World War Z (2013)

I did not end up finishing the book World War Z before seeing this movie but am about 80% done with it. Also, I love zombie movies and this has been one of my most anticipated of 2013!  I have been avoiding to read the reviews but have skimmed a few in the last few days with mostly average ratings.  The only thing I knew going into this movie was that there would be close to no correlation to what the book was about.  It would have crazy, super speed zombies.  I went in with a little bit of expectations but tried to keep them minimal. I’m not sure if it was an obligation for everyone else but I had to see it in 3D and I chose this flick to try out the new cinema VIP experience with comfyspacious theatre seats and all.

Now lets get on with what I thought about it!

world war z poster

Director: Marc Forster

Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse

Former United Nations employee, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) has settled down to spend more time to be with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and his two girls Rachel and Constance.  On the way to school one day, they all get stuck in traffic in Philadelphia that turns out to be a zombie attack that he learns has already invaded almost every corner of the world as he tries to seek refuge from his UN connections.  He learns that this turned into a Zombie pandemic and has killed many of the leaders/governments and threatens to wipe out humanity.  This is when they call Gerry in to help find a way to save the world starting from where it all began.  He ends up traversing various countries as he follows the clues.

WHOA! Honestly, that was my reaction when I got out of this movie! Check Twitter, I posted it up there.

Gerry Lane and his family

Gerry Lane and his family

I might be the only crazy person saying it but I LOVED IT! I mean, the story was not very thick but they were weaving this out of a book that recalled the World War Z through stories of different people so they could take some facts and pretty much make up the rest of it to make movie material. In any form of pandemic or whatnot, its about finding a way to save humanity (in this case) from zombies with zero information at the beginning.  Its about a man that walks into a mess that was caused by the ignorance of the authorities of many countries.  I didn’t expect the plot to get any more than it did..although to be absolutely frank, the ending was a bit lacking (just a bit).

Overload of Zombies!

Overload of Zombies!

However, this action/drama/thriller/horror (whatever the genre was) kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time! There was a part in the beginning that startled me and I let out a little scream in the theatre (and I never did that before) which led me to holding my hand over my mouth the rest of it so to not do it again.  It was intense and they progressed the story quickly to keep the audience intrigued with the situation.

world war z overhead

I thought the intro sequence was fantastic with all the news broadcasts.  I thought the directing effort from Marc Forster was pretty impressive. He did a great job at showing the immediate urgency of the whole situation.  We can see how everyone is pretty doomed…no one will get out of this unless we have people willing to make sacrifices. The grandness, massive spread and the uncontrollable breakout, the helplessness was all reflected especially in those overview shots.

world war z plane

Brad Pitt makes an amazing effort here.  He carries the movie from start to finish.  I’m usually talking about the importance of character development and in this one, he’s pretty much on the move so much that we don’t see too much of that.  His job was to really go all out and find a way to save everyone and at the same time, save his own family.  That was Gerry’s goal.  Brad Pitt convinced me every single minute that he went from immense love for his family to being someone who was willing to do everything to protect himself, the people around him and in turn, his family.  This was a desperate situation and it required desperate measures.

Just a little thing, this movie doesn’t take a huge standpoint in the light of the novel itself but it does throw out some of the underlying themes through the dialogue and thats the theme of humanity’s ignorance and carelessness.  That was the basis of what happened.  In the end, this would never have happened if the country leaders had taken a warning seriously.  (Is that considered a spoiler?)

Brad Pitt in World War Z

My boyfriend and I loved this movie.  A part of the review here is from what he thought (that I agreed with after a little after movie discussion).  It achieved what it had set out to do.  I don’t care much for gore even if this relates to zombies but this movie was about the desperate situation the world was in and finding a solution and all with sending just one man to do it. It was supposed to focus on being dramatic at parts, intense for most of it and it did all that!  There was some startling parts, mostly in the beginning, which added to the whole horror experience.  There were moments that 3D did add to the beauty of the flick.  Not to say that it wasn’t majestic in itself to look at from all the shots of the swarms of zombie invading the different cities.  AND, Brad Pitt does a awesome job!  I’d say thats a win.

I loved it quite a lot! 🙂

Part 2: Thrillers

Now that we’ve warmed up with the nice family oriented Halloween flicks, we’re getting ready to hit the hardcore stuff.  Of course, before we go all out and jump into a week of sleepless nights, I’ll hit us off with some thrillers (all kinds except horror).  Just a bit scary at times, dark at time, messed up at times…you know what I mean, right? I love thrillers so it was really a toss-up on what I could put in here.  Why do I like it more than others? Because of the suspense in most of them, there’s always something to try and figure out.  Whats around the corner? Will there be a twist? A good thriller will let you buy into it, let it lead you on and bring you some occasional scare.  I did manage to get my hands on two new movies that this Thriller Marathon will include.

Here’s 8 THRILLERS to bring up the intensity till next week when we hit the intense horror segment.

1) DISTURBIA (2007)

Director: D.J. Caruso

Cast: Shia Leboeuf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse

Plot summary: Kale Brecht (Shia Leboeuf) gets home arrest for punching his Spanish teacher in class for the summer.  Kale’s mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) cuts off all his internet and TV leaving him with nothing to do.  As a result, he starts spying on the neighbors.  When the news starts talking about missing women, who were later found dead, he starts suspecting one of his neighbors, Robert Turner (David Morse).  With his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and his new neighbor, Ashley (Sarah Roemer), they start spying and following Turner.

I was surprised actually that this movie was good.  I got it because it was a thriller (and it was on special).  Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Shia Leboeuf.  The only movie I enjoyed him in was Transformers, but thats just because I enjoyed that movie a lot.  I checked the director’s background.  D.J. Caruso did Taking Lives before Disturbia. I was alright with that movie.  Taking Lives was also a surprisingly good thriller. One I had debated to put on this list actually.  Just for information sake, D.J. Caruso did Eagle Eye and I am Number Four afterwards.  Eagle Eye was alright, but man, I am Number Four…I’m speechless.  That movie was crap.  Maybe I’ll review it one day after I read the source material.  Anyways, all I can say, this was a fine piece of work by D.J. Caruso after I saw what his later movies were.  This movie is a mix of humor, a bit of teen romance, and suspense.  The deal with thrillers is that you are willing to buy into it every time you rewatch it.  I bought into it every time I saw this. This movie is pretty fun thriller and its a great way to start off my thrillers portion.

2) THE OTHERS (2001)

Directed by: Alejandro Amenabar

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston

Plot: This movie starts in 1945 Channel Islands in a big family house.  Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a mother of two photosensitive children, Anne and Nicholas.  She is confined to the house under strict rules to protect her children.  Her husband (Christopher Eccleston) has gone off to war a few years back and is not determined whether he is alive or not.  We also get joined by 3 servants that come to help her take care of the house: Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Erik Skyes) and Lydia.  Suddenly, mysterious things start happening in the house.  Her daughter claims that she’s been seeing others in the house.  The house seems to be invaded by others.

This is a really suspenseful movie.  Its full of startling moments and your mind will keep thinking of what would happen next.  Nicole Kidman is superb as always and does great a playing a distressed and panicked yet protective mother.  Fionnula Flanagan is just amazing.  Her acting was captivating to watch and so very believable.  This is a mystery thriller that carries you deep into the plot and wondering whats around the next corner.  Keeps us wondering what is going on in the house and whether it is haunted.

3) SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins

Plot: A young FBI agent in training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is sent to interrogate an imprisoned psychopath/psychiatrist, Hannibal”the Cannibal” Lecter, in hopes of helping solve the serial killings by a man nicknamed Buffalo Bill.  Dr. Lecter decides to help Starling in exchange for her sharing her own story at the same time.

This movie is the first thriller I ever saw.  It was deep and disturbing in so many ways.  I finally bought this one the other day and added it into this marathon.  It may not pack in a lot of startling sudden scares but the chilling role of Dr. Lecter and the serial killings itself is enough to make it impact the audience mentally.  There really is nothing more I can express than the fact that its the first thriller I ever saw, its also one of my favorites.  After seeing this, I now I have the desire to watch Red Dragon and Hannibal, both equally great thrillers.  No one can portray a cannibal and psychopath as well as Anthony Hopkins ever will.

4) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo diCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Plot: U.S. Marshal Edward (aka Teddy) Daniels (Leonardo diCaprio) get assigned with a new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate after a woman, both prisoner and mental patient, disappears mysteriously from her room with no trace on Shutter Island.  This is an island where it is a maximum security prison ward for highly dangerous mentally unstable felons.  We soon learn that Teddy himself has wanted to go there to investigate something else for his own personal reasons.  It is here that the story unfolds.

This is a new one that I picked up the other day at HMV because it was on special and well, I’m a big Leonardo diCaprio.  This is an awesome thriller.  I haven’t seen one this good in a really long time.  I’m a huge fan of all the actors and I think Leonardo diCaprio is at the top of his game here.  Of course, it helps that he’s partnered with Martin Scorsese, a really wonderful actor.  This one made my boyfriend and I  ask a lot of  “What’s next?” around every corner and after everything that happened.  We were guessing and thinking about every next moment that could happen.  It was some thrill ride, I tell you.  One you definitely shouldn’t miss!

5) ORPHAN (2009)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Plot: A couple, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) loses an unborn child and decides to adopt a 9 year old girl, Esther.  Esther is originally from Russia and her last family had died in a fire where she barely made it out alive.  Kate and John both think that Esther is smart, kind and well-mannered at first sight and she gets along with their two children, Max and Daniel.  Slowly, there seems to be “something wrong with Esther”.  Unusual things start happening around her.

This movie is really chilling thriller.  I’m serious, I haven’t been scared and startled and disturbed in a while.  I had to spend an hour after the movie to watch some comedy to relax my mind.  Its just really awesome.  It packs in a lot of “Oh, shit” moment.  I haven’t seen anything else by this director but man, he does really well.  This story is believable and the girl who plays Esther is amazing.  The little girl that plays Max, who is deaf, is also the little girl in Resident Evil: Retribution playing Becky.  If you haven’t seen this one, out of my whole list, I think you definitely should check this one out.  It’ll pack in some startling experience.

6) PAPRIKA (2006)

Director: Satoshi Kon

Plot: “This is your brain on anime”.  Thats generally what it is I guess.  Paprika is a girl who can enter into your dreams through a device created called DC Mini.  This device can record and let you rewatch the dreams you’ve had.  When the device is stolen from the Institute of Psychiatric Research, the three scientists that invented it try to search for it with the help of Paprika.  The thief is causing a lot of chaos by entering into people’s minds and thoughts while they are awake and distract them with dreams of their own or others.

Last week was for animation but this anime is deep and definitely NOT for children.  For one, its rated R.  Well, why it fits here its because its categorized as an animated thriller.  It was some thrill alright.  I was confused and deep in thought while watching this one.  The essence in this may be partially in the animation but I think what captivates us is the story itself and the mystery behind it.  I guess its a bit like Inception actually.  Its pretty well laid out as a story and you will be wondering about how things will unfold.  I’m definitely going to give this one a second run to better understand what was going on in entirety.  The whole concept between light and darkness, the merge between reality and dreams.

7) BURIED (2010)

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds

Plot: A trucker in Iraq wakes up to find himself buried underground with only a lighter and a cell phone.  He then fights to learn what has got him in that position and figure out a way to get out before its too late.

That is as simple as I can go with this movie without ruining it for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet.  I personally got this movie because I saw the trailer and thought it was awesome, before that I hadn’t even known its existence.  So yes, Ryan Reynolds is amazing in this one man show.  The other person he interacts with is on the phone.  It reflected really well the urgency and gripping turns in the story.  I really loved this movie (most of the time). It was quite the enjoyable movie experience.  I always appreciated movies where its just one man show movies (first one I saw was probably Phone booth).

8) SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Plot: A child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) takes on the task of helping a young boy, Cole Sear, who claims that he can see dead people. These dead people are those who don’t know that they have died and continues to haunt him.  Cole’s mom (Toni Collette) desperately wants to help rid his son of his problems.

I’m ending this with a bang.  After all, according to that poster its the #1 Thriller of All Time.  This thriller was crazy awesome. I think it was the best movie which we everyone knows has the best twist ending ever.  I never saw it coming ever.  I was also younger when I first saw this movie.  Deal with movies with twist, is its rewatchability has to be that the actual movie plot has something you can take from it or else, you can’t watch it again.  This movie packs in some good acting and fantastic plot. It was the movie that put Night Shyamalan on the map (lets not discuss what happened afterwards), but this movie was great. It gave us deep emotions and some nice scares. I’m pretty the majority of you have seen this, but if you haven’t, you have to!

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!

After watching this whole line-up, I’m sure that you all notice that its actually not really too scary.  I really didn’t have time to watch more and/or make another list.  I don’t think it needs much more though.  I forgot to grab Se7en off my boyfriend’s collection at his place, if not, I’d definitely add that in.  I also wanted to put in Butterfly Effect, but I had lent it out.  Those were the original last 2 that was to complete the list.  Overall, the current list already have pretty good films.  Some do pack in some scary moments and others balance with a bit more thinking, a bit more profound ideas to ponder a bit on maybe.

For all of you that want to pack in some fright, I got my boyfriend to help me out with the next one.  So, it should definitely be intense.   I’ll explain to you all why I need this extra help next week.  In the meantime, we will work out a way to choose the best horror movies in our collective movie collections. Next list will be top 10 Intense Horror.  Hopefully you’ll come back to check it out!

As for this list, any that you disagree with? Didn’t enjoy as much as I did? Would you put anything extra? I love watching thrillers and would love to get some suggestions for ones that I haven’t seen.