Picking up an unspecified amount of time after the 2011 ending of the popular HBO series, Entourage will follow the continuing adventures of movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his bros as they navigate a Hollywood system that is forever threatening to not get Vinny’s picture made, then getting it made after Ari (Jeremy Piven) yells at someone. This time out, though, what Vinny really wants to do is direct, so newly minted studio owner Ari bankrolls the surely not doomed project—which promptly goes over budget. Someone’s gonna get yelled at for that. Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Entourage was written and directed by series creator Doug Ellin, making his return to feature filmmaking more than 15 years after giving the world the David Schwimmer vehicle Kissing A Fool. The TV series’ executive producer and patron saint Mark Wahlberg also returns behind the scenes, as well as in what we’re assuming will be a pretty sweet cameo. Entourage’s central bro-foursome are all back as well—yes, even Jerry Ferrara!—meaning the chances of this Entourage being remotely distinguishable from an extra-long episode of the TV series are slim.
No one’s seen the film yet, outside of the elite athletes and fallen pop idols who have been privy to Wahlberg and Ellin’s early screenings, so their word is all we have to go on. Golden State Warrior Harrison Barnes says it’s “hilarious,” his teammate Andrew Bogut says it has “great laughs,” and Justin Bieber has proclaimed, “Everyone go see it.” Well, who can argue with that? Oh, and in case anyone’s worried, yes, the film features some porn stars.
The Entourage TV series devolved into self-parody (and self-congratulation) over its eight seasons, but there’s a reason it became a hit: For a good chunk of its run, Entourage had some legitimately funny and biting things to say about Hollywood and the people who benefit from its eternal circle-jerk. If the Entourage movie can tap back into that original spirit—rather than buying into said circle-jerk, as it did in its later seasons—it could be a worthwhile summer diversion.
ANTICIPATION RATING: 1.8
Picture seven glum-looking critics standing in a group, glowering at an Entourage poster, while off to the side, a eighth critic stands beaming, wearing an Entourage hat, T-shirt, and novelty “Entourage is #1” foam finger, and clutching a box set of all eight seasons, signed by the entire cast. That’s pretty much what the votes looked like. Not counting the write-in vote for “a number lower than zero, such as negative-infinity,” which was discounted.
Insidious Chapter 3
Director James Wan and stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne have departed from this prequel to the Insidious horror series, but Lin Shaye gets an expanded role as psychic Elise Rainier, who uses her unique ability to contact the dead in order to help a father (Dermot Mulroney) dispel the supernatural evil that’s tormenting his teenage daughter (Stefanie Scott). In other words, “Chapter 3” is a big, long flashback.
The first two chapters in the Insidious series are both hugely effective old-school scare machines with good characterization and an expansive mythology that got a little too dense by the end of Chapter 2. But with Wan and his two stars gone, it’s up to Leigh Whannell, Wan’s screenwriting partner on his horror films since Saw, to lead the series forward in his directorial debut. Only warning sign: The last time Whannell continued a series without Wan, he wrote Saw II and Saw III, to vastly diminished returns.
Whannell seems confident enough to start planning for future sequels, and the trailer has been treated like a summer-movie event on par with blockbusters 10 times the size. As for the teaser itself, the decision to slow the action down and focus on a single haunting—and, for early-2000s nostalgists, the T-Mobile Sidekick—seems like a confident step. Then again, Deliver Us From Evil pulled the same move last summer, and it stunk.
How much of the Insidious-o-verse do we really need to see? That question lingered with the Paranormal Activity franchise—which was created by Insidious producer Oren Peli—and as this series takes on the weight of more “chapters” being added, it seems natural that the novelty of its haunted-house conceit will evaporate. Then again, Paranormal Activity 3 is the best one, so maybe it’ll peak here.
ANTICIPATION RATING: 4.3
Horror tends to be especially divisive among staff, and horror franchises even moreso, as those who haven’t been on board since the beginning are less likely to anticipate later entries in a series. Scores in this case ranged from 1.3 to 6.8, in a clear indicator of who’s been down with the insidiousness since film one.
The Heat established Melissa McCarthy as an unlikely action hero, and Spy once again finds her mixing it up with the bad guys, but this time from a much different vantage point. Where Heat cast her as a foul-mouthed super-cop, Spy has her playing a desk-jockey CIA analyst who’s pressed into action when top spies can’t find a missing nuclear bomb. Judging by the trailer and poster, the gig involves McCarthy dressing like Mrs. Doubtfire.
Feig and McCarthy first collaborated on Bridesmaids, which grossed half a billion dollars, in addition to scoring Oscar nominations for McCarthy (for Best Supporting Actress) and Wiig (for Best Original Screenplay). Before that, Feig created a popular choice for greatest television show of all time in Freaks And Geeks. So why does everything about this look so dodgy?
Spy has a rare 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews. At Variety, Justin Chang raved, “Melissa McCarthy gets the funniest, most versatile and sustained comic showcase of her movie career in this deliriously entertaining action-comedy.”
Is McCarthy suffering from overexposure? Tammy wasn’t exactly a smash, and McCarthy has proven divisive, although that’s to be expected of a large, unapologetic star with a big personality.
ANTICIPATION RATING: 5.9
All signs suggest this rating would be lower if advance reviews weren’t so bullish. But McCarthy has been looking for a comic role worthy of her considerable talents since Bridesmaids, and any hint that she’s actually found it is enough to make our exhausted ears prick back up.