written by: Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin
produced by: Todd Phillips and Daniel Goldberg
directed by: Todd Phillips
rating: R (for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity)
runtime: 100 min.
U.S. release date: May 23, 2013
While I liked 2011′s “The Hangover Part II”, I can’t admit it was the most original story. I liked it almost in spite of itself. It was inevitable, wasn’t it? In the age of the unnecessary sequels, it was only a matter of time before there was another follow-up. Naturally, I was a little concerned/suspicious/wary of a second sequel, but I’ve invested this much time so one more movie wouldn’t kill me. And away we go with 2013′s “The Hangover Part III”.
NOTE: It appears I was incorrect when I announced that Steven Soderbergh’s latest “Side Effects” was recently released – It comes out this week. So, I encourage you to check out the potentially last Soderbergh film as it is quite a surprising thriller, especially considering how refreshingly different the film is from its trailer. Well done. And then there’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, who returned to headlining a film this past January with “The Last Stand”, the American debut of South Korean director Kim Ji-woon. It’s in no way classic Ah-nuld, but it has a classic Western tale to it and it plays to action icon’s age. It may be predictable and cheesy, but it’s also a bloody good time. “Parker” is another tough guy movie that came at the same time and stars Jason Statham in the titular role. It’s actually the latest adaptation of writer Donald E. Westlake’s (under the pseudonym Richard Stark)Parker character. This was diretor Taylor Hackford’s (“Ray”)stab at film noir and although I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like it has a miscast lead and that’s not a good sign.
written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof
produced by: Bryan Burke, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman & J.J. Abrams
directed by: J.J. Abrams
rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence)
runtime: 133 min.
U.S. release date: May 15, 2013 (IMAX) and May 17, 2013
“Star Trek Into Darkness” comes four years after director J. J. Abrams gave us “Star Trek”, a highly exhilarating reboot to a beloved science fiction film franchise that was dried up and limbo. It was a bold, fresh and much-needed take on characters that were introduced back in the 60s by Gene Roddenberry. Boosted by a young, impeccable cast and a clever screenplay, Abrams and company confidently reestablished a sense of awe that had fans anticipating where this Enterprise crew would boldly go next. While still visually stunning and full of infectious camaraderie, the sequel lacks the same freshness that was present in the previous film. Regardless, at the end of this film I felt the same way I did when the last one was over – I didn’t want it to end.
written by: Choi Dong-Hoon and Lee Gi-cheol
produced by: Ahn Soo-hyeon
directed by: Choi Dong-Hoon
runtime: 136 min.
U.S. release date: October 12, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray release date: February 12, 2013
So I kinda like heist films if you haven’t figured out. I’ll give them all a shot no matter the positive/negative reviews. It’s getting more difficult to find new ones though, even lesser known heist flicks from the past. In other words, it takes some digging to find any entries I haven’t seen. Here’s the latest find, a 2012 South Korean heist flick, “The Thieves”.
written by: Judd Apatow
produced by: Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend and Barry Mendel
directed by: Judd Apatow
rating: R (for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material)
runtime: 133 min.
U.S. release date: December 21, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray release date: March 22, 2013
Released in 2007, Knocked Up was a more than worthy follow-up to director Judd Apatow’s surprise success with “The 40-Year Old Virgin”. It was an uneven-if-funny flick with a whole lot of talent assembled and a decent amount of laughs. Apatow takes a few key characters from ‘Knocked’ and hits us with a quasi-sequel, 2012′s “This is 40″.
written by: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Catherine Martin & Catherine Knapman
directed by: Baz Luhrmann
rating: PG-13 (for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language)
runtime: 143 min.
U.S. release date: May 10, 2012
The best scene in “The Great Gatzby”, Baz Luhrmann’s spectacle leaden adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Great American Novel’, away from the pulsing soundtrack and rollicking parties flowing with booze, floating confetti and dazzling fireworks. It takes place in the second half of the movie, on a sizzling summer day at the Plaza Hotel, where all the main characters are gathered in a stuffy hotel suite. This is the rare time in the movie where confrontation occurs and motivations revealed. It’s what I consider the emotionally potent climax of the film. Unfortunately, everything before and after that scene is all pomp with very little circumstance or emotional investment.