Friday February 12, 2016 5:23 p.m. MST
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Andy Bockelman columns

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The Bock’s Office: Lots of love films available for Valentine viewing

Valentine’s Day: a portion of the calendar devoted to romance that also happens to occur right in the dead of winter. No wonder Hollywood has so many love stories out this time of year. Whether your tastes have you wanting to flock to theaters to see Nicholas Sparks fare “The Choice,” the rom-com “How to Be Single” or the alternative period piece “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” — Jane Austen absolutely would have written Elizabeth Bennet as a slayer of the undead if she had thought of it — remember there is a bounty of options, many that have been released in the past year or two.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ has punch but gets winded in finale

Any good sequel should allow a storyline come full circle, but like a pair of pants attempting to cover a gargantuan gut, “Kung Fu Panda 3” doesn’t quite get there.

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The Bock’s Office: Top 10 films of 2015

Another year has come and gone, and the highlights have shone through greatly. Some of the best movies have found widespread audiences and made lots of cash, while others remain obscure. Here are my thoughts on what was most worth watching.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Big Short’ offers decent returns on investment

Society tends to take for granted the idea that the people in charge of the economy know what they’re doing and have the world’s best interests at heart. You don’t need a movie like “The Big Short” to tell you that’s not exactly the truth, but sometimes a point can’t be made enough times.

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The Bock’s Office: Lots to love about ‘The Hateful Eight’

Long stints of intensive conversation, bloodshed that’s a little too stylish to be realistic, music from movies that have little to do with the subject matter onscreen — if you didn’t already know who made “The Hateful Eight,” you could probably hazard a guess based on these traits.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘The Force Awakens’ and so does ‘Star Wars’ mania

There are lots of exciting stories that could be started with just 10 words, but when you see “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” on the screen, it’s go time for any age. And so the journey begins again with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Heart of the Sea’ — Call me impressed

One of the greats of American literature has already been captured and mimicked on film enough times that to try it again would be like taking on a beast of the briny deep in nothing but a dinghy. Still, “In the Heart of the Sea” shows us there’s more than one way to attack a huge project.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ — Is Pixar’s creativity extinct?

If you want to see a human interact with species that were gone ages ago, just check out… No, wait, “Ice Age” already did that. Well, if you want a movie about a father-son relationship… Whoops, “Finding Nemo.” Still, if you want to see Pixar and Disney create some cool prehistoric characters… Oh, yeah, “Toy Story.” And “Fantasia.” And “Dinosaur.” Remind me, why did we need “The Good Dinosaur?”

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Secret in Their Eyes’ is surprisingly weak

It would be a cinematic sin to reveal too much about any mystery-themed movie. However, as “Secret in Their Eyes” shows, there are worse things than spoilers.

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The Bock’s Office: Final ‘Hunger Games’ nails it

In any fantasy or science fiction series, there are bound to be weak portions in the unfolding of a lengthy story. Fortunately, unlike the movie that preceded it, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” is right on target.

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The Bock’s Office: Good grief — ‘Peanuts’ revamp is great!

At this point, we’re not unfamiliar with a world where a doghouse doubles as a Sopwith Camel, all adults sound like a trombone solo and no one questions why a child is almost completely bald. Still, a return to one of the most beloved series of the last 60 years feels like visiting old friends and finding a new reason to love them in “The Peanuts Movie.”

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The Bock’s Office: Halloween movies to scare and surprise

There’s a vast library of scary movies, be they genuinely terrifying or laughably bad, reaching back for decades. You needn’t look too far back in the annals of Redbox or Netflix to find horror flicks released this year like “Insidious: Chapter 3” or the remake of “Poltergeist.” Still, you can’t beat a true theatrical experience when it comes to this genre, and it’s worth the price of admission if you find something suitable for your tastes among these films still in the cineplex.

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The Bock’s Office: All systems go for ‘The Martian’

When you’re looking at red, dusty landscapes without another human being in sight, you can either get motivated or get depressed. No, I’m not talking about being in Utah, rather the do-or-die hero of “The Martian.”

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Scorch’ a trial of a sequel to watch

The heat is always on to create the next big thing in young adult action films. Unfortunately, in the case of ”Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” that thermal overload proves too much pressure. Out of the frying pan, as they say…

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The Bock’s Office: Summer selections — From the magnificently mad to the unfantastic

Spending your summer in the theater with the Avengers, wacky choral singers or unwieldy dinosaurs is as fine an investment as you want it to be, because the price of a movie ticket for something you enjoy is never a waste of money. That being said, here’s my two cents on a selection of films from the past few months I didn’t get a chance to review for one reason or another.

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