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World War Z

"World War Z" plays as if somebody watched the similar "28 Days Later" and thought, "That was a good movie, but it would be even better if it cost $200 million, there were millions of zombies, and the hero were perfect and played by Brad Pitt." Which is another way of saying that if you need proof that sometimes more can be less, here you go.


Monsters University

If you were worried that animation giant Pixar was dipping into the same old wells too often ("Toy Story 3," "Cars 2," et al), the announcement of a prequel to their 2001 hit "Monsters, Inc." might have given you pause. Luckily, the result is more than reassuring. "Monsters University", which pictures Billy Crystal's one-eyed goblin Mike and John Goodman's fuzzy blue scare-master Sully as students attending Scare U, is true to the spirit of the original film, "Monsters, Inc.," and matches its tone. But it never seems content to turn over old ground.


Man of Steel

The title "Man of Steel" tells you what you're in for when you buy a ticket to this immense summer blockbuster: a radical break from the past. The absence of the word "Superman" tips us off that this new picture is less a standard reboot than a top-to-bottom re-imagining. Whether you approve of the result will depend on what you think Superman is, or should be.


Violet & Daisy

James Gandolfini's quietly magnificent performance as a doomed thief is the only reason to see "Violet & Daisy," a film about two young female assassins (Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan) whose blank-faced sweetness is a cover for their iviolence.


After Earth

"After Earth" is a lovely surprise, a moral tale disguised as a sci-fi blockbuster. This movie from producer-costar Will Smith and director M. Night Shyamalan, about a father and son marooned on a hostile future earth, is no classic, but it’s a special film: spectacular and wise.