Friday, July 25, 2014
     

Movie Review

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer and blockbusters go hand in popcorn at the movies.

The watershed year for the summer blockbuster marketing mentality of the major Hollywood movie studios was 1975 with the release of director Steven Spielberg's "Jaws," which ushered in the summer blockbuster genre of big-budget, fast-paced, thrilling entertainment.

During the summer and Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year's holiday season, there's "counterprogramming," whereby "indie" (independently-released) films are released, sometimes to critical and box office success.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Despicable Me 2" has nearly all the things you would want to see and hear in an animated feature family comedy.

It has distinctive and charmingly-rendered characters, voice talent that is very expressive, an interesting and entertaining storyline, an overall attention to detail and, most importantly, a sense of fun.

"Despicable Me 2" ("DM2") is co-directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.

Renaud is a Parkland High School, Class of '85, graduate who attended the Baum School of Art where he received a $1,000 scholarship.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In the western genre of motion pictures, "The Lone Ranger" ranks right up there with the more unusual.

While not as odd as "Cowboys & Aliens" (2011), it's not in the classic style of director Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" (1992), "3:10 to Yuma" (the 2007 version and 1957 original) or director John Ford's "The Searchers" (1956), starring John Wayne.

However, "The Lone Ranger," despite the reviling reactions of many movie critics, has a lot to recommend it.

It is one of the wildest of movies about the Wild West as you're likely to see.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The best things about "Monsters University" occur before and after the animated feature film.

"The Blue Umbrella," a film short preceding "MU," is many of the things that "MU" is not. "Blue Umbrella" is imaginatively to the point, original and thoroughly entertaining.

After the credits conclude for "MU," there is a scene about a snail character, introduced early in the film as he makes his way slowly to class. The outcome of his progress is in the post-credits scene, which is also many of the things that "MU" is not. The scene is very funny, clever and efficient.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us and it's called "World War Z."

That's "Z" as in zombie.

And the only person standing between us and the end of the world as we know it is Brad Pitt, who portrays a former United Nations official called back into service and tasked to find the antidote to a zombie pandemic.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Man of Steel" is the latest makeover in the 75-year history of the ever-evolving Superman.

"Man of Steel," seen in the 3D Imax format for this review, is super in every way imaginable: super computer-generated special effects, super action, super chest-pounding loud and super long.

Yes, "Man of Steel" is super-sized.

Getting format choices out of the way first and it's a certainly a choice, as you can see "Man of Steel" in 2D, 3D, Imax and 3D Imax I think it's unnecessary to see the movie in 3D Imax, but Michael "Movie Maven" Gontkosky begs to differ.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Shadow Dancer" is on its most basic level a rehash of the classic Irish conundrum: how to deal with informers. Victor McLaglen, the big, bluff brawler whom Hollywood hired whenever they needed a stereotypical Irishman, cast the mold in John Ford's 1935 classic, "The Informer." Director David Lean - he of "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago" fame - weighed in with "Ryan's Daughter" in 1970. Sarah Miles plays Rosy Ryan, the bored wife of aging Robert Mitchum.

Friday, June 21, 2013

That's not unusual because the films of "Frances Ha" director Noah Baumbach are noted for his skewed takes and skewering of this American life, including "Kicking and Screaming" (1995), "Mr Jealousy" (1997), "The Squid and the Whale" (2005), "Margo at The Wedding" (2007) and "Greenberg" (2010).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

There's not a lot of magic in "Now You See Me," even though the film's milieu is prestidigitation.

There are digital special effects aplenty the kind of cinematic magic we expect in sci-fi, fantasy and action films.

The special effects cannot distract from a weak screenplay with half-baked plot and lack of character development.

"Now You See Me" inadvertently proves a motto said in the film by one of the magicians: "The closer you look, the less you see."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The animated family feature movie, "Epic," is beautiful, especially in the 3D format in which it was seen for this review.

Unfortunately, "Epic" lacks a cohesive storyline, the clever dialogue we've grown accustomed to in animated features and memorable animated characters.

That's not good. The art form is, after all, about character animation.

Moreover, the concept for "Epic" is ill-conceived.