A critical digest of the week's latest U.S. theatrical releases. Where applicable, links to longer reviews have been provided.

World War Z
Distributor: Paramount
Rising from an early grave of negative pre-release publicity, director Marc Forster and producer-star Brad Pitt's much-maligned "World War Z" emerges as a surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon, owing as much to scientific disaster movies like "The China Syndrome" and "Contagion" as it does to undead ur-texts like the collected works of George Romero. Showing few visible signs of the massive rewrites, reshoots and other post-production patchwork that delayed its release from December 2012, this sleekly crafted, often nail-biting tale of global zombiepocalypse clicks on both visceral and emotional levels, resulting in an unusually serious-minded summer entertainment whose ideal audience might be described as comicbook fanboys who also listen to "Democracy Now." Opening a week apart from the more four-quadrant-friendly "Man of Steel" in most markets, "World War Z" should post solid enough numbers at home and abroad, but with a rumored final cost well north of $200 million, it'll need more than a bit of kryptonite up its sleeve to push far into profitability.
-- Scott Foundas
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Monsters University
Distributor:
Disney
Not even attempting to scale the heights of Pixar past, "Monsters University" finds Disney's toon studio operating at a pleasantly middling level of artistic achievement. Tracing the friendship of scarer-in-chief Sulley and one-eyed sidekick Mike Wazowski back to its college-rivalry roots, this zippy, colorful, bright-minded prequel scarcely needed to exist, yet makes for perfectly agreeable entertainment now that it does. Given that 2001's "Monsters, Inc." remains one of the studio's top B.O. earners, Pixar's 14th animated feature can be counted on to eek out similarly robust biz among family audiences, who will respond warmly to the easy, ingratiating comic sensibility at play here.
-- Justin Chang
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The Attack
Distributor: Cohen Media Group
A well-esteemed Palestinian surgeon working in Israel is overtaken by an all-consuming need to comprehend seemingly inexplicable circumstances after learning that his wife died in a suicide bombing in "The Attack." Fascinating in the sense that it covers the aftermath of an act of terror from the perspective of someone the bomber left behind, this streamlined adaptation of Yasmina Khadra's bestselling novel strips the source of nearly all its profundity, focusing instead on the good doctor's dangerous journey into the depths of the terrorist organization responsible. Prominent fall fest berths should clear the path somewhat for this tricky pic.
-- Peter Debruge
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A Hijacking