New movies this week
World War Z
The gist: An adaptation of Max Brooks' zombie bible, full of CGI and rushed reshoots, starring Brad Pitt as a man beset by a bloodthirsty force he can't control and can only hope to contain. And that's just his brood of adopted kids. PG-13
The cast: Pitt, a bunch of people you won't recognize, a cartoon zombie tsunami and Matthew Fox.
The buzz: Uneven, unfaithful to its source material and unsettingly bloodless. But it's not a bad zombie movie. "The whole movie seems in many ways like a fortunate accident," the Toronto Star says. "But there's no doubting the deliberate wisdom of making a star of Pitt's talent and stature the lead."
The gist: A prequel about how Mike and Sully met during their post-secondary years. That brings an entirely new meaning to college experimentation. G
The cast: Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Sohn and Joel Murray.
The buzz: Disney can do CGI animation pretty well, we've heard. "The movie is not up to the company's highest standards, but it's certainly better than most other kid flicks you'll see this year," the New York Daily News says.
The gist: An operator undercover in an ecoterrorist group begins to have divided loyalties. Well, what do you think would happen in an anarchist organization? PG-13
The cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Brit Marling, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez and Julia Ormond.
The buzz: Newcomer Marling steals the spotlight in a movie she wrote for herself. "It is a smart, well-acted drama, and another chance for Marling to exercise her unique talents, creating intriguing characters on the page and the screen," the Arizona Republic says.
The Bling Ring
The gist: Sofia Coppola builds an entire movie around the true story of a privileged clique getting its kicks by breaking into the houses of semi-lebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. You'd think they'd at least try to get into real stars' homes. What, Jennifer Lawrence's house isn't good enough? R
The cast: Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Katie Change and Claire Pfister.
The buzz: It kind of misses its mark skewering our silly celebrity culture, but the movie isn't all that bad. "A cool and intriguing cinematic journey, largely free of either editorial commentary or amateur psychology," Salon writes.
Much Ado About Nothing
The gist: Joss Whedon takes a break from superheroes and spaceships long enough to make this modern-day version of the Bard's play about two couples. It only took him 12 days, too. PG-13
The cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher and Jillian Morgese.
The buzz: After scoring huge with The Avengers, Whedon hits the mark with Shakespeare, too. "It's like watching a gang of talented people put on a show in a friend's back yard. Which it is, actually," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org