Cinemazlowski

December 17, 2015

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' exceeds the hype

By Carl Kozlowski

In a world where 500 TV channels and thousands of websites offer seemingly countless choices for entertainment, it’s becoming ever rarer that one particular movie or TV show can truly stand out from the crowd and become a full-on, must-see event. But the latest space epic in the “Star Wars” series, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” has clearly managed to do that, with a near-constant presence in its own ads, hundreds of sometimes-ridiculous product tie-ins, and an endless parade of media...

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December 14, 2015

'In the Heart of the Sea' a visually stunning success

By Carl Kozlowski

Despite being an English major with a degree from a decent school, I've never read “Moby Dick.” I just knew the bare bones about its story covering the epic battle between a great white whale and an obsessed band of men determined to bring it to its demise.    So I was surprised to learn that there was a true story at the heart of its fantastical tale. In 1820, a New England whaling ship named “Essex” was truly under attack from the biggest whale anyone had ever seen. First...

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In a year in which the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, and a TV landscape in which countless shows like “Modern Family” feature positive gay characters, it’s not surprising that Hollywood is throwing open the doors to filmmakers depicting the issues of gay rights. After all, the mainstream media is eager to support such visions, and films like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Milk” and “The Birdcage” have long shown that gay-friendly films can deliver on a big scale with...

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There’s something about Thanksgiving dinner’s familiarity that adds to the magic of its enjoyment. You know exactly what you’re getting – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, some sort of greens and cranberries – but yet it’s pretty much the most popular meal of the year.   The new film “Creed” is  the cinematic equivalent of turkey and all the trimmings. In it, co-writer/director Ryan Coogler and his writing partner Aaron Covington find a new way to return one of the most beloved...

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It seems every holiday season brings with it at least a couple of new Christmas movies. They’re often ensemble affairs, with up to a dozen name actors handling small yet plum parts in a sweet confection that is guaranteed to be played in cable reruns and streamed on Netflix forever.    This year’s double dose of sugar-coated cinematic cheer has already arrived, with this weekend’s “The Night Before” starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie in a raunchy R-rated...

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There are harrowing moments when the entire world’s attention is riveted upon a tragedy, such as 9/11 or this past Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. Thankfully, there are also uplifting moments that unite the planet, and the rescue of 33 Chilean miners in 2010 after 69 days trapped in a mine after its collapse is a prime example of that kind of magic.   The fact that the men, by any normal standard of science, should have been dead weeks before they were rescued was considered a...

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Ever since the priestly sex-abuse scandals emerged out of the Boston Archdiocese in 2002, setting off a domino chain of events that brought shame to dioceses around the world, it seemed inevitable that Hollywood would make a movie about them. With studios often seeming eager to make the Catholic Church and other Christian believers and institutions look bad, it’s surprising that it took so long for such a movie to be released, especially amid an improved climate for faithful filmgoers who...

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November 06, 2015

'Spectre' brings more depth to Bond franchise

By Carl Kozlowski

Daniel Craig may be the sixth man to play James Bond, but he sure knows how to breathe new life into a series that has now spawned 26 films in 52 years. While 2009’s “Quantum of Solace” was a misfire, the others he’s made since taking over the iconic role of Britain’s top assassin — “Casino Royale,” “Skyfall,” and this weekend’s “Spectre” — have been infused with a mix of timely grit and a much greater depth of character for Bond, his support team and his arch-criminal...

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October 23, 2015

'Steve Jobs' an emotional portrait of a complex man

By Carl Kozlowski

The TV ads for the new movie “Steve Jobs,” about the legendary business mogul who founded Apple and gave the world the Macintosh and iMac computers in addition to iPods, iPads and smartphones, ask an intriguing question: “Can a great man also be a good man?” It’s the kind of question Jesus asked frequently in offering His listeners parables such as the one about the Pharisee and the publican, and it’s truly a question for each of us to ask ourselves.   Written by Aaron Sorkin, who...

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October 16, 2015

Some scary movies worth seeing this weekend

By Carl Kozlowski

Everyone loves getting a little scared during Halloween season, and this weekend offers two distinctly different kinds of frights for distinctly different audiences – yet both are highly recommended as being among the best films of the year so far.   “Goosebumps” offers Jack Black at his best in a “Ghostbusters”-quality romp that is the most entertaining family movie of the year (though any age will absolutely love it on their own, regardless of family), while the powerful indie...

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