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Movie Maniac

The Eagle's Rod Pocowatchit's musings on the screen scene

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Grading the summer movie crop at the halfway point

Hollywood’s summer movie season lasts from the first week of May through Labor Day. And since we’re at about the midway point, let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers of the first half of the season.

‘Lone Ranger’ is a missed opportunity

I was afraid that Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Comanche warrior Tonto in the new “The Lone Ranger” was going to be all caricature.

‘World War Z’ a fine entry in the zombie genre

Despite its much-publicized production problems, I thought “World War Z” was a great thriller. Tense and without gratuitous gore, it managed to be frightful without resorting to cheap scares.

‘Monsters University’ latest project of former Wichitan who works at Pixar

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to work at Pixar Animation Studios? For one former Wichitan, it is.

A winter premiere of ‘Endless Summer’ transformed Wichita into Surf City

Surfing has a different meaning than it did in the 1960s. When someone says “surfing” today, we immediately think of the Internet.

Movie trailers should be teasers, not plot-revealing summaries

I love movie trailers, so much so that if I’m running late to a movie and it looks like I will miss them, I’ll skip seeing the movie altogether.

Formula obviously works for ‘Fast & Furious’ movies

Admittedly, I have not seen any of the “Fast & Furious” films. They’re just not my thing.

Summer movie preview: Heroes, hangovers and zombies will heat up multiplexes

The summer movie season is starting earlier and earlier, with “Iron Man 3” already having officially kicked off this year’s blockbuster bonanza in early May.

Mrs. Bates and other memorable movie mothers

My current viewing obsession is the deliciously addictive “Bates Motel,” a series on A&E that is a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic chiller “Psycho.”

Are Soderbergh’s tweets a screenplay in disguise?

Prolific and adventurous Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “Ocean’s 11,” “Contagion,” “Magic Mike”) announced in 2011 that he would retire from filmmaking.

‘Weird Science’ remake to be ‘edgier’ but still unnecessary

More news from the unnecessary remake department:

Tallgrass to present indie film ‘7 Cajas’ at the Orpheum

The Tallgrass Film Association is bringing another dazzling independent film to Wichita.

When it comes to Hollywood remakes, nothing is sacred

I think the new “Evil Dead” (which opened Friday) is the scariest movie ever — not because of the horror or the gore, but because it’s further proof that Hollywood is going to remake everything.

Spring movie preview: Great expectations

The lines between Hollywood’s seasonal calendar are getting more blurred every year as summer blockbuster season starts earlier and earlier.

Irish films a pleasure to watch – and that’s no blarney

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In celebration of all things Irish and in the spirit of the holiday, here are some of my favorite films that are set in Ireland or have Irish people in them:

Lucas says ‘Star Wars’ cast will be back in new film

There was a strange disturbance in the Force this week, as more rumors swirled around the new “Star Wars” film that has the genius temporary title of “Episode VII.”

Surrender, Kansas – ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is coming

Get ready, Kansas, because we’re about to hear more Oz references with the opening of “Oz the Great and Powerful” on Friday.

Oscar: From ‘Argo’ to ‘Zero’

Ready to be entertained? That’s what producers of this year’s Oscars are promising – a show that will feature more production numbers and musical performances.

‘Amour’ a heart-wrenching story of true, undying love

The story at the heart of the French film “Amour” (“Love”) is a touching one, about true, undying love and responsibility. But it’s also downright heartwrenching, driven by beautifully realized performances — especially from Emmanuelle Riva, who rightfully earned an Oscar nomination for this role. She’s now the oldest person to be nominated for best actress.

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