‘Penguins of Madagascar’ brings the humor but lacks the heart

Theatrical release poster. 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation


Penguins of Madagascar” is a recent spin-off film of the “Madagascar” film series, starring the penguin foursome that became so popular in the originals. It stars the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, and Christopher Knights as Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private respectively, and follows their spy-like mission to stop an evil octopus named Dave (John Malkovich). The film definitely encapsulates the personality of the penguins, and the humorous puns never end, making this spin-off pleasing and nearly worthy of being able to stand apart from the series it originated from.

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‘Horrible Bosses 2’ straddles the line of horrible and decent

Horrible Bosses
Theatrical release poster. Warner Bros. Pictures.


Horrible Bosses 2” returns with the same mischief making men that made the first filmsuch a success. This time, though, they are planning a kidnapping in order to score some big bucks to save their business. The film banks on the same humor that led “Horrible Bosses” to be such a well-known favorite amongst fans, but it was almost too expected and not as different as it could have been. In other words, it was more of the same thing. Still, the leading men all have great chemistry and charisma together, and their character personalities really translate well on screen as staples in the comedygenre, leading this movie to be a worthy addition.

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‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1’ prepares for Part 2

Theatrical release poster. Lionsgate Films.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1” is the penultimate film installment of “The Hunger Gamesbook trilogy starringJennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. The film breaks down the first half of the third book, “Mockingjay,” into two hours of anticipation of the final confrontation between Katniss and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). While it was great to see the film take its time in building up this final altercation into two separate films, it was perhaps done with a book that wasn’t as exciting as the previous two. Still, seeing the efforts of the destroyed and rebuilt District 13 trying to usurp the Capitol by unifying all the remaining Panem districts was a great way to showcase the rise of a rebellion in the eyes of the suppressed.

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‘Dumb and Dumber To’ is too dumb

Dumb and Dumber
Theatrical release poster. Universal Pictures.


Dumb and Dumber To” is a 2014 sequel to the 1994 hit “Dumb and Dumber” starring Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas and Jeff Daniels as Harry Dunne. The film takes place twenty years after the events of the first film, yet still feels as though it was meant to belong in the past. Carrey and Daniels imbue the personality of their characters in a nostalgic way, but it unfortunately isn’t enough to take the film anywhere new or exciting.

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‘Big Hero 6’ is another Disney hero

Big Hero
Theatrical release poster. Walt Disney Studios.


Big Hero 6” is Disney’s most recent animated feature focusing on 14 year-old Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) and a healthcare robot named Baymax (voiced byScott Adsit). Baymax was created by Hiro’s older brother Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney) at the robotics university he attends. The story of “Big Hero 6” is appealing, and it is slightly unique from what Disney’s done in the past, but it wasn’t as revolutionary or groundbreaking as it could have been. Still, it went outside the box and it created excitement and emotion, so the film definitely deserves some credit for that.

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‘Nightcrawler’ is a thrill

Theatrical release poster. Open Road Films.


Nightcrawler” is a recent crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom, a rather socially inept shyster who will do just about anything to make a buck. The story revolves around his recent interest in a new money making scheme of filming news-worthy occurrences around Los Angeles, most of which are car accidents and criminal neighborhood activity. Louis continues pushing further, trying to obtain instant and inside footage of what has happened, and sells his recordings to a local news channel which is run by Nina Romina (Rene Russo). The look into media’s inner workings is what makes thisfilm a fascinating view, but Gyllenhaal’s performance was the main standout.

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Review: ‘Fury’ may leave you slightly furious

Theatrical release poster. Columbia Pictures.


Fury” is a recent American war film based upon a tank-led fight within the heart of Germany during World War II. The film stars Brad Pitt as Staff Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier who leads his five man crew in a tank, Fury, through Nazi Germany during the war. The film captures the carnage of war and does so in a very period-driven way that rings true to history. It has everything a true war film would have, except it lacks any arousing attachment to the actual story itself. “Fury” goes many places visually, but emotionally it falters.

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‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is positively fine

Alexander Very Bad Day
Theatrical release poster. Walt Disney Studios.


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is a comedy film based off of Judith Viorst’s 1972 children’s book of the same name. It stars Ed Oxenbould asAlexander Cooper, Steve Carell as Alexander’s father Ben, Jennifer Garner as Alexander’s mother Kelly, Dylan Minnette as Alexander’s older brother Anthony, andKerris Dorsey as Alexander’s older sister Emily. The film teeters dangerously close to the campy and over dramatized region, but manages to reel itself back in with its heartwarming family oriented atmosphere, making it a worthy adaptation of what seems to be a year of book-to-film projects.

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‘The Book of Life’ is a visual stunner

Book of Life
Theatrical release poster. 20th Century Fox.


The Book of Life” is a recent computer animated film focusing on the story of Manolo (voiced by Diego Luna), Maria (voiced by Zoe Saldana), and Joaquin (voiced byChanning Tatum), three childhood friends who find themselves caught in a love triangle during their lives. Two underworld deities decide to place a wager on who Maria will eventually marry. La Muerta (voiced by Kate del Castillo), who watches over the Land of the Remembered—a vibrant, colorful place where those dearly departed go to serve their afterlife—believes Maria will marry the sensitive Manolo. Xibalba (voiced by Ron Perlman), who watches over the Land of the Forgotten—a dreary, colorless home for souls who are no longer remembered in the mortal world—feels the self-centered Joaquin will win Maria’s heart.

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‘Gone Girl’ will likely never be gone


Gone Girl
Theatrical release poster. 20th Century Fox.



Gone Girl” is a David Fincher (“Zodiac,” “Panic Room“) directed film starring Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, husband of missing woman Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). Both are writers who fall in love, experience greatness together, and then find themselves dealing with the struggles of life and marriage. The film’s writer, Gillian Flynn, drew from her own real life experiences when creating these characters, adapting the screenplay from her own 2012 novel. The novel received critical acclaim, and the film doesn’t disappoint either. It is a film in a class all its own, and one to be watchful for during award season.

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