The latest outing in the “Fast & Furious” franchise is another romp packed full of fast cars, beautiful people, gunfights, fisticuffs, and explosions. If you’ve somehow missed out on the previous films, don’t worry: this is not a series built on complex character and plot development. If you’ve seen any team heist movies and/or car chase movies, you’re set. This is a ridiculous film, and a ridiculously fun ride if you’re willing to hang on.
Written and Directed by: Tommy Wirkola Starring: Gemma Arterton, Jeremy Renner, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare Rated: R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity, and language There’s something ever-appealing to me about fantasy-action films. The good ones don’t take themselves seriously and are pure fun, and the bad ones are so deliciously campy that it’s hard not to love them anyway. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is in the first group. It’s silly almost to the point of being deranged at some points (someone explain to me how they made insulin injections in the middle ages, please), but the leads are so engaging and the story so fast-paced that it’s easy to just sit back and take the ride. The film starts with the familiar story: a man wakes his small children in the middle of the night, takes them out in the woods, and abandons them. They find a witch’s cottage, are
James Bond movies can be grouped both by actor and by tone. The most recent batch, the Daniel Craig Bond flicks, reflect Hollywood’s current love affair with the gritty and the flawed. “Skyfall,” the latest of these, gives us a Bond who can barely pass his field agent proficiency tests, whose hands shake when he fires a gun, who’s only comfortable and at home when he’s both in impossible circumstances and full of a determination fueled by righteous anger.
The moment the opening credits for “The Man with the Iron Fists” start to roll, you can tell exactly what kind of movie it is. There’s an explanatory voiceover and a massive fight, paused periodically for over-saturated, old-school-style still frames for each credit — and the credits are all in both English and Chinese. By the time it got to “Quentin Tarantino Present” (sic), I was sold. This is an homage to Hong Kong action flicks and exploitation films, a blenderized rendition of every trope and camera shot we’ve seen and loved a hundred times.
“The Avengers” has been a long time coming. Starting with the post-credits scene in 2008’s “Iron Man” and through the four following movies (“The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America”), expectations around this film have been building slowly but surely. There was a lot riding on this, and it does not disappoint.
There is a special place in my heart for films that know exactly what they are and set out to fulfill their destiny with utter enthusiasm. “Lockout” is in that class of film. It knows it’s a B-movie sci-fi action flick, and has no pretensions otherwise. There’s no subtlety here, the film is predictable right down to much of its dialog, and the action and one-liners are slathered on thickly.
Directed by: Justin Lin Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Joaquim de Almeida Rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language).