And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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The LEGO Batman Movie

“You can’t be a hero if you only care about yourself.” – Gotham City Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon to the self-absorbed, caped-crusading loner, [LEGO] Batman.

That sentiment forms the foundation – the building bricks as it were– of the new LEGO Batman Movie, a spin-off of the 2014 animated gem in which Batman delivered some of the greatest zingers in toy superhero movie history. This time around, Batman aka Bruce Wayne is front and center, voiced once again by Will Arnett (Arrested Development) with a perfect blend of snark, self-awareness, and vulnerability. The LEGO Batman Movie doesn’t quite rise to the level of its predecessor, but it’s still pretty darn entertaining – especially for the grown-ups.

Masterminds

Masterminds is another movie based on a true story. But unlike the intense new action drama Deepwater Horizon, Masterminds plays for laughs. It’s a bizarre comedy directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite; Nacho Libre) that recounts one of the largest bank heists in U.S. history: the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery in North Carolina. Zach Galifianakis plays David Ghantt, a gullible schlub whose ‘work crush’ Kelly (Kristin Wiig) convinces him to use his position as an armored-car driver to pull off the ultimate inside job. David steals 17 million dollars and turns most of it over to the yahoos who masterminded the heist and set him up to take the fall.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Birdman has no competition, because there is nothing remotely like it out there. It is a semi-fantasy, dark comedy with an amazing cast and a highly imaginative script. Michael Keaton has never been better, and in this role he shows off a kind of raw emotive talent that I would not have guessed he possessed. Playing Riggan, a former mega-star who was known for his role as the immensely popular superhero Birdman a couple of decades back, he has come down to earth and is trying to make a name for himself again, only this time with a Broadway play that he wrote, an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” He is directing it and starring in it as well. And he may just be losing his mind.

Puss in Boots

Like a lot of people in the northeast, I got shut out of going to the movies Halloween weekend because of a freak October snowstorm. So what did I go to see this past weekend? Puss In Boots! That’s right, the cartoon cat seduced me, and I obviously wasn’t alone. Puss won the box office for the second week in a row even though Tower Heist was expected to take the top spot.

The Hangover Part II

If you weren’t among the masses that gave The Hangover Part II $186 million over the past two weeks and you’re still thinking about seeing it, don’t bother – especially if you saw The Hangover. It’s essentially the same movie; just swap Bangkok for Vegas and a missing little brother for a missing groom. The big problem is, the jokes that were unexpected and often laugh out loud funny in the first one are predictable and stale in the sequel.

Due Date

Dinner for Schmucks

If Dinner for Schmucks were actually a dinner, I’d say the first course and the dessert were quite satisfying but the entrée left a lot to be desired. The meal, I mean movie, starts with an amuse-bouche of a scene – someone carefully creating romantic scenes using gussied up dead mice. Turns out the person with the tiny taxidermy hobby is Barry (Steve Carell).  Barry runs into Tim (Paul Rudd) or rather Tim runs into Barry – literally – when Barry darts into the street to retrieve a dead mouse, and then the madness begins.