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Finding Dory can’t hunt down the magic of Nemo

June 22, 2016
Finding Dory can’t hunt down the magic of Nemo

It looks like all you need to succeed in multiplexes these days is to find lovable characters from an earlier success and rejigger that original a bit.
It’s happened again with Finding Dory.

About the film
Just like Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Movie Man No. 1181, 8) is mainly a retread of the original 1977 Star Wars, so, too, is Finding Dory a repeat of Finding Nemo (2003, MM #510, 9, Best of Year).
With many moviegoers complaining that there’s nothing new at theaters anymore, such retread efforts seem to back that up.
Finding Nemo is the greatest animated movie ever made.… Read the rest

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Magic movie goes down the rabbit hole again

June 15, 2016
Magic movie goes down the rabbit hole again

(To begin: Last week’s rating for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was incorrect; it should’ve been a 4 not a 6 – an editorial boo-boo.)
Now: The original Now You See Me was that rare movie that was much better than expected.
Magic movies can be fun even if they can cheat with the tricks.
Through the years, there have been some really good magic movies – and some bad ones.

About the film
A really bad one was a movie that seemed poised to be a hit. After all, it starred Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell when both were pretty hot.… Read the rest

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Turtle power lacking in second TMNT movie

June 8, 2016
Turtle power lacking in second TMNT movie

 

Every generation has its beloved childhood icons and for lots of folks under 40 – it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


Whether it’s Dick Tracy or Flash Gordon or Howdy Doody or the Lone Ranger or The Munsters or Luke Skywalker or Care Bears or mutant turtles, kids through the decades latched onto a pop culture fad that still brings them nostalgic joy as adults.
The Movie Man came along too late for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
From humble beginnings in late 1983 – a sketch made a friend laugh and things really took off from there – soon kids in the 1980s and 1990s would become more than familiar with the quartet of mutated reptiles.… Read the rest

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New mutants vs. old: X-Men vs. Apocalypse

June 1, 2016
New mutants vs. old: X-Men vs. Apocalypse

Nothing sets off fanboys more than someone messing with their beloved comics. And X-nerds especially can be peeved about someone messing with the mystique of their books.

About the film
While fanboys really hate a couple of the seven (eight?) X-Men movies, the Movie Man is not so convinced. While more than familiar with the X-Men comics – he once owned very early copies, like single digit copies! – he is never a stickler for specific interpretations from any literary sources.
The first movie arrived in 2000, X-Men (Movie Man No. 349, 8), and it was a hit all the way around – with critics and the public.… Read the rest

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Angry Birds app-solutely delivers laughs

May 25, 2016
Angry Birds app-solutely delivers laughs

Not many computer/video games have had success going to the big screen.
Now, it’s game apps that might be the next way; one just arrived in theaters.

About the film
While the success of The Angry Birds Movie might spawn more films based on apps – it knocked Captain America: Civil War (Movie Man No. 1,201, 7) off the top spot – it’s computer/video game adaptations that continue to be produced.
Two biggies come this year; the upcoming Warcraft (June 10) is highly anticipated by many, especially younger audiences, and so is Assassin’s Creed (Dec. 21).
Like comic book movies, a slew of computer/video games films are lined up for years to come.… Read the rest

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Big name stars can’t save middlin’ Monster

May 18, 2016
Big name stars can’t save middlin’ Monster

Pairing big stars for a movie used to be exciting.
It could also be a gauge for where the stars stood publicly – and sometimes, in those pre-social media days, the news wasn’t good.
Certainly, if it was 1940, George Clooney and Julia Roberts might be a tad worried where their careers are heading.

About the film
Actually, there are three major names in Money Monster: Clooney, Roberts, and Jodie Foster. Without question, they have all made some good movies and have left their mark on U.S. cinematic history – even if their careers might be waning.
Let’s play the Good, Bad, and Ugly game with their filmographies.… Read the rest

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Cap’s battle royale is really Avengers III

May 11, 2016
Cap’s battle royale is really Avengers III

The Movie Man went out of his way to avoid finding out too much about Captain America: Civil War.
These days, of course, it’s hard to do – he could not help but discover that Spider-Man shows up and that a few newcomers and some old Avengers end up being on different sides of an issue.
But, overall, he avoided a lot and that paid off in the auditorium.

About the film
One thing the Movie Man heard often was how fantastic the airport fight was.
Going in knowing too much about a movie can be a bummer because you focus on waiting for specific scenes instead of the actual movie.… Read the rest

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Sing along on this trip down movie music lane

May 4, 2016
Sing along on this trip down movie music lane

This is Movie Man No. 1,200, and he promised something different.
Back in May 2009, he detailed the history of music on  soundtracks and its popularity on radio in an essay that ran in a Fine Arts Special in the paper.
You might have missed it; if you did, some of that is found below.

The old days
In the early days of cinema, sound was understandably a big deal. In fact, the first “real” talkie, The Jazz Singer (1927) was mainly songs not dialogue.
Marlene Dietrich became an international star when she sang in The Blue Angel in 1930.
Musicals got popular quickly with songs highlighted in movies like Golddiggers of 1933.… Read the rest

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Killer queens await the Huntsman this time

April 27, 2016
Killer queens await the Huntsman this time

The problem with some movies that continue a story is that their predecessors are not always easily recallable.
And sometimes you have to wonder why there’s another movie at all.

About the film
Waiting a year between movies can make follow-ups suffer.
Certainly, the 1977/1980/1983 Star Wars had no problems nor did the Lord of the Rings trilogy of 2001/2002/2003.
But lately, some series are hurting.
While the Hunger Games did just fine (and, sigh, Twilight, too), other Young Adult adaptations are struggling.
Most recently, it happened to the Allegiant books.
After Divergent and Insurgent, the third movie just released – Allegiant – performed much more poorly.… Read the rest

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New Jungle Book: Shere-ly the best version yet

April 20, 2016
New Jungle Book: Shere-ly the best version yet

Disney is ingenious when it comes to making money.
From TV shows to theme parks to movies both live action and animated, the conglomerate continues to find ways to rake in the cash.
In the last few years, the Mouse House struck on yet another method to stuff its piggy bank.

About the film
Someone some time back suggested remaking classic Disney animated movies – or taking familiar characters – and reimagining them with live-action. Or a combination of computer generation and live-action – either way, the film would seem new.
The ploy has worked big time. When a movie makes half a billion dollars worldwide, it garners attention.… Read the rest

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