Scott Marks 8:30 a.m., Feb. 22
World War Z
The only permutation trudging along within Hollywood’s latest walking-dead pageant can be traced to its purported pricetag: who pumps $250 million into a zombie movie? Well, there’s Paramount and Brad Pitt for starters, both eager to fudge together a money-minting tentpole they can hammer into multiplexes over the next three summers. A fairly good ride for its first half, the four screenwriters — with Max (son of Mel and Annie) Brooks’s bestseller to guide them — have no idea how to end it. What with activist Pitt on board, one would expect at least a grain or two of substantive social satire or commentary. Alas, fearing that messages might take a bite out of business, all parties involved play it PG-13 safe. Double that in the case of director Marc Forster, the man responsible for riding herd over the single most deleterious non-Roger Moore 007 picture. His characteristic watery inefficiency once again proves no match for staging big action scenes. 2013.