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Dotwaun Harris 7/22/13

Back to Back the Gang does it again

The summer comedy doesn’t get enough space at the local cineplex anymore. There are too many animated films and big summer blockbusters with monsters and superheroes. “Grown Ups 2” does what something like “The Internship” forgot to do – let loose. (Haven’t seen “This Is the End” but it likely lets very loose.) This sequel is silly, friendly, ridiculous and unfurls like they thought it up as they went along. It’s not for the cynical, hip, or too cool to have good time crowd. And it works great, something critics will despise and average folks will find funny. Adam Sandler and a long list of comedy friends return for this sequel about a group of grade school friends growing older together with their wives and kids. In the first film those friends were reunited after their grade school basketball coach passed away. Sandler played Lenny Feder, a Hollywood movie agent. In a single day a lot happens, namely Feder teaching his son about standing up to bullies, after he and his pals (Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade) are forced by a local fraternity to jump off a local watering hole’s high cliff naked. The frat is led by Taylor Lautner (“Twilight”)staid as a tough guy but Ventimiglia kills with his over-the-top deliv

Kal- El Returns
“Man of Steel” (**** OUT OF ****) ranks as the best Superman movie about the Last Son of Krypton. After the lackluster box office response to the flawed but entertaining “Superman Returns” back in 2006, Warner Brothers and D.C. Comics must have retreated into their own collective Fortress of Solitude to contemplate the future of the Man of Tomorrow. Clearly, since he received story credit, writer & producer Christopher Nolan played a part in shaping this Superman reboot. As the genius behind the hugely profitable Christian Bale “Dark Knight” trilogy, Nolan qualified as the ideal choice to guide the thinking behind the reboot. If you’ve seen Nolan’s “Batman” movies, you’ll spot his influence on “Man of Steel.” First, like Nolan’s “Batman” epics, “Man of Steel” deplores comic relief and holds humor to a minimum. Comparatively, “Man of Steel” is nothing like the glib “Iron Man 3.” Second, Clark Kent ventures out into the world incognito like Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne did in “Batman Begins.” Clark holds down several jobs before he dons his distinctive apparel and then plays everything straight. “Smallville” fans will appreciate this rite of passage, especially

the scene at the truck stop. “Watchman” director Zack Snyder and “Blade” scenarist David S. Goyer rely on Nolan-like flashbacks to break up the monotony of the action. Clocking in at 143 minutes, “Man of Steel” maintains a sense of spontaneity that enlivens its formulaic plot. Third, this Superman movie boasts no more connection with the previous Superman outings than Nolan’s “Batman” movies had with the earlier “Batman” franchise. Fourth, just as Nolan changed the way that the Caped Crusader appeared, Superman doesn’t dress up like he does in the comics. For example, Superman doesn’t wear drawers outside his outfit, and he cavorts around in the equivalent of dye- blue thermal underwear. Nevertheless, Superman hangs onto his cape. These alterations make “Man of Steel” a better movie than if would have been had Warner Brothers adhered to the “Superman Returns” chronology.
Genre movies, such as westerns, crime thrillers, and horror chillers, rely on surefire narrative formulas, and “Superman” movies are no different.

Is Fast & Furious 6 the best one so far ?
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of all-stars as the global blockbuster franchise built on speed races to its next continent in Fast & Furious 6. Reuniting for their most high-stakes adventure yet, fan favorites Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Elsa Pataky are joined by badass series newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano. Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). (c) Fox

Survival of the fittest
The purge- It’s the year 2022, and America has returned to economic strength and domestic peace. Unemployment is at 1%. Poverty has nearly been eliminated. Crime is almost unheard of, except on one day of the year which the New Founders have established so that everyone can vent their latent hatred and bigotry without consequence … except on select government officials, of course. The rest of America can “purify their souls” through 12 hours of mayhem, murder, and anarchy known as The Purge. It’s big business for James Sandin and his family, but this year, the purge hits very close to home … literally. In the hands of a more talented director and screenwriter, The Purge might have made for interesting social satire. In the hands of James DeMonaco, who both directed and wrote the film, it’s about as subtle as a jackhammer welded to the grill of a Mack Truck

Great flim a must see

Overcooked, overcomplicated and underinteresting, this heist caper turns into a mess. Jesse Eisenberg , Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco play four funky magicians who are recruited by a mysterious individual to form an Avengers-style unit of conjuror-superheroes who are going to use their illusionist skills to pull off the most dazzling bank raid of all time. The opening 10 minutes are reasonably entertaining – crucially, this is the section of the movie not about bank-robbing – but it just gets tangled, wildly implausible and dull, and the quartet’s mastery of the ordinary non-magic skills necessary in largescale theft is entirely unconvincing, and no amount of narrative misdirection can get around this. Magic might in theory be an interesting subject for a movie: magic and cinema share their origins in the fairground tents of old. But I find that, although great when experienced for real, magic is always liable to look pointless and unsatisfying in the context of a fiction film. The magicians themselves have to be interesting characters, quite aside from their supposed skills. That trick doesn’t come off.

Iron Man 3 is an ominously exciting, shoot-the-works comic-book spectacular. It keeps throwing things at you, but not with the random, busy franchise indifference that marked the hollow and grandiose Iron Man 2. Iron Man 3 is closer to a vision of the world teetering on the edge. (Imagine The Dark Knight Rises with less apocalyptic hot air.) The film was directed and co-written by Shane Black, the former high-testosterone

Tony Stark is back

speeding at the viewers at 95 miles an hour. Phineas and Ferb (an excellent children’s cartoon, if you haven’t seen it) has more subtlety and wit than The Purge. From the hoary and dully predictable slasher-film action, to the scenery chewing from the main villains, and finally to the Sarah Palin-esque masks that some of the purgers inexplicably don for their antics, it’s as derivative and intelligence-insulting as it is didactic and wholly uninteresting. Basically, this is a film in which the rich slaughter the poor in order to end unemployment and poverty, and hope that the poor don’t slaughter them first. You don’t get to discover that through clever dialogue and plot lines; DeMonaco makes sure you hear it in the opening minutes from a talk-radio show. As the Sandins prepare to lock themselves down in their huge McMansion, Stepford Neighbor (Areija Bareikis) shows up to act out a passive-aggressive skit with Mary Sandin (Lena

Iron Man 3 is mostly liberated from the market-tested three-act structure that hobbles too many comic-book films. This one feels like a deep-dish middle installment that strands Stark without any protection — in this case, in the hinterlands of Tennessee, where he crash-lands, only to learn that his Iron Man suit no longer works. There are hilariously tense encounters with the local yokels, a testy camaraderie between Stark and his War Machine rival James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), an abiding romantic tension to his bond with Pepper