‘New’ ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ rehashes old plot lines

August 14, 2014


Standard-Examiner movie critic

Wow! I certainly enjoyed how this Spider-Man begins! He’s gleefully leaping, swinging and somersaulting in mid air, like he’s just landed a gig with Cirque de Soleil — all while corralling bad guys, saving citizens and cracking wise.

Disney misses a step with ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

August 7, 2014

As excited as I was to tell moviegoers about 2011’s “The Muppets,” I must admit, this sequel to that extraordinary reboot feels more or less ordinary.

‘The Other Woman’ goes way too far

July 31, 2014

A twist on the jilted wife scenario seemed like a fun idea, but like cracks in a sidewalk, it soon became apparent that something was wrong. But rather than finding a quick exit and accept minimal damage, the filmmakers kept going, searching for something, and short of the Hindenburg disaster, they found it, but oh, the humanity!

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.

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