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King Arthur falls on its box office Excalibur

| May 18, 2017
King Arthur falls on its box office Excalibur

Sometimes movies just don’t connect with audiences.
That’s what happened to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

About the film
You can tell by its ending – when it finally arrives – that filmmakers planned on making several more movies based on the King Arthur legend.
That is not going to happen.
Legend of the Sword arrived after costing big money to make – $175 million.
Its pitiful opening week performance – less then $15 million – and, more distressing, its paltry international opening means that round table teaser at the end of the movie is for naught.
This version of the King Arthur tale will go down as one of the great money losers of all-time.… Read the rest

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Two times the fun/laughs/tears in Guardians Vol. 2

| May 11, 2017
Two times the fun/laughs/tears in Guardians Vol. 2

It’s always nice when a sequel lives up to its predecessor – rare, but nice.
That’s the case with Gardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2; while the first one was surprisingly good and fun, the sequel more than lives up to it.

About the film
It’s hard to recall now, but the original Guardians arrived with great trepidation. The queer collection of “heroes” from a more obscure Marvel Comics series was far from a sure thing; it hardly fit with the traditional, far better known characters in the building MCU – Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But Guardians Vol. 1 continued Marvel’s success, and they, too, are now woven into the MCU.… Read the rest

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The Circle goes round and round to nowhere

| May 4, 2017
The Circle goes round and round to nowhere

It’s a rare thing when a Tom Hanks movie doesn’t do well.
With The Circle, it’s happened – even though our greatest actor (with Denzel Washington) isn’t really the star.

About the film
The real star of the film is Emma Watson.
Thanks to the billion dollar live-action version of Beauty and the Beast (Movie Man No. 1,246, 4) she can handle the poor reception of The Circle.
(Of course, she could also play the Harry Potter card[s].)
Even in a weak release week, The Circle fell short of $10 million, a very poor opening for something with Hanks in it.… Read the rest

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Phoenix Forgotten is totally forgettable

| April 27, 2017
Phoenix Forgotten is totally forgettable

There used to be places in society for really bad movies.
Still, even today, sometimes a movie shows up in a theater without much fanfare.
That’s what enticed the Movie Man to join just a (very) few other Americans and see Phoenix Forgotten.

About the film
One million years ago, movies were churned out by studios who had actors under contracts.
So, to keep the thespians busy, movies – most of them cheap quickies – were churned out weekly.
There were plenty of movies that needed homes.
Since most of the “real actors” got the plum roles in big films, these second-tier movies were relegated not to just second string but a curious third level where the B-movies ended up at best as the No.… Read the rest

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Racing movie No. 8 busts through box office

| April 20, 2017
Racing movie No. 8 busts through box office

You know you’ve got a sure thing when your movie breaks records when it opens, it’s No. 8 of a series, and (at least) two more are planned.
That’s The Fate of the Furious.

About the film
Usually, American movies are released in waves overseas.
Sometimes they open in a few countries before the U.S., but, even then, an international blitz is unusual.
The Fate of the Furious did mighty well in America at $98.8 million.
But elsewhere, it killed and broke the worldwide record of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2015, Movie Man No. 1181, 8) $528.9 million; The Fate of the Furious collected $532 million with a massive wide release.… Read the rest

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Old-timers’ bank heist will please Grandpas

| April 13, 2017
Old-timers’ bank heist will please Grandpas

If you’ve been waiting for a movie that is the sort that you’d like to see with an older person who remembers when movies weren’t a bunch of cussin’ and explosions and had a semblance of a plot, then Going in Style is for you.
(Well, there’s some cussin’.)
 
About the film
To make such a genteel movie today – one that isn’t faith-based – filmmakers went back to 1979 when films like that were far more common.
The original version, much like this new one, is front loaded with older stars of its time.
In 1979, George Burns was huge.… Read the rest

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Looks aren’t everything in Johansson movie

| April 6, 2017
Looks aren’t everything in Johansson movie

Robots. Automatons. Replicants.
Movie history is full of films about man-made “servants” who end up being anything but.
Plus plenty of them begin wondering exactly what sort of creature/being they are, anyway.
That’s the premise of Ghost in the Shell.

About the film
While comic book movies have taken off – to say the least – anime/manga films have not in America.
They pop up occasionally, especially on TV.
Old timers will recall the wonderfully weird Speed Racer (and Movie Man fans might remember that he liked the big screen version [so highly anticipated in 2008] more than just about any other human [Movie Man No.… Read the rest

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Mars attacks (again) and that critter is mean

| March 30, 2017
Mars attacks (again) and that critter is mean

The Movie Man sat through a zillion coming attractions for Life these past few months.
Still, the film managed to surprise occasionally.

About the film
This is actually the second movie titled Life that the Movie Man has reviewed – and they are wildly different.
The first in 1999 was a crime comedy starring a couple of guys who had plenty of clout back then – Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.
The Movie Man found it disappointing – Movie Man No. 283, a 4.
This new Life is a sci-fi/scary movie that owes more than a monstrous nod to Alien (1979).… Read the rest

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Live-action Beast really needs some animation

| March 23, 2017
Live-action Beast really needs some animation

Leave it to Disney to figure out ways to make even more money.
The studio has piled up billions and now has hit upon the idea to make live-action films of former classic animated movies.
Few are more beloved than 1991’s Beauty and the Beast – plus throw in some controversy and you get a movie that will collect several more hundreds of millions to throw on the Disney pile.

About the film
The first Beauty and the Beast not only raked in the cash, but achieved a couple of firsts.
In 1992, it became the first animated movie ever to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture.… Read the rest

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Now that’s a big gorilla: King Kong lives again

| March 17, 2017
Now that’s a big gorilla: King Kong lives again

Good ol’ King Kong.
Ever since his arrival way back in 1933, he’s been a cinematic mainstay.
And he’ll be showing up again in 2020.

About the film
That ‘33 King Kong was just another step in the evolution of movies when they were young.
From the amazement of seeing moving pictures a couple of decades earlier, movies had roared forward with detailed plots, tricky camera shots, and involved stories.
King Kong came just two years after Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein freaked out more people than The Exorcist would in 1973.
Instead of using a man in a suit to portray a giant gorilla, the 1933 King Kong utilized stop-motion techniques via small models.… Read the rest

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