Weekend Preview – May 24, 2013

Memorial Day weekend is always a big weekend for movies and this year is no exception.  We’ve got three big ones – from big summer action, to raunchy comedy, to magical animation.  This is what you’re looking at.

Epic Poster

Epic

When Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) comes to live with her estranged father (Jason Sudeikis), she’s dismayed to find he’s even more obsessed than ever with a secret magical forest society he’s convinced exists.  Of course this world of noble leaf men, talking bugs, and evil “Boggans” does exist as MK finds out when shes transported there against her will.

A cross between Avatar, The Littles, Fern Gullyand every story of a kid becoming the hero of a magical hidden fairy kingdom, the plot is fairly straightforward.  An ordinary girl, MK is sucked into a magical world that she will help save from an evil force.  It’s the setup for a fun, “epic” adventure but this is merely a passable film with a mostly cookie-cutter story and wasted talent.  Kids might enjoy it, but probably won’t be talking about it long afterwards, and there’s not much here for adults.  Still, if you’re looking to take your family to the movies during the long weekend, there aren’t many other options.

Read my full review here.

Trailer

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The Hangover Part III Poster

The Hangover Part III

The third film featuring the “wolf pack,”  Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha, part three deviates significantly from the formula successfully established by the first film.  Instead of recovering themselves from a night of blank spaces and debauchery, the group of friends instead find themselves trying to recover some stolen gold in the R-rated comedy version of a heist flick.

Fans of the franchise will likely be thrown off by the departure from form, and it doesn’t offer anything new or refined enough to attract many newcomers.  It’s offensive and not all that funny, but you’ve probably already made up your mind about seeing it.

Read my full review here.

Trailer

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Fast & Furious Six Poster

Fast & Furious 6

Normally a franchise has worn out its welcome well before the sixth entry.  Fast and Furious is just getting warmed up.  With its origins as a street racing movie, the series has evolved into something of The Italian Job meets Die Hard.

Series regulars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese GibsonLudacris, Sung Kang, and (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Fast FiveMichelle Rodriguez.  Dwayne Johnson is here for a second go-round and MMA fighter Gina Carano, and Welsh actor Luke Evans join the cast.

Continuing from where the last film left off,  Letty (Rodriguez) is not dead as had been previously thought and is, apparently, involved in a highly sophisticated ring of criminals who are responsible for taking down a Russian military convoy. Taking down this deadly group led by Owen Shaw (Evans), is a top priority and just the job for a certain crew of talented drivers.

Even though it’s pretty thin on story, we get some surprisingly emotional moments, as well as one or two pretty shocking twists that you probably won’t see coming.  The car chases have never been more ridiculous and the hand to hand combat scenes are beautifully choreographed.  In short, this might be the most fun you have at the movies this year, so long as you don’t mind the laws of physics being broken.

Read my full review here.

Trailer

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Before Midnight Poster

Before Midnight

I don’t usually mention limited releases unless I’ve had a chance to see them, but I’m making an exception here.  The final (?) chapter in what must be one of the most drawn out trilogies ever, Before Midnight follows Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004).

A different type of romance, the three films follow the lives of two people – Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy).  Strangers who meet on a train in the first film, Jesse and Celine share a meaningful night together.  Nine years later, in the second film, they enter each other’s lives again when Jesse writes a book based on that night.  Now, once again nine years down the road (both in our time and story time) we pick up with the two of them are living together, parents of two girls.

I didn’t see the first film, but enjoyed the second, and the two are critical favorites.  At the very least, it’s an interesting way to film a story.  If you like romance and want something a bit different, Before Midnight is now playing in five theaters in New York, Austin, and LA and will be expanding to more locations in the coming weeks.