It's the final weekend of April and you know what that means... summer movies arrive next week! But, this weekend is not a waste of movie madness by any means.
Michael Bay lands in theaters again with the surprising Pain and Gain, Robert De Niro does comedy in the ensemble The Big Wedding, Colin Firth and Emily Blunt try out American accents in Arthur Newman and Dennis Quaid protects his family At Any Price. Mira Nair also brings a new film this weekend, the super timely and powerful The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Matthew McConaughey turns in his best performance to date in Mud.
Pain and Gain: Bay directs the incredible true story about a trio of bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) who go on a crime spree in South Floriday in the late 1990's. The film is a true surprise in that it is a Bay film that is equally explosive as it is a character study. As we state in our Pain and Gain review, the biggest shock of all is Johnson's nuanced performance as a man conflicted between his belief in God and the demands of his reality.
The Big Wedding: De Niro is simply the tip of the all-star cast iceberg in this romantic comedy that stars Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Topher Grace, Ben Barnes and Amanda Seyfried. The story finds two families getting ready to merge as Barnes and Seyfried celebrate their wedding. The laughs are few and far between and as we report in our The Big Wedding review, it is more miss than hit.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Keifer Sutherland lead the cast in director Nair's latest story that finds her yet again putting up a mirror to our society as a whole. This time out she follows the journey of a man from Pakistan (Riz Ahmed) who goes from a person who absolutely adores America to someone who faces its ire after the 9/11 attacks. Check out our The Reluctant Fundamentalist review for more on this timely and powerful film.
At Any Price: Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron portray father and son and their chemistry as such is intense. But, this story of a farmer (Quaid) trying to hang onto the family farm that neither of his sons want to take over falters over the course of its two hours. Our At Any Price review finds that what could be a quite timely film about the state of the American farm, gets muddled in several different plot points that takes us in too many directions.
Arthur Newman: Firth and Blunt do the American accent thing in a tale of two souls who take on new identities and hit the road. The film features explosive sparks between the two leads, but misses the mark in trying to tell a tale about two people who are lost and what they need to get found. Our Arthur Newman review says also that for Firth fans, this is a must-see... and for everyone else, it's a wait until home video.
Mud: McConaughey is the title character who escapes jail in order to reunite with the love of his life, played by Reese Witherspoon. The film is another powerful tale told by filmmaker Andrew Nichols (Take Shelter). As our Mud review states, although this is McConaughey's film as the title character, the one who steals scenes and makes a global announcement of his talent is young thespian Tye Sheridan (who stole scenes from Brad Pitt in Tree of Life).