Inspiring ‘heaven is for real’ avoids heavy-handedness

July 10, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I expressed some serious disappointment over a Christian-themed film, “God’s Not Dead.” I thought it was a heavy-handed mess that stood on the shoulders of mean and nasty atheists in hopes of elevating its cause. It felt very negative.

‘Non-Stop’ a little on the unbelievable side ... but who cares? It’s Liam Neeson

June 12, 2014

Admittedly, Liam Neeson is making a comfortable living these days snarling at potential suspects, breaking a few heads and pointing a gun at almost everybody — and for some reason, we can’t get enough.

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ lewd, crude and hilarious

April 17, 2014


If I warned you that Martin Scorsese does for violence in “Good Fellas” what he does for sex and drugs in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” would you be catching my drift?

It’s a pretty big drift, so give it some thought.

If for some reason that sounds all fuzzy, here’s the bottom line — there’s a ton of sex, language and drugs in this movie!

You’ve been forewarned.

For you adventurous few, here’s what else there is.

‘Anchorman 2’ dumb, but pretty darn funny

April 10, 2014


Expectations have been running high for Mr. Burgundy and his crew. And I believe they have been met or slightly exceeded.

So, yay, News Team!

After the last movie, Ron and Ms. Corningstone made the leap to New York City as local news team partners, but Ron (Will Ferrell) is devastated when his lovely Veronica (Christina Applegate) is promoted to the solo chair and he’s sent packing back to San Diego.

Could ‘Frozen’ be the next Disney classic? Wait and see

April 3, 2014


Disney makes a ton of money converting its movies into Broadway musicals. So, it’s no surprise that those movies feel like Broadway musicals right out of the gate.

“Frozen” is the latest example of cross-pollinating media from screen to stage as it features dueling, singing sisters who sound like they were left off the “Wicked” soundtrack.

Second ‘Hobbit’ movie a barrelful of action

March 27, 2014


I feel like I should start this review with “Previously on ‘The Hobbit’ …” since we’re picking up where Peter Jackson decided to leave us last year.

The action begins almost immediately with Bilbo (Martin Freeman) scurrying across the landscape with his dwarf pals about as quickly as their furry little feet can carry them, with those lovely orc dudes in hot pursuit (btw, they need a better dental plan). Gross!

Gandalf (Ian McKellen) knows a guy nearby who can protect them (notice how he always “knows a guy.” He’s like a Middle Earth mobster).

Strong cast pulls off con jobs, intrigues in ‘American Hustle’

March 20, 2014


If there were ever an awards category for best ensemble hair performance — this would win comb over, hands down.

In fact, the first five minutes or so feature an overweight Christian Bale (he put on 40 pounds) trying to glue a bird’s nest to his bald spot and pulling over his black-dyed ring of hair remnants to give himself a less embarrassing look. Doesn’t work. He’s not fooling anyone. But it does give us a glimpse inside the mind of a shrewd con man who BELIEVES he can pull it off.

‘Catching Fire’ even better than first ‘Hunger Games’

March 6, 2014


I know I’m not the target audience for young adult fantasy adventures like “The Twilight Saga” or “Harry Potter and the Magical Whatever,” but this second installment of “The Hunger Games” franchise is about as good as they get.

It’s edgier, grittier, more expressive and more entertaining than the first “Hunger Games,” which means not only will its devoted fans go in busloads repeatedly, but will leave behind truckloads of movie cash that will rival the year’s biggest box office successes.

In short, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a surefire hit.

Second ‘Cloudy’ movie one of those rare sequels that’s equal to its original

February 27, 2014


It’s never easy to follow up a surprise hit with an equally agreeable sequel, but Sony Pictures Animation has done just that.

No one expected the first “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” to amount to much. I guess $243 million in worldwide grosses suggests otherwise.

So now they’re back with “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” with most of the same voice cast intact and a slightly smaller budget ($78 million as opposed to $100 million) — and they’ve created an equally fun and entertaining adventure that I believe is sure to please.

Review: Tom Cruise may win back a few fans with ‘Jack Reacher’

April 4, 2013

The character Jack Reacher, from the acclaimed novel series, is supposed to be 6-foot-5-inches tall and weigh somewhere around 220 to 250.

Seems like an odd thing to bring up, until you realize they chose (tiny) Tom Cruise to play the part in the film.

The author of the books, Jim Grant (who writes under the pen name Lee Child), was reported saying, “With another actor you might get 100 percent of the height but only 90 percent of Reacher. With Tom, you’ll get 100 percent of Reacher with 90 percent of the height” (rounding up a bit).

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