CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT – COMING ATTRACTIONS:
By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: The interior of a HUGE laboratory, with STARK ENTERPRISES logos all around, and various Iron Man suits on display. MICHAEL ARRUDA &. L.L. SOARES enter lab.)
MICHAEL ARRUDA: Welcome to the Coming Attractions column for May 2013.
L.L. SOARES: Our time to tell you what we’ll be reviewing in the month ahead
MA: We’re here at Stark Enterprises not only because we’ll be seeing IRON MAN 3, the first big release of the month, the weekend of May 3, but because this place is humongous, and it’s symbolic of the blockbuster movies that are finally starting to roll out in theaters this month.
LS: Whatever. I’m just glad we’re here. I can’t wait to try on one of these funky Iron Man suits.
MA: I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Mr. Stark explicitly said we could do our review from here if we don’t touch anything.
LS: Since when do I care what you think?
MA: If you blow yourself up fiddling with one of those suits, don’t blame me.
LS: I won’t blame you. I’ll come back to haunt you though.
MA: Oh joy. Anyway, we kick off the month of May with a review of IRON MAN 3, opening in theaters on May 3. I love the Marvel superhero movies, and so it goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to this one.
The original film in this series, IRON MAN (2008) is one of my all-time favorite Marvel superhero films. The second one IRON MAN 2 (2010), not so much. I realize this is the third film in the series, and so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it played like a third film in a series and wasn’t so good.
But I really enjoy Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and I like Gwyneth Paltrow a lot, and the Marvel films have just been so good, I think this one will play better than a third film in a series. Of course, I feel as if I’ve already watched IRON MAN 3, when I watched last year’s phenomenal THE AVENGERS (2012), which I liked even more than the original IRON MAN.
IRON MAN 3 features Ben Kingsley as the villain, The Mandarin, and Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle. It’s directed by Shane Black, with a screenplay by Black and Drew Pearce. Looking forward to it.
LS: Yay, the Mandarin is finally in an IRON MAN movie! The Mandarin, in the comics, is like Iron Man’s big villain, the equivalent of the Joker for Batman, so it’s about time he made it to film. I wonder if the Mandarin’s giant blue killer robot ULTIMO will be making an appearance – with today’s CGI efforts, they’d be able to do him justice, but I didn’t see any sign of Ultimo in the trailers. The Mandarin’s main powers emanate from rings on his fingers that involve alien technology, and he’s a criminal mastermind. It looks like they have changed him a bit for the movie, making him more like an international terrorist, which is okay, as long as the basic essence of the character is there. The fact that he is played by Ben Kingsley means we should get a decent bad guy in this movie. Let’s hope they don’t waste him like they did Whiplash (as played by Mickey Rourke) in IRON MAN 2.
MA: Yes, Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash was very disappointing, surprisingly so.
LS: Then, the weekend of May 10, we’ll be reviewing AFTERSHOCK. Looks like another “End of the World” type movie, with a cast that includes director Eli Roth. Roth also acted in Quentin Tarantino’s INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, 2009 (and his Grindhouse entry DEATH PROOF in 2007), so he should do fine here. Aside from that, I don’t know much about it. But I hope to be entertained.
MA: I liked the trailer for this one. It looks like it’s going to be an intense movie.
Moving right along, on May 17 we’ll be reviewing STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS, director J.J. Abrams’ follow-up to his successful STAR TREK (2009) movie, which was a reimagining of the classic 1960s TV show which I thought worked very well.
It’s been hush-hush with this sequel, as very little information has surfaced as to what this movie will be about. Even the film’s trailers haven’t given too much away, which is a good thing.
The cast from the first movie are all back again, and this is also a good thing, since they all did a terrific job the first time around capturing the personalities of the iconic crew of the Starship Enterprise. Chris Pine is back as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto returns as Mr. Spock (he was phenomenal in the first movie), Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and John Cho as Sulu.
I’m looking forward to this one.
LS: Me, too. I enjoyed Abrams’ first STAR TREK movie. It actually held up pretty well, even though he kind of put his own spin on these iconic characters. So I’m expecting more of the same with INTO DARKNESS. Should be a good time.
On the weekend of May 24, we’ll be reviewing THE HANGOVER PART III (2013). Do we really need a PART III? I don’t know. I liked the original a lot, the second one wasn’t as good, but it had some big laughs. I’m sure PART III will have laughs, too, but where else can they go with this series? As usual, Hollywood gets a hit and they flog it to death. But maybe THE HANGOVER series still has more to offer. We’ll see.
MA: I’m looking forward to it. I’m actually looking forward to the entire month of May’s releases. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been largely disappointed with the movies that have come out so far in 2013, generally speaking. I’m hoping that May’s releases change this.
LS: I haven’t been too disappointed. I’ve seen at least four movies so far this year that might make my “Best of 2013” list, so I can’t complain too much. I’m usually not a big fan of brainless big-budget blockbusters, but this year’s crop of May movies look better than average.
MA: I can think of two so far that would make my “Best of” list, and we’re about to enter May, so like I said, I haven’t been too impressed by this year’s crop of films.
But I do love THE HANGOVER movies, although I recently re-watched PART 2 on Blu-Ray and didn’t find it as funny as I did the first time. Still, how can you not enjoy the insanity which surrounds Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis)? The stories in the first two movies are just so over the top I find it nearly impossible not to laugh at them. I suspect the third film in the series will be just as nutty.
If you like your comedy with an edge, then THE HANGOVER movies are the films for you.
LS: Don’t gush too much. I guess THE HANGOVER movies have kind of an edge for mainstream R-rated comedies, but I really haven’t found them all that shocking. I do hope there is more of Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) this time around, though.
MA: It’s directed by Todd Phillips, who directed the previous two HANGOVER movies, but once again it’s not the original writers penning the script. It’s written by Phillips and Craig Mazin, the same pair who wrote PART II.
We finish May with a promising thriller, THE PURGE, which opens on May 31. Starring Ethan Hawke, this dark actioner tells the tale of a futuristic society that allows crime to run rampant for one night of the year and what happens to one family in particular on this brutal night. From the producers of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies and SINISTER (2012), this one is written and directed by James DeMonaco, who doesn’t have a whole lot of credits, but he did write the screenplay for the remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (2005) which I remember liking a lot.
This one looks like it has promise.
LS: The trailer for this one looks really cool. And there are more sinister villains in masks, reminiscent of THE STRANGERS (2008). Ethan Hawke also had a really good showcase in his last movie with these producers—SINISTER, which I liked a lot—so I am eager to see what they come up with this time.
MA: Also opening on May 31 is the thriller NOW YOU SEE ME (2013), an interesting-looking yarn about a team of illusionists who rob banks. It’s got a great cast which includes Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Elias Koteas.
It’s directed by Louis Leterrier, who directed the CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) remake, which I didn’t like, but he also directed THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008) starring Edward Norton, which I really liked.
It’s written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, and Edward Ricourt. I hope to review this one solo as well on this last weekend of May.
LS: Yeah, if you review that one, you’ll be seeing it by yourself. However, I might be reviewing a few movies solo this month too, if they are showing near me. Some films coming out in limited release in May include THE ICEMAN, starring Michael Shannon as a real-life hitman and serial killer; the indie vampire movie KISS OF THE DAMNED; and the new movie by Ben Wheatley, who made my favorite film of last year, KILL LIST; this one’s called SIGHTSEERS, and I’m sure I’ll be reviewing at least one of these before the month is over.
MA: All in all, it looks like May is going to be a good month for movies.
LS: Okay, I have my Iron Man suit on. Now it’s time to take it on a flight.
MA (shaking head): I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
LS: Ignition! (Rockets ignite, blasting MA in a fiery ball of flame.) Oops!
MA (charred and smoking): Oops? That’s all you have to say?
LS: How about, “See ya!” (Ignites rockets and flies off into the sky).
MA: He really burns me up (drum beat). Anyway, folks, we’ll see you this weekend with a review of our first May movie, IRON MAN 3.
LS: Look out below! (LS in IRON MAN suits flies into the ground, creating a huge smoky crater.)