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About Last Night (2014)
Screen Gems
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‘About Last Night’ Review

"Remake" is often Hollywood code for "rehashed, lazy cash grab," but sometimes a basic premise can be given a refreshing new spin with the right cast and crew behind it. Starring Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant, 'About Last Night' is the rare remake that justifies its existence by being freshly fun and thoroughly entertaining.

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The LEGO Movie
Warner Bros.
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‘The LEGO Movie’ Review

Few things scream "cash grab" as loudly as a movie about a popular children's toy, as these productions rely highly on the brand recognition of children and nostalgia of adults. Making a good movie inspired by pre-existing playthings is such a rare thing that it almost seems impossible. Thankfully, Phil Lord and Chris Miller -- the directing duo behind the charming 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' and the hilarious '21 Jump Street' reboot -- are known for turning terrible-sounding projects into spectacularly entertaining adventures. And they've done the impossible with 'The LEGO Movie', creating a wonderful narrative that perfectly captures the wonder and joy of playing with the iconic building blocks.

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Frozen Review
Disney
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‘Frozen’ Review

Sometimes great artistry comes from coloring inside the lines.

Walt Disney Animation's newest film, 'Frozen,' does precious little to push the boundaries of narrative storytelling. Indeed, it is a quite predictable – might I even suggest formulaic - culmination of elements. While picking over the bones of a half-remembered Hans Christian Andersen story, 'The Snow Queen,' Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck's film expands certain themes, disposes of some characters and, of course, modernizes a bit for contemporary audiences. However, miraculously, this doesn't feel like a Xerox of a Xerox impersonating a classic Disney film. There's precious little winking; hardly any of the 'Shrek'-effect. 'Frozen' has enough of the goods to play it straight and succeed on its own terms. It is a major entry in family-friendly entertainment, one that ought to reverberate for years with tie-in toys and stage productions.

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Hunger Games Catching Fire review
Lionsgate
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‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Review

When the closing credits rolled after the original 'The Hunger Games,' I thought to myself "eh, not bad." But I was in no rush to see the follow-up. When the closing credits rolled after Francis Lawrence's 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,' after I was able to collect myself, I was fully prepared to run out and get a mockingjay tattoo. Over my heart. With the phrase, "I will lay down my life for you, Katniss Everdeen, because you are the first and finest true hero of 21st century cinema."

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Carrie review
Screen Gems
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‘Carrie’ Review

For a gal named Carrie White, she's sure got a lot of red on her.

Watching Kimberly Peirce's 'Carrie' is an odd experience. If you've seen Brian De Palma's version from 1976, this new version is - and there's really no point in denying this - like watching a cover band. There's a tweaked scene here and there (including a new, creepy-as-heck opening) plus the addition of cell phones and references to 'Dancing With The Stars.' This remake, more than most, really feels like hitting the same marks. It may be a peculiarity specific to 'Carrie,' because, let's face it, not a whole heck of a lot happens in this story. Considering most moviegoers' familiarity, there's plenty of room to stew and think, "Why is this considered such a classic?"

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Blumhouse Productions
Blumhouse Productions
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The Rob Reviews Insidious Chapter 2

And what better day to see it than Friday the 13th?

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Elysium review
Sony Pictures
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‘Elysium’ Review

Here's one of my favorite jokes of all time. There's no punchline, it's just a sentence. "I've been rich and miserable, and I've been poor and miserable. And I'll tell ya: rich is better."

I don't know if this is what director Neill Blomkamp had in mind as the ultimate message of 'Elysium,' his visually stunning follow-up to 'District 9,' but beneath the dazzling spectacle, there isn't much else beyond that aphorism to cling to.

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Fast and Furious 6 review
Universal Pictures
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‘Fast and Furious 6′ Review

'Fast Five' attempted - and quite successfully I might add - a reboot of sorts for the entire 'Fast and Furious' franchise, turning a series of movies about car racing into one exciting heist film. It was big and brash and sweaty and a complete success. So where do you go from there? 'Fast and Furious 6' attempts to answer that question by adding an -er suffix to all those adjectives above. Bigger, brasher, sweatier.

'Fast and Furious 6' is like 'Fast Five' on nitrous - director Justin Lin hits that proverbial turbo boost to go bigger, faster, stronger - and at times, that is a great thing. But when the NOS runs out, the drag race just turns into a drag.

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Pain and Gain review
Paramount Pictures
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‘Pain and Gain’ Review

I watch a lot of 'Project Runway.' My wife likes it -- and, yeah, I like it too. A show dedicated to fashion design that features creative and powerful women is a weird thing to think about while watching a Michael Bay movie but that's exactly what I did during 'Pain and Gain.' Bay could learn a thing or two from that show about editing. Not in the cinematic, cutting shots together sense; that he's got. This is a different kind of editing.

It's the kind that is often called out by the 'Runway' judges when they tell the contestants (I'm paraphrasing), "This is too busy. You need to edit. That blue fuzzy hat that looks like a tribble distracts from the gorgeous, ornately sequined dress. The dress is enough. You don't need the tribble hat. Edit."

A Michael Bay movie -- particularly 'Pain & Gain' -- is a sequined dress with a blue tribble hat.

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Rogert Ebert Trivia
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert passed away this week. He was an amazing man who not only provided people with his opinions on movies, he planted the notion that movies could be more than just observed in the minds of countless people. And he was entertaining. (Proof: This review of 'Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo.') He also led a fascinating life, so we put together some trivia to give you an idea of the greatness that was Roger Ebert.

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Oz the Great and Powerful Logo
(Disney YouTube)
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‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ – Entertaining for the Whole Family [REVIEW]

If you're looking for a film the whole family can enjoy, then be off — off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz The Great and Powerful.

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wreck-it-ralph-review
YouTube
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Ryan O’Bryan’s Wreck-It Ralph Movie Review

According to the unwritten rules of adulthood, as a 35-year-old man, I shouldn't have been as excited to see an animated film as I was about seeing Wreck-It Ralph. But, did I over-hype the film in my mind to the point where it would never live up to the fantasy expectations I set for it?

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