‘The Guillotines’ mixes the old and the new

'The Guillotines is a secret group of warriors and the titular weapon seen here
‘The Guillotines is a secret group of warriors and the titular weapon seen here

[rating=3]Starring:  Huang Xiaoming, Ethan Juan, Shawn Yue, Li Yuchun, Jing Boran, Wen Zhang, Purba Rygal, Andrew Lau, Gao Tian and Zhou Yiwei
Writer(s):  Jojo Hui, Joyce Chan, Aubrey Lam, Philip Lui, Guo Junli and Chit Ka-kei
Director(s):  Andrew Lau

“Too many cooks spoil the broth” – old adage

The Guillotines is a new Wu Xia film from director Andrew Lau (who also has a small role in the movie) who is best known for 2002’s Infernal Affairs.  A period piece, The Guillotines is a re-imagining of Master of the Flying Guillotines without the original’s humor that tries to make up for this with incredible visuals.

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‘This Is The End’ has laughs, weed, and just maybe the end of the world

From left to right: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride fight to survive the apocalypse in 'This is the End'
James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride fight to survive the apocalypse in ‘This is the End’

Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel are very close friends in real life, and that friendship is where This Is The End begins. Jay’s come to the L.A. area to visit his friend Seth, and after spending hours smoking weed and doing other fun stuff, Seth wants to take Jay to a party at James Franco’s house. Jay doesn’t want to go, because he believes none of Seth’s friends like him. However Seth promises to stay by his side the whole time and Jay accedes to Seth’s desires and goes to the party.

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‘The East’ actually hits the target dead center

Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard in 'The East'
Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard in ‘The East’

[rating=4]Starring:  Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Aldis Hodge, Danielle Macdonald, Hillary Baack, Patricia Clarkson, Jason Ritter and Julia Ormond
Writer(s):  Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij
Director(s):  Zal Batmanglij

“Jane” (Marling) is a former FBI agent who has taken a job as an operative at a private security and intelligence firm, Hiller Brood.  It’s a major player in the industry and its CEO, “Sharon” (Clarkson) wants to make it even bigger.  She sends Sarah on an assignment to penetrate a group of anarchists who call themselves The East.

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‘This Is the End’ has lots of laughs… and heart

James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Ferguson, Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen fight to survive the apocalypse in 'This is the End'
James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Ferguson, Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen fight to survive the apocalypse in ‘This is the End’

[rating=3]Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride
Director: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

I’m a little mad at this movie. Mad because I had so many puns on the title to use to describe how terrible it is. But that’s not the case at all.

This Is the End accomplishes the basic goal of being funny, yet has depth to it that the serious disaster movies could learn a thing or two from.

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‘Man of Steel’ flies higher than this franchise has ever soared

Superman (Henry Cavill) stands tall in 'Man of Steel'
Superman (Henry Cavill) stands tall in ‘Man of Steel’

The reboot of the Superman film franchise, Man of Steel hits the big screen with frenetic energy, astonishing visuals and some outstanding acting and writing.  After the disappointing Superman Returns in 2006, it was a real treat to see this film.  Written by David S. Goyer from a story he and the director of the Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan; came up with, we see the origins of the Man from Krypton and how he came to be on Earth.

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‘Rapture Palooza’ just may enrapture the audience

Anna Kendrick stars as "Lindsey Lewis" in 'Rapture-Palooza'
Anna Kendrick stars as “Lindsey Lewis” in ‘Rapture-Palooza’

[rating=3]Starring:  Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Thomas Lennon and Ana Gasteyer
Writer(s):  Chris Matheson
Director(s):  Paul Middleditch

Rapture Palooza from writer Chris Matheson (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and director Paul Middleditch (Separation City) is a lot like the old “Donny and Marie” TV variety show from the late 1970s.  The difference is that Donny and Marie were “a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll” and Rapture Palooza is a little bit Dogma, a little bit of Shaun of the Dead, with some stoner comic relief stirred in.

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‘The Hangover Part III’ ends franchise with a thud

Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms in 'The Hangover Part III'
Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms in ‘The Hangover Part III’

[rating=1]Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, John Goodman
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin

In retrospect I don’t feel I came down hard enough on The Hangover Part II, but I won’t make that mistake this time. The Hangover Part III does do a couple things that the previous film should have, but at this point it’s much too little and far too late.

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