Movie Reviews: “World War Z” and “Now You See Me”
I’ve never been a fan of zombies, but thought I’d go see this for the big-budget blockbuster factor.
Adapted from Max Brooks’ novel, the movie opens almost instantly with chaos, attack from the zombies. The first infection and transformation from human to zombie looks pretty cool, but loses its novelty fast. The zombies are full-on CGI, fast-running and swarming like ants. They actually look pretty funny (watch for the teeth!), although I’m not sure if they’re intended to be. One of the funniest scenes is the hide-and-seek scene at the WHO facility where the main characters are trying to get to some vials in a secured laboratory room in a desperate attempt to find a potential cure for the pandemic.
The emotional element is minimal, and it’s not with the heroes’ (Gerry Lane, Brad Pitt) family; it’s the connection the former United Nations worker forms with a wounded Israeli soldier. They do a good job in ratcheting the urgency and horror, in close quarters and globally. But it’s clear that while the stakes are high, nowhere do we feel that Gerry is harmed. It’s a don’t-worry-Brad-is-going-to-save-the-world kind of deal, a very Hollywood American hero.
Bottom line, it’s pretty entertaining as a summer flick, but it’s hard to take seriously, and if you’re a true zombie fan, you may be disappointed.
Movie Review: Now You See Me
Without spoiling anything, it’s a very personal story about one of the main characters, using high-tech heist and magic as distraction and illusion.
Take your pick: the Four Horsemen – card-reader (Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network“), mentalist (Woody Harrelson), escape artist (Isla Fisher, “The Great Gatsby“) and lock-picker (Dave Franco) – and their financier (Michael Caine, “The Dark Knight Rises“), magician debunker (Morgan Freeman, “Red“), FBI detective (Mark Ruffalo, “The Avengers“) and Interpol agent (Melanie Laurent) on their tail. The Four Horsemen perform robbery stunts ala Robin Hood, showering their audience with money.
The pace is super fast and not much is known about the characters, but things do come together in the end. Some of the tricks are elaborate but explainable, some require a lot more than suspension of disbelief, but it’s all in good fun.
“Now You See Me” is an entertaining trick for the eyes, definitely stands out among standard summer blockbuster fare.
Copyright (c) 2013. Nathalia Aryani.
Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, film columnist and travel/lifestyle writer. She can be reached at email@example.com. Nathalia owns a movie blog, The MovieMaven (http://sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: http://twitter.com/the_moviemaven