May 24 2013

The Hangover Part III

Wolf pack assemble! This time Phil, Stu, and Doug (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha) rally to help move Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to a special care facility. Naturally, along the way the gang get held up, this time by a Mobster named Marshall (John Goodman). Apparently Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) has stolen millions of dollars in gold that belongs to Marshall. Marshall knows his best shot at getting to Chow is through Chow’s only “friends” Alan, Phil, Stu, and Doug. So, extortion it is; now it’s up to the boys to track and bring in Chow and return Marshall his gold. Easier said than done, but it’s one last excuse to take on the mean streets of Tijuana and Vegas all in the name of friendship.HangoverIII Trying to bilk audiences one more time on this franchise Director/producer/writer Todd Phillips goes to the well for more water, but sadly comes up with a bucket of dust instead. Although, where The Hangover and Hangover II were basically the same movie we do actually get some variation on the theme this go round, hardly an improvement. While there are a few chuckles here and there, the comedic gold audiences are hungry for is absent, at least until the credits, at which point where a semi comedic epilogue does lighten things a teensy bit, even then it’s a stretch. On the positive, fans will enjoy some of the flashbacks we’re given, and the completion of a few character’s arcs from previous installments feels mildly on par. Hardly worth your hard earned dollar, unless you’re the type of person who feels the need to see a series through to its completion (in which case good for you, fans with conviction are always appreciated); I however, want my 100 minutes back. The Hangover Part III is rated R.

May 16 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

When a high level intelligence member of Star Fleet (Benedict Cumberbatch) turns coats and begins a one man war against humanity Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) is tapped to lead his team into a warzone and put an end to the battle. But with ethical dilemmas at hand and Mr. Spock’s (Zachary Quinto) insistence, Kirk and crew discover the battle they’re fighting may in fact be misguided. Who’s the real enemy and to what lengths will each member of the USS Enterprise have to go to prevent a galactic battle of epic proportions?STID Directed by Sci-Fi visionary J.J. Abrams this recreated cast of beloved characters continues in the spirit of Gene Roddenberry, with a twist of course. And, with acting from the principal ensemble living up to expectations, fans of the original cast will find plenty to smile about. Nods and references to previous Star Trek plotlines also make for extra levity. Although, overall pacing hits a few lulls with stale exposition and drawn out bro-mance moments. As far as overall plot points go this isn’t a terribly deep or philosophical head trip. But fear not, to counteract all of this and reassuring us of Kirk’s manliness comes the answer to every fan boy’s question “What’s the official Star Fleet underwear look like?” A totally gratuitous and laughable moment between a semi naked Alice Eve and Pine shows us– a bit on the nose, thanks J.J. now I can sleep at night. Of course we also get the obligatory and controversial J.J. lens flare effect that was overused in the last Star Trek film, but what’s new? Meanwhile, well done effects/CGI and a charging score makes for a full sensory experience; 3D effects however do nothing or very little. Regardless, It’s big, bold, fun and worth your while. Star Trek Into Darkness is rated PG-13.

May 10 2013

The Great Gatsby

Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), World War I vet, writer turned financial bond salesman, and silent confidant to many is attempting to put his own life together when he discovers the mysterious world of the new money millionaire next door, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Attracted and perplexed by Gatsby’s carefree and almost reckless habits, the two become quick friends, but for Carraway there’s a hidden cost. Adding to the mix, Carraway’s cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), happens to be married to old money, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). But Gatsby’s interest in Daisy means old money mixing with new money, suspicions grow, meanwhile marital relations seem to be on the brink in the Buchanan household. The setup for great tragedy and heartbreak is at hand, perhaps it can all be avoided, after all, it’s Jay Gatsby’s unrelenting optimism that got him to where he’s at today, and what is it that Gatsby is really seeking?the-great-gatsby-poster1 Directed by the artistic and creative visionary Baz Luhrmann, it appears as though Luhrmann is once again attempting to bridge 19th, 20th, and 21st century musical styles ala Moulin Rouge; alas, where Moulin seamlessly blends genres and decades, Gatsby seems to lack the savy and poetic touch to pull off the illusion. From a visual standpoint, there are moments where Gatsby is truly breathtaking, loaded with nods to all that was the roaring 20’s bleeding into the 30’s, an Art Deco splattered dream. Some might find this over the top, but in retrospect, it’s probably not significantly more flamboyant or garish than any other actual film from the period, Bugsby Berkeley comes to mind. Acting from the ensemble feels on par, although there’s something about a 30 something Gatsby saying “Sure thing old sport..” that just comes across as a little awkward, meh, champagne problems I suppose. Bottom line, It’s entertaining, doesn’t quite live up to Luhrmann’s potential, but still might make for a nice matinee. The Great Gatsby is rated PG-13.