Cinemazlowski

There are about 400 films released each year, and for the past decade it feels like at least half of them star comic book superheroes. The two main comics companies bringing them to the silver screen are DC and Marvel Comics, which have had distinctly different approaches to their heroes’ exploits, with DC taking a dark and somber approach in the “Dark Knight” trilogy and “Man of Steel,” and Marvel using vivid visuals and a heavy helping of humor in its films. This year is barely a third...

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April 29, 2016

Musicals reinvented in 'Sing Street'

By Carl Kozlowski

Musicals were thought to be a dead film genre for decades, until the movie version of the Broadway classic “Chicago” came along to save the day as a smash success in 2002. Yet even as that film’s smash-hit $170 million gross and Best Picture win brought song and dance numbers back to the big screen, there are still relatively few of them, and most are driven by having the splashiest song and dance routines imaginable.     Irish writer-director named John Carney has spent the past nine...

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Plenty of movies can be entertaining, and some are blatantly designed to have a message. But it’s truly a rare occasion when a movie manages to be both truly funny and downright important.   I’m as surprised as anyone reading this to say that statement fits the latest movie in the “Barbershop” series of movies, “Barbershop: The Next Cut.” But this is the third movie in a series that has portrayed positive role models for the black community while offering meaningful truths that are...

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Back in 1967, Disney’s release of “The Jungle Book” as a cartoon took the world by storm, not only sparking massive box-office success but also inspiring screen legend Gregory Peck to lobby unsuccessfully for the MotionPicture Academy to change its rules to allow animated films to compete for Best Picture honors. It also was the last cartoon Walt Disney worked on before he died, and its success following his passing helped save the studio from shutting down its animation...

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Very few movie stars these days have managed to craft their image as well as Melissa McCarthy. Having come out of nowhere like a human tornado to steal Kristin Wiig’s 2011 smash “Bridesmaids” and earn a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, she has managed to find one role after another that has enabled her to make a total fool out of herself while still always getting the last laugh.   Her only misstep thus far was 2014’s “Tammy,” a dramedy about a working-class woman who hits the...

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This has been a year of bombast at the movies. Super-hyped movies like “Deadpool” and “Batman vs. Superman” crush the box office with enormous openings, while thoughtful movies like “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” or “Eddie the Eagle” have been tossed in the dustbin of movie memories while barely registering on most filmgoers’ radar.   That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a film like “Hello, My Name Is Doris” catching on as a sleeper hit. Starring Sally Field in one of those roles that is a...

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Ever since “Iron Man” took the world by storm in 2008, Marvel’s comic-book movies have been tearing up the global box office with a mix of witty writing, vibrant visuals, A-level actors and an undeniably fun spirit. While the movies had lots of PG-13 level action violence, “The Avengers,” “Thor,” “Captain  America,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Ant-Man” were also filled with a joy, pizzazz and sense of solid moral values that made them films the whole family could enjoy...

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Some weekends are weird times for new film releases. This weekend, the latest in the “Divergent” film series - “The Divergent Series: Allegiant Part I” – is the only big new movie, and I’m skipping it because I fundamentally don’t see the magic in this obvious “Hunger Games” knockoff.   That said, according to the reasons given for its PG-13 rating by the ratings board, "Allegiant" is probably fun, exciting fare for teens. The movie has no foul language mentioned, and there's no sex,...

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Christy Beam was just a regular wife and mother of three in the Dallas-area suburb of Burleson,  Texas, when she learned that her young daughter Annabel was diagnosed with a rare and incurable digestive disorder. It seemed Annabel would never have a chance at a normal life, but on a rare day in which she was able to play outside with her sisters, she fell three stories headfirst into an old, hollowed-out tree and managed to survive without a scratch.   During the five hours she was...

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Sooner or later, it seems that nearly every major comedic talent wants to show at least one opportunity to show their serious side. Sometimes it’s painful to watch, but in the surprisingly great new movie “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” Tina Fey totally pulls it off. Based on the memoir “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Kim Barker, the movie follows Fey as the somewhat fictionalized Kim Baker, a woman who’s hit middle age lacking children and a truly special...

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