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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Spock Kirk Bromance Chris Pine underwear
Let me boldly go ahead and say, “I am not a Trekkie.” I’ve only seen one TV show. But I loved 2009’s Star Trek reboot — and enjoyed this fine sequel to it.

At the heart of the film is the famous dynamic between Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). I love how both actors have captured the spirit of the original actors (subtly in Pine’s case) and given them a sleek new edge. The movie is really all about them, and by golly, it’s the bromance of the year.

The story is fine and Abrams has something exciting to look at every second. Yes, every scene is beautiful. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing though, one more snazzy beautiful lens flare and I might’a been blinded. I suspect this film needed a little more grit for me to love it like the last one — something feels missing — but watching Kirk and Spock go after Sherlock’s Benedict Cumerbatch, playing a mysterious villain, was fun enough for me.

Simply put: Worth the trek to the cinema. Terrific popcorn entertainment.

Award potential: Five separate Star Trek movies have been nominated for 14 Oscars, but all came away empty-handed until 2009 – with one win for Makeup.  In addition to Makeup, J.J. Abrams highly-lauded Star Trek movie was nominated for Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I imagine this sequel will be lucky to get 2-3 of those.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks. 3D is not necessary.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby Party fashion clothes costume flapper sexy
Over-the-top director Baz Luhrmann doing Gatsby parties in 3D? The roaring twenties with Jay-Z doing music for Jay-G?

The Great Gatsby has landed and while the reviews are picking this adaptation of Fitsgerald’s classic apart, I personally think that Baz Luhrmann's vision of the roaring twenties dazzles. Today’s hip hop music over twenties jazz in this movie turns out to be perfectly appropriate. And I was pleasantly surprised at how tight Luhrmann kept to the novel’s tone and dialogue (despite an added opening and closing framing device).

I think pairing Baz and his layered, busy visuals with a story we’re all familiar with is the perfect way to tell this story today. Especially since we’re talking about the Gatsby ‘20s where everything went too far. 

When Luhrmann spoke in Dallas, for the debut of Moulin Rouge, he mentioned that a musical needs a very simple and familiar story. I think that thought can also apply to the heavy visual and strong soundtrack style he does here. His best film is a modern adaption of another classic work of literature, Romeo and Juliet.

What failed him most with Gatsby (vs. Romeo) is, ironically, the performance from the same actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his lack of consistent chemistry Carey Mulligan. The back half of the film requires a little more soul than we get, darnit.

Simply put: Good, not great. You’ll be dazzled, but probably not moved.

Award potential: Keep waiting, Leo old sport. This is unlikely to be remembered 9 months from now. Even the music is too controversial. However, fashion will be affected all year.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks. 3D is not necessary.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Iron Man 3

Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man 4

Of all the comic book heroes brought to screen, the first Iron Man movie was surely the most super surprise. It was followed by the disappointingly average Iron Man 2 and last summer’s marvelous The Avengers. Now comes Iron Man 3 and the question: Is the Iron Man series getting rusty?

Not at all. I could probably enjoy watching Robert Downey’s Jr. Tony Stark in any average Iron Man series, mind you, but this movie brings fresh surprises from start to finish. It’s a riveting action and comedy film built for serious comic book fans as well as typical movie lovers.

Part of what worked in the first film is having billionaire Tony Stark in a situation where he was forced to return to basics. Iron Man 3 does that again to Stark and, in a way, to the whole movie. It’s a wise choice that removed the temptation to top the previous one with gimmicks and over-the-top scenes.

I hope the rest of the summer blockbuster movies satisfy as much as this one.

Simiply put: Stark raving awesome fun.

Award potential: Probably none. But Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin character will be remembered for years.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks. 3D is not necessary.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Summer Movies 2013 - Weekend By Weekend Schedule

Iron Man vs Man of Steel Superman crotch

Will the third Iron Man be a worthy follow up to last summer's The Avengers, or is this superhero series getting rusty? Will Gatsby be that great? And is Fast and Furious 6 really the most prestigious of the top films opening on Labor Day? It's gonna take a weekend-by-weekend schedule to figure it all out.

Friday, May 3
Iron Man 3
Kon-Tik(Oscar nominated this year for Best Foreign Lanuage Film )

Friday, May10
The Great Gatsby
Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier)
About Time (Rachel McAdams)
Venus And Serena (Documentary)


Friday, May 17
Star Trek Into Darkness
The English Teacher (Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear)
Frances Ha (comedy from director Noah Baumbach, introducing Greta Gerwig)

Friday, May 24
Fast and Furious 6
The Hangover: Part 3
Epic (Voices by Amanda  Seyfried, Beyonce, Colin Farrell)
Before Midnight (Sequel to Before Sunrise)
Penguins 3D
We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (Documentary)

Friday, May 31
Now You See Me
(Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine)

After Earth (Will and Jaden Smith)
The East (Alexander Skarsgård)

Friday, June 7
The Internship (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn)
The Purge (Horror, Ethan Hawke)
The Kings of Summer (Sundance Film Festival hit, comedy)


Friday, June 14
Man of Steel
This is the End (Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Johan Hill, James Franco)
The Bling Ring (Sophia Coppola’s movie about  the Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch)
Stuck In Love (Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear)
Twenty Feet From Stardom (Documentary on backup singers)

Friday, June 21
World War Z (Brad Pitt)
Monsters University (Pixar)
Much Ado About Nothing (Director Josh Whedon)

Friday, June 28
White House Down (Channing Tatum, Jaime Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Kick- Ass 2
The Heat (Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy)
I’m So Excited (Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar)


Friday, Wednesday, July 3
Despicable Me 2
Lone Ranger

Friday, July 5
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
The Way, Way Back (Steve Carell, Toni Collette)

Friday, July 12
Pacific Rim (Director: Guillermo del Toro)
Grown Ups 2
V/H/S/2 (Horror,thriller)

Friday, July 19
Girl Most Likely (Annette Bening, Kristen Wiig)
Turbo (Voices of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Sam Jackson, Snoop Dog/Lion)
RIPD (Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker)


Friday, July 26
The Wolverine

Friday, August 2
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
The Smurfs 2
Red 2 (Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker)
300:Rise of An Empire

Friday, August 9
Elysium (Matt Damon)
Disney’s Planes
We’re the Millers (Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms, Emma Robers)
Metallica Through The Never

Friday, August 16
2 Guns (Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg)
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara)
Haute Cuisine (Foodie film, portrait of the woman who fed French President Francois Mitterrand)

Friday, August 23
The World’s End (Edgar Wright science-fiction comedy)
The Mortal Instruments:City of Bones  (Young adult fantasy novel series)
You’re Next (Home invasion horror)

Friday, August 30
Closed Circuit (Eric Bana crime thriller)
This Is Us (One Direction documentary)
Getaway (Car movie with Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight)