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Cinemazlowski
January 24, 2015
Movie Review: 'Mortdecai'
By Carl Kozlowski

Johnny Depp has had a rough time in the last couple of years, with a string of bombs including “The Lone Ranger” and “Transcendence.” Now, he’s returned as yet another in his endless string of oddball characters in “Mortdecai,” an art-heist farce that I’ll admit most critics have derided but which I - and the audience of regular folks that I saw it with - laughed heartily at.

It stars Depp as Charlie Mortdecai, a wealthy yet financially imperiled and shady art dealer who...

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January 16, 2015
Movie Review: "American Sniper"
By Carl Kozlowski

In the more than 20 years since Clint Eastwood won Best Picture and Best Director for “Unforgiven,” he has been making numerous films that have shared that Western’s theme of the tragic consequences of violence. He has openly acknowledged that movies like “Gran Torino” and “Million Dollar Baby” were responses to the cinematic havoc he reaped a fortune from in spaghetti Westerns and Dirty Harry-style movies from the ‘60s through the ‘80s.

That seismic shift in his cinematic...

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January 10, 2015
Movie Review: "Selma"
By Carl Kozlowski

It may be hard to believe, but there has never a movie about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s been the subject of several TV movies and miniseries over the years, but it’s pretty amazing to consider that the greatest civil rights leader in American history went without a grand cinematic portrayal a full 22 years after the far more controversial activist Malcolm X was graced with a movie by Spike Lee.

That all changes this weekend with the release of “Selma,” a rousingly powerful...

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December 29, 2014
It's a Hard-Knock Life: 'Annie' Movie Review
By Carl Kozlowski

It’s been a hard-knock life for the new version of the movie musical “Annie,” if you believe the mostly scathing reviews that it has received from critics across the country. Only 18 percent of critics gave it a good rating on the review site Rotten Tomatoes, and the choice quotes thrown at the movie included the Los Angeles Times’ assessment that the movie is “grim.”

But I’m happy to report that when I actually sat down to watch the movie myself on Sunday night with a female...

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December 25, 2014
The Question of Art and Commerce: 'Big Eyes' Movie Review
By Carl Kozlowski

As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But when artist Margaret Keane caused a sensation with her seemingly unending stream of paintings depicting sad-looking children with enormous eyes in the 1960s, another question arose: is art just a commodity that any name can be placed upon, or is it an inherent part of an artist’s expression from the soul?
 
Based on the true story of Keane’s battle with her husband Walter over whether to tell the world she created her...

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December 12, 2014
Movie Review: "Exodus: Gods and Kings"
By Carl Kozlowski

This has been quite a year for God at the movies. There were several smash hits Christians embraced in the spring, such as “God’s Not Dead” (cost $2 million, made $60 million), “Heaven is For Real” (cost $12 million, made $90 million), and “Son of God” (another $60 million winner off a $22 million budget) all were embraced by Christians and shocked Hollywood by scoring well at the box office.
 
Then there was “Noah,” a huge-budgeted epic from Paramount that made just barely...

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December 05, 2014
'Wild' - a redepmtive but dark journey
By Carl Kozlowski

In the new movie “Wild,” a newly divorced woman named Cheryl Strayed - whose best-selling memoir the film is based upon - is trying to kick intense addictions to sex and heroin by walking over 1000 miles from the Mojave Desert to the Canadian border along the Pacific Coast Trail (known in the film and by hikers as the PCT). Played by Reese Witherspoon in a staggering performance that covers every part of the emotional spectrum and then some, Cheryl is a wounded soul who runs away from...

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November 29, 2014
'Horrible Bosses 2' disappoints with too much smut
By Carl Kozlowski

I’ve had some terrible bosses over the years: one was shipped off to two weeks of anger management training after throwing an enormously packed folder at my head in front of 50 coworkers, another was featured on a very special “Oprah” episode as one of the four meanest bosses in America, and a third disappeared on a payday without paying us, and still has the IRS tracking him for the misuse of a $60,000 federal business loan. So when the movie “Horrible Bosses” came out in 2011,...

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It’s fitting that the opening and closing scenes of “Hunger Games: Mockingjay” feature miserable people being held on lockdown in a mental ward, because that’s how anyone suckered into spending $12 to $15 on a ticket to the film is going to feel the entire time. A grim, depressing and thoroughly unexciting slog through two hours of time you will never get back, the third entry in the heretofore sterling series has lost all sense of what made the prior films so exciting.

A large part...

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There’s something to be said about the innate human desire to be a champion that can make a story truly compelling. It can go across any arena, whether it’s trying to be a top movie star or an Olympic wrestling champion, and this weekend two new movies illustrate that fact in vastly different ways.

“Dumb and Dumber To” is the bigger release, hitting theaters everywhere with the return of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels to the roles of Harry and Lloyd, two outright idiots whose...

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