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Coen Bros. are hit and miss – Hail! this big miss

February 11, 2016
Coen Bros. are hit and miss – Hail! this big miss

Two.
Two chuckles.
And the Movie Man was the only other person who emitted any sort of noise during Hail, Caesar!
Unless you count the occasional snore or exit conversations which included “the most boring movie I’ve ever seen” from a sixtysomething woman and “that was really horrible” from a same-aged woman a row up.
And those are comments from people old enough to remember the “studio era” from the 1950’s that the movie is satirizing.
Indeed, it was painful to sit through.

About the film
The Coen Bros. are a curious duo.
They have made some of the greatest American movies ever and have also released some films that immediately disappeared.… Read the rest

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Third time’s a winner for Kung Fu Panda

February 3, 2016
Third time’s a winner for Kung Fu Panda

You never know about animated (or regular) movie sequels. Too often the quality drops rapidly from the original – especially by the time No. 3 arrives.

About the film
That’s not the case with Kung Fu Panda, however.
The first was fun enough (2008, Movie Man No. 776, 6) and the sequel (2011, MM #932, 6) had laughs.
The third one in a series being better is unusual.
About the only instance where No. 3 stood with the first two is Toy Story 3 (2010, MM #882, 8).
The third Ice Age movie, Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009, MM #833, 7) was way better then No.… Read the rest

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Dirty Grandpa: Old people are unfunny, too

January 27, 2016
Dirty Grandpa: Old people are unfunny, too

Sometimes you go to a movie where you know it just has too many things stacked against it.
Then, there’s the on-the-street rumble from the common man that the film is just not that good.
Plus critics are savaging it.
That’s Dirty Grandpa.
It’s horrible, another gross-out, ha!-old-people-are-cussing effort that has almost zero laughs.
However, this is Movie Man No. 1,186 and, for the first time, he experienced something that had never happened ever before to him in an auditorium.

About the film
That rare occurrence? Three red band trailers unspooled.
Seeing a single red band – for restricted audiences only – trailer hardly ever happens.… Read the rest

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Be Hart-less and don’t Ride Along this time

January 20, 2016
Be Hart-less and don’t Ride Along this time

The Movie Man tussled with seeing a new film or picking up a holiday release that had been out a few weeks.
He chose the former – with Ride Along 2 – and he knows now he should’ve gone to see Spotlight.

About the film
There’s no doubt that Kevin Hart is on fire. One preview before the movie was for an upcoming concert film that boasted of his latest standup tour being the biggest, most profitable comedy tour ever.
In the film world, while it seems like he just hit it big, he actually has a whopping 63 credits on his cinematic resume.… Read the rest

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Hardcore Western will be unbearable to some

January 13, 2016
Hardcore Western will be unbearable to some

Here’s a great opportunity to compare and contrast two seemingly similar movies – The Hateful Eight and The Revenant. The latter is far superior to the former.

About the film
The Revenant is filled with violence, gore, and some sexual content – the same traits that ride through The Hateful Eight (Movie Man No. 1183, 4).
Yet it all makes much more sense in The Revenant.
In Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight, all the R-rated shenanigans seemed to be there just for shock value.
That’s not the case in The Revenant (for the most part). In Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s version of the American frontier, things are grimy and oh, so dirty.… Read the rest

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Another Tarantino dud – unless you’re cool, man

January 6, 2016
Another Tarantino dud – unless you’re cool, man

Somehow, occasionally a filmmaker becomes the snobs’ and critics’ pet and that’s surely the case with Quentin Tarantino.
Not with the Movie Man, however.

About the film
The Movie Man is no contrarian. He’s not afraid to like popular directors like Steven Spielberg rather than turning his nose up at a filmmaker just because they are successful. A good movie doesn’t have to be made by a director like Wes Anderson, beloved indie god of the coffee sipping, neck-bearded hipsters.
Tarantino is another one the you-just-don’t-get-it crowd loves to crow about.
He’s a film nerd certainly, with an admirable vast knowledge of cinema – good and bad.… Read the rest

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Chipmunks make the Movie Man list, the bad one

December 29, 2015
Chipmunks make the Movie Man list, the bad one

Oh, my. What a way to end a cinematic year.
Pew-yew, the latest (and last?) Alvin and the Chipmunks movie is very bad.
But first – let’s look at 2015’s other bad movies. And some good ones.

2015
Time for the annual review of the year’s best and worst.
Best of Year:
10. Paddington (7) – consistently funny with several laugh out loud moments
9. Jurassic World (7) – great computer generation and enough humor to remind us of the earlier movies (see No. 3)
8. Kingsmen: The Secret Service (7) – exciting and suave with killer action scenes (keep reading)
7.… Read the rest

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New Star Wars awakens fans’ decades-old love

December 22, 2015
New Star Wars awakens fans’ decades-old love

Well, the pressure is off and plenty of folks – professional and non – are mighty relieved.
The super-hype to the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, mostly lived up to the build up.
It’s pretty good, if familiar.

About the film
Taking on directing a Star Wars movie is daring. Many turned the opportunity down, and the guy who finally accepted – J.J. Abrams – had to be pursued.
Now that the originator of the sci-fi series, George Lucas, has stepped back after selling his franchise for billions, the series was at a crossroads.
Lucas’ original three movies – A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983) – are beloved, especially the first two.… Read the rest

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Howard’s whale movie makes little splash

December 16, 2015
Howard’s whale movie makes little splash

Ron Howard has made some great movies. But lately, he’s been on a bit of a skid.
And the downward stumble continues with In the Heart of the Sea.

About the film
Howard’s movies are never flat-out bad; like Steven Spielberg, even Howard’s films that are commercial misfires are still pretty good.
Certainly, Howard has directed high-profile, successful hits. He won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind (2002, Movie Man No. 437, 8). There’s scarcely a better inspirational movie made than Apollo 13 (1994, MM #84, 8). And one of the great pictures that too many folks missed is Howard’s Cinderella Man (2005, MM #616, 9, Best of Year).… Read the rest

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Rocky’s return packs an emotional punch

December 9, 2015
Rocky’s return packs an emotional punch

Sylvester Stallone is pulling off a late career miracle. And, since the Movie Man is a Stallone fan, he’s happy about that.
And, to begin this discussion of Creed, here’s a decades old happy story.

About the film
In the early spring of 1977, Movie Man and Movie Wife bought movie tickets for $2.50 each. Rocky was still in theaters and Movie Man and Movie Wife waited in line – again – to get in, even months after the boxing movie’s December 1976 opening.
However, this was a special showing of Rocky: It boasted a sneak preview, a second, unnamed mystery movie.… Read the rest

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