With G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra making some money, but clearly not inspiring much enthusiasm, Paramount has gone for a pretty notable overhaul of the series with G.I. Joe: Retaliation. An unusual mixture of sequel and reboot, the new film does continue storylines and (a few) characters from the first movie, but also has some huge differences, both in terms of cast and crew and in the overall approach.
The opening scene of Welcome To The Punch, the second feature from British director Eran Creevy, shows a heist in progress. A gang of besuited criminals are looting a high tech vault, gas masks obscuring their faces; a security guard lies unconscious on the floor as a thick cloud of gas swirls around him.
The action-thriller Olympus Has Fallen is a far better Die Hard movie than the one released last month. That's not to say this film isn't without its ludicrous moments and formulaic faults, but Olympus Has Fallen is still a solid, old school action-thriller featuring a fine cast and a sincere execution by director Antoine Fuqua that lifts it above other fare of this sort.
After suffering through four Ice Age movies (well, suffering through installments two through four anyhow) the science-be-damned plot of "primitive critters trying to outrun the rapid destruction of their habitat" seems like it should completely exhausted by now. And while DreamWorks' The Croods doesn't necessarily put a new spin on the story, it does manage to do it, along with the father/daughter rift from last summer's Continental Drift, a whole lot better.
From the mischievous mind of Harmony Korine – screenwriter of Kids and director of Mr Lonely and Trash Humpers – comes Spring Breakers, a flashy attack on consumerism and the American dream that plays like an arthouse episode of Girls Gone Wild.
At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival writer/actress Brit Marling and writer/director Zal Batmanglij premiered Sound Of My Voice, a low-budget thriller centering on a strange cult. During the festival, Batmanglij was approached by a producer from the production company Scott Free, asking if the two were working on anything else. As it happened, Zal and Brit had a similar script recently finished, focusing on another close-knit group, this time about a band of eco-terrorists. Scott Free liked what they saw, went into production, and the resulting film, called The East, premiered at the this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a mere two years after that meeting.
I’m worried that I really like Maniac.
It’s not an easy thing to admit to, you see. The film is terrible. I don’t mean that it’s badly made – quite the opposite – it’s well acted and artfully made.
It’s terrible in the other, darker sense of the word – as in it’s violent, gruesome, shocking, and extremely cruel. You want to disavow your enjoyment but can’t, because it’s also entertaining, darkly amusing, smart, and impeccably well-made.
Hilarious when playing a nice guy, Steve Carell is less funny when asked to play nasty. Which means that his work in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is far from vintage.
Sam Raimi’s visually lush and fantastical Oz the Great and Powerful tells the origins of not just the wizard, but of the infamous Wicked Witch of the West. The wizard serves as our entry point into the story and magical world, but he is also the catalyst for the witch’s transformation - and it is her story that truly brings something new to the table.
From Danish director Niels Arden Oplev (2009's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and writer J.H. Wyman (Fringe), Dead Man Down is a gritty crime drama in which Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace star as strangers hopelessly drawn to one another by their mutual desire for revenge. We begin with Farrell's character Victor, who has infiltrated a crime empire run by a ruthless kingpin named Alphonse (Terrance Howard) with the intent of making Alphonse pay for ruining his life. Soon, however, Victor meets Beatrice (Rapace), and he slowly discovers that she has unresolved rage of her own.
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