Who hasn’t woken up with a hangover and said you’re never drinking again only to hit the bar a few days later? That’s fine for us, but Todd Phillips better keep his word. “The Hangover Part III” absolutely must be the end.
The Wolf Pack is back together again, but not for more wedding shenanigans, rather a funeral and a trip to a rehab facility. After Alan (Zach Galifianakis) literally gives his father (Jeffrey Tambor) a fatal heart attack, his mother, sister, and Doug (Justin Bartha) decide that it’s time for Alan to get some serious help. With Phil and Stu’s (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) support, they stage an intervention and head out to bring Alan to New Horizons. However, while en route, the Wolfpack is ambushed by Marshall (John Goodman) and his thugs. Marshall takes Doug as collateral while Phil, Stu, and Alan meet his demands – bring him Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).
Part of the appeal of the original film was the fact that it focused on four real guys in the middle of a very relatable situation. It’s highly unlikely many have had an encounter with Mike Tyson’s tiger or made a quick $80,000 counting cards to pay off a gangster, but the idea of four guys getting so wasted during a bachelor party that they can’t even remember the crazy time they had is charming. But fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Back in 2009, the idea of one friend accidently roofie-ing his buddies was a novel scenario, but the sequel proved the concept didn’t have the appeal and flexibility for another go-around. It seems as though Phillips and co. recognized that issue because we get a different narrative here, but now we’re left with the problem that these characters just aren’t appealing or engaging enough to sustain any feature length scenario.
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What are you going to get if you opt to catch Bill Guttentag’s Tribeca Film Festival entry Knife Fight? Guttentag’s co-writer, Chris Lehane, says it best. “Sometimes it takes the lowest blows to achieve the noblest ends.” Lehane works as a political consultant and, more bluntly, a crisis averter. When a contender’s campaign turns south via scandal, Lehane steps in to spin the situation in his or her favor.
And so is true of the star of Knife Fight, Paul Turner, played by Rob Lowe. In Paul’s case, he’s got a Kentucky governor (Eric McCormack) with a thing for young office employees and a California senator who can’t help but to take a massage a little too far. With the next election on the horizon, their only hope at holding onto their positions is if Paul, with the help of his trusty assistant, Kerstin (Jamie Chung), can work some magic.
Guttentag, Lehane and Lowe not only hit New York City to celebrate the film’s big premiere at Tribeca, but the trio also sat down to talk about the truth behind this project, the challenges of working on such a small budget with so little time, how they hope audiences will respond and more. Read all about it in the interview below.
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I’m not as politically savvy as I’d like to be, but isn’t that part of the reason folks running for office have campaigns? Yes, the ultimate goal is to get votes, but they’re educating the public on their policies in the process. Now the question is, what happens when scandal swoops in and steals that spotlight? That’s where folks like Chris Lehane and characters like Kerstin (Jamie Chung) and Dimitris (Richard Schiff) step in.
Knife Fight stars Rob Lowe as Paul Turner, a fictional version of Lehane, the film’s co-writer. When a political candidate sleeps with a young office aide or takes a massage a little too far, Paul steps in to spin the situation in their favor. Paul’s incredibly good at what he does, but when a Kentucky governor and California senator screw up big time right before the election, there’s no way Paul can patch things up without the help of his assistant, Kerstin, and Dimitris, an operative who specializes in uncovering secrets.
Just six months away from the next presidential election, Knife Fight brings the campaign process to the forefront at the Tribeca Film Festival. In honor of the movie’s world premiere, Schiff and Chung were on hand to discuss their political knowhow, the pressure of shooting the full feature with a big ensemble cast in just a month, hopes for the film’s reception and more. Catch it all in the video interview below.
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The second the trailer hit, we knew The Hangover Part II was basically The Hangover, but in Thailand. While simply recycling a storyline is generally a cause for concern, that’s really the point of this film, otherwise we’d be getting some sort of odd spinoff or no sequel at all. The Hangover Part II could have failed on just about every cinematic front as long as the boys experienced a drug-induced night of debauchery followed by a hilarious attempt at recovery. Unfortunately, just like the memory of the wolf pack’s big night out in Thailand, funny jokes seemed to have simply slipped the filmmakers’ minds.
With Doug (Justin Bartha) happily married and sunburn-free, it’s Stu’s (Ed Helms) turn to tie the knot, albeit not to a Las Vegas stripper. This time around Stu’s keeping it classy and marrying a beautiful, family oriented woman named Lauren (Jamie Chung). The ceremony is to be held in Thailand where Lauren’s entire family, including her disapproving father and genius of a younger brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), will be on hand. Naturally, coming out to support the groom is none other than his buddies Doug, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis).
Determined to keep things simple and problem-free, Stu opts out of sharing a beer beside a bon fire with his buddies and Teddy. However, at his fiancée’s urging, Stu heads out to the beach for just one drink. Phil proudly presents a six-pack of sealed beers, but, sure enough, something isn’t quite right and that one beer turns into yet another night Phil, Stu and Alan can’t remember. However, this time around, Doug makes it home safe and sound; it’s Teddy the trio manages to lose in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand.
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High expectations can be a killer. Unfortunately for director Zack Snyder, he works extra hard to insert an insanely high outlook into every single thing that he does and lately, it seems to backfire big time. His brain is geared towards directing and visuals and that doesn’t serve him well as a writer. Whereas the basic concept of Sucker Punch combined with Snyder’s keen eye for the visually incredible had immense prospects, it diluted the script. Spectacular imagery without a sensible and engaging story isn’t a film, it’s a mere spectacle.
After the death of her mother, a series of ill-fated events wrongfully lands Baby Doll (Emily Browning) in the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane. Rather than do what they can to rehabilitate her, the staff accepts a bribe from Baby Doll’s sinister and greedy stepfather to lobotomize her. Just as the doctor’s about to hammer his ice pick through her skull, we’re whisked away to an alternate world, Blue’s (Oscar Isaac) club. That’s where she unites with Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung).
While this may be a step up from the hospital, Blue’s club is still very much a prison. If the girls don’t dance, they serve no purpose and Blue has no trouble eliminating his excess baggage. While at first, Baby Doll can’t seem to get in the groove, once she let’s loose and finally dances, she discovers she has the power to not only mesmerize spectators with her techniques, but transport herself to yet another world. It’s in this new realm that she meets the Wise Man (Scott Glenn) and learns that with the help of the other girls and four objects, they can all escape.
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It isn’t easy for a horror remake to get any respect. The filmmakers are merely reusing material, hiring inexpensive unknown stars and collecting their money with seemingly no concern for quality. There’s certainly a massive selection of remakes that never should have been, like ‘Black Christmas,’ ‘One Missed Call,’ ‘House of Wax,’ ‘Halloween II,’ ‘Prom Night’ and more, but there’s also a selection that really aren’t all that bad. The new ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ certainly can’t compare to the originals, but at least both films featured some decent performances and delivered some disturbing death scenes. In fact, there are even some remakes out there that trump their predecessors. Breck Eisner recently gave George A. Romero’s ‘The Crazies’ a much-needed update and the result is wildly entertaining.
But Eisner’s ‘The Crazies’ is one of few horror reboots that received approval from moviegoers and critics alike. It’s generally expected for this type of film to earn a 30% or below on Rotten Tomatoes, have an impressive opening weekend and then nosedive from there. Unfortunately for Summit Entertainment, ‘Sorority Row’ didn’t fair too well with critics or with moviegoers. The film only managed to earn a 22% on the Tomatometer and couldn’t even crack $12 million at the domestic box office during its eight-week run. When you’ve got absolute garbage like ‘Prom Night’ that was downright despised by critics pulling in over $20 million in week one, it’s baffling that something that’s actually a fun film couldn’t manage to attract more horror fans.
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Paint by numbers horror is tiresome, but horror movies should work within the genre. When they color too far outside the lines fans get lost. Sorority Row has all of the necessary elements to make it a typical slasher flick but at the same time tries to put a fresh coat of primer on the genre in an effort to find a happy medium between those two alternatives. While the film never quite reaches that middle ground, it sure provides a damn good time while trying to find it.
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