Archive | May, 2013

Thank You for Fast Cars

24 May

Fast-Furious-6-PosterGentlemen, start your engines.

Again.

Fast & Furious 6 — yes, there’s a SIXTH Fast & Furious movie — hits theaters this weekend, bringing with it a now-trademark mix of testosterone, hot women, cool cars, ridiculous action scenes, and far-fetched plot twists.

This time out, the gang, still ably led by Vin Diesel’s Dom and Paul Walker’s Brian, teams up with the Rock’s federal agent Hobbs to bring down a British terrorist whose own team includes the love of Dom’s life, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Wait, didn’t she die two movies ago? Surprise!

So yeah, that’s the big difference between this film and the others: Our “heroes,” who usually fall on the wrong side of the law — including in the last movie, where they pulled off an Ocean’s Eleven/Italian Job–style heist in Rio — here are on the side of the good guys.

Like that really makes a difference.

Continue reading

The Party’s Over

22 May

hangover-part-iii-posterThe marketing campaign for The Hangover Part III is largely centered around the idea that this movie marks the conclusion of the series.

Indeed, the film’s posters boast taglines including “The end” and “It ends,” and the movie itself includes lines of dialogue like “It all ends tonight.”

(It’s subtle, I know.)

But anyone who’s seen all three films, as I have, would agree: This is a series that should have ended after the first one. After all, the first sequel was nothing more than a carbon copy of the original Hangover, just set in a different city, with more raunch and a lot fewer laughs. Now we have a second sequel that’s not very funny and isn’t even about a hangover, but certainly feels like one.

It ends tonight? Damn. What took you so long? Continue reading

Within and Without

9 May

great-gatsby-posterIt comes within the first few seconds of the film.

Tobey Maguire, playing Nick Carraway, utters the first lines of The Great Gatsby. Except, they’re not the words as written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. They’re a close approximation — just without the elegance and thematic context.

That’s your first indication that Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the Fitzgerald classic will be good, but not quite as good as its source material.

But really, how could it be? Gatsby is a book that many (but not everyone) consider the Great American Novel. One that’s been a high-school-reading staple for generations. A novel that seems damned near impossible to adapt in any sort of satisfactory fashion, despite four big-screen attempts (including a 1974 version that starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow).

So having Nick (and Luhrmann) reset the audience’s expectations right off the bat frees us up to just watch the movie and not be disappointed later.

It’s kind of a smart move, if you think about it. Continue reading