Those trailers suggested Big in shiny red Spandex, and the trailers didn't lie. Director David F. Sandberg's comic-book outing, however, isn't reminiscent of the Tom Hanks comedy merely because it's about a young teen magically transformed into an adult. It's also fast and funny and clever and touching in the manner of Big – so much so that all that's really missing is the sight of Robert Loggia on a giant walking piano. And the giant walking piano actually makes an appearance.

Astoundingly, Disney's animated Dumbo from 1941 clocks in at 64 minutes, and my latest quadruple feature would no doubt start on a cheerier note if director Tim Burton's live-action remake also lasted just over an hour. Alas, this Dumbo is closer to two, and frequently feels more like four.

It's kind of like what you'd get if a home-invasion thriller mated with a zombie-apocalypse thriller and gave birth to a subterranean Matrix, with Sigmund Freud and Lewis Carroll serving as godparents and Darren Aronofsky performing the baptism.

Is there any stronger gauge of movie stardom than the ability to singlehandedly redeem an otherwise unworthy film?

Iron Man is sarcastic. Thor is arrogant. Hulk is ill-tempered. Captain America is patriotic to a fault. And Captain Marvel, a.k.a. the human Carol Danvers, a.k.a. the alien Vers, is … female. At least, that felt like the chief takeaway from Captain Marvel, whose filmmakers and star have given us a perfectly respectable comic-book role model while neglecting to make her in any way interesting.

Contrary to Tyler Perry's public statements, I don't for an instant believe that his latest showcase for the straight-shooting, bible-thumping, politically-way-incorrect Madea – Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral – is going to mark the house-dress-wearing hellion's final film appearance, especially considering that the titular ceremony isn't being held for Madea her(him)self. But maybe that's just preemptive grief talking, given that Perry's latest might be his most wholly satisfying Madea outing to date.

There's so much to talk about regarding last night's host-less Oscars ceremony – Green Book's Best Picture win! Spike's speech! Olivia freakin' Colman! – that I feel both silly and a little embarrassed to open with an admission: I didn't watch it.

Or rather, I couldn't watch it. Or rather, I could, but it wasn't worth the hassle.

Given that they tend to get their jobs done even when the works themselves are crap, triumph-of-the-underdog sports flicks are perhaps the only genre movies almost completely impervious to criticism. You can fail to be amused by a comedy or excited by a thriller, but if the heroes win the big game and the music swells and everyone on-screen – and everyone sitting around you – is tearfully cheering and somehow you're still not moved? That's on you, not the film.

This year's Academy Awards telecast is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, February 24, with no one serving as the ABC broadcast's host for the first time since the largely disastrous 1989 ceremony that opened with a musical duet for Rob Lowe and Snow White. The mind boggles at what we might be in store for this time around.

Among the front-runners for this year's Best Picture Oscar are a previous Academy Award winner's loving salute to his childhood nanny; a period bio-pic about revered music icons; a feel-good dramedy in the vein of Driving Miss Daisy; and Spike Lee's cinematic confrontation with the Ku Klux Klan that ends with searing indictments of the 2017 rally/riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, and, by extension, the president of the United States.

Guess which of these films, at present, is the least controversial.

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