May 23--This week's Top 5 is a movie extravaganza with three major-studio releases and the premiere of "Skip Distance," a short film created by Missouri Western students. (You can almost smell that buttered popcorn, can't you?)
In theaters: "The Hangover" films have been one of the most popular comedy franchises in movie history (and certainly the most profitable; the first two films grossed more than $541 million at the box office in the U.S.), but the trilogy comes to an end when "The Hangover: Part III" opens today (May 23) in theaters. In this third installment, the "wolfpack" decides to take Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to get treated for his mental issues after his father's death. But on the way to the hospital, the group is assaulted and Doug (Justin Bartha) is kidnapped. Now they must find Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) in order to surrender him to the gangster to save Doug.
More in theaters: On this busy Memorial Day weekend at the movies, box-office prognosticators predict "Fast & Furious 6" will emerge as the champ. The latest turbo-charged sequel catches up with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) after their Rio heist, which toppled a kingpin's empire and left their crew with $100 million. The only problem is that living on the lam has left them feeling incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking an organization of skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries. The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London for the price of full pardons.
Even more in theaters: The new "Hangover" and "Fast & Furious" movies don't exactly scream "family entertainment," but the third movie coming to theaters this weekend does. "Epic" is the latest release from 20th Century Fox Animation, the same studio that gave audiences "Rio" and the "Ice Age" films. In the movie, a teenager (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group of characters in order to save their world -- and ours. Josh Hutcherson, Aziz Ansari, Colin Farrell and Beyonce Knowles also provide voices in the film.
Even even more in theaters: If you want to get a head start to a busy weekend at the movies, check out an excellent film made by Missouri Western students at the Plaza 8 Theaters tonight (May 23). "Skip Distance," a suspenseful drama written and directed by Josh Comninellis, will make its premiere at 7 p.m. The film follows James, a teenager who goes to a local diner with his stepfather hours after his mother's funeral. All James knows of his birth father is a deep-seated hatred for the man who left his pregnant mother behind. But before he has a chance to skip town, a voice comes on the radio -- a voice that will challenge his view of the past and his plans for the future.
Music at Magoon's: If you'd rather hear some tunes than watch a movie, head down to Magoon's on Saturday. Mushroom Fest will feature six local music acts throughout the day, including the garage rock of Scruffy and the Janitors, the up-tempo punk of Jerkface, the get-down bluegrass of Whiskey for the Lady, the country-blues mix of Sean Cleary and Tracy Huffman, the outlaw rock of Missouri Homegrown and the eclectic jams of Jacob and Animal.
Shea Conner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedotcom.
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