Film Friday #137

World War Z

After a worldwide virus breaks out that rapidly turns people into voracious zombies, UN investigator, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) finds himself called back into the field in the hope of saving humanity from annihilation. Forced to leave his wife (Mireille Enos) and two young daughters (Sterling Jerens and Abigail Hargrove) at the mercy of the US Army (I think) Gerry heads out into a world that has “gone dark” to trace the origin of the virus and search for a cure but with almost every nation at its knees, this is the toughest assignment of Gerry’s career, one that he might not survive himself. Before I go any further, I have to address the elephant in the room, Max Brooks’ eponymous novel. Despite the fact that World War Z, the film is described as being based on the book, loosely inspired by might be a closer comparison. Is this a good thing? According to my husband, who is an absolute devotee of the novel, no. In his opinion the film is a disgraceful manipulation that should never have seen the light of day. From my perspective, as someone who read and enjoyed the book (albeit not 20 times), I am undecided and have to review the film on its own merits. And it certainly has some merits. The action is non-stop and heart-stopping. I was at the edge of my seat for the full 116 minutes with my heart in my throat. The special effects are awe inspiring and the zombies are terrifying. This is a film you definitely want to see in 3D. On the downside, Gerry’s life seems to be just a little too charmed to be realistic. The number of narrow escapes he avoids, while everyone else is dying around him don’t quite ring true. At the same time Pitt’s performance is solid but not particularly inspiring and most of the heart comes from his accidental Israeli soldier companion, Segen (Daniella Kertesz). Overall I would recommend this but don’t go in expecting a direct translation of the novel or you’ll  be just as disappointed as my husband was… and potentially also just as disappointed in your partner if they enjoy it as he was in me! 3.5/5

XXXX

Nope, you don’t smell of garlic at all, mate

Buffalo 66

Vincent Gallo writes, stars and directs in the dark tale of Billy Brown, a man unfairly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit and hell bent on revenge. After being released from prison Billy is desperate to see his parents (Anjelica Huston and Ben Gazzara) but having told them he has gotten married and has been working for the government, he has to find a way to get around his absent wife. This leads to him kidnapping, Layla (Christina Ricci) and dragging her to lunch with his very strange parents. As a heart-breaking and neglectful upbringing comes to light it’s hard not to become sympathetic towards the neurotic Billy, which is reflected in how Layla is drawn to him, but will her affection be enough to drive him away from his destructive plans? There’s no question that this is an odd one and in some ways you are expected to take Layla’s behaviour at face value without understanding what her motivations might be but it certainly is compelling and Gallo is devastatingly intense as Billy. Apparently this is based on his own childhood experiences, which adds to the tension and explains Billy’s often childlike view of his world. 3.5/5

Vincent's water saving efforts were getting out of hand

Vincent’s water saving efforts were getting out of hand

Lola Versus

When Lola (Greta Gerwig) is dumped by her fiancé, Luke (Joel Kinnaman) just weeks before her wedding, she is understandably devastated and somewhat at loose ends. She then attempts to restart her life by eating a lot of chips, drinking too much and shagging everyone including her best friend, Henry (Hamish Linklater) who happens to also be a really good friend of Luke’s and an object of desire for her other best friend, Alice (Zoe Lister Jones). AWKWARD! In some ways this is a pretty realistic representation of the mess one can get into when your life takes a significantly different direction from what you were expecting. Unfortunately Lola is a bit of a twat and somewhat hard to root for and this ends up feeling like a bit of a pointless film, even though the ending isn’t typically rom-com. Meh. 2/5

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Fucking purple shirt bicycle hipster

The Wedding Video

Free spirit, Raif (Rufus Hound) returns from his travels to be the best man at his rather more conservative brother, Tim’s (Robert Webb) wedding. Initially he is shocked to discover that Tim is marrying Saskia Dutton (Lucy Punch) the wildest girl in school but then even more shocked to realise that Saskia has become a bland and very proper adult. Soon Tim and Saskia get sucked into the stress of planning a wedding, with Saskia’s mum (Harriet Walker) constantly trying to one-up everyone and Saskia seeks solace with Tim. And, well, it’s rather obvious from there. Interestingly this is presented as the actual video that Raif has made of the lead-up to the wedding, which kind of works and kind of doesn’t. Overall it’s not particularly original or challenging but it does have funny moments and is a harmless kind of background Saturday afternoon movie. 2/5

The bride had decided to come down the aisle to Eye of the Tiger

The bride had decided to come down the aisle to Eye of the Tiger

3 Comments

  1. Good reviews. 🙂 Only seen WWZ! Glad you enjoyed it. Too bad your hubby didn’t… 😉

    1. Abbi

      Yeah… he was thoroughly unimpressed. And even more unimpressed with me that I liked it. There was brief marital discord.

      1. Lol. My hubby gets that way sometimes when we totally disagree on a movie. I thought (500) Days Of Summer would lead to divorce…

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