Blu Tuesday: The Hangover Part III, The Purge and More

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“The Hangover Part III”

WHAT: When the Wolfpack is kidnapped by a vengeful gangster (John Goodman) who blames the guys for introducing Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) into his life, he tasks them (sans Doug, naturally, who’s kept as collateral) with tracking Chow down and recovering his stolen money, taking them back to Las Vegas, the city where it all began.

WHY:The Hangover Part III” is a really bad movie – a joyless and humorless cash-in that bears little resemblance to the 2009 original except by name. Say what you will about the first sequel, but at least that one actually felt like a “Hangover” movie. I’m not even sure if “Part III” is supposed to be a comedy, but the shocking lack of laughter would suggest otherwise. Galifianakis and Jeong are more annoying than ever in their respective roles, while Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are simply on auto-pilot, going through the motions to collect their paychecks. And can you really blame them? The script is so terrible and devoid of laughs (despite some half-assed attempts at humor that rarely land) that it’s hard to imagine anyone signing on to the movie for anything other than the great payday. The film mostly runs on nostalgia – a fact made clear by the return of several familiar faces, even if they have nothing to offer the story – but even that little bit of fan service sputters out well before the end, much like the finale itself.

EXTRAS: The two-disc release includes a few extended scenes, an 8-minute outtakes reel, and some mini-featurettes that are all pretty terrible.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

“The Purge”

WHAT: In the near future, the government has introduced an annual event called The Purge where all crime – including murder – is legal for 12 hours. The Sandins are fortunate enough to be able to afford a security system that keeps them safe, but when son Charlie (Max Burkholder) provides sanctuary to a homeless man on the run from some attackers, James (Ethan Hawke) and the rest of his family become their new targets.

WHY: “The Purge” is hands-down one of the dumbest movies of the year. Nothing about this film works, beginning at the concept stage, which is laughable in its suggestion that a) the government would ever impose something like the Purge, b) everyday people would actually embrace it, and c) no one would commit crimes during the rest of the year, not even the homeless people being beaten and murdered. It just isn’t plausible, and as such, the premise is completely drained of any suspense. The characters all act like idiots – especially Charlie, who doesn’t think twice about the fact that the man he’s helping could be tricking him in order to gain entry to the house – and the lead villain is just plain ridiculous. (His gang wears masks for no apparent reason other than that writer/director James DeMonaco thought it would be creepy.) And if that wasn’t bad enough, DeMonaco actually thinks that he’s making some kind of bold political statement, when in reality, it’s simply the musings of a crazy person.

EXTRAS: Considering how well it performed in theaters, it’s a little surprising that the only included bonus material is a making-of featurette titled “Surviving the Night.”

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

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Movie Review: “The Hangover Part III”

Starring
Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, John Goodman
Director
Todd Phillips

After the last “Hangover” film left most people with a sour taste in their mouth, it was no secret that director Todd Phillips would have to change up the formula if he ever made another sequel. Unfortunately, despite heeding that advice on the latest installment, “The Hangover Part III” is a really bad movie (like, worst film of the year bad) – a joyless and humorless cash-in that bears little resemblance to the 2009 original except by name. Say what you will about the first sequel, but at least that one actually felt like a “Hangover” movie. I’m still not even sure if “Part III” is supposed to be a comedy, but the shocking lack of laughter would suggest otherwise.

The film opens with a silly gag involving Alan (Zach Galifianakis) buying and subsequently killing a giraffe while transporting it home, and it only goes downhill from there. (Sadly, that’s also just the start of the movie’s streak of animal cruelty.) When his latest antics cause his father (Jeffrey Tambor) to have a heart attack and die, it puts Alan in a bit of tailspin. Concerned about his well-being, the guys (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha) stage an intervention and convince him to get help at a mental health clinic in Arizona. On the way there, however, they’re kidnapped by a surly gangster named Marshall (John Goodman), who blames them for introducing Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) into his life. Apparently, Chow stole a lot of money from Marshall and has evaded him ever since, so he tasks the Wolfpack (minus Doug of course, who’s kept as collateral) to track him down, taking them from Tijuana to Las Vegas, the city where it all began.

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to May

may_movies

It’s not just the studios that get excited about the beginning of the summer movie season, but audiences as well, because the four-month period marks the release of some of the year’s most anticipated films, from action blockbusters to all-star comedies. This summer is particularly exciting, and it kicks off in May with the latest installments of some of Hollywood’s biggest franchises (“Iron Man,” “Star Trek,” “Fast & Furious” and “The Hangover”), as well as a few lower profile features with the potential to make a big impression.

“IRON MAN 3″

Who: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce
What: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, Stark starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
When: May 3rd
Why: “Iron Man 2” may be one of the weaker films in Marvel’s Phase One, but it deserves some slack for shouldering a lot of the groundwork leading up to “The Avengers.” With that said, it’ll be nice to see Tony Stark in a more standalone adventure this time out, which is reportedly based on Warren Ellis’ well-received “Extremis” arc, ushering in a change of status quo for the Iron Man armor. The film also marks a change behind the camera as well, with Shane Black taking over for the departing Jon Favreau, although the trailers suggest that it’s business as usual. That’s great news for fans of the first two films, because with the addition of Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall and Ben Kingsley to the cast, “Iron Man 3” is shaping up to the best of the series.

“THE ICEMAN”

Who: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, James Franco and Ray Liotta
What: The true story of notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski, from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men.
When: May 3rd
Why: Millennium Entertainment doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to releasing small movies with big stars, but the cast of “The Iceman” is almost too good to ignore. Michael Shannon tends to deliver his best work in these types of indie films, while Winona Ryder proved in “Black Swan” that she’s still capable of turning in a good performance with the right material. And it wouldn’t be a crime movie without Ray Liotta popping up at some point, so director Ariel Vromen has that box checked as well. Though most people have probably never even heard of Richard Kuklinski or his true life story, sometimes those ones are the best.

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Trailer Alert: “The Hangover Part III”

The epic finale to the “Hangover” trilogy hits theaters May 24th, and although there’s no wedding or bachelor party this time around, the new trailer for the third installment promises plenty of crazy hijinks are still in store for the Wolfpack. Check it out below and let us know what you think.

  

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