By Edward Davis | The Playlist June 13, 2013 at 11:59AM
“World War Z”
What’s It About? A United Nations crisis expert leaves his family to in order to help combat a global zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.
What Brings On The Rapture? Zombies, duh.
What Makes It Stand Out From The Rest Of End Is Nigh Movies? Lots of things. For one it’s Brad Pitt’s first self-made tentpole and would-be franchise (his Plan B shingle produced it). It’s much more epic that most of the movies on this list. It’s also grounded and has a realistic procedural approach to it mixed with horror and your traditional zombie movie. It also looks like a cross between “28 Days Later” and “Contagion,” putting a realistic spin on the zombie/virus outbreak genre, but on a much bigger scope and in a more tentpole-friendly way.
Will Audiences Go See It? As you can tell there’s a lot of forces at play here. Is it an intelligent thriller? A tentpole? An action-franchise? It seems like all of the above and the movie comes with a mountain of bad press issues -- bloated budgets (reportedly over $250 million), re-shoots, new writers, a scrapped ending, a new ending created midway through the shoot, director/actor clashes -- and lots more drama. Still, it's a zombie movie led by Brad Pitt, so we assume it’ll still do fairly well though whether it’s a mega blockbuster and spawns its would-be sequel remains to be seen right now.
Final Verdict: We’ve seen it and as suggested, it seems like there’s simply too much going on in the film that becomes confusing and clashes tonally. Our reviewer said that the problem is that "it wants to be ‘Zombie Dark Thirty,’"a zombie procedural, and yet, it also wants to be a “a for-the-cheap-seats would-be-blockbuster with CGI swarms of the undead, and a plane crash sequence that features the three stupidest things we've seen in a movie in at least a year. (You'll know them when you see them...)"
“It’s A Disaster”
What’s It About? A weekly couples brunch takes a turn for the worse when Los Angeles -- and potentially all of North America and the world -- is attacked by an unknown force.
What Brings On The Rapture? All lines of communication are down so reports are sketchy, but it appears to be dirty bombs that have decimated L.A., N.Y. and other major U.S. cities, leading to fears of radiation and toxic contamination.
What Makes It Stand Out From The Rest Of End Is Nigh Movies? Like “This Is The End,” writer/director Todd Berger’s end of the world comedy is also a single-setting film (though they roam in the Rogen comedy) where a group of friends -- David Cross, Julia Stiles, America Ferrera, Erinn Hayes, Jeff Grace, Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan and Blaise Miller -- are boarded up inside a house trying to figure out what kind of dirty bomb fumes could infect or kill them. It’s also riotously funny and despite the impending doom, it’s much more about the dynamics of the group as they alternately plan, panic, give up and try all kinds crazy schemes in order to prepare for the worst.
Will Audiences Go See It? They really should. Our review called it, “a darkly hilarious apocalyptic dramedy that's anything but disastrous,” and that’s spot on.
Final Verdict: This is now in limited release and on most VOD outlets, so you have no excuse. Yes, it’s kind of a rental movie, meaning you don’t necessarily need to see it on the big screen, but it’s surprisingly great and a real treat.
What’s It About? A young couple (Anna Kendrick and John Francis Daley) battle their way through a religious apocalypse on a mission to defeat the Antichrist. Things get complicated when Satan himself falls for the female half.
What Brings On The Rapture? Well, the Antichrist, duh.
What Makes It Stand Out From The Rest Of End Is Nigh Movies? Craig Robinson as the Antichrist is a pretty big distinction, though apocalypse comedies, once a fresh take on the genre, are quickly becoming the standard way to tackle the end of the world (see above). A romantic angle with Satan seems relatively fresh as well.
Will Audiences Go See It? Mmm, maybe? It’s in limited release now and on VOD. And arguably, more audiences are going to see this type of movie on VOD. Co-starring Rob Corddry and Ken Jeong, maybe comedy heads will want to take a peek.
Final Verdict: None, we haven’t seen it yet, though presumably, we’ll catch up with it on VOD as well, though admittedly, reviews out there so far aren’t great.