2015 Summer Movie Preview: May

Wow! Is it that time of year again? Already?

Yes, the summer movie season is back! 2015 has been a decent year for film so far. Even though I haven’t seen a lot because of school getting in the way of my movie watching. But as my first year of college is about to come to a close, there are a lot of highly anticipated blockbusters, as well as some independent films, that have yet to come out that I am looking forward to this summer. Not to mention one coming out this month that is my most anticipated film of the entire year (can you guess which one?). I enjoyed doing this segment last year, and I’m glad to be doing it again this year. Keep in mind that I’ll review the movies that are being discussed a lot or just sound interesting to me. Let’s get started talking about the movies that are coming out in the month of May.

May 1

The Avengers - Age of UltronThe Avengers: Age of Ultron – This comes as no surprise to many people that this is what everyone is looking forward to.  For someone who loved The Avengers, I have been waiting patiently to see these superheroes spring back into action with new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Joss Whedon knows how to bring the fun to the superhero genre. Even though sequel don’t quite surpass the original, I’m definitely expecting a great time at the theater. I don’t know if Quicksilver would be more awesome here than Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Far from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd – Based on Thomas Hardy’s novel, this film stars Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) as a woman who is attracted to three different men in Victorian London. Due to the success of Downton Abbey, costume dramas have become very popular in the media. Last year’s Belle was a great look in racial equality in England during the 1700s. From the previews, I have never seen anything that looked more beautiful than Far from the Madding Crowd!

May 8

Hot PursuitHot Pursuit – There aren’t a lot of great comedies coming out nowadays. Hot Pursuit is no exception. Even though I like Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara to death, this movie is using the “buddy cop” sub-genre but with jokes that sound stale. It might be alright for a few laughs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this flops.

MaggieMaggie – Arnold Schwarzenegger in a serious movie? How rare is that? Fans have been used to him as the ultimate action hero turned California governor turned back to actor. Starring alongside Abigail Breslin, this has my attention as being a tense zombie apocalypse story.

5 Flights Up5 Flights Up – You can’t go wrong with Morgan Freeman. He’s one of the best actors with one of the best voices on Earth. Everyone wishes that he should narrate their lives. This movie, co-starring Diane Keaton, follows a Brooklyn couple trying to sell their apartment due to financial issues. Even though it doesn’t look phenomenal, it looks sweet at best.

100yom_poster_2764x4096The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (I know, quite a mouthful) – Based on Jonas Jonasson’s novel, this popular Scandinavian picture is like a new version of Forrest Gump. It follows Allan Karlsson, who was an explosives expert becoming a part of the most important historical events of the 20th century and meeting countless historical figures. At 100 years old and in good health, he escapes his nursing home to embark on another (possibly his last) adventure. After seeing the trailer today, not only am I intrigued but I’m laughing from thinking about it. For someone interested in Scandinavian cinema, I would be a fool for missing out on this.

May 15

MMMad Max: Fury Road – Oh my goodness! Talk about being on the edge of your seat from watching the previews! I have yet to see the original films starring Mel Gibson, but this reboot looks insane in every sense of the word. With Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult leading the cast, I have a feeling this would surpass Furious 7 as the year’s best action film.

PP2Pitch Perfect 2 – The sequel to the 2012 cult classic Pitch Perfect looks as aca-fun. After seeing the first film, I could see why the movie inspired many acapella musicians worldwide (especially Pentatonix, who are going to appear in the sequel). I don’t care if the story is predictable as hell, what matters is the laughs and the good time. I can’t think of a better actress who can sing more beautifully than Anna Kendrick. It’s like she is about to hit Broadway, she’s that good!

Slow WestSlow West – This Western became a big hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best International Drama. From the looks of the preview, the movie looks like a beautiful and traditional Western. What more do you need with a cast featuring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smith-McPhee?

Good KillGood Kill – This is the third collaboration of Ethan Hawke and director Andrew Niccol; the first two being Gattaca and Lord of War. After getting mixed reviews coming from the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, it’s about time for this to get an initial limited release. I think this looks like a fascinating character study on how one man begins to question about his life and missions as a drone pilot. I like Ethan Hawke and Andrew Niccol. Gattaca is one of my all-time favorite films. Let’s hope Niccol will return to form after The Host, a disaster that I’m glad I avoided.

May 22

TomorrowlandTomorrowland – The previews for Disney’s Tomorrowland show very little detail. That’s a good thing. Nowadays, a lot of movie trailers give too much away (*ahem* Neighbors). The look of movie makes me feel like a kid experiencing something unlike anything I’ve seen before. Brad Bird is an ingenious filmmaker who directed the best Mission: Impossible film to date (Ghost Protocol). I love the imagination he puts into this picture. Cannot wait for this!!

PoltergeistPoltergeist – Ah, the summer movie season couldn’t be complete without a remake or two. A remake of the 1982 film that contributed to the creation of the PG-13 rating (along with countless other violent PG-rated films of the 1980s), Poltergeist looks like any generic modern-day horror flick. Focusing more on the jump scares than on the atmosphere. Who knows? it might be one of those rare occasions that it’s faithful to the original.

May 29

san_andreasSan Andreas – Even though it’s hard not to like Dwayne Johnson, this movie looks like a new 2012. Paul Giamatti looks like the only redeemable quality of this train-wreck.

AlohaAloha – It’s refreshing to see a mainstream film absent from loud explosions and overblown effects. Only nothing but human drama. With an ensemble cast including Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, and John Krasinski and talented director (Cameron Crowe, Jerry Maguire and We Bought a Zoo), Aloha might be good, or it might be bad.

Recap:

Most Anticipated: The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Far from the Madding Crowd, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland

Least Anticipated: Hot Pursuit, Poltergeist, San Andreas

I hope you enjoyed reading on what my thoughts are on several movies for the month of May. Tell me in the comments below on what your most anticipated movies are for the month of May. Stay tuned for a movie preview for the month of June on Memorial Day. Take care.

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Movie Review: Furious 7

The cast of "Furious 7" and director James Wan

The cast of “Furious 7” and director James Wan (between Paul Walker and Vin Diesel)

After the successes of Fast Five and Fast and Furious 6, the popular franchise has gone into another direction. Something fast? Yes; but something more furious. The title, Furious 7 is inspired by Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven. The production for the movie delayed after Paul Walker’s death on November 30, 2013. Even though he was halfway through filming, Universal needed a plan to continue production. They decided to rewrite the script and provide body doubles and [hardly recognizable] CGI to capture Paul Walker. Director James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) goes full throttle with Furious 7 by giving the best in pure entertainment.

After defeating Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) from the previous film, his older brother Deckerd (Jason Statham) plans to kill Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew one by one for revenge. Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) notifies Dom about Shaw after encountering him one night at the Diplomatic Security Service office. A government official named Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) assigned him and his crew – Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris) – to take down Shaw as well as Mose Jakande (Djimon Honsou), a terrorist who created a program called “God’s Eye” in which every electronic device into a dangerous weapon. Along with a computer hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel), they spring into action together one last time.

Wan gives us the over-the-top fun we expected from these movies. The franchise is the prime example of pure Hollywood. Some of the stunts seem physically impossible, but that’s what makes those movies fun. It avoids the laws of physics. They are not to be taken seriously. In fact, most of the stunts are done practically, especially the car skydiving and the car jumping through three buildings. It gives the audience the sense of realism. My eyes have been fixed to the screen with jaw dropped to the floor. The movie features the best showdown in the series – between Vin Diesel and Jason Statham (who plays the best villain). It’s just as awesome as Vin Diesel and The Rock’s showdown in Fast Five.

Furious 7 gives a surprising emotional punch. I usually never cry during movies. But this is one of those rare occasions in which I cried my eyes out. After walking out of the theater, I realized the series is more than just street racing and pulling off these heists. It’s about being a part of a family and sticking together right until the very end. Dom Toretto is a convincing character because he and Mia have lost their family a long time ago. If he didn’t start his crew, he wouldn’t have a family. Dom and Brian are the heart and soul of the franchise. Brian is like the brother he never had. They have stayed on each other’s side for a long time. When it’s about that time, they go off their separate ways. It’s such a shame that Paul Walker had died in that car crash. But this movie is a great send-off for him.

Thank you, Paul Walker, for what you’ve done.

3.5/4

Movie Review: Fast and Furious 6

Dom's team spring into action in "Fast and Furious 6"

Dom’s team spring into action in “Fast and Furious 6”

Bringing back more fun!

Following their heist in Rio de Janeiro, Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have a child. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is enjoying his time off as a criminal. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) assigns Dom and Brian to go on yet another mission to track down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) who has Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) under his boot. The team go to London to find the mastermind. Featuring more breathtaking action, characters we know and love, Fast and Furious 6 is just as fun as Fast Five. We get a taste of Furious 7 in the middle of the credits where Han dies in Tokyo and see Jason Statham for the first time. The audience realizes that Tokyo Drift takes place after the events of this movie. Even though it makes more sense, it still doesn’t change my opinion on Tokyo Drift.

3.5/4

Movie Review: Fast Five

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) faces up against federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in "Fast Five"

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) faces up against federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in “Fast Five”

Now onto the good stuff!

Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) saves Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) from custody. Along with Mia (Jordana Brewster), who has exciting news, they flee to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to pull off a heist worth millions of dollars. In order to do so, they build a team consisting of Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot), Han Seuol-Oh (Sung Kang), Leo (Teo Calderon), and Santos (Don Omar). Meanwhile, federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team track down Brian and Dom. Fast Five was the first Fast and Furious movie I’ve ever seen. I saw it in a packed theater with my cousin in 2011. Without seeing the predecessors back then, I enjoyed every bit of it. Seeing it again after watching the others, this takes the franchise into a whole new level. With some of the best stunts, action, laughs (especially from Roman and Tej), this is the best of the Fast and Furious franchise. Not to mention that awesome showdown between Vin Diesel and The Rock.

3.5/4

Movie Review: Fast and Furious (2009)

Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) is back in "Fast and Furious"

Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is back in “Fast and Furious”

Fast and Furious, or “The Return of Dom Toretto and His Clan”

After the atrocity known as Tokyo Drift, it seemed like the franchise would go downhill from there. Thankfully, the original cast returns to give us what the franchise wanted. Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is working for the FBI in Los Angeles. He reunites with fugitive Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) along with his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). They are informed that Dom’s lover Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) has been assassinated. They embark on another mission to take down a drug lord who was under Ortiz’s supervision. Even though it’s far from perfect, this movie brings back the heart of the franchise while featuring one of the best bromances ever.

3/4

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) learns how to drift in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"

Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) learns how to drift in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”

What happens when you leave two of the best characters, Brian O’Connor and Dom Toretto, out of a Fast and Furious movie? You don’t get any good results.

Not only is The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift the worst movie in the franchise, it’s also one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. After getting into a car accident during an illegal street racing, Sean Boswell (Lucas Black, who cannot act for crap) has two choices: go to prison or start a new life in Tokyo to live with his dad. He obviously chooses the latter. Boswell meets new people, and learns how to drift in the undergrounds of the biggest Japanese city. This movie throws away what made the first two a fun ride and gives us a slow, long ride into atrocity with a flat story, acting, dialogue. If Vin Diesel didn’t make a cameo appearance in the end of the movie, there wouldn’t be any redeemable qualities whatsoever.

0.5/4

Movie Review: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) and Ramon Pierce (Tyrese) in "2 Fast 2 Furious"

Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Roman Pierce (Tyrese) in “2 Fast 2 Furious”

“I owe you a ten-second car.”
Yeah, I think that will take a while.

Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) goes to Miami to join his friend Roman Pierce (Tyrese) to bring down a drug lord. The sequel to the successful The Fast and the Furious has its moments, but it’s far from a good movie. The opening street race has poorly rendered CGI which makes it quite unexciting, but the movie gets a little better as it goes along. There are attractive women in the movie, but they are just here to be attractive and nothing else. The movie provides some awesome stunts, especially when O’Connor drives the car into the boat Dukes of Hazard-style. I think an appropriate title would be “2 Little 2 Late”.

2/4