Pick of the week: “World War Z” — My full review is here. That rare summer blockbuster that doesn’t insult your intelligence (like this summer’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” this fresh zombie thriller has Brad Pitt globe-hopping a planet covered in zombie hordes, who don’t just chase the living but swarm en masse like fire ants. This leads to some well-executed setpieces, including a massive attack in Israel and a satisfyingly low-key climax in which Pitt plays cat and mouse with zombies at a World Health Organization facility. Note: Netflix also has the unrated version available for streaming.
“Jane Eyre” — My full review is here. Director Cary Fukunaga, who directed all eight episodes of “True Detective,” might seem an unlike choice to direct this handsome adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s gothic romance, about a girl (Mia Wasikowska) hired as a governess in a creepy mansion whose owner (Michael Fassbender) has a secret. But amid the strong acting and costumes, Fukunaga gives the proceedings a jolt of white-hot passion, as well as some genuine scares.
“Omar” — My full review is here. This Palestinian drama plays like a Cold War thriller, as a teenage Palestinian arrested by the Israeli Secret Service on suspicion of murdering a border guard tries to play both sides against each other, a very dangerous game when the sides are so lopsided.
“What About Bob?” — After playing so many wise guys, Bill Murray seemed to revel in the chance to play a know-nothing, a cheerful but cracked patient who tracks his therapist (Richard Dreyfuss on slow burn) to his vacation home. It’s not as complex as Murray’s later roles, but hey, baby steps.
“Five Easy Pieces” — One of the highlights of Jack Nicholson’s early career was this drama about a concert pianist who turns his back on his talent and his wealthy family, getting a job on an oil well, until circumstances call him home. Contains a great recipe for chicken salad!