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Is it worth $10? Yes

A somewhat nostalgic romp reminiscent of "The Pink Panther" movies, "Mortdecai" isn't hilarious or life changing, but it does provide a humorous and well acted mid-winter escape.

Johnny Depp, in all his mustached glory, plays Lord Charles Mortdecai, a swarmy British art collector/dealer. His faithful man servant, Jock (Paul Bettany), aids him on a quest to locate a priceless work of art that was stolen from a murdered art restorer. All the while, he struggles to keep the MI5, Russian mobsters, rival art dealers, terrorists, and his very combatant wife off his tail.

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Is it worth $10? No

Jennifer Lopez is having a tough time. Her latest album didn’t sell, and now she’s in the midst of another “American Idol” judging gig in which she’s window dressing to the main attraction. But “The Boy Next Door” is her redemption. Her step back to stardom, to the A-list. To mattering again rather than being an afterthought. All she needs is one box office hit, because when you’re a movie star you can do anything, right?

Wrong. Oh my goodness is this movie terrible. Atrocious. It’s the kind of bad that’ll make her go home to her peeps from “the block” to ponder what went wrong, only to receive blank stares and shoulder shrugs.

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Is it worth $10? No

The opening scene of writer/director Kate Barker-Froyland's debut feature "Song One" has a young man busking at a New York City subway station. You notice that the singer/guitarist employs an old, musician's stage trick: Sing or play with your eyes closed and it gives the impression of heartfelt passion. In making this film, Barker-Froyland also seems to have closed her eyes and tried hard to make you think there's substance and intrigue to be had.

An anthropologist named Franny (Anne Hathaway, in full-on slumming mode) learns her younger brother, an avid musician and admirer of singer/songwriter James Forester (Johnny Flynn, "Something in the Air" [2012]), suffered an accident which rendered him comatose. As she seeks ways to revive the hospitalized young man, she "stumbles" upon Forester himself, and an "unlikely alliance" begins.

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Is it worth $10? Yes

Right from the opening of “The Humbling,” two things are made clear: 1) Al Pacino will give a nuanced, understated performance suitable to his indelible acting talent, and 2) the man he is portraying, Simon Axler, is a few cards short of a full deck. When we first see him, he is looking into a mirror, putting on makeup, reciting lines for the play he is about to perform…then repeating them again because he is having a hard time remembering them. Then he has a conversation with himself where it’s made clear that he is his own worst critic and may suffer from depression and self-loathing.

These traits are perhaps what leads him to collapse on stage during a soliloquy. For recovery, he is sent for psychiatric evaluation under the care of Dr. Farr, played by Dylan Baker. Baker is an amazingly talented actor who’s been in a lot and you’ll recognize him, but he really caught my eye in director Todd Solondz’s “Happiness” in 1998. Few performances on screen have been that raw, painfully emotional, brutally honest and heartfelt. Ever. I understand that the draw of working with Pacino, as well as director Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”) and writer Buck Henry (“The Graduate”) was what got him interested, but it’s a cipher role that entails little more than Farr asking Axler questions so Pacino can exorcise his demons. It’s a bit too easy for a master actor like Baker. He certainly didn’t take the role for the paycheck—that’s what the role as Dr. Connors in the Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” films was for, but I digress...

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Like the tag line says, “Before there was ‘The Conjuring’ there was ‘Annabelle.’” For those unfamiliar with “The Conjuring,” all you need to know is that movie begins with a tale of a creepy doll and how it terrorized two nurses. The film “Annabelle,” out on Blu-Ray today, tells the tale of how Annabelle came to be that demon possessed doll from hell.

“Annabelle” takes place around the time of the Manson family murders, and concerns that deranged, drug-addled hippies will break into houses, commit murder, and write on walls in blood. Unfortunately for Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John Gordon (Ward Horton), and their elderly neighbors, this fear turns into a grisly reality. Luckily the police arrive in time to kill the invaders before they can kill John and the pregnant Mia. As one of the invaders lay dying of a gun shot wound, her blood spills on to the floor and flows over to a big doll sitting on the floor…Annabelle.

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The Oscars are Sunday, Feb. 22nd at 8 p.m. ET. Neil Patrick Harris is the host. He will be a good one. Some things to think about coming out of the nominations:

-Selma did not get snubbed for best director. The movie is overlong and slow at points. It’s an accomplishment of sentiment and acting, not its direction. Those on director Ava DuVernay’s bandwagon — let’s face it, mostly because she’s black — need a reality check.

-Glad to see “The Imitation Game,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Whiplash” get all the attention they did, including best picture noms.

-Even now, three months later, the ending of Birdman is still so confounding and infuriating that to me it’s more than enough reason to not give the film a best picture, director and screenplay nomination, all of which it did indeed receive.

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Is it worth $10? No

What happened to Michael Mann? The director who gave us filet mignon with “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Heat” and “The Insider” is now serving us spam with “Blackhat,” which on paper should’ve been good but in reality absolutely, positively isn’t.

Overwritten and underwhelming, “Blackhat” should’ve been a taut cyber thriller, a movie of espionage and intrigue that’s very much a sign of our times. Instead it’s a cyber bore full of nonsense and the impossible, held together with a plot that’s denser than it needs to be and talk of soy trading and code analysis. It’s an action movie for the geeks in your I.T. department, not the public at large.

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Welcome!

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Formerly hudakonhollywood.com, this brand new, beautiful website exists thanks to the numerous contributors to the fundraising campaign and the tireless work of Dan Hudak and his staff to bring it to life!

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Want to be a film critic?

"How do I become a film critic?" is one of the most common questions film critics receive. Here's the best answer I can give you.

1) Don't do it. It's a job of constant pressure, unrelenting deadlines, often little pay and even less gratitude. And think about all the crap you have to sit through ("Sex Tape") -- it's not just about getting to see "The Avengers 2" before all your friends.

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