written by: Craig Wright
produced by: Alex Schwartz and Denise Nolan Cascino
directed by: Rob Minkoff
rating: PG (some mild action and brief rude humor)
runtime: 95 min.
U.S. release date: March 7, 2014
Talking dogs have been around for decades in animated movies and television shows, especially the anthropomorphized kind. From the superhero antics of Underdog to the biting sarcasm from the likes of Brian from “Family Guy” – take your pick and you can find a dog to your liking. I always took a shine to Mr. Peabody, the intelligent and resourceful beagle with a penchant for puns, who had appeared in misadventurous time-traveling shorts on “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” with his pal Sherman. But that doesn’t mean I was looking forward to DreamWorks Animation’s updated take on these characters for a new computer-animated feature-length film.
The 86th Academy Awards telecast is over and I’m glad. Although the program hosted by Ellen DeGeneres was one of the more entertaining in recent years, I’ve grown tired of all the predictions, pools and debates. Due to all the talk and prognosticating, there were hardly any surprises, in fact, I can’t think of a one. All the winners just kind of fell into place, most of them deservedly so. And for the first time in a long time, the film that won Best Picture is one that won’t receive backlash in years to come and will certainly hold the test of time as a film that undeniably deserved its award.
written by: Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash & Nic Young
produced by: Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
directed by: Christopher Spencer
rating: PG-13 (for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence)
runtime: 138 min.
U. S. release date: February 28, 2014
Last March, The History Channel ran a ten-hour mini-series called “The Bible”, which was viewed by millions of viewers making it a record-breaking hit for cable television. This year, Lightworkers Media, the Christian production company responsible for that epic series, has teamed with 20th Century Fox to deliver “Son of God” to those viewers, with the goal of recapturing those numbers theatrically.
written by: Adi Hasak and Luc Besson
produced by: Adi Hasak, Luc Besson, Ryan Kavanaugh, Mark Libert & Virginie Silla
directed by: McG
rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language)
runtime: 118 min.
U.S. release date: February 21, 2014
As a director, Kevin Costner comes across as a patient guy who waits for the right material to come along. Considering the last movie he helmed is a little over ten years old (“Open Range”), one might also consider him picky too. As an actor, it feels like Costner woke up one recent morning and thought, “Hey, I should do a handful of movies in a row. I’m not getting any younger!”, which is why we had that “Jack Ryan” movie last month, “3 Days to Kill” this month and next month’s “Draft Day”, with two more movies still on their way this year. Hopefully he’s planning on taking 2015 off entirely.
written by: Akiva Goldsman
produced by: Akiva Goldsman, Marc E. Platt, Michael Tadross & Tony Allard
directed by: Akiva Goldsman
rating: PG-13 (for violence and some sensuality)
runtime: 118 min.
U.S. release date: February 14, 2014
If there’s ever a weekend meant for sappy, sugary sweet, lovey-dovey movies, it has to be Valentine Day weekend. Audiences had two options this past weekend when it comes to the romantically pleasant love story, “Endless Love” and ”Winter’s Tale”. Reviews were almost uniformly negative – some scathingly so – but, I thought there was too much positive going on to make it that bad. Was I correct? Well, there are positives, but when it’s bad…..it’s bad.
written by: Joshua Zetumer
produced by: Marc Abraham and Eric Newman
directed by: José Padilha
rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material
runtime: 118 min.
U.S. release date: February 12, 2014
For his first english-language film, Brazilian director José Padilha has made a bold move in remaking Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 cult classic “Robocop”. This has fans of the original rolling their eyes and confirms to moviegoers that tirelessly complaint that the Hollywood thinktank is barren. Remakes have been commonplace in cinema for decades and even though some movies are considered just fine on their own, I would still prefer lousy or mediocre movies remade. But I was willing to give Padilha the benefit of the doubt due to his excellent crime films, “Elite Squad” and “Elite Squad: Enemy Within”. If you haven’t seen those, check them out and you’ll see why he could be a good choice to offer a fresh look at a cyborg police officer in a dystopian future Detroit.