Movie Reviews

Posted July 6, 2017 at 10:30 am

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Fox

Cheerfully silly, bodily functions-obsessed kid’s cartoon adapted from a series of books by Dav Pilkey. Two fourth-grade pranksters (voices of Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) fear that their friendship will be broken up if their strict principal (voice of Ed Helms) follows through on his threat to separate them by assigning them to different classes. Improvising a solution, they hypnotize him and use mind control to convince him that he is Captain Underpants, the superhero featured in some of the many comic books they have written and drawn together. In this guise, he battles a wild haired mad scientist (voice of Nick Kroll) who schemes to employ technology to stamp out laughter, especially among kids. Parents averse to potty humor will find little to like

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    Movie Reviews

    The Mummy

    Universal

    Clumsy horror flick charts the dire consequences that follow when a shady soldier (Tom Cruise) and an archeologist (Annabelle Wallis) unwittingly revive an evil Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) who was put to death for her crimes in the days of the pharaohs. Pagan mumbo jumbo aside, there’s not much to bother grown viewers in director Alex Kurtzman’s film, which has a sketchy but respectable good-versus-evil theme. Yet, as the eventual injection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Dr. Henry Jekyll

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    Movie Reviews

    Everything, Everything

    Warner Bros.

    Director Stella Meghie’s adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s young adult novel bears more than a little resemblance to one of those fairy tales involving a princess locked up in a castle who needs a handsome prince to rescue her. In this case, a bright and literate teen (Amandla Stenberg) has long been confined by a rare illness to the hermetically sealed house specially designed for her by her protective mother (Anika Noni Rose). Then a sensitive lad (Nick

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    Movie Reviews

    How to Be a Latin Lover

    Pantelion

    Scattershot comedy with too many plot threads and an uncertain tone that wavers between warm family fare and a sex farce. Dumped by the heiress (Renee Taylor) he long ago married for her money, and left penniless by a prenuptial agreement, a lazy ne’er-do-well (Eugenio Derbez) moves in with his estranged sister (Salma Hayek), a hardworking widow with a 10-year-old son (Raphael Alajendro). This is where the pathos and life lessons are presumably supposed

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    Movie Reviews

    Free Fire

    A24

    The premise of this action comedy is that a single extended gunfight can sustain an entire film, provided the participants in the showdown keep making incongruously funny and mordant remarks. The setup involves a deal to buy assault rifles that quickly goes bad. So the two sides represented, most prominently, by would-be gun buyer Brie Larson and arms dealer Sharlto Copley spend the rest of the run time pulling their triggers and reloading while attempting to retrieve a briefcase

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    Movie Reviews

    The Blackcoat’s Daughter

    A24

    Stylish and very adult demon-possession drama set at a Catholic boarding school in the dead of winter. There an old-fashioned fiend complete with two horns inhabits a glowing basement coal furnace and uses a hallway pay phone to command a gloomy freshman (Kiernan Shipka) to carry out murderous sacrifices. Writer-director Oz Perkins keeps the gore factor comparatively low emphasizing instead slow-building psychological horror spooled out slowly through interlocking time-shifting plot lines which also take in the lives of

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    MOVIE REVIEWS

    Slamma Jamma

    RiverRain Productions

    This well-intentioned sports drama based very loosely on the life of slam-dunk champion Kenny Dobbs occasionally comes to tepid life on basketball courts. But a weak script, together with production values indicative of a low budget, keep it hobbled as a story of redemption and Christian faith. Chris Staples (a former Harlem Globetrotter in real life) plays a onetime college star who has to rebuild his life after serving a six-year prison term for armed robbery, during

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    Movie Reviews

    Kong: Skull Island

    Warner Bros.

    Impressive monster movie, set in 1973, in which an ensemble of scientists and soldiers the civilians led by a fringe researcher (John Goodman), the troops by a hard-bitten colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) travel to a previously uncharted island where they encounter an updated version of King Kong. As a World War II-era Air Force officer (John C. Reilly) who bailed out over the isle and has been stranded there ever since eventually explains to them, however,

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    Martin.pdf

    A farewell column

    It has been a great privilege for me to write this column for the past 40 years. During this time, I have received hundreds of letters and emails from readers. One of the sure blessings of writing this column is how many of you engaged with me, offered your own perspectives or brought questions about your lives to me for suggestions.

    Whenever possible, I have offered ideas of who you might contact in your

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    Martin.pdf

    ‘This house is not for sale’

    This House is not for sale

    This house is not for sale

    These four walls have got a story to tell

    The door is off the hinges, there’s no wishing them well

    Outside the sky is coal black, the streets are on fire

    The

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    Movie Reviews

    The Shack

    Summit

    After his young daughter (Amelie Eve) is abducted and murdered, a previously devout man (Sam Worthington) has a crisis of faith until a supernatural encounter with the Trinity (Octavia Spencer, Avraham Aviv Alush and Sumire) alters his perspective. Beautiful settings and a sense of humor help to keep director Stuart Hazeldine’s screen version of William Paul Young’s bestselling novel from bogging down in sentimentality. Patches of dialogue discounting the value of religion, however here implicitly set in opposition to

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    Movie Review

    A Cure for Wellness

    Fox

    Creepy, but otherwise pointless horror exercise in which a Wall Street business executive (Dane DeHaan) is dispatched to a Swiss spa to convince a higher-ranking colleague (Harry Groener) who has mysteriously decided to remain there permanently that he must instead return to headquarters to sign off on a big pending merger. As the young wheeler-dealer eventually discovers, however, despite the soothing manner of the resort’s proprietor (Jason Isaacs), something is profoundly amiss, and his own chances

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    Martin.pdf

    Trusting God in difficult times

    Trust in You

    Letting go of every single dream

    I lay each one down at your feet

    Every moment of my wandering

    Never changes what you see

    I’ve tried to win this war I confess

    My hands are weary, I need your rest

    Mighty warrior, king of the fight

    No matter what I

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    Martin.pdf

    ‘Keeper of the flame’

    Keeper of the Flame

    I’m walking in their footsteps

    I’m singing their old songs

    Somebody blazed this trail

    I’m treadin’ on

    I’m bent but I’m not broken

    I’m stronger than I feel

    I’m made of flesh and bone

    Not made of steel

    Refrain:

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    Movie Reviews

    A Dog’s Purpose

    Universal

    Pet lovers will revel in this slight but charming tale of a clever canine (voice of Josh Gad) and his adventures over a series of lifetimes as he is repeatedly reincarnated. His most significant bond is with a little boy (Bryce Gheisar) who grows into a high school football star (K.J. Apa). Though he finds support in the love of his mother (Juliet Rylance) and, later, that of his girlfriend (Britt Robertson), the athlete’s life is increasingly darkened

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    Movie Reviews

    The Bye Bye Man

    STX

    Overwrought horror flick in which a college student (Douglas Smith), his live-in girlfriend (Cressida Bonas) and his best pal since childhood (Lucien Laviscount) rent a spooky house together where they are plagued by the malevolent specter of the title (Doug Jones). His main trick is to cause hallucinations setting each member of the trio against the others with potentially fatal results. In adapting a chapter from Robert Damon Schneck book, “The President’s Vampire,” director Stacy Title

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    Martin.pdf

    Navigating blended families

    Blended Family (What You Do for Love)

    Hey I might not really be your mother

    That don’t mean that I don’t really love ya

    And even though I married your father

    That’s not the only reason I’m here for ya

    I think you’re beautiful

    I think you’re perfect

    I know how hard it gets

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    Movie Reviews

    Manchester by the Sea

    Roadside

    A man (Casey Affleck) crushed by tragedy returns to his hometown on the coast of Massachusetts to become the guardian of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) in a gently paced and emotionally wrenching drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count on Me”). Flawless performances, a revelatory flashback structure, and a picturesque natural backdrop buoy the carefully manicured yet naturalistic portrait of a shattered individual who cannot forgive himself for one grave mistake. Eventually, the dramatic urgency

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    Fresh eyes in 2017

    Fresh Eyes

    I got these fresh eyes, never seen you before like this

    My God, you’re beautiful

    It’s like the first time when we open the door

    Before we got used to usual

    It might seem superficial, stereotypical, man

    You dress up just a little and I’m like, “Oh damn”

    Refrain:

    So suddenly

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    Movie Reviews

    Miss Sloane

    Europacorp

    A striking performance from Jessica Chastain as the ruthless Washington lobbyist of the title propels director John Madden’s forceful study of political corruption. The win-at-all-costs wheeler-dealer shocks her colleagues when, driven by personal conviction, she abruptly changes sides in the fight over a pending gun control bill, abandoning her cushy position with a topflight firm (led by Sam Waterston) and signing on with a fledgling outfit (headed by Mark Strong) for what she realizes will be an uphill battle

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    Martin.pdf

    Create seasons of love in 2017

    Seasons of Love

    525,600 minutes

    525,000 moments so dear

    525,600 minutes

    How do you measure, mea sure a year?

    In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee

    In inches, in miles, in laugh- ter, in strife

    In 525,600 minutes

    How do you measure a year in the life?

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    Movie Reviews

    Miss Sloane

    Europacorp

    A striking performance from Jessica Chastain as the ruthless Washington lobbyist of the title propels director John Madden’s forceful study of political corruption. The win-at-all-costs wheeler-dealer shocks her colleagues when, driven by personal conviction, she abruptly changes sides in the fight over a pending gun control bill, abandoning her cushy position with a topflight firm (led by Sam Waterston) and signing on with a fledgling outfit (headed by Mark Strong) for what she realizes will be an uphill

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    Martin.pdf

    When memories refuse to fade

    11 Blocks

    Eleven blocks from my door to your doorstep

    Three years later and it feels too close

    I thought I broke the last of that breakdown

    The morning I sold your winter coat

    It doesn’t feel right when I’m grabbing a coffee

    The same old spot, but I’m on my own

    I

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    Pope meets director Martin Scorsese

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The morning after screening his film, “Silence,” for about 300 Jesuits, the U.S. director Martin Scorsese had a private audience with Pope Francis.

    During the 15-minute audience Nov. 30, Pope Francis told Scorsese that he had read Japanese author Shusaku Endo’s historical novel, “Silence,” which inspired the film. The book and film are a fictionalized account of the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan; the central figures are Jesuit missionaries.

    Pope Francis spoke to Scorsese,

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    Movie Reviews

    Allied

    Paramount

    In this World War II romantic drama from director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Steven Knight, a Canadian wing commander (Brad Pitt) and a French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) with a murky past pretend to be husband and wife as part of an espionage operation before falling in love for real and making a hasty marriage. Their union flourishes until the officer is suddenly informed by British intelligence that his spouse may not be the person she appears to be. In

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    Movie Reviews

    Boo! A Madea Halloween

    Lionsgate

    The language-fracturing violence-threatening moral force in a muumuu (played, of course, by writer-director Tyler Perry) still gives out with the bickering and the lightning-fast asides. But Perry’s script gives her little to do other than mingle with college students and trash-talk with her elderly friends. The hammer-wielding harridan tries, unsuccessfully, to prevent the 17-year-old niece (Diamond White) she’s minding from attending a raucous fraternity party. Once defied, she turns up at the shindig herself, showing

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    Movie Reviews

    Max Steel

    Open Road

    Yet another action figure leaps off the toy store shelves and onto the big screen in this derivative coming-of-age superhero chronicle, directed by Stewart Hendler. A gangly 16-year-old boy (Ben Winchell) is transformed by the universe’s most powerful form of energy and gains a robotic sidekick (voice of Josh Brener) to go along with his smothering but supportive mother (Maria Bello) and fetching sweetheart (Ana Villafane). When he’s not too busy vanquishing baddies or doing his algebra homework,

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    Movie Reviews

    Storks

    Warner Bros.

    Occasionally funny but mostly awkward animated comedy in which the plans of an ambitious stork (voice of Andy Samberg) who’s been tapped by his boss (voice of Kelsey Grammer) to take over the big-box store shipping system his breed now operates in lieu of delivering babies are derailed when a human orphan (voice of Katie Crown) who was long ago stranded among the birds accidentally sets their disused infant manufacturing machinery to work. Together the duo scramble to get

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