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Delayed science-fiction soap opera is lost in space

February 11, 2015
Delayed science-fiction soap opera is lost in space

Here’s another movie that lives up to the belief that bad major movies get dumped into February.
Jupiter Ascending is a mess – a good looking one, but a mess nonetheless.

About the film
With a couple of major stars – Mila Kunis (not too far removed from wide acclaim for Black Swan [2011, Movie Man No. 914, a 6]) and currently hot Channing Tatum – not to mention an Oscar nominee this year, Eddie Redmayne (for The Theory of Everything), and with story and direction by Andy and Lana Wachowski, beloved by hipsters for The Matrix trilogy, Jupiter Ascending arrived with a strong pedigree.… Read the rest

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Race, parental rights, addiction movie struggles

February 4, 2015
Race, parental rights, addiction movie struggles

You gotta give Kevin Costner credit: He’s really hawking Black or White.
With millions of his own money invested – 9 – the actor is making the rounds to promote his latest venture.
Even though it’s been a while since Costner’s had a hit, he’s still got clout.

About the film
Once upon a time, there was not greater movie star than Kevin Costner.
The 66 year old – playing a grandfather for the first time in Black or White – has a terrific resume. For sure, The Untouchables (1987), No Way Out (1987), Field of Dreams (1989), and JFK (1991) are fantastic movies.… Read the rest

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Beloved British movie adaptation bears seeing

January 28, 2015
Beloved British movie adaptation bears seeing

The Movie Man’s master plan for this week was to see another Best Picture nominee.
But things just didn’t work out, so he headed to a kids movie instead.

About the film
Paddington is a British movie based on a book famous for generations (especially over there). The cute critter in the red hat and blue coat has charmed children for decades.
After all, this is a book that star Hugh Bonneville referred to as being “part of the DNA of the UK.”
(more…)Read the rest

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Eastwood hits bull’s-eye with American Sniper

January 21, 2015
Eastwood hits bull’s-eye with American Sniper

 This is one of those movies.
Sometimes films are highly anticipated. Or advertised to the max. Or both.
Like: Gone with the Wind (1939). Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Passion of the Christ (2004, Movie Man No. 549, an 8). And a slew of sequels starring Batman, Han Solo, Matrixians, glittery vampires, teenage revolutionaries in dystopian worlds, and Hobbits.
Now comes another well-hyped movie that fans have been waiting for, American Sniper. It delivers – to its conservative base and as a very well-made motion picture.
(more…)Read the rest

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Even with its flaws, Selma’s tale must be told

January 14, 2015
Even with its flaws, Selma’s tale must be told

Some movies end up being great – all-time classics – and others shoot for that elite status yet fall short.
Selma lands in that latter category, but it’s still a very good movie.

About the film
Sometimes movies become something greater than just a visual experience; they can become part of the culture.
That’s where the 1977-1983 Star Wars trilogy sits – generationally it will remain forever a touchstone series.
(more…)Read the rest

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Enigmatic Cumberbatch stellar in Imitation Game

January 7, 2015
Enigmatic Cumberbatch stellar in Imitation Game

First off, kudos to a reader who pointed out a rare Movie Man error. In the Into the Woods (Movie Man No. 1,119, a 6) review last week, the Movie Man said Dreamgirls (2006, MM 702, 16) was a failure when it moved from the stage to the screen. That was wrong; it was a hit, making $103.3 million and earning award nominations. The Movie Man meant A Chorus Line (1985). Nice catch, reader! Now…
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Into the Woods only occasionally bewitching

December 30, 2014
Into the Woods only occasionally bewitching

A while back, we analyzed the difficulty of bringing a popular stage production to the big screen.
Plenty of adaptations fail – Dreamgirls, Nine (the latter directed by Rob Marshall who made Into the Woods)– while others made the trip and then some – Cabaret, Chicago (the latter also by Marshall).
Into the Woods has been a colossal success since its debut in 1986 and its Broadway arrival in the fall of 1987. (Unfortunately for Into the Woods, it came out in the same awards season as the juggernaut The Phantom of the Opera.)
(more…)Read the rest

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Director’s Hobbit habit over after gigantic battle

December 22, 2014
Director’s Hobbit habit over after gigantic battle

If you’re a J.R.R. Tolkien lover, these have been a heady 13 years.
No less than six movies have been made from the fantasy author’s sprawling books.
Director Peter Jackson won over doubters with the first adaptation – and fanboys have stuck with him ever since.

About the film
While concern has been raised by Ringnuts (fans of the Lord of the Rings) that a single book – The Hobbit – has been stretched into a trio of movies that has not stopped fans from filling movie houses.
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New Exodus movie plagued by slow stretches

December 17, 2014
New Exodus movie plagued by slow stretches

It’s been quite a year for religious-based movies.
Hollywood’s big budget efforts did OK despite some big blow back from God-fearing audiences.
The smaller movies, however, were the ones that enjoyed more success.

About the film
By the end of April, the Movie Man had already checked out a trio of religious movies.
First came Son of God (Movie Man No. 1077, 6), an extended version of an earlier successful TV series. It was decent.
(more…)Read the rest

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It’s a wonderful Christmas movie list

December 10, 2014
It’s a wonderful Christmas movie list

What are the best Christmas movies?
It’s a genre that never dies, especially on TV. Annually, Lifetime churns out holiday themed films nonstop. They are almost always forgettable. This year’s real stinker is Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.
With regularity, Christmas movies get released theatrically, too. They come and go, few have staying power.
This year has produced what could be the all-time holiday turkey, Saving Christmas starring Kirk Cameron. When the movie got lit up by critics – religious and secular – and moviegoers – religious and secular – Cameron ventured to social media to try to get its pitiful early reputation restored.… Read the rest

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