceived as this Monsters Inc. prequel, it's hard to complain. University definitely has a Pixar-by-numbers feel, as opposed to say, Toy Story 3 - but it's also another a smart, funny and visually dazzling demonstration of what they do best. Monsters University is out in theatres July 11.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for those 'not-reviews'...suspected as much that the best of World War Z was probably what you see in the trailers so will be giving that and Only God Forgives a miss...the little people will be wanting Monster University though and it sounds like it is worth the investment...