The Wolf of Wall Street

One of summer's most unexpected films: 'Hangover' director Todd Phillips gets dark with 'War Dogs'

On movie screens in recent years, director Todd Phillips has had Will Ferrell starting a fraternity, offered up Huggy Bear as a key crime-solving tool and relied on Zach Galifianakis to track down missing persons (twice).

The profiteering nature of modern warfare has — thus far — not been a central concern.

Yet in one of the summer's most unexpected filmmaker-story pairings, Phillips arrives with "War Dogs," a category-defying look at the 2000s-era underworld of U.S. gun-running. To say that the fact-based movie marks a shift for Phillips — the raunch-auteur who for much of the last decade has been working on the "Hangover" franchise...