“Godzilla”

This is 3rd “Godzilla” is a 2 hour 3-D’er set in the current day with big name stars .

Let’s start with what’s great about this latest version of “Godzilla”, which follows the 1954 classic and the Roland Emmerich 1998 re-boot. Godzilla looks fantastic after all these years, though he’s packed on a few . He has total cred. Also great: for once, it’s not New York and L.A. facing apocalypse now. Instead it’s Honolulu, Vegas and San Francisco. The CGI is awesome. The destruction scenes easily live up to expectations. Bryan Cranston and a blink-or-you’ll-miss-her Juliette Binoche are the most impressive amongst the human co-stars. It’s all downhill once they leave.

O.K. Here’s what didn’t work. You have to wait an hour (!!!) for Godzilla to appear. Instead , we have these two Cloverfield-like monsters on the move, driven by sex and fed by radiation, sucking the power from everything in their path. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass”) is weak compared to Cranston (who plays his dad). Ditto the usually impressive in much smaller films Elizabeth Olsen. At least Olsen (yes, the younger sister of the mega-rich Olsen twins) finally gets her Hollywood pay day.

The Cloverfield-monster fights get boring and even B-movie-ish. The destruction: never so. Make destruction- not war!!!! Also , it’s a hokey ending , though clearly paving the way for a sequel and maybe a franchise. And enough with the 3-D already!!!! Totally superfluous.

2-and-a-half stars



“Million Dollar Arm”

“Jerry Maguire” meets “Slumdog Millionaire, based on the real-life story of the first players from India signed to Major League Baseball.

This should have been a warm, fuzzy film that makes you tear up. Problem is, the only time I came close was at the end, when photos were shown of the real-life teens from India who signed contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates. P.S. In real life, there was no Hollywood ending. Both players stayed stuck in the minors .

While this is ostensibly a sports movie, the story of the players is overshadowed by the journey of sports agent J.B. Bernstein ( an ever charming Jon Hamm) and his real-life (THAT was a surprise) love story with the girl-next-store , played by a winning Lake Bell. They’re joined by “Life Of Pi” star Suraj Sharma and “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Madhur Mittal as well as Aasif Manduri (2004’s“Spider-Man 2”), Bill Paxton (“Big Love”) and Alan Arkin, who literally sleeps through most of the film. This has to be his cushiest gig ever!!! This 80 year old gets hotter and hotter in the biz every year he ages. Great for him!!

This fish-out-of-water tale is, at times, touching and humorous but at 2-plus hours, it gets boring. Easily, a half hour could be cut.

I always say I’ve never met a sports movie I didn’t like. Well, this time, it’s more a Facebook-like than a real like.

2 stars