This Week's Reviews:

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Movie Reviews for 3-10-14

300 Rise of an Empire rose to the top of the box office chart cutting out the competition with 45.1 million.  The sequel underperformed, however.  Seven years ago, the original took in 70 million.  Number two on the chart, Mr. Peabody and Sherman brought in 32.5 million and Non Stop dropped to third place with 15.4 million. 

(Mr. Peabody & Sherman - 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks - Rated PG)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
is based on the short cartoon segments that were in The Rocky and Bullwinkle TV series.  I always loved the puns and genuine hilarity along with a delicious, subversive streak.  In the big screen version, we get a weird back story about Mr. Peabody being Sherman's Dad.  What?  Where did that come from?  It also loses a lot of the spirit of the original.  Fleshing out a 3 minute cartoon into feature length isn't easy, but I didn't care for some of the choices.  Loads of vanilla, syrupy sentiment and requisite fart jokes take away rather than add.  That said, some of the sequences are well done.  The WABAC machine is cool, and I especially enjoyed the Trojan Horse and DaVinci segments.  Modern Family's Ty Burrell provides Mr. Peabody's voice and does a decent job.  The ending, seemingly borrowed from Ghostbusters, spirals out of control and lost me.  Ultimately, it goes for heart tugging…I wanted zany.  It's no dog, but I still prefer the original.  Check out the DVD's or go watch some on Amazon Prime or Youtube.  3 Stars Out of 5

(300: Rise of an Empire - Warner Brothers - Rated R)
300: Rise of an Empire
is a lot of highly stylized nonsense.  The Greeks have English and sometimes Cockney accents - not that what they say is worth listening to.  Some of the dialogue is downright laughable.  It also has a silly, waterlogged plot and slow motion with every swipe of the sword, spewing gobs of computer generated "blood."  There is so much slow mo, that there is about 45 minutes of actual content in the entire movie.  Then there is this airborne floaty fuzz in every scene that takes place in Greece.  What is all that?  Chicken feathers?  All I can figure is that Ancient Greece must have had a huge chicken factory - always plucking feathers and tossing them into the wind.  It makes sense.  They fry chicken in Greece, don't they?  Slow mo and chicken feathers.  Rise is rather limp.  2 Stars Out of 5

Now, a personal note.  After 37 years, today marks the conclusion of my broadcast career.  I have been on the air since I was 17, and dreamed about it since I was five.  I've been a movie buff my whole life.  Being a movie critic combined the two with my love of writing and has been a heck of a ride.  But life has a funny way of changing things.  I have a mustard business and have just published my first novel.  It's time to give them my full attention.  I have more books to write, and more mustard to make.  And honestly, I am looking forward to being able to watch movies because I want to, and not because I have to.  Plus, I want to be Bob Wagner again.  You'll see me around at the Nampa and Caldwell Farmers Markets.   I'll be selling mustard and signing books.  I want to thank everyone here at Channel 6 for the last 15 years, and I want to thank you for watching.  I've had a great time.  I hope you have too.

1. "300: Rise of an Empire," $45.1 million ($87.8 million international).
2. "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," $32.5 million ($21 million international).
3. "Non-Stop," $15.4 million ($12 million international).
4. "The Lego Movie," $11 million ($9.9 million international).
5. "Son of God," $10 million.
6. "The Monuments Men," $3.1 million ($3.7 million international).
7. "3 Days to Kill," $3.1 million.
8. "Frozen," $3 million ($3.6 million international).
9. "12 Years a Slave," $2.2 million ($9.1 million international).
10. "Ride Along," $2 million ($1.8 million international).

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