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Latest Disney remake kid-friendly but dull

August 17, 2016
Latest Disney remake kid-friendly but dull

This is Movie Man No. 1,215 (you’re welcome).
Sometimes he’s seen some terrific movies.
Some are disappointments.
Some are surprises.
And some are like Pete’s Dragon – immediately forgotten as he exits the theater.

About the film
Everybody has a touchstone childhood movie.
Often, they are Disney animated movies and that’s the case with some that are even off the usual beloved list, classics like Bambi (1942), Fantasia (1940), or The Lion King (1994, Movie Man No. 31, 8).
Those second tier Disney movies can be really good – like The Emperor’s New Groove (2000).
And for some of a certain age – now adults – there’s Pete’s Dragon which is actually an animation/live-action combination.… Read the rest

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DC still trying to mimic the Marvel model

August 10, 2016
DC still trying to mimic the Marvel model

You gotta give it to DC Comics – they keep plugging along.
Marvel remains the cinematic superhero gold standard and DC has adopted Marvel’s approach by mapping out a series of interlocking movies for years to come. But DC still remains the junior varsity.

About the film
Certainly, moviegoers keep giving DC chances.
The Batman movies were big (but keep reading – they set a troubling trend for DC) and who doesn’t like Superman as a character?
The two most recent DC films both opened huge, despite weak critical reception.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Movie Man No. 1,195, 7 [the Movie Man liked it much better than many]) opened huge at $166 million.… Read the rest

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Damon returns as mystery spy Jason Bourne

August 3, 2016
Damon returns as mystery spy Jason Bourne

The original filmmakers and Jason Bourne are back after a one movie hiatus.
This release brings the series to five movies – that’s quite a few.
There are 13 novels – three by originator Robert Ludlum and 10 by Van Lustbader.
So, look for a few more films in the future; the question is, how long can Matt Damon stay in shape?

About the film
The first movie was The Bourne Identity (2002).
The Movie Man passed on it when it was originally released, checking out instead Scooby Doo (Movie Man No. 461, 5 – in the Movie Man’s defense, he was on vacation in Hawaii and just watched the film that best fit his time frame that day).… Read the rest

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Star Trek 13 one of the lesser entries of series

July 27, 2016
Star Trek 13 one of the lesser entries of series

Well, heck.
The Movie Man had high hopes for the latest installment of the rebooted Star Trek movie series.
Sadly, it’s not super; but there’s hope since a fourth film is already in the works.

About the film
While Star Wars has been hogging all the press in recent years, Star Trek should be getting its fair share.
After all, it’s the TV series’ 50th anniversary and a new televised series is on the way from CBS next January.
The Movie Man is well versed in the Star Trek universe; he’s no Trekker (fanboys hate “Trekkie”), but he’s seen everything.
Here’s the history of the movie series:
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) – lots of fans don’t like this version but it’s one of the Movie Man’s favorites.… Read the rest

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Some movies should never be remade. Period.

July 20, 2016
Some movies should never be remade. Period.

Some movies are childhood touchstones for folks and they think they should never be remade.
 
About the film.
Long before the Ghostbusters reboot reached theaters, fanboys were up in arms against it. An all female cast? Pshaw!
And, of course, internet trolls posting immediately after its release tore to pieces.
Remaking the 1984 Ghostbusters was a horrific idea to kids who were 10 when they saw it then and are 42 now.
That made as much sense as making a new Gone with the Wind or Citizen Kane or 2001: A Space Odyssey – some films are perfect and shouldn’t be messed with.… Read the rest

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The Secret Life of Pets fetches bags of money

July 13, 2016
The Secret Life of Pets fetches bags of money

The rage lately in animation has been in sequels.
Once a movie hits big, studios immediately think about cashing in on its success.
And plenty of audiences are happy to queue back up to see those characters/situations again.
But, eventually, new movies must be made to perpetuate the sequels.
And the newest to arrive, The Secret Life of Pets, is being met with great success.

About the film
The Movie Man has been educating ya’ll for decades and he’s seen a zillion previews.
But he can’t recall a coming attraction that ran more often for months in advance than The Secret Life of Pets.Read the rest

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Fee, fi, fo, yawn: BFG cool to view but hollow

July 6, 2016
Fee, fi, fo, yawn: BFG cool to view but hollow

Arguments are made about who is America’s greatest director. But when it comes to pleasing across the spectrum – mass entertainments to near-art classics – we can’t beat Steven Spielberg.

About the film
There’s always a batch of high-brow folks who believe that if a movie is a success, it must not be very good – after all, how can the dirty masses appreciate true art?
Well, those snobs are wrong.
Spielberg has delivered great movies in every possible manner, and, while he might be waning somewhat these days, he’s still our best.
He directed a movie that at one time was the biggest domestic moneymaker of all-time, Jaws (1975).… Read the rest

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Aliens lose and so do audiences in sci-fi sequel

June 29, 2016
Aliens lose and so do audiences in sci-fi sequel

Independence Day: Resurgence is one of those movies where the trailer was superior, by far, to the movie.

About the film
The Movie Man was impressed with the coming attraction for ID:R – especially when seen in 3-D.
There was a scene of a zillion small spaceships zooming out of a massive mothership right over the audience.
While snobby cinema purists pooh-pooh cool 3-D effects that shove stuff in audiences’ faces – instead the hipsters laud the “depth” given to sequences that allows deeper characterization, blah, blah, blah – they are wrong.
It’s fun to see Freddy Krueger throw an ax at you or enter another mind-bending, twisty dimension at a million mph or have bubbles float out of the screen into the auditorium.… Read the rest

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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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