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Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)



Summary
A fun film I will probably never see again. I’ve certainly seen worse movies for kids. There’s some laughter for adults, some excitement, and feel-good moments. Ultimately, it’s for the kids.

Was it any good?
Yes, it was good. It was better than I expected. I won’t be seeing it again, but it was fine for a single viewing. The kids will love it, and might ask to see it again.

Who was in it?
Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim, and Wayne Knight (voices, all)

Should I see it on the big screen or should I wait to rent it?

If your kids can possibly wait that long, see it on video on somebody’s 3D tv. If they can’t wait, by all means take them to the theater. And, why’d you ask?

Should I see it one of the premium formats?
I saw it in 3D, but only because the time slot fit my schedule. $12.50 for a matinee is still a bit steep. I would have gone to the standard, if I could. That said, the 3D effects were quite good. The scenes in the “spirit world” had a lot of depth. Many of the action scenes had one or more splits, showing different angles or characters in each “pane.” In 3D, this had the effect of looking out different windows at different pieces of the action. I’m a fan of 3D, anyway. That’s why I recommend seeing it on video and on a 3D tv.

If you’re taking the whole clan to a 3D showing at the theater, that could get spendy fast. Although cool, it’s not worth the price of admission. The kids won’t care, anyway. They’re lucky you changed out of your moomoo, put on shoes, and took them out of the house! And that’s not sexist, men can wear moomoo’s, too.



Review
Did I even see Kung Fu Panda 2? What was it about? If I did, it certainly wasn’t very memorable. That bring us to “Yet Another Sequel” in Kung Fu Panda 3. My expectations were set low. And yet, there were a couple funny bits in the trailer. Were they the only funny bits?

Gamble and win, folks. Those were not the only funny bits in this film. Not only were the trailer bits still funny, but there were more funny bits included. That and they were sprinkled throughout the entire film. So, amusement box? Checked.

If anything, the movie didn’t take itself seriously enough. There were parts where suspense was building… and then a joke lets the air out of your balloon. The kids will have plenty of, “do you remember when….?” moments.

At the end of the day, this is a movie for kids. They’ll want to see it, and they’ll enjoy it. Luckily, you won’t have to suffer through it. It’s no Mariah Carey Christmas Special or This Thing That Fell Out of a Unicorn Butt. Hey, I just said “thing.” It was amusing enough to make it a decent viewing for the token adult. I only gave it 3.5 stars instead of 4 because I don’t think I’ll watch it again (unless it falls into the “children favorite” category and it is my solemn duty to watch it again). Hey, I just said “children.”

The voice actors did a good job. I had forgotten all the big stars who lent their voices to this one. Wow. I wonder how much it cost to assemble that team?

I want to mention the music. When the bad guy is on screen, they play the same theme. It is a mildly racist Old West/Chinese Ping Pong mashup. The kids won’t notice, but it was odd. There is also a big finish dance party played to, “Kung Fu Fighting.” Is that song going to make a comeback?

A final bit is one of the previews before the movie. It is a short that advertises the next Ice Age movie. There is a shortened version that is shown here. The longer one is below:
You’re welcome.

Can I take my kids?
I didn’t notice any language. The only violence was of the kung fu variety. You may be in danger of the kids tearing up the house for a few days as they act out the film, but there was no blood. Totally a green light. View it up, y’all.

PG | 95 min | Animation, Action, Adventure, Family | 29 January 2016 (USA)






Registered User
[SIZE="<font><font>5</font></font>"]ce sfilms sont les bon films merci.[/size]



The Finest Hours (2016) *UPDATED*



Summary
Disney gives us a squeaky clean adventure movie we can all watch. There’s a gushy romance in the middle, but we won’t hold that against the House of Mouse.

Was it any good?
It was a good film, yes.

Who was in it?
Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, and Holliday Grainger

Should I see it on the big screen or should I wait to rent it?

It was a good film that can probably wait until video. It’ll play just as well on the small screen.

Should I see it one of the premium formats?

The water effects would probably play well in 3D. Much of the movie would play well in 3D. But the price, man! Very little is worth that price. Wouldn’t it be cool if theaters offered the 3D and standard showings at the same price? It really comes down to preference. I think it’s cool, but it makes some people sick or gives them a headache. I have a friend who won’t go near 3D movies. That settles it. When I open my own theater, it will be $5 flat rate admission, 3D or standard, and all concessions will be $1. Who’s with me?

I went back and saw it again in 3D. It was very cool. I think the movie plays best in 3D. The problem is that it is considered an “IMAX 3D” event. That means that it wasn’t possible to see it in my theater in just 3D. I got to pay extra to see it in IMAX 3D. That means that my matinee movie price was $17.50.

It’s not about quality. The movie plays well in 3D and I think it was meant to be seen in 3D. $17.50 for a matinee? What would an evening show be? Over $20? To some, $20 is no thing. I want to be that rich some day. But to me and most of America, if not the world, $20 is a significant amount of money. Now I recommend waiting for video and then watching the 3D version on somebody’s 3D TV.

Would I See it Again?

Nah, it was cool, but I’ve seen all there is to see in one viewing. I’ll be knocking half a star off for that.

I lied. I went back and saw it again in 3D, so I’ll give that 1/2 star back. Upon a second viewing, I have some other notes.
Are There Any Phobias I Should Be Wary Of?
If you have a fear of deep water or drowning, most of this film happens at sea.



Review
I’ve finally reached “that age.” Most actors and actresses I see on screen are much younger than I am. I find myself saying, “those kids are too young to be doing stuff like that!” And yet, they aren’t. I’m just getting older.

The movie takes place in the 50’s and that makes me feel old. There’s all these old cars driving around that were state-of-the-art back then, and kids dating reminds you that your parents and your parent’s parents were once young.

But in some ways, things are exactly the same. The ocean is still powerful. I heard an interview once with a guy who used to be in the navy. He said the biggest lesson that he learned and knows to this day is that, “The ocean doesn’t care about you.” It is a huge “force” that’ll snap a boat in half like it was a toothpick. That’s what happens here. Two oil tankers, mountains of floating steel, broken in half by a raging ocean. It was a wonder of human perseverance from two ends. A crew on a broken ship trying to stay afloat and a crew on a tiny rescue ship trying to find them.

It had all the makings of a riveting tale. In the end, it was just pretty good. I liked it, but I probably won’t see it again.

It was funny during the credits to see the real people from this tale. They looked very different from the Hollywood “pretty people” that played them. If I’m ever in a film adaptation, I want my part to be played by The Rock. Can we put that down?

When it comes to matters of the ocean, I don’t know that a ton has changed since the 50’s. The ocean is still a deadly place at times. That was cool to watch. Sure, the drama was retelling a 60-year-old story, but it could have just as well been today. Well done, Disney.

Notes on a second viewing: There is a lot here about relationships. Fans of romance will have something to appreciate here. Men learn to appreciate each other. Women are faithful to men who are lost. Women are steadfast to enter into a relationship where a man could get lost. There’s a lot of meaningful looks and head nods going around.

Also, the main characters have a lot of on-screen chemistry. There are some movies where the two main characters have no chemistry, and you wonder why they’re even together. Here, you buy into it, and you care.

Seeing it in 3D made things seem bigger, more intense, and more scary. I didn’t notice in my 2D viewing that many scenes are shot from a first-person perspective. That plays very well in 3D and draws you in. The emotions were heightened in 3D.
Can I take my kids?
Yes. There’s a gushy romance that they might gag at, but nothing inappropriate. There is very light 1950’s-style language. Again, nothing too inappropriate. It’s a Disney film. You can take your kids.

PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama, History | 29 January 2016 (USA)






The Finest Hours (2016)

Are There Any Phobias I Should Be Wary Of?
If you have a fear of deep water or drowning, most of this film happens at sea.

I haven't seen this movie yet, but I gave you +rep for including the information about phobias in your review. As someone who has a lot of phobias, (although not of water or drowning), that's very important information for me to know before seeing a movie.



The 3D actually makes Finest Hours look worse. It's one of those bad 3D conversions that makes the screen dimmer, which is a problem because the movie on the whole is already dark. My eye sight is not very good, so maybe I'm a poor judge, but it was hard to see in quite a few scenes.



Gbgoodies, thanks for noticing that in my review. I'm terribly afraid of heights, and watching "The Wire" earlier in the year had me squirming in my seat.

Ursaguy, I'll watch for the lighting. Somebody was giving me a hard time for not seeing a "3D" movie in 2D. I'll check it out in 3D tomorrow and post an update.



Heights is one of my phobias too, but my worst phobia is spiders.
I hate the spiders, too, but they aren't as bad as heights. I experienced a trauma that increased my fear of heights. I made it through Arachnophobia, although it was very icky. Don't ask me to kill the creepy crawlies at your house! As a kid, Grandma let me watch cable on her downstairs TV. An old movie, King of the Spiders, had suckers as big as cars. That's where my phobia started. Ew!



I hate the spiders, too, but they aren't as bad as heights. I experienced a trauma that increased my fear of heights. I made it through Arachnophobia, although it was very icky. Don't ask me to kill the creepy crawlies at your house! As a kid, Grandma let me watch cable on her downstairs TV. An old movie, King of the Spiders, had suckers as big as cars. That's where my phobia started. Ew!
My fear of spiders is so bad that if I ever watched Arachnophobia, I would probably end up institutionalized. At times when I've been home alone, I've been known to call friends who live as far as 15 miles away just to tell them that they need to come over and kill a spider.

My fear of spiders comes from a bad spider incident at camp when I was a kid. I'd rather not go into details, but it traumatized me as a kid, and it still haunts me today.



Jane Got a Gun (2016)



Summary
Natalie Portman is in a galaxy far, far… I mean she’s in the Old West. She’s keeping two guys on the hook and there’s no rootin’ tootin’ fun to be had by anyone.

Was it any good?
Nope. It had me longing for the credits.

Who was in it?
Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, and Noah Emmerich

Should I see it on the big screen or should I wait to rent it?
Blah. Give it a wide berth, ya hear?

Should I see it one of the premium formats?
I don’t much reckun it’s available on ona them there special screens, but if’n it is, that would be one darn waste of foldin’ money.

Would I See it Again?
Nope. This’ll be losing a half star for that.

Are There Any Phobias I Should Be Wary Of?
Many folk are burned alive and shot full o’ holes with those six shooters. There isn’t as much gore as a Quentin Tarantino film, But there’s some blood.



Review
How many times do I have to warn those guys? Princess Padme isn’t worth fighting over. Even Darth Vader threw himself in a river of lava to burn the memories away.

The scene is the Old West. Take one homely looking woman and two average-looking men and throw them in a cabin together. Now GO! That’s your scene. It’s improv at it’s finest. Actually, that’s sarcasm. Basically everybody just stares longingly at each other and remembers how it used to be. Sigh.

Did I say that man #1 used to be her fiance while man #2 is covered with gunshot wounds. Did I say that this is Natalie Portman we’re talking about? Hrck! I think it’s happening again! Hrck! Swallow! I think I got it.

And did I mention that man #1 went off to war and was presumed dead on account of him never writing but he couldn’t ’cause he was one of those prisoners of war in one of those camps and didn’t get out until the Civil War was called on account of rain? Isn’t that how it all went down? Oh, the angst! What’s a princess from another galaxy stuck in the Old West to do?

Well, man #2 got shot up good by the bad guys and the gangs on their way to finish off the job. Since we all know that a woman needs a man around to protect them (that’s the movie talkin’, not me), Princess is off to lay a guilt trip on man #1. “Get outta my face,” he says and then quickly follows her. Oh, the angst! She really loved him before presuming him dead and running off with some guy to have his baby. On the Old West. In a run-down cabin. Just because it’s the Old West, do we have to live in a run-down cabin? I reckun so. Hand me my gun.

As you may have suspected, I’m not a huge fan of westerns (or Natalie Portman). She’s nice enough on screen, but I just don’t see her as the type to have two gruff men fightin’ over her. There’s plenty fish in the dusty Old West, boys! They’re just floppin’ round and gasping for air!

This movie seemed plumb full of devices fixin’ to tear you up and man-i-pu-late your feelings. They don’t rightly work, but there’s all over the place.

Can I take my kids?
Your kids won’t like this. Have them go watch Kung Fu Panda 3, instead. As a matter of fact, maybe you should go watch Kung Fu Panda 3, instead. Everybody was Kung Fu fighting…. All right. Language is light. A group of people are exploded in a fireball and run around all screaming and on fire. An outlaw insinuates that he’ll “make use of” Natalie. She is forced to work in a “cat house.” It is not shown, but it happens. People are shot and killed. Kung Fu Fighting? I hear everybody’s doing it.



R | 1h 38min | Action, Drama, Western | 29 January 2016 (USA)






My fear of spiders is so bad that if I ever watched Arachnophobia, I would probably end up institutionalized. At times when I've been home alone, I've been known to call friends who live as far as 15 miles away just to tell them that they need to come over and kill a spider.
It sound like your fear of spiders matches my fear of heights. It doesn't happen often, but next time a spider pops up in a movie, I'll be sure to warn you



Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)



Summary
A fast-paced adventure full of zombie-smashing good fun and Victorian humor. Good times, if you like the smashing of zombies. Be ready for some zombie-related gore.

Was it any good?
I had a great time, but I am a fan of both Victorian humor and zombie films.

Who was in it?
Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, and Lena Headey

Should I see it on the big screen or should I wait to rent it?
It was great. If you’re a fan of Victorian humor and zombies, by all means see it in the theater.

Should I see it one of the premium formats?
When I was buying my tickets, they asked if I wanted the RPX (special theater) or the standard. I chuckled, “standard.” Under my breath I said, “There are very few movies I have seen that should be in that theater.” He replied, “This might just be one of those movies!” Yeah, he’s paid to say that. As I sat there alone in my “standard” viewing, I wondered if it was a movie that deserved to be seen on an IMAX screen. No. No, it was not, sir.

Would I See it Again?
Yes, I think I would see it again. Half of the movie is Victorian. That means there’s a lot of characters and a lot of drama. The decisions one character makes can have a cascading affect on all the other characters. Since they are all so “civilized,” the visible effects may be small–a wince here or a smile there. Now that I’ve seen the reactions of the main characters, I may view it again to watch the reactions of the supporting characters.

Are There Any Phobias I Should Be Wary Of?
Are you aware of how a zombie and zombie-interactions work? So, if you have a thing against swords and guns that are used to take the heads of zombies, give this movie a wide berth. Also, there’s the zombies… who eat brains. That’s kind of their thing.



Review
Reviews of this movie were mixed. I’m guessing this is from people who don’t like Victorian drama and/or zombie horror. You kind of have to be a fan of both, or the movie won’t play well with you. This movie seemed like a perfect mash-up of the two genres.

A parody novel was written that combined Victorian England with the Zombie Apocalypse. You do know what the Zombie Apocalypse is, right? This is a fictitious event where a horde of zombies is so huge that it threatens the future existence of mankind. What’s a zombie? You need to Google a few things and come back.

Since this was two distinct movies in one. They should be reviewed separately. The zombie sections of the movie played quite well. If there was a zombie outbreak in Victorian Europe, this is how it would play out. It all seemed very realistic and true. The beginning of the film was like going to zombie school. The audience learns the rules of life in this Victorian zombie world.

The zombies do what zombies do. The movie contains all of the elements of a campy zombie horror film–complete with characters deciding to venture off on their own into zombie-controlled areas. There is much zombie-dispatching, which you will not like if you’re a pacifist. If anybody’s seen The Farm season of The Walking Dead, you know trying to keep zombies alive never ends well.

You have characters who are super good at the dispatching of zombies–zombie-killing-ninjas. When you first see the group of sisters unleashed on a swarm of the undead, they look like a comic book team of super heroes. And it’s a funny joke to see them all in Victorian dresses.

The other half of the movie is the “civilized” Victorian bent. This person likes this person. This woman snubs this person. This person is only after money. This person thinks this person is only after money but it’s love, true love.

It’s a movie-screen version of Downton Abbey. If you don’t find their Victorian antics funny, you won’t like what you see here. Since this movie does both, you kind of need to be a fan of both.

If you don’t like campy horror, you won’t like this. If you don’t like seeing ultra-violent zombie action, you won’t like this. If you don’t like watching Victorian drama, you won’t like this.

But on the plus side, if you do like these things, you’re in for a treat. This is a mash-up of things you’ll like. It’s very fun watching a bunch of Victorian lasses open a can of woop on a bunch of zombies. I liked it.

Can I take my kids?
No, you probably shouldn’t. While parts are all prim, proper, and “civilized,” other parts are very scary and gory. I would describe it as a Victorian Horror Film. Don’t take your kids.

PG-13 | 1h 48min | Action, Horror, Romance | 5 February 2016 (USA)






I saw the trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies the other day and was highly amused to see that Matt Smith was playing Mr Collins. David Bamber is surely the definitive Mr Collins, but Guy Henry and Tom Hollander have created really good ones too.

Smith's by far and away my favourite new series Doctor because he understood just how to pitch the character. I've not seen that much of him in other roles but I rate him very highly for that one alone.



That's where I'd seen him before! Unlike many of my fellow geeks, I never could get into Dr. Who. The production values were so low, they stopped me in my tracks before I even got to the plot. Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful...



Hail, Caesar! (2016)



Summary
A very smart film for fans of film. Don’t expect to be spoon-fed a typical movie on this one.

Was it any good?

Yes, it was good, and with an all-star cast.

Who was in it?
Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, and Heather Goldenhersh

Should I see it on the big screen or should I wait to rent it?

It was a good movie, but you can probably wait to rent it. That way you can re-watch it without breaking the bank.

Should I see it one of the premium formats?
If it’s available in any premium theaters, let it pass.

Would I See it Again?

I think this movie would hold up to three or four viewings. I think there’s some in-jokes I missed the first time around.

Are There Any Phobias I Should Be Wary Of?
There are several mini-movie scenes that are shown in production. A western shows folks shooting at each other. The gallop around on horses. There is one scene showing a water ballet in a swimming pool.



Review
This movie was like a parfait. It was a movie within a movie within a movie. It was all very meta. It was a movie about making movies. The humor was very smart. Come ready to watch this one with your thinking cap on. You don’t get your regular movie on this viewing.

The cast was large. You may see cult actors that you recognize but only played bit parts before. They may only be in one scene and never seen again. The audience laughed at certain parts of the film after recognizing certain characters.

Some jokes took an extra split-second to soak in and provoke a reaction. Audible laughs in the audience took an extra beat while people worked out the humor. In-jokes abounded.

The whole movie happened at a manic pace. It was a movie machine-gun of scene, scene, scene. Since the drama unfolded mostly in a movie studio, lots of scenes came off as mini movies, complete with a new cast, set, and costumes. There was even a Broadway-style song and dance number (seen in its’ entirety).

As I said earlier, the movie is a film-parfait. There is a baseline “dirty detective” film noir feeling to parts, but then it explores a multitude of film genres. Then there’s another main plot line that seems farcical and detached. George Clooney acts “confusion” quite well, and mirrors the emotions of the audience. Some parts of the film are revealed simultaneously to Clooney and the audience. The whole time he is wearing an outfit from ancient Rome. It’s really a hoot to watch.

A lot of drama happens a frenetic pace. Characters and plotlines shoot in and out almost as fast as you can keep track of them. You really get the feeling of running a movie studio in the 50s.

The movie does a good job of breaking down the 4th Wall. You get to see actors in front of, behind, and in front of different cameras. This lets you examine them as a character, a person, and a different character… all while being played by another person–it was all very meta.

I liked it, and I’ll probably see it again to try and sort through it.

Can I take my kids?

Kids can probably go, although they would be bored. The movie is filled with 50s sensibilities. Characters smoke and drink. Some characters are slapped around. Male characters are expected to sleep around. Women can have illegitimate children. Communists are real. Sodomy is mentioned. Language is light (or medium if you consider the things we talked about already). There is no nudity, only suggestion. A western scene shows the shooting of guns and men falling over dead.

PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 5 February 2016 (USA)





The Choice (2016)



Summary
Almost got one past me, there, Nicholas Sparks. I didn’t know you had a hand in this until the credits rolled. I got my eye on you, NS. It’s a romance, folks. Go on home. Nothing to see here.

Was it any good?
Ah. Let me think. No?

Who was in it?
Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Alexandra Daddario, and Tom Wilkinson

Should I see it on the big screen or should I wait to rent it?
Skip it. Just skip it. You wanna know how the movie is? Watch the trailer.


Should I see it one of the premium formats?
I don’t think it’ll be any any premium theaters with PPandZ out, but if you manage to find one, run far far away. Another galaxy works.

Would I See it Again?
Ah. Let me think. No.

Are There Any Phobias I Should Be Wary Of?
Fear of romance? Fear of Nicholas Sparks? Fear of commitment? Fear of women who are too tanned that it washes out their faces and would it kill you to wear some darker makeup?



Review
Darn you, Nicholas Sparks. You’re gonna make me start reading what they write on movie posters, aren’t you? It was right there the whole time. The movie poster said, “From the best-selling author of The Notebook.” Yup, I coulda known right there. I was too busy trying to find some plot in the trailer. I just need a reason to like it. Just give me one reason!

I knew that was the girl from the new Point Break movie. I didn’t understand why the main character there was all gaa-gaa for her there, and I can’t see it here. She’s too tanned. That and her light-colored make-up combine to make a look that’s too washed-out for my taste. Surf’s up, dude.

Well, as the movie let out, the elderly female audience (Yes, all of them senior women) said, “That was a wonderful movie. It makes you believe there really is true love in the world.” Ack! Way to go, NS. You still know how to make an elderly woman swoon. I was the only male in the audience. Not even guys taking their woman out for a date flick. Yes, I would have rather gone to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as a date flick, too.

I have softened a lot on romance movies as of late, but I still like my romance movies with a bit of comedy in them. This one skips all that and jumps right for straight romance. Only the hardest of hard core must apply. The characters may be laughing, but not at anything funny. There are no jokes here.

As romance movies go, this is a little unexpected. Where I expecting the movie to end, it just kept on going. I was, like, “Come on, NS! The Hobbit can’t run 5 extra minutes and this movie can’t end?” Yeah, I’m not saying that Nicholas Sparks had anything to do with The Hobbit movies… or did he? You heard it here first, folks!

Can I take my kids?
As morality goes, this runs kind of loose. There is no nudity, but the couple does take to bed without first saying, “I do.” Beer and wine is consumed. Language is light to none. Boys talk about how the main character is a player who has had many a short-term encounter.

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama, Romance, Tear Jerker | 5 February 2016 (USA)






I wouldn't have willingly attended any other Nicholas Sparks movies. I'm not a fan of strictly romance movies. I do like romantic comedies, but I'm just not hard-core enough