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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

I miss the days when I watched movies for fun

I don't see as many movies as I used to. For one thing, it's harder to work up enough enthusiasm to see, 1, anything starring Kevin Hart, 2, anything that bears the tagline “They suck at school,” 3, melodrama starring a love-lorn Kate Winslet or, 4, Aaron Eckhart starring as … Frankenstein's monster? Seriously?

Still, to produce the radio show that I do with Mary Pat Treuthart and Nathan Weinbender, most weeks I'm forced to see at least three movies whatever my personal preferences. This past weekend, then, I sat through “Monuments Men,” “The Lego Movie” and four of the five Oscar-nominated documentary short films (the fourth wasn't available for preview).

Following are my brief reactions.

“Monuments Men”: The documentary “The Rape of Europa” is far more comprehensive and factual and far less self-serving to the U.S.

“The Lego Movie”: In the spirit of “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” and “The Simpsons Movie,” this bit of movie merchandising is funny, clever and far more subversive than you would think.

The Oscar-nominated documentary shorts: We were able to preview four of the five (one, “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” won't be released on HBO until March 31), and I can tell you they are all different, interesting and at least three of them are emotionally powerful. The program opens Friday at the Magic Lantern.

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