The Big Year

(PG) ★★☆☆☆

An all-star cast has nothing to work with in this diffident attempt at a birding comedy. Divorcee Brad (Jack Black) dreams of besting the birding record-holder, a contractor (Owen Wilson) who once identified 732 separate species in a “big year.” Steve Martin enters the mix as a competitive industrialist. Brad dives headlong into this world, meeting along the way a fellow obsessive played by Rashida Jones. The script’s so muted, though, that it neglects to make the characters any sort of funny.

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Real Steel

Movie Review

Real Steel

By Tribune Media Services

This genre mash-up stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie, ex-fighter and deadbeat dad who hasn’t seen his offspring in years. The year is 2020. Human boxing is no longer; robot boxing rules. Circumstances dump his preteen Max (Dakota Goyo) into Charlie’s lap at a low point in his career. The two prepare their junkyard robot, Atom, for battle against a Russian fighter in the World Robot Boxing League. This one is contrived, sappy, way too long and will probably be a big hit.

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