On this week’s Now Playing, I am faced with a mild dilemma. There are three major releases this week, all of which could vie for my extended treatment. Of course, none of the three particularly interest me. So I decided to throw things for a loop. Instead of highlighting one of the top three, I’m going to look at a limited release that is finally coming to the Lexington area. Odd it’s taken so long, considering it stars a Lexington, Kentucky native.
The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession. *
The Good – Lexington native Michael Shannon (Let’s Go to Prison) is awesome. The man who will be Zod commands the screen no matter what production he’s in. Last year’s Premium Rush was, for the most part, a dull film, except for Mr. Shannon. I relished every scene he was in as he phoned in a villainous performance. Here, he looks absolutely terrifying as the family man/hitman. Add Winona Ryder, James Franco, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans to the mix for what looks to be a frightening time in the theater. Rotten Tomatoes only has it at a 67% for bland direction and writing, but it still singled out Shannon as the reason that this movie is a must see. I can’t wait until I can find some free time to catch it this weekend.
The Bad – That being said, I can’t simply overlook the remarks about the direction and script. A movie is only as strong as its base. If the foundation is flimsy, the film could fall apart, no matter how strong of a performance the main star gives. I’m hoping Shannon can carry it to at least a good finish.
The Ugly – As much as I think I’ll like this movie, I’m still wondering if glamorizing a real life serial hitman is the best course of action. Pain and Gain tried it a few weeks back and I’m still scratching my head over it. It’s a fine line between what’s appropriate and what’s gone too far. Fictional characters tend to fall on one side of the line for me, while true life people tend to fall on the other. Maybe it’s just me.
The Iceman is rated R for strong violence, pervasive language and some sexual content.
Now to the big three for the weekend.
A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world -- and ours. *
Brief Thoughts – It’s the remake of Fern Gully the world was not asking for! Ok, I’m generalizing a bit but that was my thought while watching the latest from the creators of Ice Age and Rio. It looks to be well animated and not as annoying as some of the other animated movies from the past few years. Maybe it will be decent, but since I don’t have a kid, I’m going to wait for the Redbox. P.S. Kentucky native Josh Hutcherson voices a main role.
Epic is rated PG for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language.
FAST & FURIOUS 6
Agent Luke Hobbs enlists Dominic Toretto and his team to bring down former Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw, leader of a unit specializing in vehicular warfare. *
Brief Thoughts – This franchise has lasted 6 movies? I don’t know whether to be impressed or depressed. Then again, the last film Fast 5 did successfully change up the formula from fast cars to an Ocean’s 11 style caper… with fast cars. It was a film that was better than it had any right to be. I’m iffy on this one, but if the rumored cameo in this turns out to be true, then I might as well buy my ticket for Fast 7.
Fast & Furious 6 is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language.
THE HANGOVER PART III
This time, there's no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off. *
Brief Thoughts – The first Hangover was a breath of fresh air when it was first released, harking back to the days of the vulgar R-rated comedies of yore. The second was a complete rehash of the first, almost beat for beat. The third has a different story (no wedding this time) but I can’t help but think it’s going to be another variation of the first film. The old adage don’t fix what isn’t broke doesn’t apply here. I hope this is the last road trip with the “Wolfpack.”
The Hangover Part III is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity.
That will do for this week. Tune in next time when we’ll see if Will Smith can save a floundering director’s career. Until then, you can be my wingman anytime.