There are plenty of traditions associated with Memorial Day: barbecues, the return of white pants, massive sales, and,
of course, the release of long-awaited blockbuster flicks. We get two
this weekend, both hailing from impressively resilient franchises. Plus,
there's the highly anticipated next chapter in the "Before [insert time of day]"
series. But maybe you're not a sequel person, in which case you can
indulge in a 3D animated feature for the kiddies (in all of us), probing
documentaries, dark comedies, and a biopic. Because what's more
American than variety? Happy Memorial Day, cinephiles: let us know how
you'll be celebrating at the theaters!
"Fast & Furious 6." Directed by Justin Lin. Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Gal Gadot, Joe Taslim, and Shea Whigham. Our review: "While there's a lot of fun to be had, 'Furious 6' doesn't quite hit the
insane heights of 'Fast Five,' but we're sure it'll delight franchise
fans who mostly want to see bald people butt heads, and moving vehicles
crash into other moving vehicles." MC: 61 RT: 75% PL: C+
"The Hangover Part III" opened Thursday.
Directed by Todd Phillips. Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Heather Graham, and Melissa McCarthy. Our review: "Apart from a few laughs, 'The Hangover Part III' feels just as
uninspired and indifferently written as its predecessor, though just in a
different manner. Granted, it's also somewhat better, but that's not
saying a lot." MC: 32 RT: 22% PL: C-
"Epic." Directed by Chris Wedge. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Beyonce Knowles, Christoph Waltz, Chris O'Dowd, Aziz Ansari, and Jason Sudeikis. Our review: "'Epic' lacks many of the trademark elements that have come to define
Blue Sky offerings -- this is hardly a bad thing, since much of the
slapstick poised to attract younger children made for significantly less
entertaining films. That Chris Wedge and co. take a more mature
approach to this film should be lauded but alas, despite several moments
of thoughtful, quiet near-bliss and well-crafted action beats, the
overall product is underwhelming. Visuals aside, the film's title belies
a story that's anything but." Metacritic: 53 Rotten Tomatoes: 67% The Playlist: C+
Directed by Richard Linklater. Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Our review: "
'Before Midnight' isn't the most digestible picture,
but its challenging, funny, painful, very present and alive depiction
of relationships at 40 is so honest and real that we wouldn't have it
any other way." MC: 98
"We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks." Directed by Alex Gibney. Our review: "
'We Steal Secrets' is paced
with a level of even-headed righteous indignation, like a late-period album
from a punk stalwart. It's impossible to not feel the gravity of what's at
stake, as the film emphasizes not the public response (which was nil, following
the first week of outrage), nor the wayward punditry (thank God) but rather the
bare essentials." MC: 73
"Fill The Void." Directed by Rama Burshtein. Starring Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg, and Chaim Sharir. Our review: "
A curious comedy-drama that has its strengths, but ultimately proves somewhat disappointing." MC: 83
"Nancy, Please." Directed by Andrew Semans. Starring Will Rogers and Eleanore Hendricks. Our review: "'Nancy, Please' begins as a deadpan slacker comedy with existentialist undertones, and Will Rogers'
Paul is a ball of unsettled twenty-something nerves. It's a subtle shift
in Semans' first feature, both in tempo and in Rogers' performance,
that we don't realize the film taking on a slightly more diabolical
undertone." MC: 76 RT: 100% PL: A- "A Green Story."
Directed by Nick Agiashvili. Starring Ed O'Ross, Shannon Elizabeth, Billy Zane, Annabella Sciorra, and Malcolm McDowell. This biopic about the CEO of an eco-friendly cleaning supplies company is one part propaganda, another part American-Dream-come-true story, and all parts tedious. MC: 27 RT: 20%
"Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself
" opened Wednesday. Directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling.
A deep and multifaceted portrait of the titular journalist, actor, and
amateur athlete that thankfully maintains a questioning tone rather than
a fawning one. MC: 67 RT: 88%