Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Masterminds is a comedy directed by Jared Hess. It stars Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Kat McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis, and Leslie Jones. When David Ghantt is convinced to be an accomplice in the largest bank heist in history, hijinks ensue as his cohorts try to cut him out of the equation. This film was directed by the same guy that directed Napoleon Dynamite. So is it any good?
Masterminds isn’t an absolutely horrible film, it’s just not very good. This film had the potential to be hilarious, and it does have some funny moments, but as a whole, the film fails to have any impact on its audience.
The biggest problem with this film, to put it plainly, it just isn’t funny. It does cause a few little chuckles here and there, but nothing that makes it necessarily memorable. There were so many moments in this film that the movie thinks it’s being hilarious. Unfortunately, it fails to actually make the audience agree with it. All of this might have been forgiven had the plot been interesting, but it wasn’t. The heist happens, and then it’s basically an hour of sitting around talking about what to do. When something finally happens at the end, it’s not funny enough to make the film finish on a strong note.
If this film had finished strong, I probably would've given it a positive review, but it didn't. In fact, I’m not sure the film was even given the opportunity to end on a bad note. It just ends. The big “exciting” climax of the film is going on, then all of a sudden it just wraps up and calls it quits. There wasn’t enough time for the film to really stretch its legs and find its footing. It doesn’t flow naturally to its conclusion. It feels as if the screenwriter really got writer’s block and then just decided the film was over.
While Masterminds as a whole wasn’t very good, I thought the actors and actresses did as good a job as they could with this script. None of them gave the terrible performances that typically coincide with a film like this. In fact, I thought that Jason Sudeikis, in particular, gave a good performance. Had he been given better dialogue to work with, then he probably would have been hilarious.
I think there is something to be said about a film when the funniest part is the blooper reel during the credits. The bloopers were the only part that I actually heard people in the theater audibly laugh, which is good for the bloopers, but not for the actual film as a whole. If the entire film had carried the amount of humor that the bloopers did, then this might actually be a good film.
This is a shorter review because there isn’t a lot to say about this film. Masterminds could have been really fun, it just got tangled up in poor writing. It’s not funny, and it feels much longer than it actually is. The actors and actresses gave good performances; they just weren’t given the right dialogue to work with. There are only two parts of the movie actually made me laugh: one of the first scenes in the film and the bloopers in the credits. Don’t bother seeing Masterminds.
What did you think of Masterminds? Did it make you laugh? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Recently for the economics class, I am currently enrolled in, we were asked to interview the owner of a business. For obvious reasons, my first thought was to interview Mr. Bill Barstow, the owner of Main Street Theatres, the movie theater company I work for. Thankfully, Mr. Barstow agreed and let me interview him. Originally, I was just going to do this for class, but I thought that the information given during this interview was really interesting, so I decided to share it with you guys! It was kind of a long interview, so I cut out some things that I didn’t feel fit this setting. Hopefully, you guys enjoy reading through this. Thanks again to Mr. Barstow and Main Street Theatres for providing me with this opportunity!
Kruzereviews: How long has your company been in business?
Bill: Colleen and I started in December of 1988.
KR: What made you decide to open a movie theater?
B: It’s a long story. Basically, my simple story is, I had been in the Air Force for eight and a half years, and I was looking for something to do to support my family on. I wasn’t a crazy movie nut, but I would say that I loved movies, but it was more that I loved marketing. So my thinking was when I saw this little small town theater for sale that I could do that. And I could do it better than anybody else was doing it. And I had this interest in pioneering small town movie theaters and that was our goal in the early days. It was mainly that I thought there was an opportunity to make small town movie theaters work in small towns, you just had to treat them like they were big town theaters and you had to give people what they expected. You couldn’t treat it like a small town, you had to give them what they wanted. You had to pretend that you were much bigger than you were.
KR: Over time, how have you expanded the company as a whole?
B: So, we’re a capital intensive business industry, and it’s very unusual for people like us to be in our business. There aren’t a lot of mom-and-pop type guys running theater companies because it’s a very expensive business to get into. We’ve never really had money; we were always pretty good at getting projects. So for us, the growth factors came from the opportunities that presented themselves, the opportunities that other people probably weren’t going to touch, opportunities that may have been too risky for somebody, where we saw reward. For an example, in Fremont, somebody contacted us and said the mall was looking to add a movie theater inside a space. They would actually finance most of it if they could find somebody who could actually do it. So, they came down and visited our location in Nebraska City. We showed them what we were about. We were able to talk them into letting us take a chance on that. So that’s how we originally got into the Fremont Mall with four screens. We were competing with another out of town competitor there, the Cinema 3. At some point, we fought them and fought them, and competed with them, until we bought them. Then we closed them, and added the screens and consolidated into Fremont. It was very collaborative. It never would’ve if it wasn’t for lots of people getting involved. First and foremost, the landlord.
KR: So you actually bought the other theater in Fremont and just added the three screens?
B: Yeah, at that time, the hospital was very interested in expanding. They wanted to take that space. We thought it was substandard space, and we wanted out of that space. So, it was the right time for us to remove that location and add everything under one roof at the mall.
KR: Who would you consider to be your major competitors?
B: That’s interesting. Our main competitors would probably be any large metropolitan exhibitor. For us, there’s going to be some international guys in there, AMC certainly, and Marcus Theatres are our two biggest. But it goes much bigger than that. Ultimately, we’re competing for people’s time. It’s not so much money, we’re competing for peoples’ attention. How do we provide enough value that we’re a choice? If you’re considering five things to do, how do we make it into that top five? That’s basically what we want to try and do.
We’re competing against everything. We’re competing against the weather when it’s sunny and 78. We’re competing against High School Football on a Friday night. It doesn’t matter what it is, if there’s something else that you can do that’s compelling, and that’s a very key word, compelling, we’re competing for that time. We’re not competing for money so much; we’re competing for time. We’re competing to get you to come in and spend some time with us, and obviously, if you’re going to spend time with us, you’re going to spend money.
KR: So basically, you’re competing against any other way people would be wanting to spend their time?
B: Exactly. It’s a really healthy way, from a competitive standpoint, not to just say “I’m competing against Majestic on 144th and Maple for Fremont. That’s not apples-to-apples. Fremont is a different market. Every market is a little bit different. Fremont does not have 800,000 people to draw from to then provide certain amenities that somebody is going to demand. If you’re predisposed to leaving a market to go a market, you’ve got to think about this. For everyone who leaves the Fremont market to go to Omaha, there’s somebody leaving Schylur to come to Fremont, and there’s somebody leaving West Point to come to Fremont, or Cedar Bluffs to come to Fremont. We call it leakage. There is leakage into big competitors and big markets, but the reality is that we’re sucking anybody from small towns that move to the next biggest. There’s an old theory called “The Next Biggest Town Theory”, and in economics, that’s a big deal. If you think about it, people jump to the next biggest town. Whatever they perceive the better place they can get more choice, they tend to go to the next biggest town.
KR: How do you differentiate your theaters from those of other companies?
B: We care a little bit more. We’re heavily invested personally with everything. So, personally, Geof and I installed all of the projectors in Fremont. We did all the wall coverings. We literally built that with our own hands, so we’re connected to things that other people aren’t. I think we stayed small enough to where there is a connection. So, you’re sitting in an office right now, and sitting in this office there are three family members and an employee since 1995. So you’ve got people who have grown up in what we do, and I think that differentiates us.
KR: How do you determine your prices when it comes to concessions?
B: We’re kind of unique, and that is in the way we’re structured. What we pay for admissions is not normal for any other business. In other words, about 57% of every ticket sold goes back to the film company. Then you take into account the sales tax that goes to the local government, and you can see what’s left there. So, not many businesses will run on those margins. Because we have such high margins that we’re paying for the film, that’s why you see increased concessions prices.
We are a treat. We are a disposable treat. We’re not a restaurant where you’re coming in and eating all the time. An average moviegoer goes three to five times a year. Not every day. Not every week. Not every month. Three to five times a year. So if I’ve got the movie you’ve got to see, let’s say this weekend it’s Sully, so if you’ve got to see Sully this week, and you can’t see it anywhere else but me and a couple others that are fairly close, and if we do a really good job and the popcorn is popping when you come walking in, there’s a salesmanship angle to that. If a theater is being properly managed, that popcorn is popping when the longest line is standing in the lobby, and it sells itself.
KR: As you mentioned, the average moviegoer goes about three to five times a year. How do you market to those people who go only once or twice?
B: The reality is unless they’re connected on a social media network, our outreach is being driven by the studio. The reason we’re paying such high film rental is there is very little we can do to convince you to come see Secret Life of Pets in Fremont. You either know about it, and you’re going to because it’s ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. You are going to know about it. What we have to do is be the place where, if I’m a family and I’m living in Fremont, is it comfortable? Is it convenient? Is it priced accordingly? Can I find convenient show times? Are people nice to me, is it good customer service? Is the popcorn good? Is the picture clean, and does it look good up on the screen? All of those things come into play, and so we don’t really go after them. We couldn’t afford to go after them. To market to somebody right now is so expensive, and everything is so fragmented. For us to even advertise in the newspaper, in Fremont alone, we were spending $30,000 a year to put a little tiny ad in the Fremont newspaper. We’ll have some customers say “Why aren’t you putting an ad in the paper?”, and we just flat out tell them that paper was charging us $30,000 a year, that’s why.
So, most of our marketing right now goes into our social media networks. We’ve got a free weekly email newsletter. I can deliver show time information directly to your inbox every week for free. If you have a smartphone and you want to download our app, I can put all of our show time information literally in the palm of your hand, 24/7. Flixster, Movietickets.com, Fandango, all of them pick up our show times. You can go literally anywhere in the world and on your phone call up the show times for Fremont, Nebraska. So that’s mainly how we’re out there now. The newspaper doesn’t work. There is no television to go to, you can’t get enough coverage, it’s too expensive. Other means just simply aren’t efficient. Just at Aksarben alone, we have 16,000 people connected to us on Facebook. That means we have 16,000 people we get to talk to every week. If we give them content, and we give them things to remain relevant and that are compelling, then we get to talk to them. Today was a great example, today we just sold out two live events faster than we’ve sold anything out, at $40 a pop. Because we had an amazing network on our social media. Facebook is very strongly female like a 34-year-old female is who you’re talking to. Guess who was right up the alley for these moms that do this comedy act? It was 34-year-old females. So, Fat Brain Toys, who is sponsoring this, is just giddy because they were taking a chance on this. But they paired up with somebody like us that talks to 16,000 people every day. It wasn’t by accident those sold out in minutes.
KR: So a lot of it is just being online and general word of mouth?
B: Yeah, going after it and building up enough good will that people pay attention to you. You know there’s a million people trying to grab your attention. Everywhere you go, somebody is trying to grab your attention. If you can have a genuine connection, and this goes back to one of your early questions about why are we different, because we have a genuine connection to our customer. We have a genuine connection. If you’re following us on Facebook, you’re actually talking to the owners nearly every day, and a lot of people are. You can see “Oh, they’re doing this tonight”, and you may not even go. You may not go to see Willy Wonka, but you see we’re doing it and you kind of think that’s cool. You’re not coming, but you may go to the next one, but you’re engaged in it. We’ll try and get something out there that says how much fun Willy Wonka was tonight, and even though you weren’t there, you feel like you participated. You got to watch and you saw a couple of pictures. The next one might appeal to you, and you might come to it.
KR: My last question is: how do you ensure a good quality in the service you provide?
B: You’re really dependent on a strong manager. You’ve got to hope that can communicate to that manager the very best you can how important the movie going experience is. You’ll go through ebbs and flows. You’ll go through good and bad. In a company like ours, we don’t have tons of money to throw at these guys to constantly train them and constantly hit them with why we’re going to do what we’re going to do, but you try to hire really good people. If you hire really good people who enjoy what they’re doing, amazingly enough, they treat people nicely, and when they treat people nice those people like it and they come back. It’s an endless cycle. You’ll see locations will trip up every now and then. For the most part, we run independent satellite units with a fairly strong central control on what you can play. Ultimately it comes down to if you’ve got the right movies, the rest of it’s fairly easy.
KR: Alright, well thank you.
B: Thanks for doing that, intelligent questions. Good stuff.
Thanks again to Mr. Barstow for agreeing to this interview. You can find Main Street Theatres show times here! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Storks is the latest animated film from Warner Bros. Animation. It is written and directed by Nicholas Stoller alongside Doug Sweetland. It features the voices of Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Jennifer Aniston, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele.
The story centers around a company run by storks. They used to deliver babies, but now they deliver packages, as it is more profitable. When one stork in particular accidently ends up in possession of a child, he and an orphan that lives at the company must try and find this baby’s home.
Storks may be one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the year so far. It’s an incredibly fun family film that has moments of enjoyment not only for kids but for their parents as well.
This film is the definition of a family movie. There are so many underlining themes about what it means to be a family throughout this film that would be difficult to imagine watching it without a family member. There are many different themes throughout this film, and they all serve a purpose.
If you can get past the first fifteen to twenty minutes of this film, then you’re in the clear. The opening of this film was rough. It almost immediately feels like the kind of film that is made exclusively for kids and anybody else would be checking their watches constantly throughout it. However, after that initial fifteen to twenty minutes, this film becomes much, much better.
The voice talents in this film did very good jobs, particularly Andy Samberg. In fact, he did such a good job that I didn’t even realize it was him until about half way through the film. The rest of the voice cast also fit their roles really well, especially Key and Peele as the two wolves. Those wolves provided some of the most absurdly entertaining parts in the film.
This film does have some major weaknesses in it. One, in particular, comes in the form of a pigeon. This pigeon may be one of the most annoying characters in an animated film recently. He was such an unnecessary piece to this puzzle, and it was painfully obvious that he was there exclusively to make five-year-olds laugh. Granted, this is an animated film, but it’s more of a family film than a kid film. The inclusion of this character might make the kids laugh, but to adults, it’s cringe worthy.
The plot in the film is pretty predictable at times. As you might expect, they run into problems along the way and they overcome those problems fairly quickly. The overarching antagonistic force throughout the film was very weak, and it made the plot a little less interesting. Also, throughout the film, it cuts away to the family that the baby is to be delivered to. The story with that family had some good lessons to it, but it didn’t add anything to the overall plot.
The biggest thing I have to say about Storks is that it features one of the best fight scenes in an animated film that I’ve ever seen. They showed it a little in the trailers, I won’t spoil it here. All I will say is that it was incredibly clever, and it made for probably the funniest moment of the film.
Storks was by no means an amazing movie. I was expecting this movie to be sort of mediocre, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a really enjoyable family film. The voice actors all did very good jobs, the themes about family worked well, and it features one of the best fight scenes in an animated film. I thought Storks was extremely clever, and I would definitely recommend it.
So what did you think of Storks? What was your favorite scene? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
The American Western was one of the most popular genres in film for a long time. However, over the past few decades, the popularity of westerns has declined immensely. The western has been largely replaced by sci-fi films and comic-book movies, but that hasn’t stopped some people from trying to bring life back to this once great genre. Some of which have been successful, such as 2012’s Django Unchained and 2010’s True Grit. Others have been much less so, for example, 2013’s The Lone Ranger and last year’s Jane Got a Gun. The latest modern western to hit theaters comes in the form of a remake of The Magnificent Seven.
The Magnificent Seven is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and it stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, and Byung-hun Lee. It tells the story of a rag-tag group of seven men who come together to protect a small town from being destroyed by the head of a powerful mining company.
The Magnificent Seven was a decently entertaining film, for the most part. It features some very exciting action sequences and the performances given by its cast were pretty good. However, the story here is what really seems to hold this film back. This film had the potential to be one of my personal favorites of the year, but, to keep it simple, it just didn’t live up to expectations. It is by no means a bad film. In fact, I would say that it is a pretty good film, but it’s by no means great.
This film has many very strong aspects about it; however, it stumbles in the most important areas: story and editing. The story throughout the film was never really one that kept your attention. It just seemed like writers Richard Wenk and Nic Pizzolatto were more focused on making the characters interesting than making the plot compelling. In that aspect, they succeeded. Many of the characters in the film are well developed, but without the compelling plot to give them something to do, it’s hard for the audience to buy into the reasons that they are all coming together. The weak plot is highlighted even more by the poor editing. For the first half of the film, it felt as if there was no specific direction they were heading. It was just a mash of different scenes thrown together to pass the time until you get to the action sequences. This film that should have captivated the audience and made them excited ended up boring them to death for the first half.
After you get past the first half is where the film finally starts to find its stride. That’s about the time where they start to really focus on the characters, which worked well. Each member of this group has their own unique traits and skills that make them different than the rest. These characteristics are brought out very well by the actors and director Antoine Fuqua. When the big shootouts start, you care, not because you want to see these characters save the town, you care because you don’t want these characters to die.
Each of the actors in this film did a pretty good job. Except, however much it pains me to say it, I didn’t buy Chris Pratt almost at all in this film. Throughout this whole film, I never really saw his character, I saw Chris Pratt pretending to be a cowboy. I believe that everybody else worked really well, especially Denzel Washington, but Pratt really stood out. It’s not that he gave a bad performance, he just didn’t really disappear into his character very well.
The final act of this film was by far the best part of the film. The massive action sequence that unfolds towards the conclusion really captures the audiences' attention, and it really saved the film for me. I wasn’t enjoying The Magnificent Seven immensely for the first hour and a half, but then it gets into the last act. Whatever you had been thinking about the film up to that point leaves your mind during the finale. It was extremely entertaining.
If the entire film had that amount of energy, I would have probably given this film about a 9/10. Unfortunately, that energy was nowhere to be found until the end. The Magnificent Seven was pretty slow and even boring at times. After the halfway point, it really picks up the pace and becomes truly entertaining. The actors all did pretty good jobs; however, Chris Pratt was just pretending to be a cowboy. I would still recommend The Magnificent Seven, but don’t be terribly upset if you miss it.
What did you think of The Magnificent Seven? Did you think Chris Pratt worked well in a western setting? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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