That puzzle game the kids used to play obsessively on your laptop back in 2010 is now a feature-length animated movie. To refresh your memory, the game was about flinging birds out of a slingshot to knock down rickety towers full of green pigs. And that's pretty much what the movie is about. With voices by Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage and two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn (who plays one of the birds, not one of the pigs). 97 minutes PG.
Marvel steps in to show DC how superhero conflict is done. This smartly written action flick bristles with contemporary moral quandaries. And yet it's fast, fun and light on its feet. Seems that the near disastrous events of the last Avengers movie have made many question the whole idea of superpowered heroics. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), for example, thinks heroes should now be regulated by the U.N. Captain America (Chris Evans), on the other hand, thinks otherwise. What follows is a head-to-head battle that forces a lot of familiar faces (and a few new ones) to choose sides. 146 minutes PG-13.
A family (including Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell and David Mazouz) returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, haunted by an ancient supernatural entity they unknowingly awakened. ... Wait. Wasn't that the plot to an episode of "The Brady Bunch"? 92 minutes PG-13.
Unlike Disney's recent live-action Cinderella , Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz revamps, this family fantasy sticks pretty close to the original cartoon version. John Favreau (Elf, Iron Man) does an admirable job directing one kid and a whole bunch of CGI animals. Star Neel Sethi is a ball of energy, leaping and tumbling his way from one action sequence to the next. A string of celebrity voices (Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken) take on the familiar characters. The action is a bit intense at times for the littlest of tykes. The decision to include two of the songs from the original Disney cartoon is odd, but doesn't upset the overall balance of the adventurous film. FULL REVIEW:Fancy computer animation brings Kipling classic to life by Devin D. O’Leary (4/21/2016). 105 minutes PG.
Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne star in this comedy/drama about an aging widow from New York City who follows her screenwriter daughter out to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away. With her busy daughter unable to adjust to the 24/7 TLC, our protagonist turns her attention to other random people (including J.K. Simmons as a Harley-riding possible love interest). 100 minutes PG-13.
Jodie Foster directs this hot-button thriller about a distraught investor (Jack O'Connell from Angelina Jolie's Unbroken) who hijacks a financial TV show at gunpoint in order to get back at the host (George Clooney) whose flawed advice drove him into bankruptcy. Unfortunately for all involved, he ends up accidentally uncovering a conspiracy in the process. 98 minutes R.
Having successfully excised the hard-partying fraternity next door, husband and wife Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne find a hard-partying sorority taking up residence next. ... I'm thinking maybe a hard-partying youth hostel for Neighbors 3. 92 minutes R.
Ryan Gosling is a down-on-his luck single father/private eye and Russell Crowe is the muscleman-for-hire who teams up with him (reluctantly, of course) to solve the murder of a porn star in 1970s Los Angeles. The setting is evocative, and writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, Iron Man 3) knows his way around buddy action comedies. It's painfully funny and brutally violent at times. Gosling and Crowe are clearly having a ball. But the Chinatown-esque plot is so convoluted (something about porn films, catalytic converters and the Department of Justice) that it's hard to completely swallow. R.
A plucky country rabbit (Ginnifer Goodwin) dreams of becoming a tough-as-nails cop in the teeming city of Zootopia. Unfortunately, the place is run by predators, who relegate the barrier-busting bunny to meter maid duty. But when a series of mysterious disappearances rocks the city, she teams with a self-serving con man of a fox (Jason Bateman) to crack the case. This funny animal take on sun-dappled L.A. noir manages to tackle some hot-button issues (racism, sexism) while still being a colorful, entertaining Disney romp. FULL REVIEW:Disney turns an animal utopia on its ear in this savvy, sociological crime caper by Devin D. O’Leary (3/3/2016). 108 minutes PG.