If you avoid one kids’ film this year, make it “Pete’s Dragon.” For some reason, I thought this film would be entertaining; I even got the 3D glasses for it. What did I get for my faith in this film? A phony-looking E.T. dragon and Robert Redford, looking about 80, telling stories to 7-year olds. It is a mystery to me why this film received good reviews. After about 20 minutes, I stormed out of the cinema and got a full refund. I NEVER do that, but then again, this film is boring sludge masquerading as quality entertainment.
On the other hand, the new “Ben-Hur” is a rather good remake of the Charlton Heston classic. I rather liked the mix of bloody action and Christian themes, and cutting back on the gay subtext from the classic film resulted in a much shorter movie. In addition, I liked Morgan Freeman’s performance and the slave galleon and chariot race sequence are really well done. Also, the script is surprisingly good, with a strong focus on characterization. Ok, it’s not the greatest film ever, but I liked it. You could do a lot worse. Somehow this film managed to flop and lose $120 million: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ben-hur-faces-120m-loss-925302 –CoolAC