Black and White – movie review

black-or-whiteGrade: B

I’m not sure what director Mike Binder wants the audience to take away from this film. I didn’t view it as a racially motivated movie, as much as a family drama. The writing and directing are spot on, and the cast was excellent.

I would love to see Kevin Costner get at the very least an Oscar nod — yes, he was that good.

Audiences of all race, creed, and color will be moved by this movie.

Strange Magic – movie review

strange-magicGrade: B+

Strange Magic should appeal to movie goers of all ages. Children will love the animation, while the older set will enjoy the sound track — classic rock and roll.

The story was charming and funny. Adults will laugh at some of the dialog that goes over the heads of children.

I’m not sure why Strange Magic is pulling in some scathing reviews from the high dollar critics. Since I’m a low dollar critic I don’t have a need to sound really snooty in my review. I’ll just say that I liked the movie and I think most people will too.

Paddington – movie review

PaddingtonGrade: A

Paddington was an un*bear*ably charming movie and sweeter than orange marmalade. (Note: I tried to talk my mother out of that pun but she insisted.)

The story was well paced, funny, and well..cuddly. The entire family will enjoy it.

I give high marks to Ben Whishaw and the digital artists at Framestore for bring the most adorable bear since Ted to life. I know, many folks will be scandalized by that comparison. Ted was cute, but Paddington left me yearning for more orange marmalade antics.

(Important: Ted is not a kids movie. Don’t show that to your kids just because there’s a Teddy Bear as the main character.)

LEGO Movie – movie review

LegoMovieGrade: B

Lego Movie was cute, charming and funny. There’s a great cast of voices and lots of action.

Kids will enjoy this movie and the parents, especially dads, will be eager to get home and head for the kids room to pull out the Legos and start building things again. I give this movie a solid B.

Gimme Shelter – movie review

GimmeShelterGrade: B

“Gimme Shelter” was an obvious ‘Pro Life’ movie. That being said, I don’t think a movie review is a forum for discussing pro life vs. pro choice. I’m grading this movie based on the script, the acting and the directing.

I give high marks to Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser and Rosario Dawson. Each did a very good job of bringing their character to life, and  Ron Krauss gave them a fine vehicle to display their talents.

Despicable Me 2 – movie review

DespicableMe2Grade: A

Universal’s Despicable Me 2 is as funny and charming as the first movie.

Gru has become a nice guy and content to care for the girls but throw in a possible love interest, Lucy voiced by Kristen Wiig and Gru’s life begins to change.

We get to see more of the Minions which is great because they provided most of the funny moments. I will tell you that the musical number they perform at the end of the movie is worth the price of admission. I heard plenty of laughter from both the children and parents in the theater.

The Heat – movie review

TheHeatWe’ve seen a number of mismatched buddy-cop movies with male leads, most notably 48 Hours, Men In Black and Beverly Hills Cop. Finally movie makers have hit upon the idea that this genre just might work with females in the lead.

They nailed it by partnering Sandra Bullock as the uptight FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy as the streetwise Boston cop. They played off one another with great finesse and made The Heat one of the funniest movies this year. The antics between the two left the audience roaring in laughter on a number of occasions.

However, it wasn’t all just slapstick humor. There is actually a good story underneath it all that makes everything come together wonderfully.

The Croods – movie review

TheCroodsGrade: A-

This is a smart, funny and colorful movie about a clan of cave people who must travel to unknown territory after their cave was destroyed by plate tectonics. They meet up with a more evolved person – his forehead isn’t sloped – who introduces them to the prehistoric version of shoes, cell phones, sun glasses and a walker for Grandma.

In a way the story is a lesson in history, geology, evolution and, most importantly, relationships.

Grug, the father, is having a difficult time relating to his teenage daughter, Eep. Not so very different from today’s struggles between father and daughter.  There were laugh out loud moments and also tender touching moments topped off with some great action scenes.

This was Nickolas Cage’s finest performance since National Treasure. Emma Stone’s husky yet feminine voice was perfect for the daughter Eep.

This is not a movie for just the kiddies it will also appeal to the adult audience.

I didn’t see the 3D version of the movie because I was getting peetimes – it’s hard to write with those glasses on – but I would highly recommend seeing the 3D. I know that I’m going to go back and re-watch it again, this time in 3D, just to enjoy the beauty.

Admission – movie review

AdmissionGrade: C

Tina Fey (Portia) and Paul Rudd (John) didn’t have the best on screen chemistry and the story has been done time and time again.

The movie isn’t bad; it’s just bland. The best parts of the movie were the scenes with Lily Tomlin as Portia’s mother. If they could have found a way to double her screen time I’d be tempted to give this movie a B; as it is I can’t give it anything other than the middle of the road C.

The Call – movie review

TheCallGrade: B

I’ve been waiting to see this movie for months and it was well worth the wait. Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin both display great range as actors across a spectrum of emotions.

It can be argued that the plot is implausible; a 911 operator receiving two different calls from the victims of the same psycho doesn’t happen every day. But it isn’t impossible and no one writes stories about the serial killer not getting caught. That’s not good entertainment. One way to tell a great story is to take average people and put them in implausible situations and see how they react. That’s what we have in this movie.

The ending is one of the best I’ve seen in this genre. It was surprisingly satisfying. Totally worth the price of admission.