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leonardmaltin
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movie review: Mars Needs Moms

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 11, 2011 5:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Talk all you want about technique: a good animated film depends on story and character, and it’s those vital ingredients that make Mars Needs Moms so entertaining. It’s also a pleasure to see a movie meant for kids that’s clever but not cynical or smart-alecky. I’m still not sold on producer Robert Zemeckis’ performance-capture technology, but I am sold on this movie. It deserves to be a hit, and I hope it is.

movie review: Battle Los Angeles

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 11, 2011 5:12 AM
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  • 8 Comments
One doesn’t approach a movie like this expecting Shakespearean drama. Unlike some films with loftier ambitions, Battle Los Angeles pretty much delivers what it promises: action, suspense, destruction, and the tried-and-true disaster-movie trope of people summoning the courage to pull together at a time of crisis.

movie review: Red Riding Hood

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 11, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 10 Comments
Have you spent years wondering what the whole story was behind the fable of Little Red Riding Hood? Have you had questions about the motivations of the wolf, or suspicions about Grandma? Have you pondered the sexual connotations of this age-old fairy tale?

movie review: The Adjustment Bureau

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 4, 2011 5:05 AM
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  • 6 Comments
I’m a sucker for movies about fate, destiny, and heavenly intervention—going all the way back to On Borrowed Time and Here Comes Mr. Jordan up through Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais—so I was more than willing to accept the premise of The Adjustment Bureau, based on Philip K. Dick’s short story. In this case, the buttoned-down business types played by Anthony Mackie and John Slattery are here on earth to make sure things go “according to plan.” So when hotshot politician Matt Damon chances to meet Emily Blunt and falls in love at first sight, they’re forced to—

movie review: Of Gods And Men

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 4, 2011 5:02 AM
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  • 5 Comments

movie review: Rango

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • March 4, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 50 Comments
It would be unfair, and inaccurate, to call Rango a one-joke movie. There may be two or three; I didn’t count. The first laugh comes with the appearance of a funny-looking Mariachi bird quartet who opens the film and act as a kind of Greek chorus.

movie review: Unknown

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • February 18, 2011 7:00 AM
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  • 7 Comments
In the French-made, English-language sleeper Taken, Liam Neeson was a former CIA operative who was (outlandishly) able to thwart a sex-trafficking ring. Audiences responded vociferously to his take-charge character. His latest film, Unknown, was also made in Europe—this time, Berlin—by Spanish-born director Jaume Collet-Serra, and it casts the reliable actor in a role that couldn’t be more different. In this yarn, he loses control of his life, or to be more specific, his identity.

On the Shoulders of Giants

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • February 17, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 7 Comments
When a documentary makes you interested in a subject you know nothing about, to the point of generating enthusiasm, I’d call that a successful film. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Deborah Morales have a lot to be proud of with their maiden effort in the documentary field, On the Shoulders of Giants, which is now available exclusively on Video On Demand through Comcast, Cox Cable, and Time Warner through the end of March.

movie review: CEDAR RAPIDS

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • February 10, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
One of the things I admire most about director Miguel Arteta’s films (including Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl) is that he shows such compassion for his characters. That’s why I was thrown off by Cedar Rapids, at first. The screenplay, by newcomer Phil Johnston, seems to be making fun of its naïve, almost childlike small-town hero, Tim Lippe, a dedicated insurance salesman played by Ed Helms.

movie review: Sanctum

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • February 4, 2011 5:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
James Cameron is the only box-office name associated with this film, so he's been promoted more than anyone else. While he didn’t write or direct the picture, he clearly had some input, and the film plays to two of his strengths: underwater photography and 3-D. Alas, it also underscores one of his weaknesses: painting his characters in strokes so broad the result is almost ridiculous at times.

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