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Sing takes a while but belts out a fine finale

January 4, 2017
Sing takes a while but belts out a fine finale

Two things:
One, the Movie Man said he was going to review La La Land, but it’s in limited release and sold out.
Two, it’s time for the annual look back at the Best and Worst of 2016.

The Year in Review
Nothing like this has happened in the decades of the Movie Man sharing his great mind: No movie managed to rate a 9, or 8 in 2016.
(Twice a 7 has been named Best of Year despite other 8s in the year; it happened in 2002 with Insomnia and in 2006 with Casino Royale.)
That means no less than 19 movies rated 7 this year are battling it out for the top spots.… Read the rest

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Passengers is a sci-fi/rom-com trip worth taking

December 28, 2016
Passengers is a sci-fi/rom-com trip worth taking

 


Sometimes a movie gets an unfair rap and audiences are tainted in advance – some so much that they don’t bother to attend a film they were initially interested in.
That looks like what’s happened to Passengers.

A super trailer primed audiences for Passengers; it looked fantastic.
Then came some weird buzz about the movie. Critics were really tough on it, claiming it was a male fantasy couched in sci-fi.
That claim took a cyber-life and spread, poisoning the movie for many.
Passengers has been unfairly labeled.
If anything, the movie goes out of its way to avoid that sexist trope.… Read the rest

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Rogue One: Internet connection bad in future, too

December 20, 2016
Rogue One: Internet connection bad in future, too

Ah, Star Wars!
Are there two other words that either bring humanity together or immediately put it to sleep?
It’s freakish popularity has proven true again; the latest outer space installment – the first of a considered slew of “stand alone” stories – was another giant hit.
But there is one sliver of the Star Wars canon that’s almost reviled.
Still, even that outlier holds a special place in the hearts of die-hard fans – for one reason.

About the film
The Star Wars Holiday Special arrived on Nov. 17, 1978.
Since Star Wars’ summer opening May 25, 1977, it still remained in some theaters and the cult began building.… Read the rest

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Worst present of the year: Office Christmas Party

December 14, 2016
Worst present of the year: Office Christmas Party

You know those previews of movies that make the film look like it might be really good, but you’re also afraid that they’ve shown most – or all – of the funny stuff in the coming attraction?
That’s Office Christmas Party.

About the film
One thing you had to give Office Christmas Party – the cast is pretty good.
Another thing: the previews were wacky.
And: The poster is really cool.
But that ended up being about all there was to the movie.
Here’s another movie with Jennifer Aniston. The Movie Man is not an Aniston hater.
But she has somehow carved out a motion picture career without a mega-hit where she was the main focus.… Read the rest

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Beasts are mainly Fantastic toward its ending

December 7, 2016
Beasts are mainly Fantastic toward its ending

This is one of those rare weeks when no major release reached theaters.
Only a middlin’ horror movie showed up.
So, the Movie Man looked back over the past couple of weeks to pick up a movie.
He settled on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which has made such international noise the last few weeks.

About the film
As expected, Harry Potter funk hangs all over Fantastic Beasts.
All those muggles and wizard wannabes had exhausted their Potter outlets, so “no-Majs” (American muggles [normal people]) went berserk when Potter creator J.K. Rowling announced another series.
It ended up being a major prequel – decades before the youngsters enter Hogwarts – in an entirely different country with a new plot.… Read the rest

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Latest Disney animation effort awash in success

November 30, 2016
Latest Disney animation effort awash in success

Plenty of movies get good advance reviews from everything from professional critics to festival-goers to backroom bloggers.
Too often, that buzz is hardly worthy. Right now, Moana arrived with high praise – and it’s managed to keep it.
The Movie Man liked it plenty. But it’s not one of the Disney greats.

About the film
Much of the high praise comes from the fact that the movie – Polynesian themed – utilizes actors of Pacific Island ethnicity.
Back in the old days, actors actually acted. While there were some ridiculous casting choices – like John Wayne as Genghis Kahn in The Conqueror (1956) and the embarrassing Asian impersonation by Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – most of the time, actors were hired then they portrayed whatever background/ethnicity the character required, regardless of their own persuasions.… Read the rest

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Adjusted for inflation: What movie is No. 1?

November 21, 2016
Adjusted for inflation: What movie is No. 1?

This week, the Movie Man had every intention of reviewing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
But the quick turnaround of paper deadlines this week because of Thanksgiving – the News was sent to the press early this week so you could get it before Turkey Day – made seeing it impossible.
However, since there has been a Movie Man in this paper every week since 9/11, he would never disappoint his faithful followers.
So, here’s an essay, something to ponder when you think some comic book movie just set a new box office record.

About those records
Being concerned about how much money a movie makes – especially in its opening weekend – is a recent concern.… Read the rest

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Communicating with aliens theme of sci-fi film

November 16, 2016
Communicating with aliens theme of sci-fi film

 

When it comes to science fiction movies, like horror films, it’s easy to find a slew of them that are just pretty good – decent, but mostly forgettable.
When a superior one from either genre comes along, it’s worthy of highlighting.
The last good horror movie was(2012, Movie Man No. 978, 8).
Now here’s a sci-fi picture that stands out – the best since Gravity (2013, MM #1056, 9, Best of Year) – Arrival.

About the film
You can get into some super-nerd arguments when it comes to choosing the best sci-fi movies of all-time.
Here’s the Movie Man’s list, excluding some classics like The Thing (1982) that is really a horror movie (but see No.… Read the rest

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Marvel winning streak continues with Dr. Strange

November 9, 2016
Marvel winning streak continues with Dr. Strange

The Movie Man is going to do you a favor and delve into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
It’s getting rather detailed and complex so here’s a scorecard on what’s been, what’s near, and what’s in the future.
(The Movie Man is going to exclude TV shows; this recap is all about movie features.)

About the film
While there have been Marvel superhero movies and TV series before, the interwoven tales that comprise the MCU began in 2008 with Iron Man (Movie Man No. 771, 8 Best of Year). It was a colossal hit.
“Phase One” (aka “Avengers Assembled”) had begun – a concept where each picture builds on the other.… Read the rest

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Third Brown adaptation doesn’t burn up box office

November 2, 2016
Third Brown adaptation doesn’t burn up box office

It’s rare when a Tom Hanks movie doesn’t do much.
But that was the case with Inferno which barely made a dent among moviegoers in its debut week.

About the film
Don’t feel too sorry for Hanks and Inferno – it’s in good shape overseas.
But in America, folks chose Boo! A Madea Halloween over the third installment of Dan Brown’s puzzle solving professor Robert Langston.
The first two in the series merited a third, financially.
The Da Vinci Code (2006, Movie Man No. 667, 5) was middlin’ as was Angels and Demons (2009, MM #825, 5) – they are disposable entertainment, quickly forgotten.… Read the rest

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