Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10:58 am; Sunday at 12:30 pm; Monday at at Noon on "Arts Magazine"
Freeze Frame is a weekly show reviewing the latest movies from Hollywood’s best films to independent and arthouse movies.
FREEZE FRAME: “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” July 8, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
“Toy Story” showed us what toys did when their owners weren’t around. Ditto for Legos in “The Lego Movie.” The conceit should work for pets, too, and, by golly it does in “The Secret Life of Pets.” The folks who gave us “The Minions” provide a goofy, likable animated family flick about the vibrant world of anthropomorphic critters that emerges when humans leave for work. Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart provide voices for the main characters. This scruffy comedy is familiar and predictable, but is also fast paced and clever. It may not be best in show, but “The Secret Life of Pets” is far from being a movie dog.
FREEZE FRAME: “The Legend of Tarzan,” “Our Kind of Traitor,” “The BFG,” “De Palma” July 1, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
After 98 years and at least 48 cinematic adaptations, do we really need another big screen Tarzan? Hollywood thinks so. “The Legend of Tarzan” stars Alexander Skarsgård as the former King of the Jungle, who is conned into returning from Victorian England to Africa by nefarious colonialists. The great cast also includes Margo Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Chistoph Waltz and the story has a few unique twists. While serviceable, this adventure flick never quite overcomes its sheen of computer-generated artificiality.
FREEZE FRAME: “Free State of Jones” June 24, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
Ever seen a movie that should have been great but just missed the mark? Such is the case with “Free State of Jones,” an earnest and well-meaning historical drama undone by a jagged structure that prevents it from being the gripping experience it should have been.
FREEZE FRAME: “Finding Dory,” “Central Intelligence” June 17, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
It’s taken Pixar 13 years to come up with a sequel to the smash animated hit, “Finding Nemo.” But even after all these years, this fish is still fresh. Ellen DeGeneres again provides the voice for the forgetful blue tang in “Finding Dory,” as she and her aquatic friends go on a cross-ocean adventure to find her lost family. While the movie lacks the strong story of its predecessor, there’s still an ocean of imagination on display, from the amazing visuals to the snappy sense of humor. And, yes, you may need a Kleenex or two. There are those who will say that “Finding Dory” is lesser Pixar. Maybe so, but “lesser Pixar” is still better than most movies, animated or otherwise. “Finding Dory” may well rescue this summer’s floundering box office.
FREEZE FRAME: “The Conjuring 2,” “Now You See Me 2,” “Maggie’s Plan” June 10, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
If director James Wan had worked in the Golden Age of Hollywood, he might have made musicals. His camera work is more like choreography than direction. But it’s that showy style that makes his horror entry “The Conjuring 2” work as well as it does. The entire creative team behind the hit chiller “The Conjuring” is back, telling the so-called true story of a supernatural event.
FREEZE FRAME: “Me Before You” and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sequel June 3, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
So, can the Mother of Dragons become the Queen of Weepies? "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke takes on the lead role in the four-hankie romantic drama "Me Before You" and her sparkling performance is the best thing about the emotionally manipulative big screen adaptation of the popular novel by Jo Jo Moyes.
FREEZE FRAME: “X-Men: Apocalypse” May 27, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
The latest installment in the X-Men franchise follows the ‘younger mutants’ timeline from “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Jennifer Lawrence is the nicer Mystique of days gone by and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto gets more than he can handle from Oscar Isaac’s mutant god, Apocalypse, the most powerful mutant of them all. Problem is, the appropriately named Apocalypse wants to cleanse the Earth of all mankind. Will the mutants step up to save the humans?
FREEZE FRAME: “The Nice Guys,” “The Angry Birds Movie,” “Pele: Birth of a Legend.” May 20, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
The ‘buddy comedy’ gets a new treatment in an old way with “The Nice Guys.” The writer/producer/director team that brought you the “Lethal Weapons” movies reunite for a foul-mouthed action comedy set against the sleazy backdrop of 1977 Hollywood. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are terrific as a pair of mismatched private detectives who get in over their heads when working on the case of a murdered porn star. The movie is overlong and the mix of humor and violence doesn’t always work. But Crowe and Gosling are money. They may not really be playing nice guys, but the pairing is certainly a nice one.
FREEZE FRAME: “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” “Rio, I Love You” May 13, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
Although he died in 1920 at the age of 32, self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Sree nee vasa Raman Oojen) is considered a pioneer who made major contributions to the field. “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is an earnest and well-meaning biopic starring Dev Patel as the mathematical genius and Jeremy Irons as his British mentor, professor G. H. Hardy. The film, which is based on Hardy’s memories, is very respectable but also very conventional and formulaic. It lacks the dramatic spark that fueled other films about math geniuses, like “A Beautiful Mind” and “Good Will Hunting.” Still, it’s sincere and well produced even if all of the elements don’t quite add up.
FREEZE FRAME: “Captain America: Civil War,” “Tale of Tales” Film Review May 6, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"
The latest comic book extravaganza from the folks at Marvel, “Captain America: Civil War” is everything that “Batman v Superman” wishes it could have been. A villain cleverly manipulates The Avengers into a battle that splits the team in two, pitting Iron Man and his super allies against Captain America and his Avenger crew. Naturally, when these forces got into battle with one another, mayhem abounds. Even though there are some dark themes in “Civil War,” the movie has plenty of action, good humor and a real sense of fun, so it never devolves into sharing the dour and brooding tone that plagued “Batman v Superman.” “Captain America: Civil War” proves that, a house divided…can be very entertaining.
Russ Simmons is an award-winning film critic whose work has been featured on television and in print for nearly two decades.