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The Hangover Part III isn’t much of a comedy. It wants to be funny (I think) but there are stretches without even an attempt at a joke. It’s closer to a hallucinogenic drama, decorated occasionally with an bloom of laughter. There are wild moments, but compared to the first two movies this one pushes the needle towards a different form of “outrageous.” (The most conventionally extreme jokes come when a mid-credits stinger scene goes straight for what viewers of the second film jeered: a flat-out reprise of the scenario from the original film.)

The focus this time is Zach Galifianakis as the damaged, nearly deranged Alan. Entitled and abusive, Alan is domineering at home and ever more reckless in the wild. His grossly disastrous attempt to domesticate a giraffe leads to horror at home; soon his wolf pack “friends” from the previous two films unite to stage an intervention. The Hangover Part III doesn’t go very far with the intervention idea, because further trouble takes precedence. A gangster once robbed by Lesley Chow (Ken Jeong) coerces the guys into tracking Chow, and life goes off the rails once more.

Director Todd Phillips, who co-wrote with Craig Mazin, seems stuck halfway between two extremes. On one side there’s a super-dark movie about mental illness; on the other there’s an Id-indulging comedy. In a way that is almost perversely appropriate for a film series about hijacked plans, The Hangover Part III never gets close to either point.

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Half a decade after Zac Efron‘s last High School Musical outing, he’s still working on the challenging transition from Disney dreamboat to serious adult actor. And while he’s not quite there, he seems to be getting a little bit closer with every passing film. Neither The Lucky One nor The Paperboy were particularly well received, but they at least allowed Efron to try his hand at more mature material, and his supporting role in Liberal Arts earned some critical appreciation.

Perhaps Efron’s best shot yet at proving his chops comes from At Any Price, the latest drama by Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart director Ramin Bahrani. Reactions to the film were all over the place after its Telluride debut last year, but for what it’s worth, our own Peter Sciretta called it his favorite of the festival — better, even, than Argo. Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham, Maika Monroe, and Red West also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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On the long list of professions people are surely curious to learn more about, you’d have to think “pornography” is near the top of the list. The taboo explicit sex genre has been at been the focus of interesting movies of all tones: dramatic (Boogie Nights), comedic (Zack and Miri Make a Porno) or real life (Inside Deep Throat). A new addition to that list, Stephen Elliot‘s About Cherry, tries to give the industry a real-world dramatic view. Its been on the festival circuit for the majority of the year, is currently on demand, and opens in limited release this week.

Ashley Hinshaw plays a young girl who gets slowly seduced into the world of pornography and sees it change everything around her. A decidedly NSFW red band trailer is now on line featuring lots of nudity as well as supporting performances from James Franco, Heather Graham, Dev Patel and Lili Taylor. Check it out below. Read More »

Everyone’s talking sequels today. Well, not just sequels, but also prequels and relatively unlikely revivals. After the break,

  • Heather Graham is returning for the third Hangover,
  • Christopher Mintz-Plass talks Kick-Ass 2,
  • a new Amityville Horror prequel is in the works,
  • and Jean-Claude Van Damme has written Double Impact 2.

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The mantra that “sex sells” remains as true now as it ever did, but sometimes what sex is selling turns out not to be all that interesting. That appears to be the case with About Cherry, Stephen Elliott‘s flat-looking indie about a gorgeous 18-year-old who falls into the porn industry.

Ashley Hinshaw stars as said protagonist, who’s eager to escape a sad home life with an alcoholic mom (Lili Taylor) and an abusive stepdad (Stephen Wiig). She sees a way out when a rocker boyfriend (Jonny Weston) lures her into light porn, and before long she’s pursuing a more serious career under the guidance of star-turned-director Margaret (Heather Graham). Dev Patel and James Franco also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

Every once in a while porn comes back around to being a subject for mainstream cinema, and we’re edging towards that point again. Not quite ‘mainstream,’ perhaps, as both competing biopics about Linda Lovelace are indies, as is Cherry, which follows a young woman’s entry into the business.

Cherry premiered last week at the Berlin film festival to middling reviews. It stars Ashley Hinshaw (Chronicle) as a young woman who is slowly drawn into the skin trade, first by an enthusiastic boyfriend (Jonny Weston), then by an older lawyer (James Franco). The film also stars Heather Graham, Dev Patel and Lili Taylor, and is written by porn veteran Lorelei Lee. We don’t have any distribution info on Cherry at this point, but you can check out a trailer below. Read More »

The cast of Christopher McQuarrie‘s One Shot has been filling up at lightning speed over the past month. Robert Duvall, Alexia Fast, Richard Jenkins, and David Oyelowo have all boarded the project within the last few weeks, and now comes news that Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Jai Courtney has signed on as well. Based on the novel by Lee Child, the story follows military cop turned drifter Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) as he investigates a string of sniper shootings. Rosamund Pike is also set to star, as a detective who works with Jack to solve the case.

Courtney will be playing one of the bad guys, a highly trained sniper who tries to keep Reacher from finding out the truth. One Shot is scheduled for a February 8, 2013 release. [Cinema Blend]

After the jump, Hugh Jackman thinks that he might want to do Glee, and Highlander actor Clancy Brown gets competitive with Dennis Quaid.

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Professional tough guys Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames, along with Luke Goss and Rebecca Da Costa, are set to star in the indie thriller Seven Below. Written by Kevin Carraway and Lawrence Smith and directed by Carraway, the film centers around:

…a group of strangers brought together when a terrible storm leaves them stranded in a house in the woods where a terrible event transpired exactly 100 years prior. The group seems trapped in a ghostly time warp, and history is repeating itself.”

I haven’t seen much by either Carraway or Smith, so I have no idea how the film will actually play out. But the concept, at least, sounds solid. Production for Seven Below is set to begin in Cincinnati next month. [Collider]

After the jump, new additions to What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Cherry.

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