Time to hang up the franchise with 'Hangover III'
It was the perfect storm of circumstances. First, the Memorial Day holiday and early deadlines; second, an attempted screening malfunction earlier in the week. And finally, the recent trend for studios to launch potential big summer movies on Thursday, rather than the traditional Friday, in hopes of inflating the "weekend" box office gross over four days (five, if the Monday happens to be a holiday), instead of the usual three.
Characters, action, humor, surprise fuel 'Star Trek Into Darkness'
J. J. Abrams has figured out the secret to building a better franchise: treat the source material with respect, but not reverence, don't be afraid to tweak its foibles, jazz it up with a lot of youthful energy, and, most of all, have fun with it. This is the policy that made his first Star Trek prequel such a hit in 2009, and Abrams and his team continue to revitalize the series with the fast, punchy, slyly funny, yet surprisingly touching Star Trek Into Darkness.
Luhrmann delivers a Deco-licious, surprisingly effective 'Great Gatsby'
With Baz Luhrmann in the driver's seat, the slick, shiny roadster that is The Great Gatsby could go either way. This meeting of the florid visual stylist (Romeo + Juliet; Moulin Rouge) and F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel of the Jazz Age might be a head-on collision of inappropriate style, anachronistic music, and frantic bombast over substance. Or it might just as easily be a brilliant reimagining of an American classic revitalized to resonate with a new generation.
Downey puts the irony in entertaining 'Iron Man 3'
Forget the armor-plated body suit and CGI. The secret weapon in the Iron Man franchise has always been Robert Downey Jr., whose ironic, deadpan aplomb in the face of utter chaos has fueled more memorable series moments than an entire army of jet-propelled suits. What makes Iron Man 3 such an entertaining load of hooey is that incoming director Shane Black gives Downey plenty of room to deliver his special brand of crisp, pungent commentary. Sure, it's too long, and too full of random stuff blowing up, but Black keeps the focus on the character of Tony Stark, creating ample opportunity for Downey to rise to the occasion—and keep the franchise afloat.