Fast & Furious 6

2013review_action

I’ve always been far more partial to action accomplished via choreography than with CGI shenanigans. There’s a place for both, obviously, but I’m more impressed by the agile movement of bodies than I am by the placement of pixels. Unfortunately, fight scenes unassisted by CGI or wire-work are becoming a bit of a rarity these days. That said, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with action scenes, big or small, that are created with the aid of technology or that eschew fisticuffs all together for exciting gunplay or vehicular hijinks. This year’s best action films are a mix of all of the above and include both domestic and international movies. What’s not included? Movies featuring superheroes. It wasn’t an intentional slight, believe me, but when it came time to rank which films offered up the most legitimately exciting and visceral thrills the thirteen below beat out the likes of Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and others. Remember, this isn’t a ranking of movies but of the action in the movies, meaning while these aren’t all necessarily great films they do represent the best action to have hit screens this year. To that end, keep reading for a look at our choices for the Best Action Movies of 2013.

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2013.moviedoppelgangers

Every year, there seem to be unintended themes emerging from movie releases. It’s almost as if the studios called each other to coordinate projects like friends in high school planning to wear matching outfits on a Friday. Sometimes this effect is unintentional, like when an emerging movie star manages to have multiple films comes out the same year (see Melissa McCarthy below); other times, it’s a result of executives switching studios and developing similar projects (like the infamous Disney and DreamWorks 1998 double-header grudge match of A Bug’s Life vs. Antz and Armageddon vs. Deep Impact). This year is no different, producing a slew of movie doppelgangers. For the sake of creativity, I left the painfully obvious off. Still, who can forget offerings like Olympus Has Fallen up against White House Down as well as This Is the End paired with The World’s End? And, if you really hate yourself, you can watch a terrible trippleganger of A Haunted House, Scary Movie 5 and 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Whether it’s similar themes, the same actor in noticeably similar roles, or parallel stand-out moments in two films, this list of 13 movie pairings can provide a nice selection of companion pieces for your viewing pleasure.

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furious6-commentary1

After fourteen years, the Fast & Furious franchise has gone through quite a few changes. The first three films struggled with changing casts and somewhat unconnected storylines. However, after Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, director Justin Lin took the series in a very different direction. He brought back the original cast, then morphed the series from some street racing flicks to a bona fide action franchise complete with international villains and bigger-than-life action sequences. This second trilogy (!) in the series culminates with Fast & Furious 6, which was one of the highest grossing movies of 2013. Lin lends his voice to the commentary track on the film, which was recorded before the tragic death of Paul Walker. Similarly, the DVD and Blu-ray of the film were produced before this event, making a lot of the matter-of-fact comments in the film, the bonus features and the commentary naturally bittersweet. Still, there’s a lot to be learned from Lin’s commentary, which serves as a look back not only at the film, but the franchise as a whole with a great emphasis on the dynamic of those involved behind the scenes.

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ff6truth_5

Whether you get into the Fast & Furious franchise or not, there is no denying its massive popularity and ability to rule at the box office. A lot of the success of the franchise has come from the fact that in the past three movies, it has moved from a street racing series to basically a mix of muscle-car James Bond with the Oceans Eleven films hopped up on NoS. This past summer, Fast & Furious 6 went head-to-head in the summer box office with some of the biggest names in blockbusters, including Iron Man, Superman, and Gru’s Minions. While there’s no comparing the characters in Fast & Furious 6 with the Minions (although Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson try their hardest to be that charming), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) gave Superman a run for his money. Not only did Fast & Furious 6 best Man of Steel’s international box office, Dom performed his own Superman-like stunt to save his amnesiac lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) from certain death. This got me thinking: Is Dominic Toretto actually Superman?

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discs death house

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Silent Night, Bloody Night Jeffrey Butler has arrived in the small town his family called home to check out the house he’s inherited, but someone else has gotten there first! That someone is Butler’s lawyer, who’s arrived to finalize a deal and maybe squeeze in some infidelity with his sexy squeeze in an upstairs bedroom, but his coitus is interrupted by the discovery that someone else has gotten there first! That someone has an ax. This low budget slasher premiered in the early ’70s, and while CodeRed apparently released a restored version as a double feature a couple months ago this new DVD from Film Chest is my first glimpse of the movie. It suffers from low budget woes, some serious ones at times, but if you can get past them you’ll find a fresh little tale that offers some genuinely creepy scenes alongside an interesting script. Again, it’s cheap as hell, but there’s a lot to love here for horror fans. [DVD extras: None]

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Sound City Movie

July marks the middle of summer, but it also marks the half way point of each year which means half the movies you were looking forward to seeing this year have already hit theater screens! With so many major studio releases out each weekend (plus a healthy offering of indie fare) it can be overwhelming to try and remember what you’ve seen, what you wanted to see, and any unexpected titles that may have caught your eye, but you never got a chance to actually sit down and check out. At the beginning of the year we posted a list of the 52 Most Anticipated Movies to come out in 2013 and with half the year already gone, it seemed like a good time to look back on the films that have already come out and highlight those with fantastic music you might have missed. Summer is the perfect time to play catch up on entertainment with most television shows on hiatus and long summer nights to fill so if you are looking for a list of movies from this year that featured noteworthy tunes, you have come to the right place. Some of these films are still out in theaters, some are already available on DVD, and some may need to be added to your Netflix queue to ensure you don’t miss them a second time, but all ten of these soundtracks should have you humming along well into December.

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Fast & Furious 6 Airplane Sequence

The most impressive thing about this new Fast & Furious 6 behind the scenes featurette: the lengths to which director Justin Lin and his VFX team go to make as much of the film’s ridiculous final action piece a practical affair. Watching it on the big screen, it’s hard not to assume that most of that carnage was created on a computer, despite the franchise’s long-standing commitment to real cars, real speed and real destruction for 5 consecutive films. Little did we know that a great deal of that huge exploding plane at the end was built by the crew, as you’ll see in this brief but illuminating featurette.

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Lucas Vidal

What is a car race without music? A bunch of gears shifting and tires screeching, and while NASCAR may prove that can certainly be entertaining, when you are watching a race on the big screen, you need the additional adrenaline only driving music can provide. Just like you naturally hit the gas a little harder when a good song comes on the radio, the action on screen is elevated when you pair it with music that makes you want to jump in your own car and hit that NOS button. The Fast and Furious franchise is known for its rap and rock tracks (and having its race crew populated with some of the artists behind these songs – shout out to you, Luda), but the score in these films is almost an unsung hero, keeping up the pulse in every scene whether our favorite characters are in, or out, of their cars. The latest entry in the franchise, Fast & Furious 6 , brings a new composer into the mix, Spanish-born Lucas Vidal, who has created a score that is just as engaging and pulse-pounding as the songs provided by the more well-known artists. Vidal is a young composer on the rise, and he takes the reins from Fast composer Brian Tyler here, but does so by paying homage to the music and themes Tyler created while still bringing his own style to the music. I spoke with Vidal about how he got involved with the franchise, his process of combining the past with the present, and what it was […]

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Captain America 2

We begin this evening’s Movie News After Dark shenanigans with Captain America stepping into the world of S.H.I.E.L.D for his tour in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It continues with plenty of movie chat, including great baseball flicks, Scary Movie 2, walking out of the theater and Vin Diesel driving a radio-controlled car. Or as we call it around here, just another Tuesday night.

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Fast and Furious 6

When the first poster for the upcoming Fast & Furious 6 was released last month, it somehow escaped our notice that said poster, which only featured star Vin Diesel, a sweet ride, and the pitch perfect tagline “all roads lead to this,” may actually be just one in a series of character posters. After all, what did it tell us about Diesel’s Dominic Toretto beyond his love for white tees, bald pates, and ass-kicking rides? Oh. Wait. Well, I guess that does sort of cover it, actually. With the release of a similar poster, featuring Paul Walker, his own sweet ride, same tagline, and some totally hip slacker posture, it’s safe to assume – one’s just a poster, two is a trend, and this is the beginning of a new set of character posters for Fast & Furious 6. Clear your wallspace now (what, you thought we meant computer wallpaper?), ready your best photo paper (is that still a thing?), and hit the jump to check out the Vin Diesel poster, too. Now let’s get to some swift-moving home improvement.

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Honestly, we’re not entirely sure just when it became okay to adore the Fast and Furious franchise – was it when The Rock and his beautiful, glistening head joined the series? when the term “Tokyo drift” entered the cultural lexicon? when the latest film, Fast & Furious 6, all but lit this year’s Super Bowl on fire with a TV spot that included a crashing plane basically vomiting a car? Tyrese? – but we don’t care, because we love this crazy goddamn cinematic wonder, and you should, too. Proof of that? The newest (long-form) trailer from the summer release, which sees the crew heading to Europe for whocaresgiveusmorecarplaneadventures, along with a hefty batch of new stills from the film, all the better for you to write your fan fiction from. Ride or die (or just hit that break)

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Iron Man Extended Look

For many of us, the Super Bowl isn’t about the game so much as the party and the food and the commercials, especially the movie previews. As usual, this year gave us a mix of ads for films opening fairly soon and blockbusters arriving this summer. And as usual, some studios spent their dollars wisely while others didn’t, so there was also a mix of good and bad that will lead the buzz on these titles for at least the next couple days. After the jump we’ve listed all the movies advertised during Super Bowl  XLVII and categorized each as one of the winner or one of the losers of this annual Hollywood marketing game. 

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