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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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The Good Dinosaur is simply just that – good

December 2, 2015
The Good Dinosaur is simply just that – good

Pixar’s second movie in one year – a rarity – has arrived with The Good Dinosaur. It could hardly be more different looking than the earlier one, Inside Out (Movie Man No. 1144, 7), and that’s a good thing.

About the film
This has been the year of 7s for the Movie Man, another rare thing. With The Good Dinosaur earning a 7, that’s five 7s in a row: Bridge of Spies; Spectre; The Peanuts Movie; and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
In case you think the Movie Man is getting soft, it’s happened twice before: 2000 – Original Kings of Comedy; Almost Famous; Remember the Titans; Meet the Parents; and The Contender and 2001 – Bandits; From Hell; K-PAX; Monsters, Inc.; and Shallow Hal.Read the rest

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Hunger fans dying to see franchise finale

November 23, 2015
Hunger fans dying to see franchise finale

The conclusion of the popular Young Adult series The Hunger Games went the Harry Potter and Twilight route and split the final book into two parts.

About the film
The cinematic rendering of The Hunger Games has been a success of Potter and Twilight proportions.
The difference between the YA trio of blockbusters is how well they performed worldwide.
In America, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, Movie Man No. 1063, 7), the second of the four films, is the 12th biggest moneymaker in U.S. history with $424.7 million.
The first one, The Hunger Games (2012, MM #975, 9 [a rare 9 that wasn’t Best of Year; that went to Hugo]), sits at No.… Read the rest

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You’re a good, gentle movie, Charlie Brown

November 18, 2015
You’re a good, gentle movie, Charlie Brown

People are still yapping – incorrectly – about the terrible live-action version of the beloved 1966 cartoon TV classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (That movie, The Grinch [2000, Movie Man No. 377, 9, Best of Year] remains a holiday tradition at the Movie Man house.)
When word got out that a Peanuts movie was being made with evil computer generation, generations of Charlie Brown fans – from the comic strip and television specials – generated angry rants and basically went cyber-nuts. They needn’t have worried.

About the film
This is not the first Peanuts movie to be theatrically released. While most of the famous productions are from TV – primarily annual classics A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) – there have been four movies that reached auditoriums.… Read the rest

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Craig goes out on top as buff Bond in Spectre

November 11, 2015
Craig goes out on top as buff Bond in Spectre

The Movie Man is a cinematic genius like no one else of course.
He noticed something that almost no other human saw in the latest James Bond, Spectre.
But first…

About the film
Excluding Tomorrow Never Dies (1997 – back then, the Movie Man chose Titanic [#212, an 8]), the Movie Man has seen every Bond movie since the Movie Man began his journalistic reign in 1992.
They are:
Goldeneye (1995, MM #102, 7)
The World Is Not Enough (1999, MM #316, 7)
Die Another Day (2002, MM #484, 7)
Casino Royale (2006, MM #692, 7, Best of Year [that wasn’t much of a year])
Quantum of Solace (2008, MM #799, 6)
Skyfall (2012, MM #1008, 8 and the most profitable Bond ever, the only one to reach more than $1 billion internationally)
This week, here’s Spectre, another 7; clearly the series is consistently good – which makes the rumor that this one, Bond No.… Read the rest

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Cold War Spies movie is an Old School drama

November 4, 2015
Cold War Spies movie is an Old School drama

Tom Hanks continues to prove he’s a phenomenal actor with Bridge of Spies.
And Steven Spielberg is leaving a legacy like no one before.

About the film
Spielberg is famed for directing some of the greatest movies ever. No one can match his successes, not even Martin Scorsese. Spielberg’s mark on cinematic history is colossal.
He’s made great movies in every genre:
Horror – Jaws (1975)
Sci-fi – Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Action – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Kids’ movie – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Drama – The Color Purple (1985)
War – Schlindler’s List (1993, Movie Man No.… Read the rest

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