Cinemazlowski

When Tim Burton brought Lewis Carroll’s classic tale “Alice in Wonderland” to life on the big screen in 2010, he captured lightning in a bottle. Through a combination of lavish effects and costumes that wound up winning Oscars, a star-studded cast having fun playing their iconic roles, and most of all, the giddy weirdness of Johnny Depp in the role of the Mad Hatter, Burton managed to have the biggest hit of his lengthy career, as the movie became a billion-dollar-grossing smash...

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Sometimes there’s a fine line between good taste and bad taste. A filmmaker can choose to tackle an “adult,” R-rated subject with class – avoiding graphic sex or violence and leaving extreme behavior to be implied offscreen – or simply wallow in the worst behavior human beings have to offer.   This weekend, the nation’s movie theaters will be offering stark examples of both ends of the spectrum, as the detective comedy “The Nice Guys” and the raunchy, anything-goes sequel “Neighbors 2:...

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May 13, 2016

'Money Monster' doesn't quite hit a home run

By Carl Kozlowski

In a summer movie season packed with superhero movies , sci-fi spectaculars and raunchy comedies, it’s refreshing to find a movie for adults that respects viewers’ intelligence and is actually about something. This weekend’s big new movie, “Money Monster,” attempts to fill that bill with the dynamic-duo star combo of George Clooney and Julia Roberts, but doesn’t quite hit a home run. Clooney plays Lee Gates, the host of a TV show called “Money Monster” in which he uses outrageous costumes...

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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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