PIXAR has a pretty solid track record when it comes to sequels (think Toy Story). But until Monsters University, a new origin story set several years before the action of Monsters, Inc., the acclaimed animation shop had never attempted a prequel. The characters Mike (voice of Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) are funny enough and their relationship rich enough to make the back story worth telling. Set at the titular Monsters University, the film is the story of how freshmen monsters Mike and Sulley – aspiring students of the fine art of scaring – met and became fast friends. It’s also the story of how they became, more essentially, themselves. Where Monsters, Inc. was a heavily plot-driven tale, Monsters University is a two-monster character study. It may be children’s terror that powers the movie’s fictional universe, but it’s the energy of its stars that lights up Monsters University.
WORLD WAR Z
SCARY MOVIE V
SURPRISINGLY entertaining, even fitfully exciting, the film is primarily an exercise in expectation management. Forget those trailers suggesting a rock ’em, sock ’em, blow-it-all-up extravaganza or a Grand Guignol of cannibalistic, face-eating zombies. Instead, be prepared for a relatively grown-up, modestly intelligent and refreshingly un-bombastic thriller. Anchored by a solid lead performance by Brad Pitt, who plays a happy Philadelphia househusband pulled back into his old profession of UN investigator when a zombie apocalypse threatens to destroy the world, World War Z may not break new ground in either of the genres it straddles. But it deserves a certain amount of credit for refusing to buy into the current cinematic arms race in Biggest, Loudest and Dumbest. This film must be some kind of psychological experiment. Perhaps the filmmakers sat in a lab, rubbing their temples while wondering aloud how awful they could make a movie and still score at the box office. It’s the only reasonable explanation for this lazy boring, vile and tragically unfunny attempt at a horror-film spoof that is sure to kill brain cells and may signal the impending apocalypse. – Washington Post