Home Theater London: “WWZ” Divides Critics; Helen Mirren Queen Forever

From London: While Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman battle it out in Hollywood Hedda vs. Louella style, the movie critics in London are divided over “World War Z.” The Daily Mail critic, who widely disliked and said to be out of touch in general, hated the movie. But I mean, he displayed anger in his short review that was unwarranted and just wrong. I don’t know what he wanted from a zombie movie. Tap dancing?

Indeed, “WWZ” so far has an 80% on Rottentomatoes. I do think audiences will love it. There’s a sequence set in Malta posing as Israel that is absolutely riveting. Director Marc Forster limited his use of CGI. There are 1,000 extras in that scene alone. There’s also a lot of smaller, intimate moments– especially establishing Brad Pitt as a family man who’s given up life with the CIA or UN or whatever.

There’s also a cleverness to the zombies. Forster and the writers give the zombies a kind of sympathy. I won’t explain anything more other than to say that when Pitt finally has to deal with the zombies one on one, the movie is no longer just explosions and killing. Maybe I can tell you more when we get closer to June 21st and the opening.

Meantime, Pitt, his family, Forster, and the cast went to Paris and then hit like a dozen countries before the US premiere on June 17th…

Also in London: I caught a performance tonight by Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.” This is Peter Morgan’s play about how Queen Liz has had weekly meetings with 12 different prime ministers since she was coronated. Morgan wrote the movie “The Queen” for which Mirren won her Oscar. Stephen Frears directed the movie; Stephen Daldry directed the play.

Mirren is exceptional as the Queen, of course. The play will come to Broadway next spring for the Tony Awards. I am not sure how it will do– “The Audience” is very British. If the Broadway cast is American it won’t work. But the ticket buyers may not get a lot of the references. They must bring Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson. He’s a standout among the seven PMs depicted. Daldry, of course, can do no wrong as a director.

I was sorry to arrive just as Judi Dench closed in “Peter and Alice” after a sold out run. No word on whether it will come to New York. But Dame Judi is in the Oscar race this fall for Stephen Frears’ “Philomena.”

1 reply to this post
  1. I have been eagerly waiting to read a comment about the “Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman battle,” as you call it. Even though the broadcast TV networks are now into reruns, it’s nice to see a new drama elsewhere to fight off the summer doldrums. I was hoping you would say something about what’s going on, sharing your insight. Either way, I think you’re better than both of them combined.

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