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Old 03-13-2014, 09:28 PM  
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free birds

If a movie makes you laugh a few times, does that mean it has a good script or is funny? Or could it be a really purposeless movie with a few humorous lines?
Thus was the case with Free Birds, a computer-animated story about two turkeys who travel to the 1600s, just days before the first Thanksgiving, to convince the Pilgrims not to make serving turkey a centuries-old tradition. Confusing plot, unlikeable characters (both human and bird) and some fudging with history. Watch the parade and football games on Thanksgiving, not this movie.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:22 PM  
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philomena

Philomena, a 2013 British film starring Judy Dench, is more depressing than sad. It's based on the true story of an unwed pregnant teen girl in Ireland in the 1950s who gave up her toddler boy for adoption, and 50 years later asks a reporter to help her look for her son.
It's a well-done movie, but I can't say I liked it. Although there is only one outright villain, all the characters in the movie have annoying unlikeable traits that overshadow their qualities.
I am sure this movie will be on PBS in a few years so you may want to wait for it until then.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:05 PM  
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pompeii

I don't get it. For almost a year now, I have read complaints about how violent The Lone Ranger was for a PG-13 movie. But I've read nothing about Pompeii, which was also PG-13 and should have been a heavy R, for it is far more violent and gory than The Lone Ranger ever was.
Oh, don't bother with Pompeii. It's Gladiator meets The Day After Tomorrow, with neither of those movies' intensity or likeable characters. And Keifer Sutherland is channeling all the bad guys in The Hunger Games.
One of the stupidest movies I have ever seen.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:33 AM  
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the nut job

The computer-animated movie The Nut Job is about a group of "critters" searching for a stockpile of food for the winter and getting involved in a bank robbery in a city in the 1940s.
The plot is convoluted, with a large number of animals and humans that are difficult to keep straight. I, as an adult, had a hard time following the story, so I can't imagine how a child would be able to keep track of everything.
However, the movie is physically beautiful, with brilliant colors. I was very impressed with the animation. The Nut Job is also an international effort. It's the first time I've ever seen both Korea and Macedonia listed in the closing credits!
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:44 AM  
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the grand budapest hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wildly uneven movie. It's laugh-out-loud funny at times and is physically beautiful but the plot makes little sense. It takes place in a fictional middle European country in the 1930s during the winter. The film has scenes that will remind you of The Shining (a lot!) but it is not a horror movie.
It's about the owner of the hotel and his concierge. The owner is accused of murder, taken to prison and then breaks out. The plot involving the murder makes little sense. He gets a message that his elderly lady patron has been killed in her castle and he visits her in her coffin still at the castle. But then he is accused of having been seen with her before her death. But she was already dead when he arrived! I never did figure that out.
I did LOVE all the tram cars and trains in the movie. You never do figure out if they are real and actually exist, or if they are just models.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:50 AM  
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3 of the 4 religious movies

I've watched three of the four religious movies that were released this spring: God's Not Dead, Heaven is for Real and Noah. Son of God left the second-run theaters more quickly than I had expected, and I missed it.
God's Not Dead was just okay. Unfortunately, it has what I've seen in so many other movies made by evangelical Christians: stiff, overplayed acting. The only recognizable actor in the movie was Kevin Sorbo, who, even though he played the bad guy, dominated every scene he was in. I could have tolerated the movie more but I HATED HATED HATED the ending! It was as if the writers couldn't come up with something else and wanted a dramatic climax and so wrote this instead.
Noah was just weird. I was expecting The Ten Commandments and instead we got a cross between Lord of the Rings and Transformers. You have to see this movie to believe it! The two parts of the movie that I DID like were the animals on the ark, and Noah's visions about various warriors in history.
On the other hand, I LOVED Heaven is for Real. Very impressive movie. Really not much plot, but it keeps your interest and is beautifully filmed. I left the theater with a smile on my face, even though I was near tears several times during the film. Heaven does NOT have the aforementioned stiffness that seems to plague (pun intended) many religious-themed films.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:55 AM  
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Transcendence

No one tells you that Transcendence is an expensive science fiction movie. Or that it's a story about life after death. Or that it's a Frankenstein allegory. Or that it's an apocalypse story. The reviews and trailers reveal none of that. I was surprised by the ending!
Will Castle (Johnny Depp) takes several weeks to die after being shot by an irradiated bullet (one that is full of radiation). He was shot by an unknown killer who belongs to an American terrorist group that doesn't approve of Castle's artificial intelligence work. So while he is dying, his wife Laura and best friend Max upload Will's brain and all of his memories and ideas into a computer.
After Will's death, Laura builds a huge underground facility in the desert to continue his work. I won't tell you the rest of the plot.
Much of the time, Transcendence seems like a mid-70s (pre-Star Wars) sci-fi movie (think Logan's Run or Silent Running or THX 1138 or Rollerball), brightly colored, a little slow moving and a tad moralistic, the sort of thing that would later appear on the local channels' late night weekend movies.
Did I enjoy it? Surprisingly, I did, even though it was completely different from what I expected.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:06 PM  
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moms' night out

Moms' Night Out is a 21st century Adventures in Babysitting, when three mothers decide to eat out at a fancy restaurant and leave the children with their husbands. But of course, it's not that simple.
Several misplaced children and vehicles, police chases, non-scary bikers and a cast that's largely repertory combine for a silly, light-hearted chick flick. The one aspect of it that surprised me was that it was also a religious film, although Night has never been mentioned in a list with the religious films I wrote about a few weeks ago.
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Old 06-15-2014, 01:03 PM  
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blended

Remember The Brady Bunch vacation episodes? The honeymoon (1969), the camping trip (1969), the trip to Kings Island (1973), and of course, the trips to the Grand Canyon (1971) and Hawaii (1972). Blended could easily be The Brady Bunch Goes to South Africa. There's also a subplot that will remind you of Sixteen Candles.
The movie is rated PG-13 for its risque jokes and a series of bizarre tasteless appearances by a lounge singer and his backup chorus. If these two items hadn't been in Blended it could have been a 1970s G-rated Disney family adventure comedy. No one is in any danger, there are no breakup or argument scenes, and the animals, scenery and children are wonderful.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:16 AM  
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million dollar arm

Although I don't care about baseball very much, I have always loved baseball movies. Million Dollar Arm is the latest.
What a neat movie! Well-acted, beautifully filmed (all those shots of India are best seen on the big screen), unusual true story (although you know in advance there will be a happy ending). This is the first movie I've really, truly enjoyed completely in a long time.
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